Region 5 Program Manager
Retires- Regional Wildlife Program Manager Fred Dobler will retire after 31
years of service to the Department. Fred says "The Department is the
only employer I have ever had. It has in many ways made me what I am today,
and undoubtedly in some ways I have shaped it too."
He started as a temporary
worker with Applied Research back in 1975 on the Rock Island 2nd Powerhouse
Impact Study. Soon he became the project leader there. He left Applied Research
in 1980 to take the lead on peregrine falcon work for the "Nongame Program",
and later did work on gyrfalcons, shrub-steppe and pygmy rabbits. Leaving Wildlife
Diversity research in 1992 for an Area Biologist job in Ephrata, he continued
to contribute to knowledge and management of shrub-steppe species in Region
2. In 1996 he joined the Region 5 management team in Vancouver.
Fred says in parting "
I have tried to challenge myself and those around me to always strive for excellence
and integrity. I have seen our world change and the challenges for the Department
are greater than ever before, and it seems now the process has become the objective.
Those that remain must remember our original mission, and strive for excellence
and integrity, only that will allow us to reach the goal."
Fred's last day was March
Mt. St. Helens Elk
Winter Mortality: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins and Biologist Miller
have each responded to questions from the media and a state representative due
to concerns about winter mortality in the elk population around Mt. St. Helens.
A very graphic story which aired on Portland news has added additional attention
from the public. WDFW documents winter mortality in this area every year but
it appears that this winter may have taken a larger toll than that of recent
years. Surveys earlier this winter have documented 25 elk dead due to malnutrition
on the Mt. St. Helens State Wildlife Area. We are certain that more elk have
died since the survey. Tissue samples from a subset of these animals have been
collected for disease monitoring. WDFW will conduct an additional survey later
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
cuttings, one of the many methods of controlling erosion on the banks
of rivers on WDFW Wildlife Areas.
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Area Erosion Control Measures: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins with the
help of volunteer Mike Braaten and several students from Kelso High School has
continued work to stabilize the erosion prone edge of the remaining mudflow
on the wildlife area. This has included the planting of 165 cottonwood cuttings
that had been rooted in water, 200 purchased 2-3 ft alder seedlings and 150
seedlings transplanted from other parts of the wildlife area. The alder trees
were planted on the southern side of the area known as "the island."
a grass legume seed mix will also be added to the same sites in the coming weeks.
Areas further to the west where most of the work had been done in previous years
are now well vegetated and withstood higher river flows earlier this winter
quite well. This gives us some assurance that this work has paid off by protecting
our existing elk forage areas. Areas on the eroded gravel bars that have been
seeded in the last two years to increase forage production also are still showing
promise, indicating that over time we will be able to replace some of the forage
producing acreage that had previously been lost to erosion.
Hauswald has been hired as the Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife
for Shillapoo Wildlife Area Hired: Daren Hauswald has been hired as
the Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. He started work on March
27th. Daren has worked on the wildlife area in the past which has help him get
a quick start on many of his assigned tasks. In addition to the required orientation
and training that is necessary Daren has already started into getting equipment
ready for the field season and working on some timely field projects. These
include seeding bare soil areas where blackberry control had occurred last year
and noxious weed control.
White-tailed Deer: Efforts to increase the stability
of the population of Endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer in the Lower Columbia
River watershed continue. A recent translocation of these deer onto upstream
islands was successfully accomplished.
Biologists from Oregon Department
of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife, along with highly experienced volunteers from Kitsap Bowhunters
and Eyes In The Woods cooperated in this endeavor. Ten whitetails from Puget
Island in Washington were transported upstream to Fisher and Hump Islands. Five
additional deer were moved to the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge from Puget Island.
Fourteen deer from the Wodson area in Oregon were moved upstream to Lord, Walker
and Crimms islands in Oregon.
to increase the stability of the population of Endangered Columbian White-tailed
Deer include a recent translocation. The capture involves both a helicopter
and a crew on ground to funnel the deer into nets.
The capture involves both
a helicopter and crew on the ground to funnel the deer into nets located in
cottonwood plantations. Crews at the nets immediately untangle the deer and
apply eye masks, hobbles and place them in bags for aerial transport to the
receiving islands. Veterinarians from both Washington and Oregon monitored each
deer to insure their health and safety.
Once on the receiving island,
each deer was inspected and released. Ongoing monitoring of the deer continues
using infra-red cameras in Washington. See photos for an example of a monitoring
picture. Thanks to all those that helped on this project.
Falcon Monitoring: Surveys of Peregrine Falcon nesting territories
have begun in Southwest Washington. In Wahkiakum County, one previously
documented territory has confirmed occupancy of an adult pair while a
second know site cannot be monitored from ground or boat and will need
to be surveyed from the air.
A new potential site
in Cowlitz County where one adult peregrine has been seen did not yield
a second bird and will continue to be monitored. These surveys are part
of ongoing monitoring of Peregrine Falcons by both Washington State and
the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
volunteer Bruce DeShaw assisted Biologist Holman in the establishment
of artificial nesting structures for barn owls at the Clark County
Barn Owl Nest
Boxes: WDFW volunteer Bruce DeShaw assisted Biologist Holman
in the establishment of artificial nesting structures for barn owls at
the Clark County Fairgrounds. Bruce additionally constructed and installed
a nest box in the Vancouver Lowlands. See the attached photo of Bruce
at the nest box location on the Vancouver Wildlife Area. Nest box productivity
will be monitored in June. Thanks to Bruce for his volunteer work on a
number of different bird species in Region 5 and to Clark County Fairgrounds
Staff for their work to provide habitat for their barn owl population.
Mt. St. Helens Elk
Winter Mortality: Acting Regional Wildlife Program Manager Calkins,
Biologist Miller, Regional Customer Service Staff and Olympia Wildlife Program
Staff have all responded to multiple questions and inquires from the media and
the public regarding winter mortality in the elk population around Mt. St. Helens.
Two news segments aired on Portland television and multiple newspaper articles
have been published as well.
WDFW documents winter mortality
in this area every year but it appears that this winter may have taken a larger
toll than that of recent winters. A somewhat elevated rate of winter mortality
is understandable given the deep and persistent snow conditions in the Cascades
this year. Specifically, heavy snow began in early November and persisted through
December and January. February included slightly more mild conditions but March
saw the return of snowfall throughout the southern Cascades. WDFW will continue
to monitor elk mortality on the St. Helens Wildlife Area.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Wood Duck Nest Box
Installations: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald and Scientific
Technician Ridenour constructed and installed 16 wood duck nest boxes in the
Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Additionally, they checked the status of 12 existing
boxes. One nesting wood duck was noted during the effort.
Monitoring: Occupancy surveys are underway for this year's statewide
peregrine falcon monitoring. These surveys are part of ongoing monitoring of
Peregrine Falcons by both Washington State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Birds have been reported at most historic sites and current efforts are focused
on determining if sites support a breeding pair.
Biologist Anderson reports
that the peregrine falcon site on the south side of Beacon Rock State Park is
currently occupied. In order to protect the integrity of the falcon eyrie, the
south side of Beacon Rock was closed February 1st to technical rock climbing.
Biologist Holman reports that the Cape Horn peregrine site is occupied by a
pair as well.
Western Pond Turtle
Management: The spring trapping season has started at Sondino Ponds
and Biologist Anderson reports that we currently have 8 females equipped with
transmitters. Heavy rains this late winter and spring have provided abundant
water for replenishing all ponds and seasonal wetlands used by western pond
turtles. Biologist Anderson also completed a quarterly report for BPA as part
of their requirements for funding the project.
Wind Power: Biologist Anderson is currently assisting Habitat Program with a review of wildlife
issues associated with proposed wind power development in the Columbia Hills
of Klickitat County. These proposed sites are rich in wildlife diversity, especially
raptors. While wind power generation facilities are usually touted as "green"
or "low-impact" sources for electricity generation, they have several
potentially negative impacts to wildlife. Most obvious among these are the direct
mortalities associated with birds that collide with turbines. However bats are
also suffer from the presence of the spinning blades. Additionally, a host of
impacts to terrestrial habitats result from construction and maintenance of
the infrastructure required to construct, generate, maintain and distribute
electricity from these facilities.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Area: Area Manager Ellenburg has been fielding numerous calls about
this springs turkey season, He had a high participation rate for the Youth hunt
held April 8-9 even though the weather was stormy and uncooperative for turkey
hunting. Opening day of the spring general season also saw a good turn out of
hunters; the weather again was a culprit with hunters seeing either rain or
snow through out the weekend, not the warm sunny days one thinks about when
going turkey hunting. Just a little reminder positively ID your target and safety
should always be your first concern. Area manger Martin Ellenburg can be reached
at (509) 773-4459 if you have questions about hunting turkeys on the Klickitat
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Area Elk Forage Maintenance: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins, Assistant
Manager Hauswald and Volunteer Mike Braaten have been working on elk forage
maintenance projects. This has included reseeding areas near the Toutle River
where minor erosion has occurred over the winter and fertilizing existing forage
stands. About 18 acres were fertilized last week and about 2 miles of erosion
prone area was walked and seeded as needed. This work will continue into May
and June. Through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Grant we should be able to
expand this years fertilization effort to over 100 acres. We also plan to lime
at least a portion of the fertilized area to boost forage production by balancing
from ODFW , USFWS and volunteers assisted WDFW in searching the islands
for nesting Canada geese.
Sea Lion Hazing: District Wildlife Biologist Miller continues to assist the Marine Mammals Project
with seas lion harassment at Bonneville Dam. A gunner sits in the front of the
boat and discharges the cracker shell in the direction of the lion and attempts
to herd them away from the dam and fish ladder areas.
Peregrine Falcon: Monitoring of the Lewis and Clark Bridge is being conducted regularly
this spring by Washington State Department of Transportation biologists. Last
week WDFW biologist Woodin assisted in observations of the pair of Peregrine
falcons on the bridge that presents clear signs of occupying their nest box
with egg incubation. Ongoing monitoring will continue.
Lower Columbia River
Goose Nest survey: This week the Columbia River from Longview to Gray's
Bay was searched for nesting Canada Geese. In 1985 an index set of islands were
selected and nest counts are conducted each year at this time. Employees from
ODFW , USFWS and volunteers assisted WDFW in searching the islands. Nest data
is collected on location, habitat, predation if present and egg count. This
data is used to monitor the resident population of geese and is critical in
the development of an early goose hunt. Information is also gathered on the
nesting numbers of dark geese that resemble the dusky subspecies but do not