REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Shillapoo Wildlife Area
New Invasive Species at Vancouver Lake: Some months ago Assistant Manager
Hauswald found a floating plant he did not recognize near one of the water control
structures on the Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Vancouver Lake Unit. At that time
he collected a specimen and showed it to Wildlife Area Manager Calkins who also
did not recognize the plant. The same day Calkins delivered the specimen to
staff at the Clark County Weed Management Office. Casey Gosarth of the weed
management agency then set out to identify the plant and also monitored the
site waiting for the plant to flower. Several possibilities were considered
and ruled out until a flowering plant was found and identified as water speedwell
(Veronica angallis-aquatica). We have been advised that this is considered an
invasive plant and Weed Management could not find any other records of occurrences
in Washington. The images at right are examples of some of the plants we have
removed. It should be noted that we have found some plants that were much larger
than those pictured.
Because the plant was found
developing roots in a floating condition, we managed the water input to the
wetland to prevent overflow into other areas until the plant could be identified.
Current action includes at least weekly monitoring and hand removal of any plants
found. Water levels on the site are now being allowed to draw down so we believe
the plant is contained at this time.
Currently we have only found
the plant in an area of about 250 square feet but it floats and could possibly
have spread further at least within the wetland. The plant is difficult to find
however, because it is located in a dense stand of Reed Canary Grass. Once we
are confident we have removed as many plants as possible, we will probably hand
mow the area so that any missed plants will be easier to spot and remove. Searches
of the surrounding areas will continue as well as a measure to protect high
quality wetland habitat.
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Toutle River Sediment Management: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins attended
a meeting with representatives from several organizations to discuss a draft
reconnaissance report by the US Army Corps of Engineers focusing on potential
actions to improve fish passage and reduce sediment issues associated with their
Sediment Retention Structure on the North Fork Toutle. The group had a number
of concerns including: not incorporating operational impacts from TPU's hydro
projects on the Cowlitz, not mentioning sediment impacts to smelt, and the limited
geographic scope of the analysis. Several in the group also made note that they
were anxious to see WDFW take control of the sediment retention lands because
they see us as a much more reasonable landowner to work with. DOT, who currently
controls the lands, has taken no actions to manage the lands for the benefit
of fish and wildlife.
|Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven worked with the Washington Conservation
Corps (WCC) to supply sagebrush to Oregon Zoo for pygmy rabbit recovery
Klickitat Wildlife Area
Wildlife Area Manager: The Region 5 Wildlife Program successfully completed
the recruitment process to permanently fill the Wildlife Area Manager position
and is very pleased to welcome Sue VanLeuven as the new Wildlife Area Manager.
Pygmy Rabbit Recovery
Project: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven worked with the Washington Conservation
Corps (WCC) to supply sagebrush to Oregon Zoo for pygmy rabbit recovery project.
The twelve bags of sagebrush were transported from KWA to the Oregon Zoo.
Region 6 Elk Capture
Effort: Biologist Holman assisted Region 6 Staff with a three-day elk capture
effort. Region 6 Staff from Wildlife, Habitat, Fisheries, and Enforcement programs
all participated in the effort along with WDFW veterinarian Mansfield. Approximately
20 very skilled and experienced volunteers also participated in the project.
The Region 6 study is part of WDFW's ongoing effort to appropriately manage
elk in heavily forested habitats. Thanks to Region 6 for the opportunity to
Elk Management: Biologist
Anderson met with representatives of the Trout Lake community council to discuss
growth management, wildlife issues, and planning for residential growth in the
Trout Lake valley. Of special concern are the potential conflicts with elk and
development of forest land into residential. Maps were provided by WDFW to the
community council indicating those lands that should remain in forest zoning
to minimize future damage issues. In addition, the community council was interested
in determining how to plan for growth in the valley while at the same time minimizing
safety issues associated with modern firearm rifle hunting.
Goose Banding: District
Wildlife Biologist Miller is finalizing preparations and coordination efforts
for the Operation Dark Goose Banding in the lower Columbia River. Plenty of
volunteers have committed to participating and all necessary gear is nearly
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Invasive Species: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins twice surveyed the site
where Water Speedwell had been located on the Vancouver Lake Unit. Good news
at this point is that no additional plants were found this week. He also began
cutting dense reed canary grass around the primary location where the plant
was found. Monitoring in other parts of this wetland, which received a disking
treatment last year, found that reed canary grass, which had dominated the basin,
has been replaced by a great stand of Wapato and water plantain. As the water
recedes further, we might expect to find other native plants including sedges,
rushes, and smartweeds sprouting as well.
Assistant Manager Hauswald,
in the course of doing purple loosestife and other weed control in the north
unit, found two other new weeds that we had never documented on the site. These
included two meadow knapweed plants and a single slenderflowered thistle plant.
The knapweed was cut and will be sprayed later and the thistle was pulled. Although
these two plants disperse seed by wind, both were found at locations where it
is quite possible that the seed may have fallen from a vehicle, someone's clothing,
A DNR crew from the Larch
Corrections Center began work last week on removing Himalayan blackberry on
the South Unit. The crew is currently working on some stands along old fence
lines that limit sight distance and wintering Canada goose usage of fields and
wetlands. These crews were found to be a tremendous resource last year in the
removal of blackberry stands with chainsaws in areas where large equipment would
be impractical. At a later date we will have the crew move to a forested riparian
zone where the understory is dominated by blackberry to remove the undesirable
brush so that we can replant native species next year.
|Eight-week old Sandhill crane colt receiving a monitoring band.
Cowlitz Wildlife Area: The wildlife area is a popular
destination for 4th of July celebrations. Wildlife Area Manager Grabski and
Wildlife Technician Morris worked the weekend before the 4th of July and the
Holiday itself with Officer Jeschke and Tacoma Power Lands Officer Wilson. Activity
was down from the last two years, most likely because the holiday fell during
the middle of the week.
Sandhill Cranes: Biologist Anderson is currently working on the Conboy National Wildlife Refuge
to monitor this year’s Sandhill crane nesting success. Several pairs of
cranes have hatched young, but mortality has been high. Biologists are attempting
to band any juveniles (colts) in order to learn more about migration patterns
and survival in Washington's only breeding population. The most recent colt
captured (SandhillCrane.jpg) was an eight-week old bird nearing the age when
it will take its first flight.
Western Pond Turtles: We currently have located a total of 21 western pond turtle nests in the Columbia
River Gorge. We've had volunteer help during the past couple weeks, which has
helped to relieve schedule issues. Monitoring will continue for another two
weeks to determine if there are any female turtles that may double clutch. In
late July or early August we will release turtles from last year’s effort
to select ponds in the Columbia River Gorge.
|Operation Wild Goose
WDFW staff with USFWS, ODFW and volunteers captured and banded dark geese
at Miller Sands Island.
Operation Dark Goose: Region 5 Wildlife Staff with the assistance of Region 6, US Fish and Wildlife
Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and approximately 20 volunteers
captured and banded 100 + dark geese at Miller Sands Island. The geese are very
similar in size and coloration to the dusky Canada goose that is restricted
in harvest by quota. The leg bands and neck collars serve as a visual marker
for hunters and goose check station employees not to count these birds as part
of the dusky harvest quota. See image at right of dark geese and a volunteer
carrying birds to release them.
Hump Island Clean-Up: District Wildlife Biologist Miller and local FWO Lantigne assisted the DNR with
a clean up party on Hump Island near Longview. A homeless couple had established
a large camp on the island and WDFW provided boat transport for the volunteers
that came to clean up the site. Several hundred pounds of garbage was removed
from the site as well as evidence of meth cooking supplies.
Hump Island is a part of
the area where Columbian White tailed deer are being introduced back into the
lower Columbia. It was suspected that the activities of the person camping on
the island (in excess of the DNR stay limit) reduced the habitat quality for
the deer and possibly even the death of some of the transplanted animals.
Community Service: District Wildlife Biologist Miller and local volunteer Lisa Sudar witnessed
a roll over crash on Highway 30 in Oregon on their return from the goose project.
First aid was provided to the occupants of the vehicle, which came to rest on
its top after rolling over twice as it crossed from the east bound lanes to
the north bound lanes. Injures were minor and it was very fortunate that all
the occupants were wearing seat belts and in child seats. Local EMS responded
and took over treatment.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Lakebed Wetland Enhancement: Ducks Unlimited (DU) is in the final preparations of completing a wetland project
in the Shillapoo Lakebed that began in 2004. At that time, just prior to construction,
BP Olympic Pipeline, which previously had shown no concern with the project,
elected to not allow construction over their pipeline easement. Their stated
reason was that this would put their pipeline in a wetland making it difficult
for them to get permits for maintenance work. Since that time, DU has worked
to modify the design and permits for the project to avoid the pipeline. The
result will be a 120-acre manageable wetland that will be slightly smaller than
originally envisioned, but with the same functions. The land was in agricultural
use when WDFW purchased it and is part of our efforts to create wetland habitat
in the Shillapoo Lakebed that was drained for agricultural production in the
Permitting work is still
progressing for work in other parts of the lakebed in partnership with the US
Army Corps of Engineers. However, the timing of permits is slower than we had
hoped meaning construction on this project will not commence until 2008.
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Monitoring and Maintenance: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins was accompanied
by Volunteer Mike Braaten to help with several tasks. During the day a sign
board at the east end of the wildlife area was replaced, a search for any obvious
new weeds in last year’s emergency elk winter feeding areas was conducted,
two known knapweed infestation sites were surveyed, a qualitative assessment
of survival in last spring’s tree planting was conducted, and techniques
were explored to remove fence posts once used as part of our funnel trap for
No known noxious weeds were
located along the road where feeding occurred last winter, although there is
one plant that still needs to be identified. Only two spotted knapweed plants
were located at one of the previous infestation sites, but the plants have yet
to flower so more monitoring will be needed.
Although some trees were
lost due to erosion immediately after they were planted last spring, those that
remain are still doing quite well. Some uprooted cedar were found, presumably
due to elk browsing activity, where tree tubes had come off of the plants and
some specimens that were put only in wire cages did show signs of dehydration.
Several ninebark plants were also found uprooted, also presumably due to elk.
Red Alder plants overall were doing the best and seed had established fairly
well in most areas.
Most of the time was spent
working on removing posts from the elk trap. First a device, built by Volunteer
Braaten, was tested to pull ten-foot metal T-posts. A design flaw became evident
almost immediately in that the gripping portion of the device, which uses the
principal of a fulcrum and lever, pushed the post away from the force intended
to pull it out of the ground. This was corrected by the creative use of a chain
securing the post to the top of the mechanism. In order to generate the force
required to extract the post the "handle" had to be pulled with a
tractor. Three posts were pulled before it was decided that modifications were
needed before further testing. The reason being that the posts were being bent
badly in several directions making them unusable and we had hoped to save the
posts for other potential uses.
That being done, it was
decided to attempt removal of some of the twelve foot wooden posts with the
front-end loader of the small tractor. First a post was nudged several times
in different directions to attempt to loosen it from the ground, which seemed
successful. Chains were then wrapped around the base of the post and secured
to the front-end loader. The first attempts to pull the first post were unsuccessful
but some creative wiggling of the post while lifting with the tractor eventually
freed it from the extremely hard soil. At times the force required to pull the
posts was such that the rear wheels of the tractor left the ground. By the end
of the day about half of the wooden posts that had supported the former trap
alleyway had been pulled.
|Ferruginous hawk mortality.
Klickitat County Windpower: Biologist Anderson reports that a ferruginous hawk mortality was located this
week from the Big Horn Windpower Project in Klickitat County. It was an adult
bird (probably female) that had a severely broken wing. The closest known ferruginous
hawk nest territory to the windpower site is approximately 8-10 miles. This
time of the year, after juveniles have fledged, adult birds begin a seasonal,
northerly migration in search of ground squirrels. This bird could have originated
from a Klickitat County nest site, but the current assumption is the bird may
have been a migrant from Oregon. This information is valuable to an international
ferruginous hawk study currently being conducted by Jim Watson, raptor specialist
Band-Tailed Pigeon Surveys: Surveys of band-tailed pigeons arriving at mineral sites have been initiated
in Region 5. Band-tails use mineral sites extensively during the summer months.
Long-term trends in the use of such sites serve 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
Biologist Holman completed
the band-tailed pigeon mineral site survey at the Cedar Creek State Wildlife
Area site. A total of 191 pigeons arrived at Cedar Creek during the course of
the seven-hour survey. The results for Cedar Creek are similar to those of past
years. Other avian species noted during the survey included: swallows, sparrows,
wrens, crows, kingfishers, turkey vultures, robins, cedar waxwings, wood ducks,
flycatchers, and warblers.
|New tests for Avian flu demonstrated here with a Canada goose.
Avian Influenza Training: Wildlife Management Staff from District 9 & 10 attended a short update session
on bird flu monitoring for this fall. Data requirements have changed and funding
has been reduced from federal agencies for the 2007-08 hunting season. Region
V will still collect samples from cackling Canada geese at hunter check stations.
We sampled over 350 geese last year with no positive test for the highly pathenogenic
H5N1 strain for bird flu. New tests were discussed and demonstrated.
Band-Tailed Pigeon Surveys: Surveys of band-tailed pigeons arriving at mineral sites continue in Region
5. Band-tails use mineral sites extensively during the summer months. Mineral
springs are important for mineral intake by adult pigeons, especially during
the nesting season. Large concentrations of birds congregate at these sites
especially during the summer months. In the Pacific Northwest, mineral sites
most likely provide high sodium and to a lesser degree calcium in the diet as
a supplement to the bird’s food requirements. Long-term trends in the
use of such sites serve as indicators of overall population. These surveys are
part of a coordinated effort to monitor band-tailed pigeon populations in the
Northwest. 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 completed
the band-tailed pigeon mineral site survey at the Kalama River site. A total
of 120 pigeons arrived at the mineral spring during the course of the seven-hour
survey. The results at the Kalama River are somewhat lower than those of past
years. Biologist Anderson completed band-tailed pigeon mineral spring surveys
on the Wind River this week. Approximately 200 pigeons were seen at this site,
which is considered within the normal range for this survey.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Cowlitz Wildlife Area:
Activities: Assistant Manager Vanderlip sprayed glyphosate on approximately six acres
of reed canarygrass on the Davis Lake Unit of the wildlife area. The application
was conducted as part of the preparation for a fall seeding. Additional activities
will include plowing, tilling, and harrowing the site. The projects goal is
to improve the habitat for area wildlife and wintering waterfowl.
Lake Unit of Cowlitz Wildlife Area undergoing habitat improvement for
area wildlife and wintering waterfowl
A local operator assisting
the wildlife area hayed approximately 30 acres of reed canarygrass from the
recently acquired property adjacent to Temple Road on the Davis Lake Unit.
This is the first time these fields have been hayed since we acquired them.
Like the six acres above, these fields will be managed for area wildlife and
maintenance included adding a culvert to allow equipment access to a forage
Culvert and Ditch Maintenance: Assistant Manager Vanderlip and Natural Resource Technician Morris cleaned
out the ditch that directs water from a seep into the waterfowl ponds adjacent
to the slab road at the Mossyrock Unit of the Wildlife Area. Reed canarygrass
had “choked” the ditch allowing for sedimentation to occur and
resulting in a decrease in the amount of water reaching the ponds. Also, an
operator assisting with hay removal had crossed the ditch causing the water
to flow down the road. In addition to the ditch maintenance activities, a
culvert was placed to allow equipment into the adjacent forage field.
Watchable Wildlife: Birders can be rewarded for their efforts on the east end of Riffe Lake. There
are currently at least 6 bald eagles occupying the Kosmos Flats. Watchers
can expect to see some large adults with their juvenile offspring. Also, there
have been sightings of osprey fishing along the lake’s banks. Best viewing
times are early mornings and evenings.
Recreation Information: Lewis County is currently under a burn ban and campfires are only allowed
in approved fire rings in established campgrounds - open fires are not permitted
anywhere on the wildlife area.
Tacoma Power updates lake
levels and other recreation information on its toll-free Fishing and Recreation
Line every weekday at 1-888-502-8690.
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Fire Reduction: In
an effort to reduce fire hazard, efforts are underway at the wildlife area
to thin trees and brush as well as chip downed material. A Department of Natural
Resources fire crew has begun thinning small trees and shrubs in the Canyon
Creek Loop Campground and chipping the downed material. In addition, the Washington
Conservation Corps (WCC) crew is also assisting with thinning and chipping
downed material .
Mountain Goat Surveys: Biologist Holman conducted aerial mountain goat surveys over the Smith Creek
and Tatoosh hunt areas. Cloudy weather caused some difficulties in completing
the effort but both areas were eventually surveyed over the course of the day.
Thirty-four goats were observed in the Smith Creek area (28 adults and 6 kids).
Unfortunately, just two goats were observed (1 adult, 1 yearling) in the Tatoosh
area. Goats that occupy the Tatoosh area move seasonally into Mt. Rainier National
Park where surveys are not conducted. Thanks to WDFW Enforcement Sergeant Holden
and volunteer Renan for their valuable help and sharp eyes during the survey.
goats have returned to Mt. St. Helens National Monument wildlife area
and are shown here in the crater.
Also of interest regarding
Mountain Goats is photo documentation of a group of 11 goats in the crater of
Mt. St. Helens. The goats have come to occupy this portion of the National Monument
in the past several years. Thanks to the USFS and USGS for providing the attached
Mud Flow Hunts: Wildlife
staff are preparing materials and access information for the upcoming Mud Flow
hunts. Permit holders will receive a mailing approximately 2-3 weeks prior to
their hunt with information on access and other rules associated with this unique
Customer Service: District Wildlife Biologist Miller is receiving 20-30 calls per day from permit
holders asking for information on access, animal numbers, etc. This call volume
is heavy and is unprecedented in Miller's 30-year career.
Mazama's Pocket Gophers: Biologist Holman conducted a field visit to Camp Bonneville in eastern Clark
County. The former Army training center is in the (long) process of being cleared
of unexploded munitions and turned over to the County for inclusion in their
Parks department. A report prepared by consultants in the mid-1990's indicated
that the hills created by gophers had been located on the site. A trapping effort
was conducted at that time but no gophers were located. Investigations in July
of 2007 resulted only in hills that appear to have been made by moles.
Western Pond Turtles: The field season has ended for the western pond turtle head start program in
the Columbia River Gorge. Field staff identified 22 nests of which 2 were double
clutches. This represents a very successful effort and will provide a large
number of juvenile turtles for the 2008 release. Bullfrog control efforts will
continue for two additional weeks with egg mass removal. Currently 29 egg masses
have been removed this summer from ponds in Klickitat County. Juvenile turtles
from the 2006 effort will be released at selected ponds in the Gorge on August