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Guy Norman

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Southwest Washington Wildlife Reports Archives
March 2010

March 29, 2010

Spring Deer Survey
Grayback GMU Spring Deer Survey 1980-2010
Click chart for enlargement.

GAME DIVISION

Region 5 Deer Management: The annual Spring survey of deer on and near the Klickitat Wildlife Area was conducted on the 23rd and 24th of March. Wildlife Biologists Anderson and Holman, Klickitat Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven, Fisheries Biologists Cady and Winther, along with retired Hatchery Complex Manager Anderson, completed the survey. A total of 472 deer were observed during the effort with 440 classified. The number of classified deer was slightly fewer than the 19-year average of 510 deer.

Significant in addition to the total number of deer observed, is the annual ratio of fawns to adults. Young deer are more likely to succumb to harsh winter conditions and food shortages; therefore the ratio provides a barometer for winter severity. During severe winters, fawns suffer mortality at a greater rate than adults thereby reducing the ratio of fawns to adults.

This year's survey resulted in a ratio of 72 fawns per 100 adult deer. This ratio represents a value that is significantly higher than the mean ratio observed in the 31-year history of the survey. The 2010 survey indicates that the deer present on or near the Klickitat Wildlife Area suffered little in the way of winter losses during 2009/10. Please see the attached figure (KWADeerSpringSurvey1980-2010.pdf) illustrating the fawn to adult ratio recorded on the annual Spring Survey during the past 31 years and the number of deer classified during the past 19 years. Thanks to all those that participated in the annual spring survey.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Wolf Conservation & Management: Wildlife Program Manager Jonker gave a presentation regarding the Wolf Conservation and Management plan to Hunter Education Instructors. This was an opportunity to provide background and information about the process WDFW has been going through with regard to wolf management in Washington and developing the Agency conservation and management plan.

WINTER CONDITIONS

D-10 & MSHWA Winter Conditions

  • Past Weather: Fall and early winter conditions were highly variable. One of the coldest Decembers on record was the most notable highlight. However, November was relatively warm and the cold temperatures in December were combined with relatively dry conditions so there were not major snow accumulations. Mid to low elevation snow occurred on several occasions in November and December but was not very deep or persistent on the ground for extended periods. In general, weather during January, February, and March was very mild and almost spring like with relatively warm temperatures and minor rainfall.
  • Short-Term Forecast: Based on NOAA’s forecasts, it appears that there is little concern for severe conditions during the first part of spring.
  • Long-Term Forecast: NOAA’s long range outlook map products suggest that spring and summer could bring warmer and drier conditions than normal to the area. The outlook for next winter appears to be for relatively normal conditions with a chance of colder temperature in the fall.
  • Habitat: For the most part, snowpack was low throughout the winter and finished well below normal, leaving all typical winter range areas available for big game as well as some higher areas that typically would not be useable. Spring growth began very early and continued through late winter making for very good conditions. With regard to the St. Helens Wildlife Area, almost no erosion of forage areas has occurred this winter due in part to completed erosion control projects and lower river flows associated with low precipitation amounts and snowpack.
  • Snow Depths: Snowpack remains well below normal. See attached pdf for detail.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations of animals were observed due to winter conditions. A total of 266 elk were present in the mudflow survey area during the pre winter count on December 9, 175 on January 5th, 160 on February 1st, and 154 elk were present during the most recent survey on March 2nd. One more survey will occur later in early April.
  • Animal Condition: No animals showing obvious outward signs of severe physical decline due to winter conditions have been observed or reported on the Wildlife Area or in the vicinity.
  • Mortality: WDFW retrieved a radio collar from one dead elk in the vicinity of the Wildlife Area during the winter. Due to heavy scavenging of the carcass, a definitive cause of death could not be determined. The annual winter mortality survey will occur later in April.
  • Public Contacts: A few inquiries were received early in the winter as to any plans by the agency to feed elk. Otherwise few comments or concerns were heard from the public this winter. The public is reminded that the portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area lying East of a line defined by Hoffstadt Creek, The North Fork Toutle and Deer Creek is closed to public access through April 30 to minimize disturbance and associated energy demands on elk wintering there.

District 9

  • Past Weather: Weather in the South Cascades is warmer than normal with little snow. Temperatures are above normal and snow pack continues to be below normal. Temperatures have warmed considerably with some days reaching into the 60s. However, recent storms have brought snow back down to 2000’ with nighttime temperatures below freezing.
  • Winter Severity: The Klickitat Wildlife Area is snow-free and forage habitat is available. There is little concern for the current severity of the winter conditions on big game populations in Skamania County and the western portion of Klickitat County. The eastern portions of Klickitat County have had lower snow fall accumulation this winter and deer are in good condition.
  • Habitat: Habitat is open and forage habitat has increased for big game this past week.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations seen due to inclement conditions.
  • Animal Condition: Animals appear to be in good condition. See the above weekly report for detailed information regarding the deer wintering on and near the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
  • Mortality: None documented this week.
  • Public Contacts: No concerns raised by the public this week.

March 22, 2010

GMU 568 WDFW biologist Eric Holman with Black-tailed deer.
Black-tailed doe with neck collar. WDFW biologists, Brian Calkins and Cliff Rice.
Black-tailed Deer Research Project located in GMU 568

GAME DIVISION

Black-tailed Deer Research Project: Research Scientist Rice, Wildlife Area Manager Calkins, Biologist Holman, and a crew from Northwest Helicopters captured and processed 4 blacktail does as part of the Western Washington Blacktail Study. The Regional component of the Study is located in Game Management Unit 568 (Washougal) on DNR State forestlands in the eastern part of Clark County. Blacktails are being studied at several locations throughout their Washington range to determine fundamental elements of their ecology and population dynamics along with the overriding goal of developing an improved means of quantifying their populations.

The study deer were outfitted with a neck collar transmitting both satellite and VHF signals as well as a transmitting vaginal implant which exits the body upon parturition. The implant transmits a different signal upon exit from the doe, allowing for an improved chance for capture of the fawns. Please see the photos at right of the day’s captures.

Elk Surveys. Biologists Miller and Prince from District 10, Deer and Elk Specialist Mc Corquodale, and University of Alberta graduate student Geary flew the first round of elk surveys this week for the Mt. St. Helens Elk Study. A total of 19 survey blocks within 5 Game Management Units were flown and approximately 3,200 elk were observed. The elk were classified as to age and sex; and the habitat was described for the location of the observations. Elk with radio collars were noted in the survey units and any elk with a radio collar that was not observed in the survey unit was later located and the habitats where the elk were seen were described. This survey will be repeated again this spring in the northern portion of the herd range as we continue to collect data to build new population estimate techniques for the St Helens Herd.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Oregon Spotted Frog Surveys: Biologist Anderson and Hallock conducted the annual Oregon Spotted Frog egg mass count at the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve this week. The Oregon Spotted Frog is a state endangered species and this survey is a part of a long term monitoring program to evaluate the status of the species. Trout Lake and Conboy National Wildlife Refuge have the most significant populations of the Oregon Spotted Frog in eastern Washington. In addition to annual surveys, attempts are being made to improve habitat by DNR and the USFWS.

This week’s survey results indicate an increase in the number of egg masses observed over last year’s results. Surveys over the past 5 years have shown a gradual decline in egg mass observations and this year’s results are an encouraging improvement from the recent trend. Follow-up surveys will be conducted throughout the month to look for additional egg masses on private and USFS lands in the vicinity of Trout Lake.

WINTER CONDITIONS

D-10 & MSHWA Winter Conditions

  • Past Weather: Fall and early winter conditions were highly variable. One of the coldest Decembers on record was the most notable highlight. However, November was relatively warm and the cold temperatures in December were combined with relatively dry conditions so there were not major snow accumulations. Mid to low elevation snow occurred on several occasions in November and December but was not very deep or persistent on the ground for extended periods. Weather during January was very mild and almost spring like with relatively warm temperatures and minor rainfall. Over the past two weeks conditions have been more typical of late winter with some colder temperatures and moderate precipitation, including minor snowfall amounts at mid and lower elevations but mixed with warm clear days as well.
  • Short-Term Forecast: A mix of sun and moderate rainfall over the next week. Rain amounts should be minor. Temperatures should range from the low 30’s to low 60’s. Snow levels will range from 2500 feet to 5000 feet. Both the 6-10 and 8-14 day outlook suggest above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.
  • Long-Term Forecast: NOAA’s long range outlook map products suggest warmer and drier than normal conditions for the month of April.
  • Habitat: Snowpack increased at higher elevations over the past week but mid to low elevation winter range areas have not been affected significantly and remain available. Spring growth has definitely started on the Wildlife Area and other lower elevation sites.
  • Snow Depths: In general, snow depths are well below normal in the area.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations of animals have been noted due to winter conditions. 154 elk were observed during the monthly elk survey conducted March 2nd. A total of 266 elk were present in the mudflow survey area during the pre winter count on December 9, 175 on January 5th, and 160 on February 1st.
  • Animal Condition: No animals showing obvious outward signs of severe physical decline due to winter conditions have been observed or reported on the Wildlife Area or in the vicinity.
  • Mortality: None reported to date due to winter conditions.
  • Public Contacts: None this week. The public is reminded that the portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area lying East of a line defined by Hoffstadt Creek, The North Fork Toutle and Deer Creek is closed to public access through April 30 to minimize disturbance and associated energy demands on elk wintering there.

District 9

  • Past Weather: Weather in the South Cascades is warmer than normal with little snow. Temperatures are above normal and snow pack continues to be below normal. Temperatures have warmed considerably with some days reaching into the 60s.
  • Winter Severity: The Klickitat Wildlife Area is snow-free and forage habitat is available. There is little concern for the current severity of the winter conditions on big game populations in Skamania County and the western portion of Klickitat County. The eastern portions of Klickitat County have had lower snow fall accumulation this winter and deer are in good condition.
  • Habitat: Habitat is open and forage habitat has increased for big game this past week.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations seen due to inclement conditions.
  • Animal Condition: Animals appear to be in good condition.
  • Mortality: None documented this week.
  • Public Contacts: No concerns raised by the public this week.

March 15, 2010

Clark Co. Roadkill Statistics
Clark County Roadkill Statistics
Click chart for enlargement.

GAME DIVISION

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Elk Hunts: Program Manager Jonker, Biologists Prince and Holman, and Technician Fox collectively designed, formatted, and conducted surveys of hunters that drew special elk hunting permits in the St. Helens Volcanic Monument in 2009. The surveys reveal a high degree of hunter satisfaction with the hunts. Two primary points mentioned by those interviewed included the desire for more branch-antlered bull hunting opportunity and earlier season dates. The monument is administered by the U.S. Forest Service and a cooperative arrangement between the Agencies has allowed fortunate hunters a high-quality opportunity while addressing forage and habitat impact by elk in the monument.

Clark County Deer Roadkill Information: Biologist Holman compiled data provided by Clark County Road Maintenance Staff regarding their collection of roadkill black-tailed deer. From 2003-2009 County Staff have recorded the deer they have collected during their maintenance activities. The figure reveals a consistent pattern of roadkills throughout the year and a relatively stable deer population over a number of years. Specifically, incidences increase with the presence and dispersal of young, then increases again with the onset of hunting seasons and the rut. See the attached figures for a graphic illustration of the raodkill data.

WINTER CONDITIONS

D-10 & MSHWA Winter Conditions

  • Past Weather: Fall and early winter conditions were highly variable. One of the coldest Decembers on record was the most notable highlight. However, November was relatively warm and the cold temperatures in December were combined with relatively dry conditions so there were not major snow accumulations. Mid to low elevation snow occurred on several occasions in November and December but was not very deep or persistent on the ground for extended periods. Weather during January was very mild and almost spring like with relatively warm temperatures and minor rainfall. Over the past week conditions have been more typical of late winter with some colder temperatures and moderate precipitation including minor snowfall amounts at mid and lower elevations.
  • Short-Term Forecast: Continued mild conditions for the next week. Rain amounts should be minor. Temperatures should range from the low 30’s to low 50’s. Snow levels will range from 1500 feet to 5000 feet. The 6-10 day outlook suggests normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. The 8-14 day outlook shows the south cascades on the edge of the zone with heightened probability of below normal temperatures within the zone of below normal precipitation.
  • Long-Term Forecast: NOAA’s long range outlook map products suggest warmer and drier than normal conditions for the month of March with the same conditions continuing through the remainder of the winter and early spring.
  • Habitat: Snowpack increased over the past week, but remains substantially below normal. Typical winter range areas remain available. Forage remains available on the Wildlife Area and obvious growth of grasses has been noted on the site.
  • Snow Depths: In general, snow depths are well below normal in the area.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations of animals have been noted due to winter conditions.154 elk were observed during the monthly elk survey conducted March 2nd. A total of 266 elk were present in the mudflow survey area during the pre winter count on December 9, 175 on January 5th, and 160 on February 1st.
  • Animal Condition: No animals showing obvious outward signs of severe physical decline due to winter conditions have been observed or reported on the Wildlife Area or in the vicinity.
  • Mortality: None reported to date due to winter conditions.
  • Public Contacts: None this week. The public is reminded that the portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area lying East of a line defined by Hoffstadt Creek, The North Fork Toutle and Deer Creek is closed to public access through April 30 to minimize disturbance and associated energy demands on elk wintering there.

District 9

  • Past Weather: Weather in the South Cascades is warmer than normal with little snow. Temperatures are above normal and snow pack continues to be below normal. Colder temperatures returned this week with snow down to 1500 feet in the Cascades, but little accumulation and warmer temperatures anticipated returning quickly.
  • Winter Severity: The Klickitat Wildlife Area is snow-free and forage habitat is available. There is little concern for the current severity of the winter conditions on big game populations in Skamania County and the western portion of Klickitat County. The eastern portions of Klickitat County have had lower snow fall accumulation this winter and deer are in good condition.
  • Habitat: Habitat is open and forage habitat has increased for big game this past week.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations seen due to inclement conditions.
  • Animal Condition: Animals appear to be in good condition.
  • Mortality: None documented this week.
  • Public Contacts: No concerns raised by the public this week. A report from one party in Clark County indicated local groups of deer appear in excellent condition.

March 8, 2010

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Lower Columbia River Estuary MOA projects on Wildlife Areas:
In 2009, WDFW entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Bonneville Power and the US Army Corps of Engineers, which will fund projects along the Lower Columbia River to enhance habitat for juvenile salmonids migrating down the river. The initial planning for individual projects has been under way over the past several months. At least four potential projects may occur on WDFW Wildlife Area Lands in Region 5. These include the Abernathy, Fisher Island, and Two Forks Units of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area and the North and South Units of the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Regional Wildlife Program Manager Jonker and Wildlife Area Manager Calkins recently met with Regional Director Norman and other regional staff to discuss concerns relating to potential habitat impacts to Canada geese, Sandhill cranes, and other wildlife species that may result from the project concepts being discussed for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Of concern is the potential loss of our ability to reestablish and maintain native type habitats to benefit those species, which the Wildlife Area was established for, if some portion of the Wildlife Area is reconnected to direct tidal influence of the Columbia River. The basic issue it that the current hydrology of the Columbia River, which is highly altered by dams upstream, would not be conducive to the maintenance of native plant communities and, as a result, exotic invasive species such as reed canary grass, carp, purple loosestrife and others would be difficult or impossible to control.

GAME DIVISION

Monthly Elk Survey: The March elk survey, conducted by University of Alberta student Geary who is studying elk near Mt. St. Helens, observed 154 elk present on the Mt St Helens Wildlife Area. Approximately 1/3 of the animals observed were bulls. No mortalities were observed from the viewpoint along SR 504. The public is reminded that the Wildlife Area is closed to reduce stress on elk during the critical winter period. Weather forecast is indicating low elevation snow next week which may increase elk numbers temporarily.

Black-tailed Deer Research Project: Biologist Holman made various preparations related to the anticipated start of the Region 5 component of the black-tailed deer research project. Logistical details including identification of prospective capture locations, access points, gates, keys, staging areas, needed equipment, and personnel were worked out. It is now anticipated that the deer will be captured by helicopter in mid-March.

Dusky Canada Goose Management: Biologist Holman conducted a survey of dusky Canada geese in the Woodland Bottoms area. Flocks of geese, including primarily cacklers, were located but no duskies were observed. Comprehensive surveys throughout the wintering range of the duskies (SW Washington and NW Oregon) are conducted by a combination of State and Federal biologists. Information collected during these surveys is used to generate distribution data for the species, help monitor their status, and set appropriate hunting seasons.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Aquatic Herbicide, Assistance to Habitat Program: Biologists Anderson and Holman provided details related to important wildlife species at various aquatic locations in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties. Through a review process orchestrated by Department of Ecology, the opportunity to avoid impacts beyond what would normally be allowed through the Hydraulic Project Approval permitting process is allowed. Mitigative consideration is warranted for bald eagles, great blue heron colonies, waterfowl concentrations and cavity nesting ducks at various locations.

Western Pond Turtle Management: Biologists Anderson and Holman met to discuss many aspects of the upcoming field season for western pond turtles in the Columbia River Gorge. Topics included work to be conducted by employees of the Woodland Park Zoo, bull frog control, head starting, work by volunteer associated with the Oregon Zoo, habitat enhancement and management at the various sites, data management, staffing and mark-recapture population estimation. The scope of activities related to western pond turtle management in the Gorge has grown significantly as the turtles now occupy 4 locations owned by a collection of entities including WDFW, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State Parks, the Port of Skamania, and private individuals. Furthermore, the population has increased significantly as more than 1100 individual turtles have been head-started and released into the 4 locations.

WINTER CONDITIONS

D-10 & MSHWA Winter Conditions

  • Past Weather: Fall and early winter conditions were highly variable. One of the coldest Decembers on record was the most notable highlight. However, November was relatively warm and the cold temperatures in December were combined with relatively dry conditions so there were not major snow accumulations. Mid to low elevation snow occurred on several occasions in November and December but was not very deep or persistent on the ground for extended periods. Weather during January was very mild and almost spring like with relatively warm temperatures and minor rainfall. The past week’s temperatures have been above average and we have seen plenty of sun.
  • Short-Term Forecast: Continued mild conditions for the next week. Rain amounts should be minor. Temperatures should range from the low 30’s to low 50’s. Snow levels will drop to around 1500 feet, which is the lowest we have seen in quite a while. The 6-10 day outlook suggests above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. The 8-14 day outlook also suggests above normal temperatures but normal precipitation.
  • Long-Term Forecast: NOAA’s long range outlook map products suggest warmer and drier than normal conditions for the month of March with the same conditions continuing through the remainder of the winter and early spring.
  • Habitat: Snowpack is substantially below normal. Typical winter range areas remain available. Forage remains available on the Wildlife Area and obvious growth of grasses has been noted on the site.
  • Snow Depths: See attached pdf for detail. In general, snow depths are well below normal in the area.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations of animals have been noted due to winter conditions. 154 elk were observed during the monthly elk survey conducted March 2nd. 160 elk were present during the survey on February 1st. A total of 266 elk were present in the mudflow survey area during the winter count on December 9th and 175 during the survey on January 5th.
  • Animal Condition: No animals showing obvious outward signs of severe physical decline due to winter conditions have been observed or reported on the Wildlife Area or in the vicinity.
  • Mortality: None reported to date due to winter conditions.
  • Public Contacts: None this week. The public is reminded that the portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area lying East of a line defined by Hoffstadt Creek, The North Fork Toutle and Deer Creek is closed to public access through April 30 to minimize disturbance and associated energy demands on elk wintering there.

District 9

  • Past Weather: Weather in the South Cascades is warmer than normal with little snow. Temperatures are above normal and snow pack continues to be below normal.
  • Winter Severity: The Klickitat Wildlife Area is snow-free and forage habitat is available. There is little concern for the current severity of the winter conditions on big game populations in Skamania County and the western portion of Klickitat County. The eastern portions of Klickitat County have had lower snow fall accumulation this winter and deer are in good condition.
  • Habitat: Habitat is open and forage habitat has increased for big game this past week.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations seen due to inclement conditions.
  • Animal Condition: Animals appear to be in good condition.
  • Mortality: None documented this week.
  • Public Contacts: No concerns raised by the public this week. However, reports from two parties in Clark County indicate local groups of deer appearing in excellent condition.

March 1, 2010

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Shillapoo Wildlife Area
Watchable Wildlife: During a recent drive around the North and South Units of the Shillapoo Wildlife Area, Wildlife Area Manager Calkins noted a diverse array of bird species that can be easily seen from the adjacent roadways and parking areas. The following species were observed in about a one half hour time period: Dusky and other subspecies of Canada geese, snow geese, tundra swans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons beginning their nesting activities, Bald eagles, several duck species, a northern harrier and one short-eared owl. Visitors to the area will notice signs posted around the perimeter of this part of the Wildlife Area asking them to avoid disturbing the flocks of waterfowl and preferably to stay out of the area. The educational signage is part of WDFW’s effort of minimizing disturbance on WDFW lands to keep Canada Geese off of private agricultural lands where they can cause significant damage problems. A side benefit of the lower disturbance is the wildlife viewing opportunities created by the birds staying on the site.

The elk in the study were all helicopter darted, then fitted with either a standard VHF radiocollar or a special GPS-equipped radiocollar.
The elk in the study were all helicopter darted, then fitted with either a standard VHF radiocollar or a special GPS-equipped radiocollar.

GAME DIVISION

Elk Study: During a recent 3-day capture operation, a WDFW crew successfully radiocollared 38 Mt. St. Helens elk for an ongoing study of elk demographics, movements, and distribution. The capture crew was led by WDFW Deer & Elk Specialist McCorquodale and Veterinarian Mansfield. The crew also included District 10 biologists Miller and Prince, District 9 biologist Holman, and consulting researcher Rachel Cook from Oregon.The capture helicopter was piloted by veteran pilot Jess Hagerman. The elk were all helicopter darted, then fitted with either a standard VHF radiocollar or a special GPS-equipped radiocollar. Three cows were recaptured to retrieve GPS collars deployed in Feb. 2009. These 3 cows were refitted with new collars. The other 35 elk captured were new captures of elk being added to the current collared elk sample. Of the 38 elk collared, 10 were branch-antlered bulls, and 28 were adult cows. There were no mortalities during the capture. All elk were released alive and well. The recent captures bring the total number of collared elk being monitored in the current Mt. St. Helens study to 78 as the project enters its second year.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Western Pond Turtles - Biologist Anderson organized a planning meeting with agencies involved with western pond turtle management in the Columbia River Gorge. This annual coordination meeting was attended by the USFS, USFWS, State Parks, the Oregon Zoo, and WDFW. The emphasis of the meeting was to discuss 2010 habitat improvement projects as well as survey and monitoring efforts throughout the Gorge.

WINTER CONDITIONS

D-10 & MSHWA Winter Conditions

  • Past Weather: Fall and early winter conditions were highly variable. One of the coldest Decembers on record was the most notable highlight. However, November was relatively warm and the cold temperatures in December were combined with relatively dry conditions so there were not major snow accumulations .Mid to low elevation snow occurred on several occasions in November and December but was not very deep or persistent on the ground for extended periods. Weather during January was very mild and almost spring like with relatively warm temperatures and minor rainfall. These mild conditions continued through February.
  • Short-Term Forecast: Continued mild conditions for the next week with some rainfall. Snow levels generally should be at or above 3,500 feet.
  • Long-Term Forecast: NOAA’s long range outlook map products suggest warmer and drier than normal conditions for the month of March with the same conditions continuing through the remainder of the winter.
  • Habitat: Snowpack is substantially below normal. Typical winter range areas remain available. Forage remains available on the Wildlife Area and obvious growth of grasses has been noted on the site.
  • Snow Depths: See attached pdf for detail. In general, snow depths are well below normal in the area.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations of animals have been noted due to winter conditions. 160 elk were present during the most recent survey on February 1st. A total of 266 elk were present in the mudflow survey area during the winter count on December 9th and 175 during the survey on January 5th.
  • Animal Condition: No animals showing obvious outward signs of severe physical decline due to winter conditions have been observed or reported on the Wildlife Area or in the vicinity.
  • Mortality: None reported to date due to winter conditions.
  • Public Contacts: None this week. The public is reminded that the portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area lying East of a line defined by Hoffstadt Creek, The North Fork Toutle and Deer Creek is closed to public access through April 30 to minimize disturbance and associated energy demands on elk wintering there.

District 9

  • Past Weather: Weather in the South Cascades is warmer than normal with no new snow. Temperatures are above normal and snow pack continues to be below normal.
  • Winter Severity: The Klickitat Wildlife Area is snow-free and forage habitat is available. There is little concern for the current severity of the winter conditions on big game populations in Skamania County and the western portion of Klickitat County. The eastern portions of Klickitat County have had lower snow fall accumulation this winter and deer are in good condition.
  • Habitat: Habitat is open above 3000 ft and forage habitat has increased for big game this past week.
  • Animal Concentrations: No unusual concentrations seen due to inclement conditions.
  • Animal Condition: Animals appear to be in good condition.
  • Mortality: None documented this week.
  • Public Contacts:No concerns raised by the public this week.