has impacted many of the acitivities of the Klickitat and Cowlitz Wildlife
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Emergency Winter Feeding Initiated: Hay was delivered on Monday the 28th and WDFW immediately began the emergency
winter-feeding on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. We currently estimate that
at least 600 elk are on the area. During the first week, between 1300 and 4000
pounds of alfalfa have been fed per day. Conditions for the feeding crew have
been somewhat miserable, having to deal with driving through up to 18 inches
of snow to reach the site. For the time being, we have abandoned the use of
larger flatbed trucks and are feeding out of 4 wheel drive pickups, which are
currently the only vehicles that can make it in and out of the site safely.
As we would ordinarily expect under conditions such as these, staff have observed
two elk mortalities that may be due to winter conditions. Last year, even with
a feeding program operating, a total of 18 mortalities were found on the site,
an indicator that forage is not the only factor leading to winter mortality.
Harsh winter conditions are just as important in dictating the severity of winter
on the animals.
Klickitat and Cowlitz
Staff at both Wildlife Areas have been spending many hours
clearing and trudging through snow; impacting outside related work activities.
Staff have been monitoring impacts to wildlife.
Region 5 Post-Season Deer Surveys: Biologist Holman compiled the results
of post-season deer surveys conducted in GMU 388 (Grayback) and 382 (East Klickitat).
During the effort a total of just over 800 deer were classified with a combination
of aerial and ground surveys employed. Please see the table and graph below
summarizing the post-season deer survey results from 2003 through 2007 in these
two important Region 5 GMUs. A post-hunting season goal of 15 bucks per 100
does has been established as a state-wide benchmark per the Game Management
Plan. Note that although located in Region 5, and containing both mule and black-tailed
deer as well as hybrid animals, GMU 388 is now managed as a mule-deer area.
A three-point or larger antler restriction for all user-groups was implemented
in 2006 and the general rifle season was shortened to 14 days. During the period
spanning 2003 through 2005, Grayback was hunted under a more liberal two-point
restriction and offered a longer general rifle season. Post-season buck to doe
ratios under prior management strategy averaged just 8 bucks per 100 does annually.
The survey indicates that this change in management strategy has resulted in
improved post-hunting-season escapement of bucks in GMU 388. WDFW will continue
to monitor the post-season deer population in GMU 388 in future years.
5 Post Season Deer Survey Summary 2003-2007
Click chart for enlargement
Columbia River Gorge Trails: Biologist Anderson is currently assisting
the Habitat Division with review of several proposed trail systems in the Columbia
River Gorge. Many of the trails under review are mountain bike trails that have
not been approved for development by the USFS and have been built in sensitive
wildlife habitats near Catherine and Major Creeks near White Salmon. The public
review process is attempting to go back and determine if many of the trails
should be closed or allowed to continue to exist. Trials are currently in areas
with sensitive raptor nesting sites and big game concentration areas.
Bald Eagle Management: Biologists Anderson and Holman participated in
a two-day session with other WDFW staff involved in bald eagle management. Several
aspects of bald eagle management and bald eagle Plan development are currently
conducted in various ways throughout the State. Several of these inconsistencies
should be relatively easy to address and standardize including the need to develop
standard templates for all eagle plans, the need for all WDFW Staff in both
Wildlife and Habitat Programs to have easy, up-to-date information on eagle
locations and history, the need to standardize the procedure for signing and
storage of eagle plans, and the formatting of eagle related data. At a policy
level, WDFW will need to address more difficult questions relating to bald eagle
site management, population monitoring, etc., following down listing to "Sensitive"
at both the State and Federal level.
Western Pond Turtle: Biologist Anderson is working with Olympia staff to integrate statewide western
pond turtle capture data into the agency database. Regional staff also met with
Olympia Diversity staff to develop guidelines for next year’s Matrix.
Pacific Northwest Sportsman’s Show: Region 5 staff worked throughout the
5-day Sportsman’s Show event. The show was well attended and WDFW's booth
drew in much attention, especially the enforcement elk decoy. Many thanks to
all the dedicated staff who provided pertinent information in response to the
many questions from all the interested attendees.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Habitat Improvement: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven
met with the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group to discuss potential fish
habitat improvement project sites on the Klickitat River and Swale Creek. These
sites are on Klickitat Wildlife Area property.
was provided to Manager VanLeuven regarding trespassing on important parcels
where Western Turtle ponds are present. A person has been running dogs and riding
a mountain bike there even though there are signs present regarding closure
to public access.
Oak Habitat Management: Biologist Anderson met with Olympia and Vancouver
staff to develop a plan for oak habitat improvement in Klickitat County. The
Klickitat Wildlife Area and surrounding ownerships were chosen as an initial
project area for an oak improvement project. Past fire suppression has caused
an increase in conifer growth and thus increased competition with oak habitat.
2008 will be used primarily for planning and mapping potential project areas
with the goal of on the ground oak/conifer habitat improvement starting in 2009.
Sea Lions: Wildlife
Program Manager Jonker attended the Northwest Power and Conservation Council
and Committee meetings where the Council discussed several interim year funding
proposals including 2 proposals submitted by Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission for sea lion related work (e.g.,
hazing, capture, marking, etc.).
along the roadway where hay is being distributed.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Winter Feeding Update: Agency staff continue
to deliver alfalfa hay to the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area on a daily basis.
The Emergency Winter Feeding operation, which began on January 28th, was a significant
challenge for the first couple of weeks due primarily to difficult road conditions
from heavy snowfall. At one point we had a flat bed truck stuck on the Wildlife
Area for over one week and had to resort to the use of 4 wheel drive pickups
to transport the hay. We currently are feeding about two tons of hay per day
and estimate that we have approximately 600 elk on the area. The attached photo
shows some of the elk along the roadway where hay is being distributed.
Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Tree Plantings: Assistant Manager Hauswald and Technician Fox have been
busy this week planting about 1,800 trees at four different sites on the Shillapoo
Wildlife Area. Two of the sites are riparian plantings, and received about 1,100
trees; one was a cottonwood planting of 500 trees in an effort to restore a
previous Great Blue Heron Rookery; and the fourth was an upland site, which
received about 200 trees. A fifth site, which was approved for tree planting
late last fall, will receive about 600 trees next week. The majority of the
trees being planted are Oregon Oak, in an effort to restore native oak forest
communities in the area. Each project site will take several years to complete
the plantings and the desired plant composition at each.
otter and a porcupine sleeping on a stump in the creek were observed during
the site visit at Swale Creek area.
Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Projects: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven met with the Mid-Columbia Fisheries
Enhancement Group to discuss the Swale Creek area. An otter and a porcupine
sleeping on a stump in the creek were observed during the site visit. In addition,
Manager VanLeuven conducted a site visit around the Sipes property with a Wildlife
Area neighbor, Columbia Land Trust, and Habitat Biologist Weiler. Discussions
included current condition of the habitat relative to western gray squirrels
and other features, such as recent land uses, etc. The group observed two groups
of deer and one western gray squirrel during the visit, as well as 25 to 30
squirrel nests. Manager VanLeuven also met with former Wildlife Area Manager
Morrison to discuss various issues related to the Wildlife Area - Mr. Morrison
provided a wealth of historical information that is very valuable with respect
to current management considerations on the Wildlife Area.
Hunting Season Recommendations: Biologist Holman reviewed preliminary
harvest data for deer and elk in Region 5. Additionally, population modeling
was conducted to ascertain what impact the liberalization of antlerless elk
harvest in the St. Helens Herd had on the overall population. Further consideration
was given regarding the severity of the current winter. Per the Mt. St. Helens
Elk Herd Plan, the 2007 season began the 5-year effort to reduce the St. Helens
Elk population from approximately 13,000 individuals to 10,000. As a follow-up
to these efforts, Regional Wildlife Program Manager Jonker, District Wildlife
Biologist Anderson, and Biologist Holman met with Game Division Manager Ware
and Deer and Elk Section Manager Nelson regarding Region 5 hunting season proposals.
and Wildlife Scientific Technician Ridenour and volunteer Howell spent
a morning checking the cameras on Lord and Fisher Islands.
Columbian White Tailed Deer: Fish and Wildlife Scientific Technician
Ridenour and volunteer Howell spent a morning checking the cameras on Lord and
Fisher Islands. Of 11 images on Fisher Island, 1 contained a picture of a Black
Tailed deer and 10 others were images of a coyote. No images of deer were recorded
on Lord Island, although 1 camera had a battery malfunction. Images are used
to estimate deer subspecies on the island during other surveys.
Administrative: District Wildlife Biologist Miller is recovering from surgery from a work related
injury. Miller is required to wear a knee-high boot to prevent any moment of
his ankle/heel for another 9 weeks. Since this injury is on Miller's right foot,
he is unable to drive or engage in extensive walking/hiking until the end of
April, and arrangements for some surveys will be impacted.