WDFW LogoWashington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  HELP | EMPLOYMENT | NEWS | CONTACT  
WDFW LogoAbout WDFW

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

Click here
for Directions

 

Southwest Washington Wildlife Reports Archives
May 2007

May 7, 2007

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.

GAME DIVISION

Dark goose egg examination.
Dark 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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

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.

May 14, 2007

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.

GAME DIVISION

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.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Twenty-five female turtles now are fitted with transmitters.
Twenty-five 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.

May 21, 2007

WDFW Youth Expo Exhibit
WDFW Youth Expo Exhibit
WDFW Youth Expo Exhibit
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.

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.

GAME DIVISION

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.

May 29, 2007

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
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 this work.

GAME DIVISION

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.

A colony of over 100 Townsend's big-eared bats was located in a cave system on a private timber parcel.
A 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!

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Townsend's big-eared 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.