Click Chart to enlarge
Captures: Pierce NWR 2007
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Acting Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven conducted a mourning dove survey
on May 22. Only 4 doves were recorded; logging activity and road construction
interfered with hearing the birds to a moderate degree. Monitoring the grazing
effort continues as well as working with the Washington Conservation Corp, including
marking and piling suitable burning locations.
Western Pond Turtle Project: Biologists Holman and Anderson conducted a 10-day turtle trapping effort at
the Pierce Ranch Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge during the
final days of May. A total of 333 turtle captures were recorded during the period.
The effort was undertaken as a portion of WDFW's on-going monitoring and management
of this introduced population of western pond turtles. Annual survival and growth
rates of the introduced pond turtles as well as population estimation of the
extant painted turtles are generated from this study. To date survivorship among
the introduced pond turtles has been approximately 90% and individuals from
the initial releases are approaching maturity (approximately age 10).
Twenty-three traps set in
two bodies of water were checked daily by boat during the effort. Thanks to
Fisheries Biologist Groesbeck, Acting Klickitat Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven,
Customer Service Specialist Gonzalez as well as volunteers Renan, Williams,
and Ralston for all of their valuable participation in the task. Please see
the attached figure illustrating the number of individual turtles captured each
day, by species. Note that many individuals are captured on more than one occasion.
Western Pond Turtles: As of this week we have located 10 western pond turtle at Sondino Ponds
in Klickitat County. This is a great start for this year’s "head
start" program, ensuring that we will have adequate turtles to release
in 2008. In addition, Frank Slavens submitted an ALEA proposal to continue volunteer
help with all aspects of our field efforts. He just received notice that the
proposal was funded for the next two years. This is great news and will guarantee
that our volunteers have some financial support as well as providing funds to
purchase important equipment like radio transmitters.
North American Wetlands
Conservation Act Grants Program (NAWCA): Biologist Anderson is currently
working with a group of biologists that are working on a NAWCA proposal for
wetland enhancement in Klickitat County. The group met this week to conduct
a site visit at one of the proposed meadow developments and to continue with
proposal development. Several sites are being considered with an emphasis on
sandhill crane and waterfowl conservation.
Bald Eagle Surveys: Biologist Holman participated in a helicopter survey of Bald Eagle territories
in the Lower Columbia River from Interstate 5 to the River's mouth. The Oregon
and Washington sides of the River were investigated, along with the various
islands over the course of the two-day effort. Eagles occupy much of the suitable
habitat on both sides of the River. Approximately 125 nesting territories are
located along the 107-mile course of this portion of the Columbia. Initial results
indicate good production of chicks again this year.
This survey is a joint effort
between Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, WDFW,
and the Army Corps of Engineers. The survey is coordinated by Oregon State University
and OSU's Frank Isaacs is the lead on the survey effort and maintains the data
related to this important eagle population. Thanks to technician Ridenour who
provided "flight following" for the Washington portion of the survey
and volunteer Cliff Holman who provided ground transportation.
Please see the image at
right of two bald eagle chicks in their nest in the Whipple Creek greenway in
Clark County. Also shown are images of the riparian forest (including an eagle
territory), wetlands, and agricultural habitats proposed for development by
the Port of Vancouver. A railroad terminal, new rail lines, ship terminals,
automobile staging areas, grain elevators and various other "improvements"
are proposed for this important wildlife and fish habitat. District Wildlife
Biologist Anderson has the WDFW lead on appropriate mitigation related to the
bald eagles at this location. Regional Habitat Program Manager Rymer has the
primary WDFW role in appropriately mitigating for the loss of habitat for other
species (mainly salmonids, songbirds, waterfowl, and cranes).
Mount Saint Helens Elk
Management / Private Lands Access: Discussions continue among Regional Wildlife
Program Staff, Weyerhaeuser representatives, and several volunteer organizations
to coordinate and implement the on-going effort to facilitate additional hunting
access onto Weyerhaeuser lands in Southwest Washington. Region 5 has hired a
coordinator to act as liaison between the Agency, Weyco, and the volunteer groups.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Cowlitz Wildlife Area:
Kiona Wetland Planting: Wildlife Area staff and a local contractor were finally able to plant 6,000
trees and shrubs on a wetland project due to dryer weather. Species planted
on the Kiona Unit included Pacific willow, Oregon ash, and red alder for future
wetland/riparian habitat improvements.
Citizen Advisory Group
(CAG) Meeting: Wildlife Area staff conducted a CAG meeting to advise members
of wildlife area activities. This meeting included comments on the Cowlitz Wildlife
Area annual management plan update, the draft land use WAC, current management
activities, and issues or concerns citizens may have for the wildlife area.
2007 Annual Management
Plan Update: The annual update for the 2006 Cowlitz Wildlife Area Management
plan has been submitted to Olympia. The update includes comments from the local
area CAG, summary of 2006 performance activities, and next year’s planned
- Riffe Lake Water Levels: Tacoma Power updates lake levels and other recreation
information on its toll-free Fishing and Recreation Line every weekday at 1-888-502-8690.
Peregrine Falcon Monitoring: Biologist Holman assisted U.S. Forest Service Biologist Wainwright with
an investigation of a possible new peregrine falcon eyrie in the Gifford Pinchot
National Forest. Wainwright had observed a pair of the falcons on a prior visit
to the cliff complex and suspected nesting. Occupation of the site and nesting
behavior, including prey exchange and nest defense, were observed on the outing.
Rainy, foggy weather and the size of the cliff precluded observation of the
nesting ledge or young. Additional visits will be conducted to determine scrape
location and number of young. Peregrine falcons are currently listed as "State
Sensitive" and are considered a "Species of Concern" by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service.
People, Economics, and Forest Carnivore Management Workshop: Wildlife Program
Manager Jonker attended the Carnivore Workshop hosted by the U.S. Forest Service
and Yellowstone Association Institute. Course topics included Socio-economics,
policy, and politics; Carnivore habitat, biology, and management; Highways and
wildlife implications; Carnivore planning, assessments, and conservation; Recovery
and management of forest carnivores; and the Future for forest carnivores -
interagency coordination and wildlife genetics. The workshop was a valuable
opportunity to gain a better understanding of carnivore conservation as well
as meet new colleagues to discuss issues and solutions to carnivore conservation
research and management.
Bald Eagle Sites: Biologist Holman visited Battle Ground Lake State Park to determine the nesting
outcome for the eagle pair that resides at the Lake. While observing one of
the adult eagles, interesting acts of predation were observed. The eagle not
only took full advantage of the supply of WDFW-planted rainbow trout, but also
captured and consumed mallard ducklings as well. The hunting eagle carried the
fish back to the nest and perched to eat the two young ducks. Fisherman and
other Park visitors enjoyed the display put on by the bird.
Several years ago fishing
and swimming were temporarily disallowed at the popular Park due to the presence
of bacteria in the Lake. Dirty diapers near the swimming area were implicated
during the event. Some also suspected that the presence of a large numbers of
tame or semi-tame, domestic, and semi-domestic ducks also played a part in the
spread of the bacteria. The bald eagle pair has subsequently occupied the Park
with the Lake as their favored hunting territory. Waterfowl numbers have been
reduced at the Park. Two adult Canada geese with two remaining juveniles from
their brood along with two mallard hens were the only waterfowl observed on
the site visit.
National Scenic Area
Trails: Biologist Anderson met with the Director of the Friends of the Gorge
to discuss proposals for a variety of hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge
National Scenic Area. At issue are the trail locations in relation to sensitive
wildlife sites throughout the Gorge. Included in the discussion were proposals
at Beacon Rock State Park, Cape Horn, The Hatchery, and the Syncline. Although
most people agree that these trails would improve recreational opportunity in
the Gorge, a few sites have wildlife issues that need to be addressed.
Pheasant Release Site
Fence Project: Wildlife Management staff and local volunteers built 3 fence
styles on the Woodland pheasant release site. Last fall the farmers leasing
the land were upset by the behavior of hunters with regards to vandalism of
the gates that limit cattle movement. The new styles will allow hunters to move
between fields without disturbing the gates and hopefully eliminate the leaseholder
from having to chase his cattle back to where they belong. The Woodland site
is the only remaining pheasant release site in Cowlitz County and staff were
happy to work with the landowner to reduce problems. Special thanks to Brian
Calkins and Darren Hauswald for assisting with this weekend effort and for their
help overseeing the volunteer group effort. Vancouver Wildlife League also provided
Motorboat Operator Instructor
Certification Course (MOICC) Training: District Wildlife biologist Miller
completed the Motorboat Operator Instructor Certification Course in Olympia.
The 5-day class covered all the basics for boat operation that will be included
in future classes for WDFW employees. A total of 24 instructors have been certified
and will begin teaching classes this summer across the state. This training
is intended to bring all employees who operate boats up to a basic skill level.
Specialized training for moving water, fan boats, and other specialized operations
will follow in the years to come.