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
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Purple Loosestife: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager
Hauswald reports that it appears that progress is being made toward gaining
control of Purple Loosestrife on all three units of the Wildlife Area. The wetland
weed, which competes with desirable native plants, first became a real problem
on the Wildlife Area following the 1996 floods, which probably transported seed
into the area and temporarily reduced growth of competing vegetation resulting
in prime conditions for the plant to establish and spread. Only a few years
ago, 20-30 percent of our field time in the summer was being devoted to loostrife
control, which increased dramatically in a one year period. A variety of control
methods are being used, including introduction of biological controls, hand
cutting, pulling, and spraying depending upon the situation at different control
sites. This year Hauswald is only finding a few dozen plants each week in areas
where we previously had been finding hundreds and far less time is being spent
on the control efforts.
|Skunkweed (Navarretia squarrosa)
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
New "Weed:" Even though WDFW tries to purchase the best
alfalfa possible, one of the concerns Wildlife Area Manager Calkins has had
following emergency winter feeding over the past two winters is the potential
for introduction of new weeds into the Wildlife Area. As a result we have been
paying particular attention to monitoring the area where feeding occurred. Two
weeks ago he noticed a plant that he had seen only once before on the site known
as skunkweed (Navarretia squarrosa). The Skunkweed plant is about 6"
tall and has an odor similar to that of a skunk. From information we have received
from various sources, the plant is native and somewhat common in parts of Washington.
The previous sighting was a few years ago and only one plant was found and pulled.
This year it appears that it is more widespread and associated with the roadway
where hay was distributed during winter-feeding. Even though it is a native,
it is uncertain whether it could potentially have an impact on areas managed
for elk winter forage production. Because of this uncertainty, we will be beginning
some control of the plant and monitoring closely in the future for any impacts
it may have on winter range conditions.
Boundary Reconnaissance: With permit hunting seasons approaching on the Wildlife Area, Wildlife Area
Manager Calkins is attempting to address one of the concerns that hunters voiced
last season. Last year some of the hunters ranged further across the area in
search of elk than previous years and had difficulty with the west boundary
of the area in particular. Calkins hiked in to attempt to locate the northern
most property corner west of the old N-1 dam but was unsuccessful in finding
it. He found that the corner marker is probably missing due to either erosion
or deposition of the North Fork Toutle River. A second trip will be made to
mark the corner as closely as possible using GPS coordinates. With this technology
we should be able to place signs demarking the boundary with very good accuracy.
Despite not locating what he considered the most important marker, Calkins was
able to locate five other corner markers and marked these with WDFW boundary
Earlier this year a group
of volunteers assisted us by locating boundary markers along 3 ½ to 4
miles of the North property line. The group was successful in locating at least
34 survey markers and recorded the GPS coordinates for each, which will be extremely
helpful as we continue to make progress with upgrading the boundary posting
on the area.
crane survey and banding effort at Conboy Lake NWR.
Sandhill Cranes: Biologist Anderson reports that the final capture efforts
for sandhill crane colts (juveniles) have been completed for 2008 at Conboy
Lake NWR. Five of the seven banded 2008 colts are confirmed to have fledged.
In addition, one unbanded colt was observed fledged from an unknown territory
that escaped biologists’ detection. This year’s crane survey and
banding effort was a success thanks to help from Jessica Stocking, WDFW temporary
employee, that assisted with surveys and banding. Favorable water conditions
from spring run-off have attributed to this year’s nesting success.
South Mt. Rainier Elk Survey: This week Biologists Holman, Prince, and
McCorquodale completed the South Mt. Rainier elk flight. This flight is conducted
entirely within the Mt. Rainer National Park’s boundary and is part of
a cooperative effort with the National Park Service, USGS, WDFW, and the Muckleshoot
and Puyallup tribes. The survey is conducted from a helicopter during the hours
of 5-8pm. Elk are on a list of species that the Park Service is monitoring on
a long-term basis and the USGS is tasked with developing a standard protocol
for this monitoring effort. This was the first of three flights being done on
the south side of Mt. Rainier this year to assist with refining this protocol.
The Park Service and the Puyallup Tribe will complete the other two flights.
The Park Service, WDFW, and Muckleshoot Tribe are conducting the north Rainier
elk flights. The data collected from the South Rainier elk flight are summarized
in the table below.
goat spotted during a WDFW aerial goat survey.
Mountain Goat Survey: Biologists Holman, Jonker, and Prince conducted aerial mountain goat surveys
in Goat Rocks and Tatoosh this week. All surveys were conducted on one day due
to favorable weather conditions. 285 goats were observed in Goat Rocks and only
5 in Tatoosh; however, these 5 were in the Mt. Rainier National Park’s
boundary and thus were not counted as part of our effort. Of the 285 mountain
goats seen in the Goat Rocks, 187 were adults, 25 yearlings, 64 kids, and 7
unknowns. These numbers yield a kid to adult ratio of 34:100
3-Year Hunting Season
Setting Process: Regional Wildlife Program Staff and Game Management Division
Staff held a public meeting associated with development of the 2009-11 Big Game
Hunting Regulations. The meeting included detailed presentation and discussion
of issues pertaining to the structure of hunting seasons on a State-wide level
as well as locally. Efforts in the next several months will include compilation
of internal and public input and finally generation of final proposals to be
taken to the Commission. Those interested in participating in the season setting
process are encouraged to take the 2009-11 season setting survey on the Hunting
page of WDFW's website.
acquired Swale Creek Unit is primarily
upland grassland habitat, with shrubby riparian areas.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Swale Creek Unit: Manager VanLeuven conducted
a field visit to the newly acquired Swale Creek Unit. This unit is primarily
upland grassland habitat, with shrubby riparian areas. Presence of survey markers,
fence condition, wildlife and fish observed, habitat types, plant communities,
road layout and access, weeds, water sources, etc. were all recorded. Manager
VanLeuven observed 5 deer, 1 owl, many meadowlarks, 2 horned larks, and many
small fish. Signs of beaver activity were noted in the same tributary of Swale
Creek that hosted the fish. Swale Creek itself is dry where it runs through
the WDFW parcel. Preliminary notes were taken on where a potential good parking
area and public access route to the Klickitat Trail could be located adjacent
to the Centerville Highway.
Western Pond Turtle Habitat Enhancement: Biologist Holman completed a
National Scenic Area application to explore the feasibility of wetland creation
at Beacon Rock State Park. Located within the Columbia River Gorge National
Scenic Area, Beacon Rock State Park is
the location of the most recent of WDFW's western pond turtle reintroduction
efforts. The immediate project involves the placement of devices (piezometers),
which measure the flow of water below the surface of the ground, to assess the
possibility of wetland creation. Ultimately the creation of a 3-4 acre pond
is desired to expand the suitable habitat available for this State Endangered
Hunter Boistfort particpated in the elk damage hunt in August where many
hunter reported elk with deformed hooves, which could be symptomatic of
Deer Productivity Surveys: With the help of various volunteers from the
Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club, Biologist Holman conducted a deer spotlighting
survey in Game Management Unit 568 (Washougal). One hundred twenty-two deer
were located over the course of the 5-hour survey. Productivity surveys are
conducted annually between August 15th and September 30th. Data gained from
these efforts and through the work of volunteer deer surveyors throughout the
Region will be incorporated into the Region 5 deer management effort.
August MH Elk Hunts: The focus of harvest in Elk Areas is to help reduce agricultural damage by elk
on land owned by private landowners. Many Master Hunters participated in the
elk damage hunts (e.g., Boistfort, Toledo) during the month of August. Hunters
reported successful hunts although many hunters reported harvested elk with
deformed hooves, which could be symptomatic of hoof rot.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
WCC & Volunteer Work: Wildlife Area Manager
VanLeuven continues to plan and coordinate a variety of work activities with
volunteers, the WCC crew, and local birders. The WCC crew will be finishing
up their season in October working on their fire hazard reduction project. Local
bird watchers will be assisting in collecting Vaux's swift survey data at the
Old Icehouse site. Volunteers may also be available to visit for a statewide
survey effort as well.
Western Gray Squirrel: Biologist Anderson met with USFS and WDFW biologists
to provide comment on a USFS forest enhancement project in the Majors Creek
drainage, Columbia River Gorge. Years of fire suppression have caused Douglas
fir trees to overtop oak/pine forests important to a variety of wildlife species,
including the state threatened western gray squirrel. WDFW provided the USFS
with our recommendations on timber harvest guidelines and protection of key
western gray squirrel habitat components. We are encouraged that the USFS is
taking this initiative to improve this unique oak/pine habitat in Klickitat
2009-11 3-Year Season Setting Process / NGO Meetings: Biologist Holman
presented the issues associated with the 3-year hunting season setting process
to approximately 30 members of the Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club. The club enjoyed
the presentation and offered good input and general support for most WDFW proposals
that are locally relevant. The Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club is an important
local hunting-oriented organization. Having taken an active role in providing
free public access to Weyerhaeuser lands in Clark County for 14 years, the group
now conducts hunter education classes as well.
Holman and Prince attended a wildlife chemical immobilization course in Spokane
this week. The WDFW veterinarian and other WDFW specialists from around the
state conducted the course. In the class, Holman and Prince learned proper techniques
for immobilizing cougars, bears, deer, elk, moose, and raptors. They also learned
about the different types of drugs and equipment used in wildlife immobilizations.
These techniques can be used in research projects as well as responding to injured
or nuisance wildlife. Other biologists and many WDFW law enforcement personnel
also attended the training.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Campground Ford: Manager VanLeuven completed
armoring the ford in the creek bed at Canyon Creek Loop Campground, as well
as putting rock on the road approaching the ford. This brings the road into
compliance with state law regarding fish habitat protection and takes care of
one of the two most critical action items in the Road Maintenance and Abandonment
Plan for the Klickitat Wildlife Area. Two old signs were replaced at the ford,
reaffirming "No Unauthorized Vehicles Beyond This Point" as this road
is only kept open for WDFW management and fire access.
VanLeuven met with the Goldendale chapter of Trout Unlimited. VanLeuven distributed
volunteer sign-up forms to interested members of the group and read through
the pertinent policies with them. Copies of the WDFW Volunteer Manual were provided
to the group to circulate.
Annual PR Reports: Biologists Anderson, Holman, Miller, and Prince completed
the annual Pitman-Robertson Reports for bear, deer, mountain goats, and elk
in Region 5. The reports summarize many aspects of Regional management for these
species including: harvest, hunting effort, survey methods and results, population
trends, habitat condition, etc. Those interested in researching WDFW game management
activities as described in the PR reports can access an archive of these reports
on the Hunting page of WDFW's website. The documents are available from 1998-2007
under the heading of Game Status and Trend Reports.
Deer/Elk Archery Season: Biologist Anderson reports that the deer and elk archery season to date in the
south Cascades has been slow. Hot and dry conditions have prevailed through
the first 3 weeks of the season and hunters report little movement of animals
during the day. Hunter pressure has been low in the Wind River (574) unit and
pressure is moderate to high in the southern half of the Lewis River (560) unit.
Columbia White Tail Deer Translocation: District Wildlife Biologist Miller
spent part of the week securing supplies to update the animal flight bags for
the Cowlitz tribe CWT deer relocation. USFWS paid for 12 bags and donated them
to WDFW with the agreement that they would be used for future deer projects.
The bags need updating on the restraining straps and lifting mechanism to transport
the animals safely and ease operation for the crew. A vendor for the hardware
was found and an order will be placed soon.
Longview Elk: Region 5 Wildlife Program staff Jonker, Miller, Prince,
and Enforcement officer Lantiegne met with administrative personnel from the
city of Longview to discuss the recent 2009-11 hunting season package proposal
to liberalize hunting in the Stella GMU. The issue of elk coming into Longview
city was also discussed and it was decided that before any further action is
taken within the city limits that we would get a better understanding of the
magnitude of the problem (elk on roads, eating plants, on golf course, etc.).
The city supported the new proposal to change the hunting regulations in Stella
and, if this proposal is approved and implemented, they would like to meet again
with WDFW after the first harvest season to reevaluate the situation and preliminary
effectiveness of the regulation change.
Deer Surveys: Biologists
Holman and Hauswald conduced a night spotlighting survey for deer in the Coweeman
(550), Yale (554), and Toutle (556) Game Management Units. Limited forest openings
and gated private forestland make deer surveys difficult in these areas and
few deer were observed. Biologist Holman conducted a survey of deer in the East
Klickitat (382) Game Management Unit. Hot weather kept most deer in the shade
and survey results were poor. While conducting the above referenced deer surveys,
Biologist Holman documented the location of a western toad in southern Cowlitz
county and a burrowing owl in central Klickitat County.
Mt. St. Helens Advisory
Committee: Wildlife Program Manager Jonker was invited by the Advisory Committee
to present an overview of the management of the St. Helens Elk herd since the
eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Several presentations regarding the science occurring
on Mt. St. Helens were presented by staff from a variety of organizations such
as USFS, USGS, WDFW, US Army COE, etc. The Advisory Committee was formed at
the request of U.S. Representative Brian Baird and Senator Maria Cantwell. The
main purpose of forming the Committee is to provide recommendations about the
future of the Mt. St. Helens national volcanic monument - including whether
or not it should be transferred from the U.S. Forest Service to the National
Clark County Wildlife Species Monitoring: Biologist Holman participated
in the initiation of Clark County's Wildlife Species Monitoring program. In
an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of habitat mitigation projects and implementation
of the County Critical Areas Ordinance, Clark County has initiated an effectiveness
monitoring program for wildlife. Using a network of volunteers from the community
including those associated with the Audubon Society, Washington State University,
and the Water Resources Education Center, the County intends to conduct long-term
surveys of wildlife at various sites to investigate the effectiveness of their
habitat improvement efforts. The project is also being done in conjunction with
Clark Public Utilities at their enhancement sites and my eventually include
locations associated with Clark-Vancouver Parks and the Port of Vancouver. Initial
efforts will include continuation of amphibian monitoring work at County mitigation
and wetland enhancement sites, conducting point-counts of avian species during
breeding season, conducting wintering surveys of avian species, and following-up
on any observations of the various State listed species including western pond
turtles, mazama's pocket gophers, western gray squirrels, and gray-tailed voles.
Training: This week
Biologist Prince attended New Employee Orientation in Olympia. The orientation
included presentations from each of WDFW's program leaders (Fish, Enforcement,
Wildlife, Habitat, and Business Admin). The afternoon sections included an overview
of the retirement plans available and ethics training.