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
August 2009

August 31

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area
Stabilization Project: The WDFW engineering crew has made substantial progress on several of the planned structures intended to protect elk winter range habitat and stabilize the Toutle River. As of August 8th, the first lateral structure was nearly complete, work started on a second structure, and several logjam and “wood jack” structures had been partially built. We also received surplus woody material from the Washington Department of Transportation this week, at no cost, that will be incorporated into some of the structures. The photo at right depicts the first lateral structure at the upper end of the project area and an associated logjam under construction.

Shillapoo Wildlife Area
BPA Contract Activities: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins made minor changes to the Fiscal Year 10 line item budget to reflect a decrease in WDFW’s indirect rate, entered the Statement of Work into WDFW CAPS contract tracking system, and began entering allotment information into the CAPS Financial database for the upcoming Shillapoo Wildlife Area Contract with Bonneville Power. An estimated budget accrual, which estimates expenditures through the end of the fiscal year on the current contract, was also completed. In addition, Calkins began preparing information for the annual environmental compliance review of our planned activities on several items proposed in the new statement of work with the potential for ground disturbance.

Harvesting wheat fields
The harvest of the wheat fields on the Klickitat Wildlife Area that are leased to a local farmer.

Klickitat Wildlife Area
Wheat Field Harvest: Wildlife Area Manager VanLeuven monitored progress on the harvest of the wheat fields on the Klickitat Wildlife Area that are leased to a local farmer. The combine and grain truck arrived on Wednesday and harvest began the same day (KWA-WheatHarvest.JPG). The harvested wheat is sent to the grain elevator where it is accounted for and divided according to the cropshare agreement, with a share of the crop going to WDFW.

GAME DIVISION

Harvest Data: Biologists Prince and Holman represented Region 5 at a meeting designed to discuss big game harvest data collection, management, and use. A variety of issues related to the topic were discussed at the meeting including: the new presentation of the harvest data to the public, investigations as to the accuracy of the data, internal use of the data, desires for modification to the existing system, etc. Interested parties should review the WDFW website and select Harvest Data from the Hunting page. New features of the harvest data presentation include summaries of harvest by WDFW District, summaries that combine general season and permit harvest, and details of the antler sizes of harvested deer and elk.

Western pond turtle release Western pond turtle release
Biologist Anderson organized the release of 50 western pond turtles hatchlings to a wetland on State Parks property in the Columbia River Gorge.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Western Pond Turtles: Biologist Anderson organized the release of 50 western pond turtles hatchlings to a wetland on State Parks property in the Columbia River Gorge. This release site represents the fourth population in the Gorge and makes recovery of this endangered species closer to reality. We appreciate State Parks enthusiasm for support of our reintroduction effort and their involvement with plans for western pond turtle habitat development. Field efforts will continue this season into September with collection of hatchlings from this year’s head start program. Turtles collected from nests will be transported to the Oregon and Woodland Park Zoos.

August 24

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area
River Stabilization Project: Construction work began August 17th on the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grant project on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area that is intended to help stabilize the North Fork Toutle River on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. The previous week was spent mobilizing equipment, delivering 860 logs to the project site, and distributing them to specific structure locations over a one-half mile of floodplain. WDFW engineering crews will be building the project that includes four different types of structures. One of the designs is similar to those built further downstream in 2007. The project can be easily observed from the Weyerhaeuser Forest Learning Center on State Route 504.

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area and Klickitat Wildlife Area
PR Reporting: Wildlife Area Managers Calkins and VanLeuven completed the federally required reports of activities for Fiscal Year 2009 for the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area (and satellite units) and the Klickitat Wildlife Area, respectively. The reports have been submitted to program staff in Olympia for review and finalization. The reports summarize accomplishments, expenditures, and hours worked on non-maintenance activities from July 2008 through June 2009.

Mt. Goats
The annual mountain goat survey by helicopter was conducted this week with a total of 276 goats recorded.

GAME DIVISION

Mountain Goat Surveys: Region 5 completed its annual mountain goat surveys this week . Seven blocks within the Goat Rocks survey unit were surveyed from a helicopter. A total count of 276 goats was recorded. This number is about the same as last year’s count of 268, but the distribution of the goats has shifted slightly.

Mt. Rainier Elk Surveys: Region 5 conducted one of four flights this year of the South Rainier herd within the boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park. These surveys are in cooperation with the USGS, NPS, Muckleshoot Tribe, and Puyallup Tribe and are aimed at creating a monitoring protocol for elk within the park. This is the second year of the project. The WDFW portion of the flight classified 153 elk within the parks sub-alpine zone.

Region 5 Deer Management: Biologist Holman completed the annual PR report for Region 5 deer. The report details hunter effort and harvest, population trends, survey methodologies and results, and habitat conditions for the period encompassing July 2008 through June 2009. Not surprisingly, total deer harvest, hunter success and overall deer population were all lower than those of recent years. Presumably this is due to the severity of the 2007-08 winter.

GMU Boundary Signs: Biologist Anderson removed all GMU boundary signs between 574 (Wind River) and 578 (West Klickitat), and between 578 (West Klickitat) and 388 (Grayback) hunting units. Boundaries from these units were changed during the last 3-year hunting season evaluation. New boundaries were moved from small forest roads to major rivers and highways as a way to simplify GMU identification for the hunting public. In addition, these new unit boundaries will be easier to enforce by wildlife agents.

Scoter Capture Scoter Capture
Scoter Capture Scoter Capture
Scoter Capture Biologists Prince and Miller
assisted the PSAMP team
in capturing scoters
in Puget Sound this week.

August 17

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Cowlitz Wildlife Area
Swofford Pond: Wildlife Area staff and inmates from the Cedar Creek correctional facility completed trail maintenance on the Swofford Pond hiking trail (1.25 miles one-way). Most of the work included removal of fallen trees and cutting back brush and grass.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Scoter Captures: Biologists Prince and Miller assisted the PSAMP team in capturing scoters in Puget Sound this week. The birds are molting and can be coaxed into a fine mesh net suspended in the water. Once the birds are in the net, it takes many hands to remove them from the net and get them into bags and boxes to prepare them for banding and installing a limited number of radio collars. Animal safety is very important to avoid injury to the birds and the crew works very diligently to handle the birds with care. Once back to the processing area, the crew separates the birds into individual boxes for holding. WDFW employees, volunteers, and a crew from Simon Frazier University provide the crew needed to make this project successful. During this past week over 200 birds were captured in Oak Harbor and Padilla Bay.

GAME DIVISION

Elk Damage: Biologist Anderson met with Agent Vance to discuss Trout Lake Valley elk damage issues. Several options are being discussed including hunting and habitat management issues. Most damage issues develop in the spring when snow melt exposes the valley floor to early green up.

Band-tailed Pigeon: Biologist Anderson conducted a follow-up evaluation of band tail pigeon use at the Klickitat Hatchery. There have been observations throughout the years of pigeons using mineral springs found along the Klickitat River. Water samples were taken to evaluate mineral content of the springs reported to be used by band tail pigeons.

Band-tailed mineral site evaluation
Biologists are collecting water samples from Band-tailed pigeon sites to ascertain which minerals are targeted by the birds.

August 10

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Bald Eagle Mortality: The necropsy results have been returned for the bald eagle found dead during the late winter near Trout Lake that Biologist Anderson sent to the Fish and Wildlife Health lab in Madison Wisconsin. The chemistry results indicated a lead concentration of 34.67 ppm, thus the diagnosis is lead poisoning.

GAME DIVISION

Hunting Pamphlet Reviews: Biologist Holman reviewed draft versions of the Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet and the Cougar pamphlet. Significant changes relevant to Region 5 are included in both documents. Prospective cougar hunters are reminded to review pages 50-51 in the 2009 Big-Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet. Those interested in pursuing cougars with the aid of dogs should review the specific cougar pamphlet which will be issued during the first half of August. The Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet will be available near the end of the month.

Band-tailed pigeon mineral site evaluation: Biologists Anderson and Holman assisted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Manager Sanders in collection of samples from band-tailed mineral sites. Sanders is collecting water samples from sites throughout Washington, Oregon and California to ascertain which minerals are targeted by the birds. Additionally, Sanders maintains captive birds at a research facility where trials of diet versus mineral intake and bird condition are evaluated in detail. Goals of the study include evaluation of the statistical validity of using mineral site counts to monitor overall band-tail populations and establish hunting seasons. Also, development of methods for creating and enhancing the mineral sites will be generated through this work.

Transect 4
Jim Hill of the Central Klickitat Conservation District is preparing to record the vegetation found along 100 feet of tape on Transect 4.
Conboy NWR
A field review for the Conboy NWR CCP attended by a variety of organizations including the USFWS, Yakima Indian Nation, WDFW, Ducks Unlimited, and the Mt Adams Resource Stewards.
Scoter
Male scoter, part of a project that focuses on the capture of molting scoters to install leg bands and a few radio transmitters to monitor movements and survival of surf and white winged scoters.

August 3, 2009

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Klickitat Wildlife Area
Range Survey: Manager Van Leuven completed the report write-up on the range survey that was conducted in June on and around the Klickitat Wildlife Area. The survey transects were established and surveyed for the first time in 1952. These sites were revisited in 1955, 1960, 1968, and in 1979. The survey was last done thirty years ago, and in that time interval, some of the transects underwent significant changes in the plant composition and abundance. For example, among perennial plants at Transect 4 near Stinson Flat Campground, grasses decreased in abundance by 27%, while forbs increased by 28%. Of more importance, perennial plants at Transect 4 have increased in abundance by 724%, while annuals have decreased by 54%. Past records suggest that the site was heavily disturbed between 1952 and 1979, and results of the new survey indicate that the plant community is maturing toward a more forb-dominated makeup under current land management. In the photo at right, Jim Hill of the Central Klickitat Conservation District is preparing to record the vegetation found along 100 feet of tape on Transect 4. This long-term study allows managers to learn how local plants respond to different management practices, as well as assess the current condition of the range.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Western Pond Turtle Management: Biologist Holman met with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Staff at the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge to review habitat management activities, plan future habitat work, and discuss water levels. Extensive blackberry management (summer mowing and fall spraying) has significantly improved the upland habitats on the Refuge over the past two years. Additional blackberry removal has been undertaken by hand in the most turtle-sensitive areas (nesting habitat). Water levels are low on the Refuge but manipulation of water-control structures and a little maintenance has combined to maintain enough water in the ponds to provide both aquatic habitat and refugia for the turtles. Future plans include development of additional wetlands at Pierce. Thanks to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Staff for their commitment to maintain and improve turtle habitat on the refuge.

Bald Eagle Mortality: Biologist Anderson sent an adolescent female bald eagle for necropsy to the Fish and Wildlife Health lab in Madison Wisconsin. This bird was found dead during the late winter near Trout Lake. A fragment of lead bullet was found in the gizzard and was first initially recognized in a radiograph of the whole body. Acute lead poisoning is suspected as the cause of death of this bird. Lead poisoning is of major concern in many raptor deaths due to the presence of lead found throughout our environment.

Conboy NWR Review: Biologist Anderson attended a field review for the Conboy NWR CCP. The CCP process brings together a variety of stakeholders to review future plans for fish and wildlife habitat management on the refuge. Major topics for discussion included water management, sandhill cranes, Oregon spotted frogs, elk, and forest and wetland enhancement. A variety of organizations including the USFWS, Yakima Indian Nation, WDFW, Ducks Unlimited, and the Mt Adams Resource Stewards were in attendance.

Scoter captures: District Biologist Miller assisted the PSAMP crew with scoter captures this week in Padilla Bay (male scoter.jpg). This project focuses on capture of molting scoters to install leg bands and a few radio transmitters to monitor movements and survival of surf and white winged scoters. The birds are coaxed into a net that entangles them and they float to the surface of the water. The PSAMP crew has developed a very efficient and well organized process that maintains a high level of people and animal safety while capturing a large number of birds. District 10 staff will continue to assist throughout the summer.