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 2006

April 3, 2006

Fred Dobler: Operation Dark Goose Pgymy Rabbit habitat site.

Region 5 Program Manager Retires- Regional Wildlife Program Manager Fred Dobler will retire after 31 years of service to the Department.

Fred says in parting " I have tried to challenge myself and those around me to always strive for excellence and integrity. I have seen our world change and the challenges for the Department are greater than ever before, and it seems now the process has become the objective. Those that remain must remember our original mission, and strive for excellence and integrity, only that will allow us to reach the goal."

Fred's last day was March 31, 2006

Fred collecting Peregrine falcon prey remains. Department of Game.
Fred with Gyr falcon. Fred as an Area Biologist.

Region 5 Program Manager Retires- Regional Wildlife Program Manager Fred Dobler will retire after 31 years of service to the Department. Fred says "The Department is the only employer I have ever had. It has in many ways made me what I am today, and undoubtedly in some ways I have shaped it too."

He started as a temporary worker with Applied Research back in 1975 on the Rock Island 2nd Powerhouse Impact Study. Soon he became the project leader there. He left Applied Research in 1980 to take the lead on peregrine falcon work for the "Nongame Program", and later did work on gyrfalcons, shrub-steppe and pygmy rabbits. Leaving Wildlife Diversity research in 1992 for an Area Biologist job in Ephrata, he continued to contribute to knowledge and management of shrub-steppe species in Region 2. In 1996 he joined the Region 5 management team in Vancouver.

Fred says in parting " I have tried to challenge myself and those around me to always strive for excellence and integrity. I have seen our world change and the challenges for the Department are greater than ever before, and it seems now the process has become the objective. Those that remain must remember our original mission, and strive for excellence and integrity, only that will allow us to reach the goal."

Fred's last day was March 31, 2006

April 10, 2006

GAME DIVISION

Mt. St. Helens Elk Winter Mortality: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins and Biologist Miller have each responded to questions from the media and a state representative due to concerns about winter mortality in the elk population around Mt. St. Helens. A very graphic story which aired on Portland news has added additional attention from the public. WDFW documents winter mortality in this area every year but it appears that this winter may have taken a larger toll than that of recent years. Surveys earlier this winter have documented 25 elk dead due to malnutrition on the Mt. St. Helens State Wildlife Area. We are certain that more elk have died since the survey. Tissue samples from a subset of these animals have been collected for disease monitoring. WDFW will conduct an additional survey later in April.


REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Cottonwood cuttings, one of the many methods of controlling erosion on the banks of rivers on WDFW Wildlife Areas. Cottonwood cuttings, one of the many methods of controlling erosion on the banks of rivers on WDFW Wildlife Areas.
Cottonwood cuttings, one of the many methods of controlling erosion on the banks of rivers on WDFW Wildlife Areas.

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area Erosion Control Measures: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins with the help of volunteer Mike Braaten and several students from Kelso High School has continued work to stabilize the erosion prone edge of the remaining mudflow on the wildlife area. This has included the planting of 165 cottonwood cuttings that had been rooted in water, 200 purchased 2-3 ft alder seedlings and 150 seedlings transplanted from other parts of the wildlife area. The alder trees were planted on the southern side of the area known as "the island." a grass legume seed mix will also be added to the same sites in the coming weeks. Areas further to the west where most of the work had been done in previous years are now well vegetated and withstood higher river flows earlier this winter quite well. This gives us some assurance that this work has paid off by protecting our existing elk forage areas. Areas on the eroded gravel bars that have been seeded in the last two years to increase forage production also are still showing promise, indicating that over time we will be able to replace some of the forage producing acreage that had previously been lost to erosion.

Daren Hauswald has been hired as the Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area.
Daren Hauswald has been hired as the Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area.

Assistant Manager for Shillapoo Wildlife Area Hired: Daren Hauswald has been hired as the Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. He started work on March 27th. Daren has worked on the wildlife area in the past which has help him get a quick start on many of his assigned tasks. In addition to the required orientation and training that is necessary Daren has already started into getting equipment ready for the field season and working on some timely field projects. These include seeding bare soil areas where blackberry control had occurred last year and noxious weed control.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Columbian White-tailed Deer: Efforts to increase the stability of the population of Endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer in the Lower Columbia River watershed continue. A recent translocation of these deer onto upstream islands was successfully accomplished.

Biologists from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with highly experienced volunteers from Kitsap Bowhunters and Eyes In The Woods cooperated in this endeavor. Ten whitetails from Puget Island in Washington were transported upstream to Fisher and Hump Islands. Five additional deer were moved to the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge from Puget Island. Fourteen deer from the Wodson area in Oregon were moved upstream to Lord, Walker and Crimms islands in Oregon.

Columbia white-tailed deer translocation. Columbia white-tailed deer translocation. Columbia white-tailed deer translocation.
Efforts to increase the stability of the population of Endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer include a recent translocation. The capture involves both a helicopter and a crew on ground to funnel the deer into nets.

The capture involves both a helicopter and crew on the ground to funnel the deer into nets located in cottonwood plantations. Crews at the nets immediately untangle the deer and apply eye masks, hobbles and place them in bags for aerial transport to the receiving islands. Veterinarians from both Washington and Oregon monitored each deer to insure their health and safety.

Once on the receiving island, each deer was inspected and released. Ongoing monitoring of the deer continues using infra-red cameras in Washington. See photos for an example of a monitoring picture. Thanks to all those that helped on this project.

Peregrine Falcon Monitoring: Surveys of Peregrine Falcon nesting territories have begun in Southwest Washington. In Wahkiakum County, one previously documented territory has confirmed occupancy of an adult pair while a second know site cannot be monitored from ground or boat and will need to be surveyed from the air.

A new potential site in Cowlitz County where one adult peregrine has been seen did not yield a second bird and will continue to be monitored. These surveys are part of ongoing monitoring of Peregrine Falcons by both Washington State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

WDFW volunteer Bruce DeShaw assisted Biologist Holman in the establishment of artificial nesting structures for barn owls at the Clark County Fairgrounds.
WDFW volunteer Bruce DeShaw assisted Biologist Holman in the establishment of artificial nesting structures for barn owls at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Barn Owl Nest Boxes: WDFW volunteer Bruce DeShaw assisted Biologist Holman in the establishment of artificial nesting structures for barn owls at the Clark County Fairgrounds. Bruce additionally constructed and installed a nest box in the Vancouver Lowlands. See the attached photo of Bruce at the nest box location on the Vancouver Wildlife Area. Nest box productivity will be monitored in June. Thanks to Bruce for his volunteer work on a number of different bird species in Region 5 and to Clark County Fairgrounds Staff for their work to provide habitat for their barn owl population.

April 17, 2006

GAME DIVISION

Mt. St. Helens Elk Winter Mortality: Acting Regional Wildlife Program Manager Calkins, Biologist Miller, Regional Customer Service Staff and Olympia Wildlife Program Staff have all responded to multiple questions and inquires from the media and the public regarding winter mortality in the elk population around Mt. St. Helens. Two news segments aired on Portland television and multiple newspaper articles have been published as well.

WDFW documents winter mortality in this area every year but it appears that this winter may have taken a larger toll than that of recent winters. A somewhat elevated rate of winter mortality is understandable given the deep and persistent snow conditions in the Cascades this year. Specifically, heavy snow began in early November and persisted through December and January. February included slightly more mild conditions but March saw the return of snowfall throughout the southern Cascades. WDFW will continue to monitor elk mortality on the St. Helens Wildlife Area.

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Wood Duck Nest Box Installations: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald and Scientific Technician Ridenour constructed and installed 16 wood duck nest boxes in the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Additionally, they checked the status of 12 existing boxes. One nesting wood duck was noted during the effort.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Peregrine Falcon Monitoring: Occupancy surveys are underway for this year's statewide peregrine falcon monitoring. These surveys are part of ongoing monitoring of Peregrine Falcons by both Washington State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Birds have been reported at most historic sites and current efforts are focused on determining if sites support a breeding pair.

Biologist Anderson reports that the peregrine falcon site on the south side of Beacon Rock State Park is currently occupied. In order to protect the integrity of the falcon eyrie, the south side of Beacon Rock was closed February 1st to technical rock climbing. Biologist Holman reports that the Cape Horn peregrine site is occupied by a pair as well.

Western Pond Turtle Management: The spring trapping season has started at Sondino Ponds and Biologist Anderson reports that we currently have 8 females equipped with transmitters. Heavy rains this late winter and spring have provided abundant water for replenishing all ponds and seasonal wetlands used by western pond turtles. Biologist Anderson also completed a quarterly report for BPA as part of their requirements for funding the project.

Wind Power: Biologist Anderson is currently assisting Habitat Program with a review of wildlife issues associated with proposed wind power development in the Columbia Hills of Klickitat County. These proposed sites are rich in wildlife diversity, especially raptors. While wind power generation facilities are usually touted as "green" or "low-impact" sources for electricity generation, they have several potentially negative impacts to wildlife. Most obvious among these are the direct mortalities associated with birds that collide with turbines. However bats are also suffer from the presence of the spinning blades. Additionally, a host of impacts to terrestrial habitats result from construction and maintenance of the infrastructure required to construct, generate, maintain and distribute electricity from these facilities.

April 24, 2006

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Klickitat Wildlife Area: Area Manager Ellenburg has been fielding numerous calls about this springs turkey season, He had a high participation rate for the Youth hunt held April 8-9 even though the weather was stormy and uncooperative for turkey hunting. Opening day of the spring general season also saw a good turn out of hunters; the weather again was a culprit with hunters seeing either rain or snow through out the weekend, not the warm sunny days one thinks about when going turkey hunting. Just a little reminder positively ID your target and safety should always be your first concern. Area manger Martin Ellenburg can be reached at (509) 773-4459 if you have questions about hunting turkeys on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area Elk Forage Maintenance: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins, Assistant Manager Hauswald and Volunteer Mike Braaten have been working on elk forage maintenance projects. This has included reseeding areas near the Toutle River where minor erosion has occurred over the winter and fertilizing existing forage stands. About 18 acres were fertilized last week and about 2 miles of erosion prone area was walked and seeded as needed. This work will continue into May and June. Through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Grant we should be able to expand this years fertilization effort to over 100 acres. We also plan to lime at least a portion of the fertilized area to boost forage production by balancing soil acidity.

Lower Columbia River Goose Nest survey.
Employees from ODFW , USFWS and volunteers assisted WDFW in searching the islands for nesting Canada geese.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Sea Lion Hazing: District Wildlife Biologist Miller continues to assist the Marine Mammals Project with seas lion harassment at Bonneville Dam. A gunner sits in the front of the boat and discharges the cracker shell in the direction of the lion and attempts to herd them away from the dam and fish ladder areas.

Peregrine Falcon: Monitoring of the Lewis and Clark Bridge is being conducted regularly this spring by Washington State Department of Transportation biologists. Last week WDFW biologist Woodin assisted in observations of the pair of Peregrine falcons on the bridge that presents clear signs of occupying their nest box with egg incubation. Ongoing monitoring will continue.

GAME DIVISION

Lower Columbia River Goose Nest survey: This week the Columbia River from Longview to Gray's Bay was searched for nesting Canada Geese. In 1985 an index set of islands were selected and nest counts are conducted each year at this time. Employees from ODFW , USFWS and volunteers assisted WDFW in searching the islands. Nest data is collected on location, habitat, predation if present and egg count. This data is used to monitor the resident population of geese and is critical in the development of an early goose hunt. Information is also gathered on the nesting numbers of dark geese that resemble the dusky subspecies but do not migrate.