Site Management: Biologists Anderson and Holman generated a Bald Eagle Site
Management Plan for a communal roost site in the Salmon Creek watershed of Clark
County. This location has been the site of mitigation efforts dating back to
1993. Apparently having decided that the roost site was no longer of value to
eagles or of interest to WDFW, developers at the site are proposing a 22-lot
sub-division and removal of essentially all vegetation on the 4.26-acre site.
This 4.26-acre area served as the core mitigation area in prior plans. Negotiations
regarding development of this site will be ongoing.
composition flights: Biologists and Officers worked cooperatively to conduct
the District 10 elk herd flights in 4 GMU's this week. Over 1000 elk were observed
in Units 506, 520, 530, and 550. Of note was the general lack of mature bulls
in many of the units with 3-4 point bulls making up the majority of the males
seen. One additional unit remains to complete the fall flight effort and will
be flown next week.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Lake Wetland Enhancement: Ducks unlimited in partnership with WDFW and the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have completed a wetland enhancement
at the southern end of the Shillapoo Lakebed. Due to complications with an adjacent
petroleum pipeline, this project sat partially completed for some time. A levee
has been constructed, which will allow WDFW to manage hydrology on the 120-acre
site to foster the reestablishment of native wetland plant communities. The
impoundment will be gradually filled in the fall and winter months and then
slowly drained each year during the summer. We have had good success in other
areas using this approach to control reed canary grass and replace the invasive
plant with beneficial native plants.
Hazardous Materials Dumped
at Vancouver Lake: Both Vancouver Fire and the Washington Department of
Ecology spill response team responded to a report of a pile of over 30 paint
and solvent cans dumped in a parking area on the Vancouver Lake Unit of the
Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Fortunately the cleanup crews determined that none
of the containers had been leaking and they were promptly removed for disposal.
We appreciate the quick response of both the fire and ecology crews.
cameras took images of wildlife on Fisher Island including a black-tailed
deer (top) and Columbia white-tailed deer (below).
White Tailed Deer Survey: District 10 employees serviced
the USFWS cameras on Fisher Island. One camera was relocated and the other yielded
3 images, including 1 Columbia White Tailed Deer and 1 Black Tailed Deer. Also
observed in the Fisher Island vicinity was a Peregrine falcon perching on an
Wind Power: Biologist
Anderson met with Jim Watson, Research Division, and Bill Weiler, Habitat Division,
to discuss strategy for commenting on several wind power projects in Klickitat
County. At issue is the rapid growth of the industry in Klickitat County and
the concern for wildlife (primarily raptors) associated with habitats being
developed. Currently nine projects are either permitted or planned, encompassing
a huge area of remaining sagebrush and grassland steppe remaining in Klickitat
County. Jim Watson's research on breeding raptor movements has been very helpful
in WDFW's response to turbine placement in association with nest sites. Another
issue currently not being addressed by the wind power industry is the accumulative
effects of these projects on local and regional raptor populations. Our hope
is to increase our knowledge of raptor movements adjacent to and within wind
power projects in order to better determine where wind farms should be placed
and what their true impacts are on raptor populations.
Composition Flights: District 10 staff completed its fall surveys with a
final effort in the 524 Margaret GMU. Approximately 500 elk were observed in
this unit during a 2.6-hour flight. Noteworthy were the high numbers of mature
bulls that were present in this limited-entry hunting unit. Data will be summarized.
happy and successful young pheasant hunter.
Seasons: Both Volunteers and WDFW staff helped get
the Western Washington Pheasant seasons off to a good start. The Vancouver Wildlife
League and the local Pheasants Forever chapter sponsored separated events for
youth on September 22nd and 23rd. Two separate sites were set up this year in
response to the previous joint events at one location becoming too crowded.
About 40 young hunters took part in the initial hunt on Saturday. Mentors and
trained hunting dogs were provided to each youth hunter to get them off to a
good start. In some cases the volunteers provided guns and ammunition to those
who needed them. A happy and successful young hunter is pictured in the photo
The popular five day senior
hunt took place on the 24th through the 28th. These hunters were very successful
after a mid week release of birds. We did receive one complaint because no birds
were released prior to the opening day of the senior hunt. With the birds for
the youth hunt now being distributed over a larger area, it was harder for the
seniors to find birds on Monday.
The general season opened
on September 30th and continues through November 30th. WDFW conducts car counts
three times during the season to assess the level of use at each of the release
sites. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins conducted the count at the Woodland Bottoms
site where 16 cars were present for the opener. Volunteers made the count on
the Shillapoo Wildlife Area where a total of 94 cars were present (51 at the
South Unit and 43 at Vancouver Lake). Birds will continue to be released by
volunteers twice a week throughout the season until the week of Thanksgiving.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Unlawful Posting: The Vancouver Regional Office received
a complaint from a user of the Cedar Creek Wildlife Area in Clark County that
someone had posted “no trespassing” signs at the entrance to the
site. The next day, Wildlife Area Manager Calkins went to the site and found
one “no trespassing” sign at the entrance, which he removed. It
was replaced with a printed copy of WDFW's unlawful posting rule. Unlawful posting
is a misdemeanor crime. A feel free to hunt sign was also placed. We will continue
to monitor the site through the hunting season for any similar issues.
manager met with 150 hunters and documented harvested deer, among them
this 4-point deer.
Wildlife Area: Hunters arrived to scout for deer and
set up camps. Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven met with about 150 hunters over
the weekend and documented four harvested deer (two 4-points, one 3-point, and
one adult doe). Officer Bolton checked compliance in response to complaints
of illegal and unethical hunting practices occurring in the Sheep Canyon area
as well as driving in areas posted by WDFW as “Off Road Vehicles Prohibited”.
The Department of Natural
Resources fire crew chipped the limbs piled in the Canyon Creek Loop Campground.
The campground looks very tidy now and sight distance is improved. This gives
us better safety conditions and reduced fire hazard there. Campers returning
to KWA from last year are sure to notice the difference!
BirdFest: Biologists Anderson and Holman and Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour hosted
a WDFW booth at the 2007 BirdFest in Ridgefield and received great feedback
regarding the display. The festival was well attended and people enjoyed the
photos and diversity information.
/ Hunter Access: Biologist Holman gave an annual presentation to approximately
25 members of the Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club. The presentation featured thanks
for the club's on-going involvement in providing hunting access to Weyerhaeuser
property (this year with help from an ALEA grant), a summary of pre-season deer
surveys conducted in the Yacolt Burn (which the club helped with), a discussion
of the public involvement process for the update to the Game Management Plan,
a question and answer session, etc.
The Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club has been important in Clark County for many
years. The group assures access to an important and large portion of the Weyerhaeuser's
St. Helens Tree Farm. The area is known to the locals as "The Burn",
referencing the 1902 fire that burned many thousands of acres. The Sportsman's
Club opens and closes the access gate daily during the modern firearm and muzzleloader
deer and elk seasons, allowing access for hundreds of hunters. The group also
assists Weyerhaeuser with security patrols, posts informational material, and
helps out with deer surveys as well. This year's Club President Randy Lawffer
deserves special credit and thanks for his efforts and those of the entire Club
to maintain public access to private lands for hunting.
Mudflow Hunts: District
Wildlife Biologist Miller and Fish and Wildlife Technician Ridenour conducted
follow-up surveys for the first three completed special permit Mudflow hunts.
A total of 17 hunters responded out of 18 special permit holders. Six special
permit holders participated in each hunt. The first senior hunt Mudflow H (any
elk tag with anterless restriction) resulted in no elk harvested. The next two
hunts, Mudflow D and E (any elk tag), were Hunters with Disabilities Only special
permit holders. Three out of 5 reporting Mudflow D hunters successfully harvested
a bull elk with either 5 or 6 points. One hunter did not respond. Four Mudflow
E hunters harvested one spike, one 4 point, and two 5 point bull elk. Two Mudflow
E special permit holders did not harvest any elk.
All special permit holders
commented on their hunting experience along with suggestions for subsequent
hunts. The comments and suggestions were as follows:
- Reduction of the number
- Reduction of number
of people participating in mudflow hunts
- Vehicle access is discouraging
- Allow more vehicle access
over larger area on mudflow
- Build a bridge over
the Toutle River
- Nonhunting recreational
horseback users were not wearing hunter orange
- Restrict general public
access in hunt areas
- People were accessing
hunt area before daylight (unethical, disturbing elk off hunt area).
Land Access Program: Four to eleven volunteers per day assisted with implementing the Land Access
Program for additional motorized access on the Weyerhaeuser Company St Helens
Tree Farm for the elk special permit muzzleloader hunters from October 6th through
October 12th. 80% of the Margaret GMU and 100% of the Toutle GMU were made available
for motorized access. Overall the effort went very well and we would like to
thank the volunteers for their time and effort in implementing this program.
Several hunters have called in thanking WDFW, Weyerhaeuser, and the volunteers
for the additional access opportunity and the positive contribution this made
to their hunts. However, unfortunately midweek vandalism occurred on Weyerhaeuser
equipment and gates. Events such as this jeopardize the opportunity for hunters
to access additional lands as well as the success of this program.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven continued to meet with 40
plus hunters over the weekend and among these hunters documented 14 harvested
deer. The breakdown: one 7x6 buck, one 4x4 buck, one 4x3 buck, five 3x3 bucks,
one 3+-point buck with atypical antlers (odd palm-shaped deformity at the base
of one antler), one 2x2 with eye guards, one small doe (probably a yearling),
and three unidentified hides
Western Gray Squirrels: Manager VanLeuven, District Biologist Anderson, and Lindsey Cornelius, with
the Columbia Land Trust, surveyed for western gray squirrels along the Klickitat
River. They noted two live squirrel observations and 13 nests. In addition,
manager VanLeuven assisted with the release of 80 pheasants at the Hatchery
Unit property, along Hill Rd. Volunteer Gordon Johnson helped out with the effort.
Pond Turtles: All juvenile western pond turtles have been recovered from
nests in Klickitat County as part of the "head start" program. A total
of 64 hatchlings were recovered from 22 nests, of which 58 are at the Oregon
Zoo and the last 6 at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
Burn Check Station: Biologist Holman and Volunteer Lisa Renan staffed a
check station near Yacolt. A total of 596 hunter checks were made with 6 bucks
being checked. Overall deer harvest for opening weekend appears to be down due
to very warm conditions on the weekend. The Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club again
deserves credit for maintaining hunting access to this important area of Weyerhaeuser
Deer Season: Biologist
Anderson reports deer hunting pressure on the opening weekend to be normal throughout
the Columbia River Gorge units. As the week progressed with heavy rains, pressure
dropped and only a few hunters were observed in West Klickitat and Wind River.
Hunting pressure in the Centerville area of Klickitat County appeared to be
heavy all week as hunters targeted private lands experiencing some damage issues.
volunteer treats site overgrown with moss with lime to increase forage
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Helens Wildlife Area:
Forage Enhancement: Volunteer Mike Braaten has begun
work on an elk forage enhancement project near the east end of the wildlife
area. When complete, the project will provide increased forage production on
approximately 40 acres and establish trees and shrubs along the upper portion
of Bear Creek to improve riparian conditions. Recently Mr. Braaten spread one
ton of lime and harrowed a portion of this area as the first step toward improving
soil conditions for plant growth. The site was first planted in the late 1990's
and was quite productive for a few years, but has now become overgrown with
moss, thereby eliminating most of the forage value. Additional liming and harrowing
will continue until the site is planted early next spring. The rough ground
and terrain will dictate that the bulk of the work be done with ATV's.
Education: District Wildlife Biologist Anderson met with local Columbia
River Gorge volunteers to assist with construction of 3 osprey platforms. These
platforms will be placed on problem utility poles with Osprey nests in Klickitat
County. The local volunteers will build the platforms in cooperation with the
Goldendale High School and the local PUD will install them this fall. In addition,
the high school students will conduct a field trip to learn more about osprey
use of the Columbia River Gorge and their nesting ecology.
Helens Society of American Foresters Tour: District Biologist Miller and
Wildlife Area Manager Calkins gave a presentation at the Weyerhaeuser Forest
Learning Center to three groups as part of the Society of American Foresters
Convention. The group was on a tour of the Mt. St. Helens area. Miller and Calkins
spoke on the history of the elk herd in the area and how conditions have changed
on the wildlife area and in the surrounding landscape. Of particular interest
to the group were how commercial forestry effects elk management and the techniques
we use in managing the wildlife area.