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 2009

April 27

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Klickitat Wildlife Area
Oak Enhancement: Manager VanLeuven met with National Wild Turkey Federation Biologist McMasters to plan the work for the habitat enhancement project that will occur on the Wildlife Area. VanLeuven wrote the prescription for the forest thinning work to be implemented this spring and worked with WDFW staff to finalize the details.

Collaborative Partnership: Manager VanLeuven discussed a long-standing problem with Western Pacific Timber regarding cattle escapement, public use of a gated road, as well as unauthorized vehicle access on roads on state and timber company owned lands. This has been a problem for at least 15 years, and manager VanLeuven has been working with adjacent landowners to develop a better way to restrict vehicle access as well as prevent livestock escapement.

Volunteers planting trees.
WDFW thanks all the volunteers who made it possible to plant 14,000 rooted trees and shrubs along the Toutle River.

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area
Tree Plantings Completed: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald and Technician Fox recently finished the final phase of this year's tree planting effort on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. Over the past several weeks a total of 14,000 rooted trees and shrubs were planted along the Toutle River and another 2,000 were planted on a portion of Bear Creek. In total over three miles of streamside area was planted. The planting mix was made up of red and sitka alder, black cottonwood, pacific ninebark, salmonberry, red-osier dogwood, cascara, western red cedar, noble, grand and douglas fir, and sitka spruce. 1,100 of the trees that are more likely to be browsed by elk had 3 or 4 foot tree protectors placed over them to help assure establishment. The larger planting is part of a larger project to stabilize the river and protect elk forage areas. Wood structures will be constructed later this year as the final phase of that work. The Bear Creek planting is part of a project sponsored by volunteer Mike Braaten who received a grant through WDFW's Volunteer Cooperative Grants Program to enhance elk forage on about 20 acres and improve riparian habitat along the creek. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped us plant these trees this year. Without their support we would not have been able to get all of this work accomplished in such a timely fashion. The volunteers helped under all sorts of conditions including warm weather, rain, and even snow (see tree protectors 4-09.JPG attached).

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Peregrine Falcon Nest Site Monitoring: Biologist Holman conducted a protocol visit to another peregrine falcon site in the Columbia River Gorge. A pair of falcons was present at the location and incubation was observed. Biologist Anderson conducted protocol visits to two peregrine falcon site in Klickitat County. A pair of peregrine falcons occupied both sites. Surveys for the birds will continue into the spring for occupancy with productivity surveys to be conducted in June as part of the statewide monitoring effort.

Western Pond Turtle Management: Western pond turtle trapping efforts continue at the Sondino Ponds site. Through April 22nd, seventeen adult female pond turtles have been captured and equipped with new radio telemetry transmitters. The female turtles will be followed to their nesting locations during June and July in support of the Head-Start program.

Lower Columbia River goose nest survey. Lower Columbia River goose nest survey.
Lower Columbia River goose nest survey. Lower Columbia River goose nest survey.
Region 5 staff, along with other WDFW staff, ODFW staff, and agency volunteers completed the annual Lower Columbia River goose nest survey.
Cananda goose nesting on Miller Sands Island: Chart by Year
Click chart for enlargement

GAME DIVISION

Goose Nest Survey: Region 5 staff, along with other WDFW staff, ODFW staff, and agency volunteers completed the annual Lower Columbia River goose nest survey. Five islands were surveyed for goose nests this year with a total of 364 nests found (1987-2008-GooseNestSurvey.pdf). This is very close to the number of nests found last year (363). "Dark" goose nests are also noted during the survey on Miller Sands Island. These birds are thought to be resident Dusky or "Wuskies" (western + dusky) geese. A total of 46 "dark" goose nests were found this year on Miller Sands, Main, and Miller Sands Spit combined. Last year's dark nest total was 55. An attempt was also made this year to capture some of these dark birds and attach radio collars in an effort to locate more birds in July when they are banded and collared in preparation for hunting season. We attempted to net gun the birds on the nest and collar them, but this was a lot more challenging then originally thought. Staff did have success with a hoop trap that was set the day before and caught a single bird. More emphasis is going to be put on using the hoop traps in the near future to get more birds collared.

Hunting Information: All landowners in Klicitat County that participate in the Hunt by Written Permission program were asked to submit their permits from 2008-2009 hunting season. Biologist Anderson received numerous phone calls from hunters that wanted to discuss the recent hunting season changes in the new pamphlet. Most questions were related to boundary changes in Klickitat County and modifications to the late muzzleloader deer season in 578. Most hunters indicated they understood the reasons for the changes although some indicated their preference for the original regulations.

Migration: Annual migration of birds, especially Canada geese is well underway. Listening early in the morning and early in the evening might reveal skeins of geese calling to each other as they move north to nesting grounds in Canada and Alaska. In this area the birds seem to follow the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean and then turn north to historical nest areas. They will be back in late September with new broods of young to winter in SW Washington.


April 20, 2009

Manager Van Leuven met with Trout Unlimited volunteer Fritsch on the Goldendale Hatchery Unit to plant about 25 willow cuttings along Spring Creek.
Manager Van Leuven met with Trout Unlimited volunteer Fritsch on the Goldendale Hatchery Unit to plant about 25 willow cuttings along Spring Creek.

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Klickitat Wildlife Area
Turkey Opening: Turkey hunting season opened April 15th and so far hunters in the Klickitat River Canyon seem to be finding the best success. The gates on Old Headquarters Rd., Anderson Rd., and South Breaks Rd. were opened the evening of Apr. 14. Manager Van Leuven visited with people at their camps to connect with them regarding their experiences.

Spring Creek Planting: Manager Van Leuven met with Trout Unlimited volunteer Fritsch on the Goldendale Hatchery Unit to plant about 25 willow cuttings along Spring Creek. The Goldendale chapter of Trout Unlimited is planning a riparian planting project this fall as well.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Peregrine Falcon Nest Site Monitoring: Biologist Holman conducted a protocol visit to a peregrine falcon site in the Columbia River Gorge. A pair of falcons was present at the location but incubation could not be observed. Surveys for the birds will continue into the spring for occupancy with productivity surveys to be conducted in June.

Western Pond Turtle Management: Western pond turtle trapping efforts continue at the Sondino Ponds site. To date, 10 adult female pond turtles have been captured and equipped with new radio telemetry transmitters. The female turtles will be followed to their nesting locations during June and July in support of the Head-Start program.

Biologists Miller and Prince located the remains of a radio collared cow elk that was a part of the elk study that began this spring.
Biologists Miller and Prince located the remains of a radio collared cow elk that was a part of the elk study that began this spring.

GAME DIVISION

St Helens Elk study: Biologists Miller and Prince located the remains of a radio collared cow elk that was a part of the elk study that began this spring. During the first flight survey in early March the radio was transmitting a live pulse; however, the radio was transmitting a mortality pulse during the second flight survey in late March/early April. The carcass was found almost completely intact. Only the front shoulders were displaced from the rest of the remains. The animal's hide was also found a few yards away from the main portion of the carcass. All the tissue and muscle had been consumed. Based upon the remains, we think the elk was either killed by a large predator or died from winter conditions and then was consumed by a large predator.

April 13, 2009

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Klickitat Wildlife Area
Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven met with DNR Roads Specialist Gilmer to inspect a project that was compelted to fulfill requirements of the KWA Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan as well as to discuss progress on other items in the RMAP. In addition manager VanLeuven worked with Master Hunter candidate Randall to layout a volunteer project work for him. Randall assisted with preparation for a fencing project, road maintenance, and tree cage removal. While these are small projects individually, they are each important and the help is greatly appreciated.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Peregrine Falcon Nest Site Monitoring: Biologist Holman conducted protocol visits to two peregrine falcon nest locations in the Columbia River Gorge. A pair of falcons was present at one location but the initial visit to the other didn't reveal any falcons. Surveys for the birds will continue into the spring for occupancy with productivity surveys to be conducted in June.

Sandhill Cranes: Biologist Anderson reports that breeding sandhill cranes have arrived in Klickitat County at Conboy NWR and surrounding area. WDFW and the USFWS met this week to discuss this season’s plans for sandhill crane nesting surveys. The first coordinated survey will take place during the last week of April to document early nesting attempts.

GAME DIVISION

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area Elk Use Monitoring: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins, Assistant Manager Hauswald, and Volunteer Malcom completed the final Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area winter elk monitoring count of the season from the Weyerhaeuser Forest Learning Center. Three hundred twelve elk were counted during the survey, which is consistent with most of the other counts this winter. These counts are conducted at least once per month throughout the winter to monitor elk use and their condition on the site. In general, the majority of the elk in the area appear to be in good condition but a few show signs of physical decline, which is typical for this time of year. While doing some work on the site later, Hauswald located one elk that had apparently succumbed to winter conditions. Winter mortality is normal in any big game population. WDFW is in the process of reducing herd numbers through increased hunting effort in this area due to concerns that the number of animals had become too high for the available habitat to support. Even with a reduced number of animals, WDFW will always expect some level of winter mortality in the herd, which will vary each year depending upon habitat changes and winter severity as age, disease, and other factors limit a portion of any population’s ability to survive the winter.

April 6, 2009

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Cowlitz Wildlife Area
Funding Goal: Ensure effective use of current and future financial resources in order to meet the needs of Washington State’s fish and wildlife resource for the benefit of the public

Annual Report: The annual report for 2008 has been submitted to Tacoma Power. The report includes expenditures, 2008 performance activities, and next year’s planned activities. Tacoma Power will submit the report to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a requirement for their ongoing license.

Recreation Information – Riffe Lake Water Levels: Tacoma Power updates lake levels and other recreation information on its toll-free Fishing and Recreation Line every weekday at 1-888-502-8690.

WDFW employed the use of a helicopter to catch and relocate Columbian White-tailed deer.
WDFW employed the use of a helicopter to catch and relocate Columbian White-tailed deer.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Columbia White-Tailed Deer Relocation: Biologists Miller and Prince assisted USFWS staff and volunteers in the relocation of Columbian White-tailed deer. The deer were moved from Tenasillahe Island to the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge. The move was done as an effort to repopulate the refuge after recent flood events drove deer off of the refuge and into the surrounding timberlands. Twenty deer were successfully caught on Tenasillahe and released on the refuge. The capture was contracted and most deer were caught using net guns fired from a helicopter; a few deer were caught using a drive net. The deer were then blindfolded, hobbled, and placed into bags for their air transport to the mainland. All does released were outfitted with radio collars, while fawns and bucks were just ear tagged; the collared deer will be closely monitored by refuge staff.

Western Pond Turtle Management: Biologists Slavens and Holman initiated the western pond turtle trapping effort at the Sondino Ponds site. Fifty turtle traps were deployed in 6 water bodies at the site on April 1 and 2. The traps are a 50/50 split of floating traps that target basking turtles, and submerged baited nets that target feeding turtles. The trapping effort is the initial step in the annual process of conducting the head-start program. Trapping is needed to replace radio transmitters on adult females turtles so that they may be followed to their summer nesting sites.

Peregrine Falcon Surveys: Biologist Anderson visited one of two peregrine falcon territories this week as per the state/federal coordinated survey. This survey is part of a national survey to monitor peregrine falcon populations following their delisting a few years ago. The site visited this week was occupied and reports of other sites in the Columbia River Gorge indicate that many pairs are currently incubating eggs.

GAME DIVISION

St Helens Elk Project: The second round of elk surveys were flown this week for the St Helens mark-resight project with Region 5 Biologists Holman, Prince, Hauswald, Vanderlip; Deer and Elk Specialist McCorquodale, and GIS specialist Duff. Final figures are not yet available for the entire survey. GIS specialist Duff’s time and assistance with this project is greatly appreciated; as can be seen in the photo of him entering data and navigating the survey units (ResightFlight-Duff.JPG). Deer and Elk Specialist McCorquodale is principal lead on this project and we also thank him for his expertise in implementing this study and his ability to adapt to our large scale environment and challenges in attempting to improve our elk information. Region 5 thanks all the survey participants.

Turkey Season: Biologist Anderson has started to receive many phone calls from hunters interested in the spring turkey season in Klickitat County. Turkey hunting should be favorable this spring as the Klickitat population should have experienced low mortality due to mild winter conditions. Klickitat Wildlife Area Manager has observed many turkey hunters scouting the wildlife area to locate the places currently favored by the birds, as the youth turkey hunt is this weekend. Turkeys seem to be very mobile this time of year and it is not easy to predict where they will be found. Sunny weather is on the way and hunters should enjoy a good weekend outing.