Southwest - Region 5
 
Guy Norman

Regional Director

2108 Grand Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98661

Office Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
excluding legal holidays

Telephone (360) 696-6211
Fax (360) 906-6776
TeamVancouver@dfw.wa.gov

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Southwest Washington Wildlife Reports Archives
April 2008

April 7, 2008

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.

GAME DIVISION

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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Oregon Spotted 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.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION

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

Klickitat Wildlife 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.

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.
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.

GAME DIVISION

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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

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.

April 14, 2008

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.

Goldendale 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.
Goldendale 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.
Goldendale 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.
Lower Columbia Goose Survey
Lower Columbia Goose Survey
Lower Columbia Goose Survey
Participant examining a damaged nest, and goose egg floated in water to estimate lenght of time it has been incubating.

GAME DIVISION

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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

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.


April 28, 2008

Streaked Horn Lark
Streaked Horn Lark
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 requirements.

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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

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.