Message from the Board

Linda Milam

 We are entering into the short, cold days of winter, days that bring a different kind of beauty to Camas National Wildlife Refuge.  But before we go there, I’d like to highlight my favorite time of year, autumn in eastern Idaho. 

 It is the time that Friends of Camas hosts Birds, Bugles and Brunch (BBB) bringing together members and others to commemorate another year of efforts to enhance your enjoyment of this special place.  We gather at the pavilion that was our first big project, completed a few years ago and now used for Friends activities, youth programs, and other activities.  Also this year, we were able to show off the work that has gone into the Pollinator Garden near the headquarters building.  Thanks to grants, donations, and a memorial gift, and the work of staff, Friends, Master Naturalists, and others, the raised beds bore fruit with many kinds of flowers and showy milkweed, a new gazebo has been built and feeders are in place for the many birds that frequent the refuge. 

Importantly, this year, dozens of members, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the lives of two people who were critical to these efforts.  Nancy Maxwell, a longtime member of Portneuf Audubon Society was the early impetus to establishing the Friends of Camas.  While she was too ill to participate in many of our activities, we were always aware of her interest in and commitment to the Friends and the refuge.  This year, we were pleased to recognize her by dedicating the pavilion to her memory.

 John Braastad, longtime U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee, most recently at the Southeast Idaho Complex of refuges, was a regular presence at our events and supported the work of the Pollinator Garden.  After his too early passing, a memorial fund was established to support work at the garden, including the construction of the new gazebo.  At the BBB, the Pollinator Garden was dedicated to his memory.

 The other special aspect of fall at the refuge is the migration season.  Just as in the spring, waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines make the stop here to fuel up for the long-distance trip south.  Especially interesting to observe are the Sandhill Cranes and Trumpeter Swans that gather in their hundreds before moving south.  A drive around the auto loop will reward the viewer with many glimpses of these magnificent and iconic birds.

To view the previous View from the Board, click here.

What's New - 2019

Refuge Notes

January 28, 2019 

I am writing this just after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.  We are finally back at our posts and trying to catch up with the work that we left behind.  The Refuge roads have now been plowed of snow but still could be icy so we are asking visitors to use caution when driving on the auto tour route.

Bald eagles are using the typical roost areas on the Refuge since late December.  We have not been conducting our usual weekly counts but will start this week.  We will try and post updates on the Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex Facebook page as we are getting numbers for those who are interested.  As for other birds, Great horned owls are getting active and rough-legged hawks have been abundant in the area.

The water outlook is certainly lagging behind what we would like to see this time of year.  Current information from the Crab Creek snotel site is 5.5 inches of water equivalent, 28 inches of snow depth and that puts it 90% of average.  We are slightly behind what I would like to see but very comparable to last year at this time.  The biggest difference so far with last year that we have a good amount of snow on the Refuge while last year we hardly had any.

In terms of wildlife viewing at the Refuge, fair numbers of elk and white-tailed deer using the Refuge with the deer visible from the auto-tour route and the elk usually visible from the frontage road or Interstate.   Also, a young moose with a noticeable limp has also been hanging around the southern end of the auto tour route since the end of December.

Brian Wehausen, Refuge Manager

To view previous Refuge Notes,
click here.

Fred Meyer Rewards Program

You can help Friends of Camas NWR earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer donates over $2 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Friends of Camas NWR at:

  • You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number BN983 (this is a new number, the previous number will continue to work)

  • Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Friends of Camas NWR earn a donation.

  • The great thing is that YOU still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.

  • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Custome Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

For more information, please visit 




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425