REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Operations: The staff working on the Shillapoo Wildlife Area has been in the process of
drawing down the water levels in managed wetland basins on the Vancouver Lake
and South Units. Water levels are kept as near to the maximum level possible
until about this time each year as a method to control Reed Canary Grass. The
summer drawdowns favor many native plants that germinate under warmer conditions.
This has probably been the best water year we have had since the wetland management
systems were installed and a large reduction in cover of Canary Grass has been
Mt. St. Helens Elk
Herd and Widlife Area Plan Open House: The second open house event
to review the Mt. St. Helens Elk Herd and Wildlife Area Plans was held on June
28th at the Water Resources Center in Vancouver. The meeting was not well attended.
Only three individuals came to ask questions and share thier comments with biologists.
A third and final meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held in the Seattle
area on July 18th. An announcement will follow once the date and location are
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
|Operation Dark Goose
Wildlife Area Manager Ellenburg has been seeing numerous turkey
broods this summer on the wildlife area. The rain that has fallen throughout
the spring and summer has increased grasses and these are full of insects for
the chicks and poults to feed on. This should increase chances for success for
the fall turkey hunters this season.
Deer fawns are starting
to emerge and follow their mothers around so remember that if fawns are seen
in the roads just scare them from the road and their mothers will come back
With all the spring and
summer rains the grasses are in abundance this year and this also brings an
increase in fire danger, so please remember if you are visiting the wildlife
area open fires and fireworks are prohibited.
Monitoring: Productivity surveys continue for this year's statewide
peregrine falcon monitoring effort. 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 several of the known historic sites and current
efforts are focused on determining if occupied sites have produced young. Of
seven territories currently being monitored in the Columbia River Gorge, three
have young, two have failed, one is unoccupied and the other has had only one
adult observed on site. We will continue to these sites until the breeding season
Operation Dark Goose: The Lower Columiba River capture of dark resident
geese took place on July 7. This project is designed to mark as many local geese
that resemble the dusky subspecies as possible. The project is designed to improve
population estimates of the Dusky subspecies as well as improve check station
operations during the hunting season. Over 30 volunteers from OSU, WDFW, ODFW
and private citizens contibuted to the project. A total of 150 geese were caught
and released with a variety of markers such as neck collars, tarsus bands and
federal leg bands. These birds can be recognised from others by the white collar
or tarsus bands or by the unique leg band series.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Timber Cutting Trespass: Wildlife area staff members Morris,
Vanderlip, Grabski, and Tacoma Power Lands Officer Wilson conducted an inventory
of trees cut on the Mayfield Lake buffer by a local landowner. This is the third
such incident this year on the wildlife area where usually landowners try to
cut some trees to increase their view, but this trespass included commercial
logging. First estimates include well over 100 trees cut with log diameters
of Douglas Fir, Red Alder, and Big-leaf Maple between 8 to 46 inch diameters.
Further paperwork including field reports, statements, and a professional timber
appraisal will be turned over to enforcement for action.
Peterman Trail Construction: Assistant Manager Vanderlip has
worked closely with Tacoma Power and the contractor who is building the trail
to ensure that minimal resource damage occurs. The trail is a FERC license requirement
for Tacoma Power but the staff of the Cowlitz Wildlife Area has consulted with
Tacoma Power throughout the entire process. The main objective from our standpoint
was to assist in planning the location of the trail to ensure that the public
would have an aesthetically appealing trail with limited impacts on wildlife
and other resources. The trail and the trailhead infrastructure (i.e. parking
area, bathroom, hitching rail and information kiosk) should be completed by
the end of August. This looks like it will be a good trail to have a great watchable
wildlife experience as the amount of wildlife using the trail can be described
as intense in many places.
- Riffe Lake Water Levels: Tacoma Power updates lake levels and other
recreation information on its toll-free Fishing and Recreation Line every weekday
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Toutle River Enhancement Funding Proposal: Acting Program Manager
Calkins has submitted a proposal to the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation
to fund work to protect important elk habitat and enhance riparian and floodplain
conditons on the Mt. St. Helens State Wildlife Area. The project concept is
to place man-made logjams and plantings along the erosion prone edge of the
mudflow to lessen the risk of catastrophic erosion as well as increase habitat
diversity on the site. During the preparation of the proposal Calkins heard
support from the Cowlitz Tribe and The Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board who
has written a letter in support of the project.
Western Pond Turtles: WDFW is currently submitting a proposal to extend funding for WPT conservation
in the Columbia River Gorge. This proposal will continue existing funding provided
by The Bonneville Power Administration. As part of the review process, Biologist
Anderson completed his response to BPA questions on future funding of the WPT
project. Current funding will continue until October of this year at which time
BPA will determine if funding for further work for an additional five years
Resident Canada Goose Banding
Lower Columbia River
Resident Canada Goose Banding: Last week's goose banding effort on
the Lower Columbia River resident Canada geese was a very successful effort.
Of the 150 birds handled, 131 were new captures for this year and 19 birds were
re-captures. Of the 19 re-captured birds, 16 had been originally handled in
2003-2005. Two females with evidence of brooding chicks had been originally
caught in 2001, and one bird was originally captured in the late 1990's.
The 131 new captures consisted
of 75 adult birds and 56 of this years' young. Neck collars were placed on 76
birds, since some of the young of the year were large enough to hold a neck
collar. These neck collars help to distinguish Washington's resident geese that
have a darker breast color and are similar in appearance to Alaska's Dusky Canada
Geese. Close monitoring of these darker local birds over the past 4 years have
given us a better time window to target these darker birds for banding.
The Yacolt Burn
Sportsman's Club: Biologist Holman gave a presentation to 19 members
of the Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club. Topics presented and discussed included
the changes in effect for the 2006-08 3-year big-game hunting seasons, the Group's
voluntary help with annual deer productivity surveys, the Group's continued
agreement with Weyerhaeuser to facilitate tree farm access for hunting, and
the Mt. St. Helens Elk Herd Plan. Comments regarding various aspects of the
Elk Herd Plan were solicited and for the most part, they agreed with the proposals
The Yacolt Burn Sportsman's
Club has been important in Clark County for several years. The group assures
access to an important and large portion Weyerhaeuser's South St. Helens Tree
Farm. The area is known to the locals as "The Burn", referencing the
1902 fire that burned many thousands of acres. The Sportsman's Club opens and
closes the access gate daily during the modern firearm and muzzleloader seasons,
allowing access for hundreds of hunters. The group also assists Weyco with security
patrols, posts informational material, etc. Group President Dick Soderlind and
Vice President Art Palmer deserve special credit and thanks for their effort
to maintain public access to private lands for hunting.
|Band-tailed pigeons at the Upper Kalama site.
Surveys: Surveys of band-tailed pigeon arriving at mineral sites have
recently been completed in Region 5. Band-tails use mineral sites extensively
during the summer months. Long-term trends in the use of such sites serves as
an indicator of overall population. The survey protocol for band-tail mineral
sites prescribes a single visit to each location during the period encompassing
July 10-20. Surveyors count all arriving and departing pigeons beginning 30
minutes prior to sunrise and concluding at noon.
Biologist Holman conducted
band-tailed pigeon mineral site surveys at the Cedar Creek and Upper Kalama
mineral sites. A total of 228 pigeons arrived at Cedar Creek, while 327 pigeons
visited the Upper Kalama site. Biologist Anderson completed a survey of the
St Martins band-tailed pigeon spring in Skamania County. This years numbers
totaled 242 birds. Cedar Creek, Kalama River and St. Martins all produced survey
results similar to those of past years. Biologist Miller and WDFW volunteer
Jarvis completed the mineral site survey at the Altoona site. This site has
apparently become less valuable to the birds over time and just 5 band-tails
were documented during the effort. Biologist Woodin conducted the mineral site
survey at the Newaukum River site. The results of Woodin's survey are pending
but the use of this site has been highly variable in past years, with as few
as 200 and as many as 600 of the birds using the site. Please see the attached
photos of band-tailed pigeons utilizing the Upper Kalama River mineral site.
Mt. St. Helens Elk
Herd and Wildlife Area Plan Open House: The third and final open house
event to review the Mt. St. Helens Elk Herd and Wildlife Area Plans was held
on July 18th at the Red Lion Hotel in Seattle (Sea-Tac). The meeting was moderately
well attended with approximately 24 members of the public on hand to discuss
the issues. Acting Regional Wildlife Program Manager Calkins gave an introduction
to the attendees, explaining the issues at hand, materials available for review
and introducing biological Staff present at the meeting. Manager Calkins, District
Wildlife Biologists Anderson, Miller and Davison along with Field Biologists
Woodin and Holman represented WDFW at the gathering.
In general, this was the
best attended and most productive of the three public meetings held to discuss
these Management Plans. Plenty of good input was gathered from the group and
the meeting was seen as positive and productive by both the attendees and WDFW.
Public comments related to the Plans will be synthesized and the goal is to
finalize each Plan prior to the end of 2006.
Western Pond Turtles: Basking
log placement was accomplished at Pierce National Wildlife Refuge this past
week. Twelve logs and two stumps have been added to Pierce Lake, and four logs
were added along the shoreline of Domestic Spring Pond. The logs and equipment
were provided by the USFS, and placement was supervised by WDFW biologist Sue
The logs were oriented perpendicular
to the shoreline, sloping down to the water. This creates a ramp like structure
that turtles can easily climb up on regardless of water level. Root wads were
also used and were anchored in place. The log in the photo taken at Domestic
Spring Pond hosted a basking turtle within hours of the time it was placed.
Student volunteers from Carson high
school will come to Pierce NWR during the week of July 31 to fasten logs together
for additional basking rafts.
Mountain Goat Surveys: WDFW
personnel for District 9 & 10 along with Mt Goat Research Scientist Rice
completed the surveys for Mt Goats in Region V. Dr Rice is directing a research
study on goats in the Cascades and his work will enable WDFW to better track
goat numbers. A model that estimates the " Sightablity" of goats in
varying habiatats will improve tha accurracy of our counts in the future. This
week the counts were as follows: Smith Creek 31 goats were observed with a kid:adult
ratio of 29:100. In the Goat Rocks, 265 goats were observed and an estimate
of kid number is 42:100 adults, some data is yet to be analyzed. The survey
for the Tatoosh GMU is being conducted by the National Park Service as part
of a cooperative project. Surveys are conducted with a turbine helicopter that
allows a good view of the animals while moving quickly to avoid prolonged disturbance.