REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area
Grazing Preparation: Acting Wildlife Manager VanLeuven met with retired
Wildlife Area Manager and checked range conditions in preparation for cattle
grazing that is to occur this month on the North Breaks grazing unit of the
Klickitat Wildlife Area grazing lease area. Cattle troughs were checked and
primed and fencing in need of repair was noted. The Washington Conservation
Corps crew assisted with fence repair on the Wildlife Area.
goose egg examination.
Dark Canada Goose Project: District Wildlife Biologist Miller, Temporary Scientific Technician Ridenour,
Citizen Scientist Bob Jarvis, and Volunteer Dan Howell re-visited the dark goose
nests that were identified during the recent nest searches on Miller Sands Island
and Spit. The nest surveyors recorded the UTM coordinates and they were plotted
on a map by the WDFW GIS staff to facilitate finding the nests again. A total
of 42 nests were examined with 22 having already hatched or in the process of
hatching. The incubation status helps biologists predict the peak of hatch and
that date is used to calculate the best time to band the birds. The next step
in the project will be the observation of goose broods to confirm nest data.
Western Pond Turtle: Biologist Slavens and her crew put 11 transmitters on female western pond
turtles this week for a grand total of 24 for this year at Sondino Ponds in
Klickitat County. This week's other captures included 9 males, 13 females, and
27 unknown turtles for grand totals of 56 males, 30 females and 90, unknowns.
Of the total 176 turtle captures, 148 have been head-starts. Two approximately
3-year old wild turtles were also caught during this last week.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Grazing: Acting Wildlife Manager VanLeuven counted cattle as they were turned
out on the part of WDFW's range that is SW of the Glenwood Hwy, and checked
forage use and the water supply. The lessee brought 99 cows with calves to the
range. He divided the herd in half and drove some of the animals down to the
lower slopes, and left the other half up on the plateau. Forage use after 4
days is barely noticeable. The animals seem to spend most of their time in upland
areas, where there is plenty of grass. The lessee expected to have the cattle
on this part of the range for about 10 days.
Pygmy Rabbits: The
Acting Manager also worked with the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crew
to cut sagebrush for the pygmy rabbit recovery program. The sagebrush growth
was luxuriant and the crew was able to cut 13 bags of material. WCC hauled the
bags to the Klickitat Wildlife Area compound and they were picked up the next
day by a courier who took them to the Oregon Zoo.
Cowlitz Wildlife Area:
Tacoma Power Open House: Wildlife Area staff Morris, Vanderlip, Grabski,
and Program Manager Jonker set up a Department of Fish & Wildlife booth
and spent the day working the Tacoma Power Open House at Mossyrock Park. It
was estimated that over 1,200 visited the daylong event. The open house is held
in conjunction with the Mossyrock Tulip Fest so the attendees were in large
part families out for a good time.
High School Presentation: Wildlife Area Manager Grabski gave an hour and a half presentation to the Centralia
High Schools Natural Resources Class. The class, made up mostly of juniors and
seniors, learned about basic wildlife biology, predator-prey relationships,
adaptations, and habitat requirements. A large display of study skins, skulls,
and mounts were also used to teach the students.
Mount Saint Helens Elk
Management / Private Lands Access: As part of the on-going effort to facilitate
additional hunting access onto Weyerhaeuser lands in Southwest Washington, Regional
Wildlife Program Staff met with representatives from Weyerhaeuser and several
volunteer organizations on May 10th. Additional details regarding hunting access
to Weyerhaeuser's lands were discussed. Specifically, season dates for all user
groups including early and late hunting periods, access points, the critical
role to be played by volunteer groups, key-gate-lock logistics, objectives of
the Mt. St. Helens Elk Herd Plan, etc. were all discussed.
Volunteer groups in attendance
included the Southwest Washington Land Access Coalition, Cowlitz Game and Anglers,
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Eyes in the Woods, the Yacolt Burn Sportsman's
Club, and Washington State Bowhunters. Collectively WDFW, Weyerhaeuser, and
the volunteer groups are optimistic that the effort will result in considerable
additional access to private timberlands for hunting.
female turtles now are fitted with transmitters.
Western Pond Turtle: Trapping of western pond turtles at Sondino Ranch is near completion for the
season. Most of the captures this time of year are recaptures, an indication
that few new transmitters will be placed on additional females. Biologist Slavens
and her crew have now captured a total of 191 turtles for the season. Nesting
should start the third week of May so field activities will soon switch from
trapping to monitoring females for nest sites. 25 female turtles now are fitted
with transmitters, a substantial improvement from last year.
Band-tailed Pigeons: Temporary Scientific Technician Ridenour prepared a site to start baiting band-tailed
pigeons at Cedar Creek Wildlife Area near the mineral spring. This is in coordination
with USGS Western Ecological Research Center. The baiting is used to attract
and document regular use of the site for capture to mark the birds. This is
part of an experimental process on a large scale using satellite transmitters
to track migration and breeding of band-tailed pigeons. An area 8 meters by
5 meters was mowed to expose the 30 lbs. of cracked corn spread to potentially
attract the band-tailed pigeons. Observations and baiting will continue in the
following weeks. Once use is documented, USGS will be contacted for the trapping
and marking of band-tailed pigeons.
On the first site visit
2 roosting band-tailed pigeons were observed and 2 additional pigeons approximately
one-quarter mile west of the Cedar Creek Wildlife Area. A majority of the feed
appeared to be eaten, although no band-tailed pigeons were observed at the bait
site. Species that consumed the bait are still undetermined, as actual feeding
has not yet been observed. On the second observation period, 18 roosting band-tailed
pigeons were observed near the bait site in the trees above the mineral spring,
although no pigeons were seen utilizing the baited area. Ongoing monitoring
of the site will continue with the focus on identifying species consuming bait
as well as any band-tailed pigeon use.
Sea Lion Hazing: District Wildlife Biologist Miller and Vancouver Wildlife Biologist Holman assisted
the Bonneville dam sea lion hazing crew this past week. Region 5 employees are
assigned as back up to the main hazing crew whenever there is an absence. Miller
reports that he discharged over 2500 cracker shells in his 10-hour shift. The
sea lions are becoming very skittish around the boats and stay submerged for
quite a while after being spotted. In comparison to last year, this year’s
effort is more coordinated with folks on the face of the dam from USDA Wildlife
Services, who also are hazing the animals from the powerhouse face.
Youth Expo on May 18 and 19th. The event was well attended and provided
a variety of outdoor activities for children to participate in or learn
2007 Youth Expo: Biologists Miller, Anderson, Holman; Wildlife Area Managers Calkins, Hauswald,
VanLeuven, Grabski, Vanderlip; Temporary Scientific Technician Ridenour, and
Program Manager Jonker all participated in the 2007 Youth Expo on May 18 and
19th. The event was well attended and provided a variety of outdoor activities
for children to participate in or learn about. The Region 5 Wildlife Program
displayed the 4 Wildlife Areas in the Region as well as elk management in the
Region and provided several activities for the school children and families
to engage in. In addition, the Program provided information on waterfowl identification
for the Game ID booth. We received positive feedback from children expressing
the event was the best educational event they had been to. Office Manager Morrison
organized a Region 5 WDFW booth providing informational material and was assisted
by Fisheries Biologist Stephenson and Wildlife Program staff.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Grazing: Acting Wildlife Manager VanLeuven continued to monitor the effects
of cattle grazing currently on-going on the Wildlife Area and maintained water
source for the cattle.
VanLeuven met with Habitat
Biologists from Region 5, Fish Biologist from the Yakama tribe, member of WDFW
Engineering staff, and a volunteer with experience in road abandonment projects
to discuss bridge removal projects on Dead Canyon Creek. These projects are
part of the Wildlife Area's RMAP agreement with DNR.
In addition, VanLeuven wrote
work plans for the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crew and met with the
WCC supervisor and crew to describe and direct work activities. The crew has
been working on picking up debris in the Klickitat Wildlife Area compound, cleaning
and servicing equipment (lawnmower and weed cutter), mowing grass, fence repair,
etc. In addition, VanLeuven directed WCC crew to look for the noxious weed (Dalmatian
toadflax) at the Mineral Springs Unit and pull it. The weed was blooming on
the Soda Springs Unit, and all plants were hand-pulled.
7th Western States and
Provinces Deer and Elk Workshop: Biologist Holman attended the 7th Western
States and Provinces Deer and Elk Workshop in Estes Park, Colorado. Representatives
from most Regions, Deer and Elk Section Manager Nelson, and Statewide Deer and
Elk Specialist McCroquodale attended as well. This gathering is held every-other
year and is sponsored by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife hosted this year’s meeting.
The three-day session featured
presentations on a variety of deer and elk related topics. Some highlights included
information regarding the effect that conversion to an entirely "permit-only"
system of deer hunting management has had in Colorado, the impacts to a deer
population in Wyoming during the development of extensive gas and oil mining,
elk movement patterns in response to hunting when a nearby refuge is available,
updates on Chronic Wasting Disease, the importance of nutrition on reproductive
rates of deer and elk, other factors impacting elk recruitment and the impact
of the reintroduction of wolves on the elk population. Thanks to all of those
who helped put on the conference and those who shared their information. WDFW
will host the next conference in Spokane in the spring of 2009.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife
Forage Management: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins and Assistant Manager
Hauswald have been working on projects to enhance forage production on several
areas within the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. This work has included dragging
a chain harrow over approximately 36 acres to scatter elk droppings and break
up thatch and moss, lime application to 31 acres, and fertilization of 27 acres.
Some areas received more than one treatment. In addition, one site was harrowed
and over seeded in hopes of developing a more productive forage stand. Scotch
Broom control work has already begun by spot spraying individual plants within
the forage management areas noted above and will continue throughout the spring
as time and budget constraints allow. We would like to extend a special thanks
to skilled mechanic and long time volunteer Mike Braaten who spent over a day
helping us diagnose and repair a hydraulics problem on the tractor used for
Operation Dark Goose: District Wildlife Biologist Miller, Scientific Technician Ridenour, and volunteers
Grosbeck and Howell visited Miller Sands Island and local area to observe brood
flocks. The crew of Ridenour and Grosbeck observed 9 broods in the bay between
Miller Sands Island and Miller Sands Spit. The broods were all 1 or 2 weeks
old. This brood age information is added to the data set of egg float data to
help us establish the appropriate time to band these birds. This group of geese
resembles the migrant dusky goose and without other markers can cause confusion
at check stations and during population surveys.
Leave the Fawns Alone: Deer fawns throughout Washington State are born around the first of June.
Annually, WDFW receives hundreds of calls from well-meaning, concerned citizens
who believe that they have found abandoned juvenile deer. Unfortunately, many
individuals collect these young animals and want to care for them or send them
someplace for care. In the majority of these cases, the fawns have not been
abandoned by their mothers.
Normal behavior for members
of the deer family is to leave the young hiding while the mother feeds. The
final stages of gestation and early stages of lactation are the most nutritionally
demanding time of year for the females and they must leave their young hidden
while they secure the calories needed for themselves and their offspring. The
spotted fawns lying still among vegetation aren't abandoned; they are just waiting
for their mother to return for more nursing.
Unfortunately, many fawns
are collected by individuals who then attempt to "raise" them. Not
only is this detrimental to the deer, it is illegal to posses wildlife. WDFW
does allow licensed wildlife rehabilitators with the appropriate facility to
temporarily keep fawns. Those that are not licensed through this process are
not allowed to hold deer fawns, even with the best of intentions.
An example from Southwest
Washington provides insight into the rationale behind these laws. In the summer
of 2005, two fawns were collected and illegally raised inside of an enclosure
until the spring of 2006 when they were released into the "wild" of
their suburban - rural habitat. The deer (now nearly a year old) were extremely
used to people and dogs. Initially the neighborhood enjoyed their mostly tame
yearling deer. However, the fun soon ended as eventually the deer entered a
residence, panicked, and destroyed a very large window. This caused a dispute
among neighbors, an expensive window repair, and initiated the involvement of
WDFW. Approximately two-months later, at approximately age 1, the two deer were
killed by a vehicle on a nearby State highway.
colony of over 100 Townsend's big-eared bats was located in a cave system
on a private timber parcel.
These deer were not rehabilitated;
they never reached maturity and never contributed to the local deer population.
Instead they caused strife among neighbors, took valuable time away from WDFW
Officers, caused property damage in the way of wrecked cars and a broken living-room
window. Fortunately no people were physically hurt through this course of events.
In light of this example and keeping deer behavior and biology in mind, please
Leave the Fawns Alone!
bats: Biologist Anderson completed a forest practice review with a private
timber company regarding protection of habitat around a sensitive bat cave near
Trout Lake. The Trout Lake area is known for its cave habitat that supports
this unique bat species. This last year, a colony of over 100 Townsend's big-eared
bats was located in a cave system on this private parcel. Biologist Anderson
negotiated a habitat management plan to provide a forest buffer around several
entrances to the cave system. WDFW was pleased with the final plan agreed upon
with the private timber company.