Wildlife Program Workshop: Region 5 staff attended and participated in the Wildlife Program Workshop
this week. This is a valuable opportunity to learn current and future events/items
within the Program and provides the opportunity for Program staff across the
state to interact and network.
Program: This effort continued to be implemented at the St. Helens Tree
Farm with the help of volunteers during the modern firearm and muzzleloader
special elk permit seasons this last week. The number of volunteers has dropped;
however, we are still able to provide additional motorized access during the
week thanks to the few volunteers who continue to commit to this program - we
are appreciative of all their effort.
Check Station: Region
5 Law Enforcement Officers and Biologists implemented a check station last Saturday
off of Spirit Lake Highway. Several hunters came through and a few were successful
despite the raw weather.
Tree Evaluation: A private landowner/home owner in the Rosburg area called
recently to inquire about removing some trees from his property that were posing
a danger to his home. Apparently one of his neighbors told him that an eagle
was nesting in one of the trees and DNR forwarded his call to District Biologist
Miller. Miller visited the site after the recent windstorm and found no evidence
of eagles, although the trees were of favorable size and structure. The landowner
was advised of the lack of eagle nesting and asked to remove only those trees
that were critical to keeping his home safe. Since the trees withstood the recent
storm, it is felt that they are more wind firm than originally thought.
Columbia White Tail Deer
Survey: District Wildlife Biologist Miller is continuing to conduct surveys
of the ESA listed CWT deer in the area west of Longview. Deer numbers are down
so far in the counts, but Miller was encouraged to see some fawns in the Willow
Grove area. Coyote predation is thought to be limiting deer numbers and coyotes
are regularly observed on Willow Grove and Fisher Island.
Canada Goose Season Area 2a: The initial Canada goose hunting season closed
November 25th in Area 2A. The first hunt period offered average success among
those choosing to participate in the hunt. Collectively the State-operated hunter
check stations located at Vancouver, Ridgefield Marina, and Woodland along with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service station at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
reported a total of 324 hunters having harvested a total of 616 geese during
the first hunt period (November 10 through 25). This makes an average of 1.9
birds per hunter among those who brought birds to the check stations.
Goose season re-opened on
December 5th and continues on the 3-days per week schedule (Saturday, Sunday,
and Wednesday) until January 27th 2008. Those interested in participating in
the Area 2A goose hunt are encouraged to review the special requirements that
are detailed in the Waterfowl Hunting Pamphlet. The special seasons in 2A are
designed to protect populations of the dusky Canada goose.
2008 Big Game Hunting
Regulations: Biologists Anderson and Holman consulted with Enforcement Program
Staff from Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties regarding development
of the 2008 hunting seasons. Minor fine-tuning of elk and deer area damage hunts
are the only anticipated changes. 2008 represents the final year of hunting
in the current 3-year season setting package.
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Area Pre-Winter Elk Mortality Survey: District Wildlife Biologist Miller,
Biologist Holman, MSHWA Manager Calkins, Assistant Manager Hauswald, Technicians
Pyzik and Ridenour, R5 Customer Service Representative Gonzalez, and volunteers
Braaten and Howell conducted a pre-winter elk mortality survey at the Mt. St.
Helens Wildlife Area. Surveyors systematically hiked the mudflow area and documented
57 elk carcasses during the survey. The survey objective was to document locations
of all past elk mortalities (e.g., mortalities from previous years, current
harvest remains, etc.). With this baseline established, an accurate assessment
of the upcoming winter mortality can be conducted during late spring 2008.
Oak Habitat Project: Biologist Anderson met with contract Biologist Thiebes to initiate a plan for
an oak habitat improvement project in Klickitat County. Biologist Thiebes is
working with the WDFW and other private, state, and federal landowners to enhance
oak habitat for a variety of wildlife species. In many areas of Klickitat County,
oak habitat is being lost due to conifer encroachment as a result of fire suppression.
Several oak stands were visited over a two-day period to evaluate potential
project locations. Funding for this project is been provided by WDFW and the
Wild Turkey Federation.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Helens Wildlife Area:
Rainstorm Impact: The recent heavy rains caused only
minor erosion along the edge of the Mudflow by the North Fork Toutle River.
This did however, include some of the tree plantings that were installed last
year. A rough estimate of winter range forage lost during the floods is one
acre, perhaps up to two. The Lower Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group
and Cowlitz Tribe are partnering with WDFW on a project that is under way to
install wood structures to help stabilize the bank area and the winter range
habitat. It will also reduce sediment transport in the system and provide more
stable habitat for fish. WDFW has also received a larger grant from the Recreation
and Conservation Office to do the same type of work in other parts of the Wildlife
Area. We hope that we can get this work under way in 2008.
Closure: The annual closure of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area is
now in effect. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins posted signs at the most common
access points and one more remote route to the Wildlife Area to advise the public
of the closure. The closure, which will be in effect until May 1st, is part
of WDFW's effort to minimize disturbance to elk on the winter range and increase
winter survival in the herd.
Pre-Winter Elk Survey: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins conducted the
first winter count of elk on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area on December 5th.
Periodic counts are made throughout the winter as part of our monitoring effort
on the wildlife area. In this case, the count may not be a complete representation
of animals using the site because two hikers were seen on the Wildlife Area,
which may have excluded some elk from the count. A total of 263 elk were seen
on the mudflow. Of these, 144 were classified including 83 Bulls, 13 calves,
and 48 cows before the hikers spooked the elk. We will attempt to do a second
count due to the human disturbance, and subsequent counts will be made at least
once per month.
of dead limbs being burnt at the KWA Headquarters.
Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven burned
3 piles of dead limbs at the KWA Headquarters and 6 piles along Anderson Rd..
It was dry and cold both days. It was very difficult to ignite some of the piles;
however, the piles burned up completely once they were going. Snow prevented
the fire from spreading outside the perimeter of the piles.
Helens Monument Elk Hunts Proposed: Regional Wildlife Program Staff met
with U.S. Forest Service representatives to further discuss proposed elk hunts
in three areas of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The three new
hunt areas "Pumice Plains", "Mt. Whittier", and “Upper
Smith Creek” have been identified and approved by the Fish and Wildlife
Commission and endorsed by the Forest Service. Current points of discussion
between the Forest Service and WDFW surround tag numbers, season dates, land
use restrictions, etc.
2009-2015 Game Management
Plan: Biologist Holman provided comments to the draft version of the 2009-2015
Game Management Plan. Additionally, Holman provided comments and suggested additions
to the series of questions that will be included in a public survey effort related
to the development of the 2009-2015 Plan. Comments submitted focused primarily
on black-tailed deer ecology and management as well as Mt. St. Helens elk herd
Habitat Partnership: Over the past year biologist Anderson has been working
with several conservation groups to develop a NAWCA Grant for work on the east
side of the Cascades. This last week we were notified that our NAWCA Grant for
the Columbia-Cascades Habitat Partnership Phase 1 has been recommended for funding,
pending final approval by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission in March.
At this point it looks very good that $1 million dollars will go to habitat
restoration and enhancement projects at Conboy Lake NWR, restoration at Trout
Lake NAP, acquisition by Columbia Land Trust in Klickitat Canyon, and restoration
projects at Washington's Klickitat Wildlife Area. The primary emphasis is the
restoration of wetland habitat to benefit sandhill cranes, spotted frogs, breeding
waterfowl, and oak/pine habitat.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven accompanied Law Enforcement Officer Bolton to
court regarding an off-road driving citation issued Oct. 13, 2007. The incident
was discussed and reviewed. Officer Bolton brought photos taken at the scene.
The violator also brought photos to support his point of view. The court determined
that he did violate the law and directed him to pay the fine.
Helens Wildlife Area Elk Count: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald
and Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour conducted a winter count on the Mt.
St. Helens Wildlife Area on December 21st. Periodic counts are made throughout
the winter as part of our monitoring effort on the wildlife area. A total of
428 elk were observed on the mudflow. Of these, 299 elk were classified including
43 bulls (22 spike, 14 raghorn, and 7 mature), 80 calves, and 176 cows. The
number of elk observed on the mudflow was an increase from the first count.
During the first winter count, human disturbance may have influenced the number
of elk observed.
White-Tail Deer: Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour continued to conduct
surveys of the ESA listed CWT deer in the area west of Longview. Ridenour was
encouraged to see some fawns in the Willow Grove area. Coyote predation is thought
to be limiting deer numbers and coyotes are regularly observed on Willow Grove
and Fisher Island.