REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Road Maintenance: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven
met with WDFW maintenance crew to work on much needed road maintenance at the
KWA - the crew hauled rock to the KWA, graded the Grayback/Sheep Canyon Roads,
rolled the road smooth, and rocked the lower 3/4 mile of road, which receives
the most traffic. This will improve access for the public and make the road
easier to maintain as well. They also graded and rolled the access road to Stinson
Flat Campground. The work will continue this week on the Anderson and Old Headquarters
Roads, as well as the access road to the Mineral Springs Campground.
Manager VanLeuven also met
with Mr. Thiebes of the National Wild Turkey Federation to discuss possible
partnering projects for habitat work on the Wildlife Area such as thinning small
trees and brush over a large area. This would reduce the fire hazard as well
as reduce competition among the remaining trees, which should improve the health
of the forest.
Three-Year Season Setting 2009-11: Regional Wildlife Program Staff met
to discuss issues, options, and schedules for initiation of the 2009-11 3-year
Hunting Season Setting Process. Regional issues will be further developed but
include possible changes to Game Management Unit Boundaries, deer seasons, elk
seasons, and bear timber damage management. Public meetings regarding the effort
will be held in August, but planning for this complex undertaking is underway.
Frogs: Biologist Anderson and Biologist Hallock from DNR completed this
year’s Oregon Spotted Frog egg mass survey at Trout Lake Natural Area
Preserve. Snow accumulation at Trout Lake in 2008 was unusually high resulting
in one of the latest egg mass censuses conducted since surveys started in 1997.
Egg mortality related to freeze damage was recorded at all sites except the
interior portion of the east marsh. Only embryos on the top of freeze damaged
egg masses appeared to have suffered mortality. Results from this year’s
survey were similar to the past three years count with approximately 200 identified
egg masses. By contrast, this compares to a high count of over 900 egg masses
in the year 2000. Favorable water conditions and warming weather should improve
hatching success and tadpole survival as the spring progresses.
Western Pond Turtles: The western pond turtle field season began last week with Trapping at Sondino
Ponds in Klickitat County. A total of 49 traps were put out last weekend and
we have begun to capture western pond turtles. To date, we have caught 15 turtles
and changed one transmitter on an adult female. We also found one young male
mortality. Warmer weather this next week should improve trapping results.
New Wildlife Biologist 2: This week Annemarie Prince, the new
Wildlife Biologist 2 for District 10, came on board. Annemarie comes to the
region from the Research Program where she worked on a gray squirrel project
at Fort Lewis. She hails from Florida and worked 3 + years on a Management Area
doing a diverse set of tasks as a biologist. Annemarie will have a home office
in Lewis County and assist Pat Miller with Wildlife Program activities in Lewis,
Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. Several days were spent this week with new
employee orientation and policy review. Annemarie brings a diverse set of skills
to the Region and we are excited to begin working with her - please join us
in welcoming her aboard.
ALEA Grants: Biologist
Holman represented the Wildlife Program in a Regional review of the applications
received for funding through the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account. Several
high quality wildlife-related proposals are included in this year's pool of
applications. Projects of particular importance include those supporting public
access to private industrial forestlands for hunting and other recreation, community-based
pond-breeding amphibian surveys, and planting of forage and riparian enhancements
on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Area: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven responded to many inquiries regarding
access to the Wildlife Area and where to find turkeys, as well as other items
of interest to turkey hunters. The Youth turkey hunt is this weekend, and there
seems to be a good turnout. Manager VanLeuven burned stick piles that were constructed
by the WCC crew in the continued effort to reduce the fire hazard on the Wildlife
Area. Manager VanLeuven and Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour attended a
grant-writing workshop in Ellensburg, which they reported was excellent and
very beneficial to their work-related duties.
PUD, Lyle School, and WDFW teamed up to build and install several new
osprey nesting platforms on utility poles in the eastern Columbia River
Mt. St. Helens Elk Count: Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour conducted
the final elk winter count on the Mt. St. Helen's Wildlife Area on April 4,
2008. A total of 807 elk were observed on the mudflow. No herd composition was
recorded as the bulls have begun to cast their antlers. Monthly counts are made
throughout the winter as part of our monitoring effort on the Wildlife Area.
Very little snow remains on the Wildlife Area from the latest spring storms.
During the count, snow began to fall at approximately 2500 feet with rain occurring
at lower elevations. The emergency winter feeding crew observes winter mortalities
during their feeding activities on the mudflow. To date, the winter mortality
count is approximately 58 animals. We estimate that about 80% of the mortalities
have been calves. It is important to note that this total is not a result of
formal surveys and observed mortalities are only from the road or associated
with other work. Additional mortalities away from the road are not included.
A formal survey will be conducted later in the spring.
Osprey Management: Biologist Anderson reports that osprey have returned
to the Columbia River Gorge over the past 2-3 weeks. This past winter local
conservationists, the Klickitat PUD, Lyle School, and WDFW teamed up to build
and install several new osprey nesting platforms on utility poles in the eastern
Columbia River Gorge. It appears that the osprey have taken to one of their
new structures as evident from this photo at right sent to WDFW by an excited
resident of Lyle, WA.
Sandhill Cranes: Biologist Anderson met with representatives of the USFWS to coordinate this
year’s sandhill crane nesting survey in Klickitat County. A preliminary
plan was agreed upon to conduct several coordinated ground surveys to monitor
the states only nesting population. In addition to the ground surveys, two aerial
surveys will be scheduled.
Bald Eagle Communal Roost
Management: Biologist Holman completed a Bald Eagle Management Plan for
a communal roost on a tributary of Swift Reservoir. The U.S. Forest Service-owned
Drift Creek Roost is several-hundred acres of old forest and contains two nest
trees as well. The adjacent private timber owner will conduct thinning and leave
shoreline and wetland buffers, rather than the clear cutting as originally proposed.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area gates opened: Manager VanLeuven opened the three
gates on Anderson Rd., Old Headquarters Rd., and South Breaks Rd. the day before
turkey hunting season began. There were a few parties of hunters camping in
the area. VanLeuven reviewed the diversity of habitats on the Goldendale Hatchery
Unit. There are three wetlands, each of different character, and some undisturbed
uplands with plants in addition to the previously farmed fields.
Hatchery Unit has a diversity of habitats which consists of three wetlands,
each of different character, and some undisturbed uplands with plants in
addition to the previously farmed fields.
Columbia Goose Survey
Participant examining a damaged nest, and goose egg floated in water
to estimate lenght of time it has been incubating.
Lower Columbia River Goose nest survey: The annual survey for nesting
geese in the Lower Columbia River began this week. Over 40 participants from
WDFW, ODFW, USFWS, and volunteers searched for goose nests on an index set of
islands in the Columbia River that have been surveyed since 1985. This survey
is part of a statewide effort to monitor resident nesting geese and to document
nesting of a group of geese in the lower Columbia that resemble the migratory
Dusky goose. Participants recorded information on nest location, status of eggs,
stage of incubation of dark geese, and GPS coordinates. Selected eggs from the
dark geese nests were floated in water to estimate length of time the egg has
been incubating. Follow-up surveys will help to identify the timing for banding
projects when geese are molting. Special thanks to Mikal Morre of the Waterfowl
Program who came to help coordinate the project since District Wildlife Biologist
Miller is still limited in his movement by a walking cast. Many thanks to all
participants who braved unsettled weather and rough river conditions to help
with our project, job well done !
Area 2 Canada Goose Management:
Biologist Holman edited the annual report summarizing the special late Canada
goose Advanced Hunter Education (AHE) damage hunt. The hunt uses graduates of
the AHE program to hunt geese on specific farms experiencing crop depredation
in the late winter-early spring. This year, 69 hunters harvested 211 geese over
10 days of hunting on 7 participating farms. The late hunt has been a successful
means of hazing geese from agricultural areas while providing an extension of
waterfowl hunting to AHE, southwest Washington goose hunters. Thanks to technicians
Wills and Dexheimer for their hard work during the late goose season.
Peregrine Falcon: Biologist Anderson has been working with local rock
climbers at Beacon Rock State Park to monitor peregrine falcon nesting. Peregrines
have been observed for the past two months frequently using Beacon Rock and
recent observations indicate that nesting is underway. Members of the local
rock climbing association are assisting with peregrine observations and have
become an important part of our monitoring program.
Oregon Spotted Frogs: Biologist Anderson completed Oregon Spotted Frog egg mass surveys for the primary
wetlands at Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve (DNR). No additional egg masses
were detected this week. Recent warm weather had increased water levels thus
providing favorable conditions for spotted frog tadpole development. Although
overall egg mass numbers are down from previous years, survival of this year’s
tadpoles should benefit the overall population.
Western Pond Turtles: Biologist Slavens reports that they have caught 98 western pond turtles of which
15 are females. Of the 15 females, 10 were outfitted with new radio transmitters.
These females will be monitored for nesting during the months of May and June.
This prairie species is state listed as endangered as its native prairie
habitat is rapidly being lost and populations have declined.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Klickitat Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven toured
the Wildlife Area with Tony Gilmer with the Department of Natural Resources
to check the condition of roads and discuss criteria to meet obligations under
the Wildlife Area’s Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan (RMAP). Thirteen
roads were checked: 7 were identified as abandoned roads, 5 were identified
as orphan roads, and 1 was not a road. Roads identified as abandoned will not
be included in WDFW's road inventory. In addition, Manager VanLeuven and Gilmer
discussed the ford in the creek at Canyon Creek Loop Campground regarding RMAP
Manager VanLeuven visited
the old Icehouse building to observe the chimney for occupancy by Vaux's swifts.
Manager VanLeuen discovered that the sealed door of the building had been broken
open. The door was re-sealed and a sign was placed to indicate no entry into
the building. No swifts entered the chimney during this time, but they were
present among a flock of swallows nearby.
Streaked Horn Lark
Surveys: District 10 personnel Miller, Prince, and Ridenour assisted the
Science Division with surveys for Streaked Horn Lark this week. This prairie
species is state listed as endangered as its native prairie habitat is rapidly
being lost and populations have declined. The surveys we conducted were on the
dredged material islands in the Columbia River that exhibit similar vegetative
characteristics to native prairie. Larks were found on several of the islands
and a banded female from previous year’s work was also observed. Surveys
will continue through May.