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

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Southwest Washington Wildlife Reports Archives
November 2008

November 3, 2008


Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
South Unit Pump Station:
Wildlife Area Manager Calkins completed and submitted a Proof of Appropriation Form to the Washington Department of Ecology to record a water right for the South Unit pump station, which was built in 1999. Before a water right can be recorded, applicants must demonstrate that water has been put to full beneficial use. In this case the water is used to improve habitat in a number of wetland basins on the unit for waterfowl. After the initial construction of the pump station a number of problems surfaced that prevented us from meeting the full beneficial use criteria. The issues caught the interest of technical specialists in WDFW's habitat program who were instrumental in developing a plan to upgrade the pump facility. The work was later completed by WDFW's engineering program and has allowed us to be much more effective in managing water levels in the wetlands.

Cost Share Reporting: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins submitted cost share information to Bonneville Power to document monetary and in-kind contributions of WDFW and other entities in managing the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Bonneville Power provides the bulk of the funding used to manage this Wildlife Area through their wildlife mitigation program. Reporting cost share information is one of many required documents required annually in Bonneville's contracting process.

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Forage Enhancement:
Wildlife Area Manager Calkins, Assistant Manager Hauswald, and Volunteer Mike Braaten recently met to work on two elk forage enhancement projects on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area near the west end of the mudflow. Braaten applied lime to a twenty-acre site referred to as Lower Bear Creek, which is a project he received funding for through WDFW's volunteer cooperative grants program. This work was in preparation for planting the site next spring. Lime and fertilizer were also applied to the area known as the "golf green" which is a project funded through a grant to WDFW from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation where seeding had occurred last spring. This second project is now considered complete. The value of both sites, in terms of forage production for elk, had diminished significantly over a period of several years due to a lack of funding for maintenance materials. WDFW appreciates the efforts of Mr. Braaten and the support of the Elk Foundation, without which this work may not have been possible.

Nellie Corser Wildlife Area:
Road Management Report:
Wildlife Area Manager Calkins submitted the annual RMAP report for the Nellie Corser Wildlife Area to the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Nellie Corser Unit is a satellite of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area located in Skamania County on Duncan Creek. The Road Management and Abandonment Plan for this area requires maintaining the road which runs through the property which is approximately 1/4 mile in length. The road was upgraded in 2005 by WDFW to meet DNR's forest road standards and remains in good condition.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Property Survey:
Manager VanLeuven facilitated the survey of the property lines at the Swale Creek Unit. Adjacent owners were contacted to secure access for the survey crew. Printed maps of the work plan were provided to the lead surveyor and the major access routes to the unit as well locations of where other survey work has been done were delineated for the crew.

Road Management Report: Manager VanLeuven completed and submitted the Annual Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan for the Wildlife Area to the Department of Natural Resources.


Black Tailed Deer Meeting: Biologist Miller, Prince, and Holman attended a scoping meeting for a future study on Black Tailed deer. Topics ranged from what literature and existing work are available to potential study topics. Fieldwork is expected to begin in the spring of 2009 and Cliff Rice will be the principal investigator. Study areas will be located in western Washington.

Pheasant Release Site Census: Volunteers conducted a survey of vehicles using Clark and Cowlitz County pheasant release sites on Saturday October 25th. This information is collected three times per season at the Western Washington release sites and is used to make adjustments in the allocation of birds between sites in future seasons. At total of 24 vehicles were at the Woodland Bottoms site and 133 were at the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Pheasants will continue to be released at these sites through late November.

GIS Meeting: Andy Duff traveled to Region 5 and presented an overview of GIS technology to R5 Wildlife Program staff and responded to inquiries for GIS needs in Region 5. The information presented was valuable and very informative. Staff very much appreciated having a new colleague come to us and ask what he can do to help us and be a willing part of the process to share information with the public using GIS technology.

November 12, 2008


Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Duck Lake Unit, Unlawful Posting:
Wildlife Area Manager Calkins spent a day researching boundaries and hiking into the Duck Lake Unit in the LaCenter Bottoms, a satellite of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area, due to a waterfowl hunter's call who had encountered No Trespassing signs there. For the public, the unit is only accessible by boating up the East Fork of the Lewis River and then walking across undeveloped County Park property. With permission of Parks staff, Calkins was able to drive in part way then walk into the site and located three no trespassing/no hunting signs, which were removed. He also used GPS coordinates to place WDFW property boundary signs on trees near the NE and SE property corners. Due to the small size (40 acres) and difficult access, this unit does not receive a lot of public use but offers good waterfowl hunting opportunities for those who go the extra mile to get there. The unit is also extremely difficult to traverse, with dense reed canary grass to walk through interspersed with old drainage canals with soft bottoms. Of particular note, users of the site should pay special care when walking near the canals as old collapsed beaver and nutria dens are common. Calkins saw many of these but also fell into several that were covered with matted vegetation. An interesting note on wildlife using the site is the number of snipe present of which he saw at least 30.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
HCP Activities:
Manager VanLeuven participated in the HCP activities assessment for all the units in the Klickitat Wildlife Area with the HCP staff from Olympia.

Outreach: Manager VanLeuven was interviewed by KLCK 1400 am radio in Goldendale for a 20 minute radio program highlighting the Klickitat Wildlife Area.


Elk Season: District Biologist Anderson reports very poor hunter success in the South Cascades GMU's, including Lewis River, Siouxon, Wind River, and West Klickitat for this year*s modern elk season. Large numbers of hunters were out on opening weekend but few elk were harvested. Mid-week snow levels improved hunting opportunity but hunters still reported very little sign. 22 elk have been reported taken so far in units surrounding the Trout Lake/Mt Adams area. During previous seasons the reported harvest would normally be closer to 75-80 elk.

Goose check station.
The opening day of SW Washington goose season was very successful with over 80 geese checked at the Vancouver and Woodland check stations.

SW Washington Goose season: The goose season in area 2A began this weekend in Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, and Clark Counties. The opening day was very successful with over 80 geese checked at the Vancouver and Woodland check stations. Most of the geese taken were Cacklers and large numbers of Cackler flocks have been observed in SW Washington. Hunters are reminded that they need to record all geese taken, not just Canada geese, and present them at a check station prior to 6:00 pm. Check station employees will examine the birds and identify subspecies of geese. If a Dusky Canada goose is taken the hunter will have his permit to hunt in Area 2A and 2B invalidated. The season will extend into late January on selected days. Hunters should review the regulations for this hunt on page 19 of the 2008-2009 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons pamphlet.

November 17, 2008


Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Burn Piles:
The Department of Natural Resources forester issued a burn permit for the Klickitat Wildlife Area to burn the 22 piles of debris that were consolidated with the help of the WCC crew this summer. Conditions have been good lately for this activity so Manager VanLeuven hopes to complete this activity soon as part of the fire hazard reduction effort on the Wildlife Area.


Watchable Wildlife: Large flocks of lesser Sandhill cranes are feeding in the Woodland Bottoms as they move south to wintering areas. The birds have a distinctive call and flight pattern that are great fun to watch and hear. They are easily observed from the Dike Access road in the Woodland Bottoms.


St. Helens Land Access Program: So far this year, just under 50 volunteers have signed up as WDFW volunteers and participated in facilitating weekday motorized access to the northern portion of the Weyerhaeuser St. Helens Tree Farm during special permit elk hunts. Hunters have been very appreciative of the effort and volunteers from many volunteer groups have enjoyed the opportunity. The volunteer groups participating in the program include SW Land Access Coalition, Cowlitz Game and Anglers, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Eyes in the Woods, Yacolt Burn Sportsmen Club, Vancouver Wildlife League, WA State Archer Association, and WA State Bowhunters. We would like to thank all of the volunteers for all their time and effort and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively in implementing a safe and successful program.

November 24, 2008

Heavy rains and snow in the higher elavations caused soil erosion and bank losses on the Toutle River.
Heavy rains and snow in the higher elavations caused soil erosion and bank losses on the Toutle River.


Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Flood Damage:
Heavy rains on top of snow in the higher elevations earlier in November caused the Toutle River to rise dramatically. As has occurred in past years during high flows, some erosion of elk forage habitat occurred. The most significant damage during the high water occurred to two of the woodpile structures that were placed to prevent some of the erosion losses. Although one of the structures was severely impacted and another appears to have a hole in it, bank losses in the vicinity of the structures were not as significant as in some other areas. The image at left illustrates the significant damage to the row of wood pilings. This event will be useful in designing future similar projects, including one that we are working on getting under way in the near future.

Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Wetland Water Management:
The water system that supplies water to wetland basins on the Vancouver Lake Unit of the Shillapoo Wildlife Area and adjacent County Park land has been operating for about a week and basins are beginning to fill slowly. We have also been able to pump water on the South Unit as well but, with a recent drop in flows in the Columbia River, we have not been able to pump enough to get significant water into the wetlands yet. With improved water management capabilities on the South Unit we have continued to see improvement in the abundance of native seed producing wetland plants, which should mean better waterfowl hunting as the basins fill.

Firearms Found: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins recently found two firearms by one of the access sites on the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. It is presumed that hunters left these behind accidentally as they were leaving the area. Both guns were turned over to the regional enforcement program and have yet to be claimed.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Swale Creek Unit:
Manager VanLeuven and Program Manager Jonker walked the Swale Creek Unit. While there, progress of the boundary surveying effort was checked and fencing needs were evaluated. Three groups of deer (2, 7, and 11) as well as 7 grouse were observed.

Columbian white-tailed deer herd composition surveys began this week.
Columbian white-tailed deer herd composition surveys began this week.


Colombian White Tailed Deer: Biologists Miller and Prince began the herd composition surveys on CWTD this week. We are surveying both Puget Island and Willow Grove this year, aided by a local volunteer. The surveys contribute to the fawn: adult ratio information for the state and federally listed deer in SW Washington. Data will also be recorded to help locate areas for possible transplant deer sources.

Program Manager Jonker and Biologists Miller and Prince attended a CWTD meeting in Vancouver with ODFW and USFWS. Survey plans, translocation, and a Recovery Plan review were discussed. Region 5 will play a major role in surveys this year with ground and FLIR camera work on the islands in the Columbia River near Longview as well as ground surveys on Puget Island. FLIR technology will be used to estimate numbers of deer in heavily vegetated areas and tests of FLIR effectiveness are planned.

Game Division 2009-11 Three-Year Hunting Season Setting Process: Regional wildlife biologists and Program Manager Jonker met to discuss the next steps needed to continue the process of developing Regional Big Game hunting regulation recommendations for the next three years. Aspects of big game hunting regulations under consideration for Regional changes include: changes to several Game Management Unit boundaries, modifications to antler-point restrictions for deer, methods designed to address agricultural and urban elk, adjustments to muzzleloader deer hunting opportunity, etc. Those interested in reviewing the results of WDFW's issue scoping survey (from September 2008) should check the WDFW website soon as the results of this effort will be posted there shortly.

Pheasant Hunter Car Counts at Shillapoo and Woodland Bottoms: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins conducted the periodic car count of pheasant hunters on the Shillapoo Wildlife Area on November 22nd. A total of 112 cars were tallied during the count, including 45 on the Vancouver Lake Unit and 67 on the South Unit. Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald counted 24 cars at the Woodland Bottoms release site. The counts are done periodically at all release sites in Western Washington during the season as a mechanism to measure use of the sites. The information is used to allocate birds between sites in future seasons.

Meeting with Puyallup Tribe and WDFW: Olympia and Region 5 Wildlife Program staff met with representatives from the Puyallup tribe and had a productive meeting discussing several topics including the recently completed WDFW Game Management Plan, the 2009-2011 hunting package proposals, current and future research efforts, status and trend reports, and hunting co-management agreements.