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 Report Archives

Southwest Washington Wildlife Report Archives
June 2011

June 27, 2011

The Youth Conservation Corps crew worked two day removing old barbed-wire fence on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
The Youth Conservation Corps crew worked two day removing old barbed-wire fence on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
The Youth Conservation Corps crew worked two day removing old barbed-wire fence on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Cowlitz Wildlife Area:
Hunter Education Class: CWA staff conducted a hunter education class last week. Typically three classes are held per year with this being the second class of the year. Fourteen students started the course with 13 successfully passing; they will soon be receiving their hunter education cards. The class teaches students how to handle guns safely, the different types of equipment as well as the rules for using them, and acquaints them with other practical skills such as first aid and survival. The class also instructs students on the subjects of conservation and sportsmanship. Finally, the class culminates with a 75 question multiple-choice test and a skills evaluation whereby a hunting experience is simulated by walking students through a field course. It was a fun time for everybody and the feedback from both the students and parents was positive.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Youth Conservation Corps: The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew from Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge worked for 2 days on the Klickitat Wildlife Area to experience working in a different habitat type, doing a different kind of project. Manager Van Leuven went with the crew to the Swale Creek Unit, where the Youth Corps removed approximately 1.05 mile of old, rusty barbed wire fencing. The original western fence line, which was about 0.3 mile long, had to be taken down and rolled up before it could be carried to the truck. Much of the old wire in the eastern fence line, which is about 0.75 mile long, had been rolled up, but needed to be moved up the hill to where the truck was parked. Two pickup loads of old wire were taken to the Goldendale Transfer Station for disposal, where the YCC crew unloaded the truck. Many thanks to Conboy Lake Refuge Manager Ludwig and the YCC crew for eliminating a former safety hazard to both resident wildlife and human visitors to the Swale Creek Unit.

GAME DIVISION

Early Seral Forest Management Field Tour: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's annual Wildlife Professionals Day was held on-site in Region 5. This year's topic was Management of Early Seral Forest Habitats and featured a five-stop tour of the mitigation lands managed by Pacificorps that surround the impoundments on the North Fork Lewis River. The five stops featured forest stands following various management activities and included sites 1, 2, 7, 14 and 30 years of age. Three Pacificorps Staff members (Biologists and Foresters) along with WDFW Biologist Holman split up and led four groups of approximately 20 individuals on a rotating visit to the sites.

Attendees included WDFW Staff from Wildlife and Habitat Programs, U.S. Forest Service representatives from Washington and Oregon, BLM Staff from Oregon, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Oregon Department of Forestry, N.C.A.S.I, Washington State University, Oregon State University, other utilities, the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, NGOs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, etc. The broad base of attendees generated an on-going quality discussion of the issues surrounding management of younger forest stands and the need for additional quality early seral habitat, especially in western Washington and Oregon. Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for organizing the event and paying for the facility, transportation, and food. Finally, thanks to Pacificorps for their exemplary work in managing younger forest stands and thereby creating robust, diverse habitat for species that favor this seral stage.

Regional vessels were used as teaching tools for the on-water Boat Safety class.
Regional vessels were used as teaching tools for the on-water Boat Safety class.
Regional vessels were used as teaching tools for the on-water Boat Safety class.

OTHER

MOCC: Biologist Miller assisted with a MOCC (Boat Safety) class in Vancouver this week. Students are provided information on basic safety, fire fighting, rules of the road, equipment requirements, boat and trailer maintenance, aquatic invasive species, emergency procedures, and other topics. The course also involves on water exercises to develop/demonstrate student skills at docking, object avoidance, approaching an object/person in the water, and boat control at speed. Miller used his Regional vessels as teaching tools for the on-water exercises as well as boat and trailer care topics (boat.trailer maint.JPG), and demonstrated anchoring and towing techniques (anchor line display.JPG).

June 20, 2011

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Forage Management: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins and Volunteer Braaten fertilized and harrowed portions of the “Boulder Flat” forage enhancement site in the eastern portion of the Wildlife Area. Calkins also fertilized and harrowed part of one of the more well established forage sites as well. Some of this work was done by tractor but the roughest parts require atvs. Braaten actually broke part of the frame on his own atv but was able to weld the rear axle back into place.

Weed Management: Results of the aerial application to control scotch broom earlier this month appear to be very good. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins also contacted Cowlitz County Weed Management Regarding a stand of Hawkweed along our Eastern Boundary with the National Volcanic Monument. The USFS contracts with the county to do control work in the Monument and indicated that they would treat the stand within a few days.

Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Contract Renewal: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins began working on the FY 12 statement of work that needs to be submitted to BPA by the end of this month. A particular new challenge this year is that all of our monitoring protocols need to be entered into a new system. Entering the first one took about two hours and there are potentially four others that will need to be entered.

Field Activities: Wetland drawdown is slow this year due to high water levels in the Columbia River. We are not certain at this point how this will affect native plant response although in general, when we have had conditions similar to this in the past, native plants have increased in wetland basins. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins trimmed grass around the Reiger Oak planting access gate and reader board and also trimmed around some of the seedling trees in the northern part of the planting.

Rare plant survey conducted on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
Rare plant survey conducted on the Klickitat Wildlife Area.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Rare Plant Surveys: Manager Van Leuven facilitated rare plant surveys with Rare Care volunteers by helping the group leader determine which species can be reliably identified and counted given the abnormal weather this spring, and she also lead an excursion to the Sondino Unit. The objective was to find out the distribution of Coyote Thistle and Ladies' Tresses, so as to avoid those during weed control efforts. Tall grass made surveying a challenge but 20 to 30 individual Spiranthes (Ladies' Tresses) were found. The seasonal wetland where Coyote Thistle was once recorded was still flooded, making a survey effort for this species premature. The group also observed 2 acorn woodpeckers, 2 ash-throated flycatchers, and approximately 25 western pond turtles.

Bluebird Nest Box Survey: Manager Van Leuven conducted the annual bluebird nest box survey. Of the 19 usable boxes, 10 were occupied by bluebirds, 3 were being used by tree swallows, and 6 were unoccupied. Of the boxes that had to be opened to determine if they were used, bluebird brood sizes were large. All nests had at least 4 chicks, and one nest had 6 chicks (although 1 had died).

GAME DIVISION

Black-tail fawn with radio collar.
Black-tail fawn with radio collar.

Black-tailed Deer Research Project: Biologist Holman and Technician Pyzik continued fawn searches for the Washougal portion of the black-tail research project. Four adult does remain in GMU 568 and they are equipped with both traditional VHF radio transmitters as well as satellite transmitters, which generate a GPS location. Two fawns have been captured in 2011.

Operation Dark Goose: Brood surveys were conducted by biologists Miler, Koberstein, and volunteer Jarvis this week in preparation of banding in early July. Thirteen dark goose broods were observed in the vicinity of Miller Sands Island along with signals from all 5 radio collared female geese. Volunteers from the public, OSFW, and USFWS will be joining together in July to capture and leg band as many of these birds as possible and outfitting adult females with neck collars to aid in subspecies identification during the fall hunting season and goose surveys during the winter.

Pigeon Mineral Springs Survey: Biologists Miler and Koberstein visited the Soda Springs site this week to evaluate its use by band tailed pigeons and locate sites to watch the springs. The site has not been surveyed for many years and the forest nearby limits viewing areas. Alternates for the survey are being discussed with Section Lead Kraege.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Columbia White-tailed Deer Distinct Population Range - Oregon/Washington Border
Columbia White-tailed Deer Distinct Population Range - Oregon/Washington Border

Columbian white-tailed deer status review. Biologists Koberstein and Miller and Wildlife Program Manager Jonker have finalized the draft of the status review for the Columbian white-tailed deer (CWTD). This report is a follow-up to the CWTD Recovery Plan published in 1983, and summarizes new information relating to populations trends, emergent and past threats, as well as habitat viability. At the time of the publication of the Recovery Plan, two geographically isolated populations of CWTD were federally listed as endangered species: the Douglas County population near Roseburg, OR and the Lower Columbia River (LCR) population. The Douglas County population has since recovered and was delisted in 2003. This report addresses the status of the LCR population. The draft has been sent to all members of the CWTD review team; representing ODFW, USFWS, Columbia Land Trust, and the Cowlitz Tribe of Indians, for input and recommendations for future actions.


Great blue heron nest site on the Columbia River.
Great blue heron nest site on the Columbia River.

Great Blue Heron Survey: Biologist Anderson and Biologist Flick from the USFS surveyed great blue heron nest colonies as part of the coordinated water bird survey on the Columbia River in Klickitat County. This year two small rookeries located on Brown and Miller Islands were surveyed for numbers of adult, nests, and young. Wildlife Officer Bolton assisted with the survey by providing the boat to access the islands. In addition to the great blue herons, a new bald eagle nest was located on the survey. We appreciate the help from the Enforcement division.

Western Pond Turtle Management: Biologists Holman, Stephens, and Hallock along with Technician Pyzik initiated trapping for western pond turtles on Pierce National Wildlife Refuge in Skamania County. Forty-eight traps, which must be checked daily, have been set on the Refuge. The trapping effort is being conducted to document reproduction on the Refuge. Pierce Refuge is the first re-introduction site in the Columbia River Gorge. Western pond turtles from the Head-Start program were first released in the year 2000, with a total of 321 individuals to date. Western pond turtles need approximately 10 years to reach sexual maturity.

June 13, 2011

GAME DIVISION

Black-tailed Deer Research Project: Biologists Holman, Stephens, and Technician Pyzik continued fawn searches for the Washougal portion of the black-tail research project. Four adult does remain in GMU 568 and they are equipped with both traditional VHF radio transmitters as well as satellite transmitters, which generate a GPS location. Two fawns have been captured in 2011.

Site visit to Land Trust property to look at a recently completed white oak habitat management project.
Site visit to Land Trust property to look at a recently completed white oak habitat management project.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Wildlife and Habitat Management Training: Biologist Anderson conducted a slide presentation and field training for the local Underwood Conservation District staff in White Salmon. The focus of the program was oriented around wildlife species and habitat management in Skamania and Klickitat counties. The Underwood Conservation District works with private landowners on a variety of projects that impact fish and wildlife resources in the Columbia River Gorge. In addition to the slide presentation, Biologist Anderson and Lindsay Cornelius of the Columbia Land Trust conducted a site visit to Land Trust property to look at a recently completed white oak habitat management project.

June 6, 2011

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area:
Forage Maintenance: Volunteer Braaten fertilized and harrowed the upper Bear Creek forage enhancement area and also harrowed the “golf green” forage site as well. Mr. Braaten has had a longstanding commitment to helping WDFW enhance winter range conditions here and we appreciate his efforts, which often involve many hours and donated equipment use as well.

Scotch Broom Control: Seventy acres of scotch broom were sprayed by helicopter recently. The effort was made possible by the efforts of WDFW weed coordinator Heimer. The work took about two hours and conditions were ideal for the application with very light winds, no precipitation, and mild temperatures. Follow up work to control scattered plants will occur throughout the summer and fall by ground application to individual plants.

Shillapoo Wildlife Area:
Dove Survey: Wildlife Area Manager Calkins completed the annual mourning dove survey route in the Vancouver Lowlands. A total of four doves were heard during the survey and one was seen along the route. This could be the last year for the survey on this route because we are expecting to lose the first part of the route due an impending to road closure. Discussions on possible locations for a rerouted route will occur in the near future.

Field Activities: Wildlife Area Assistant Manager Hauswald completed monthly in-season grazing monitoring activities including cover board photos and counting cattle in the pastures. He also supervised corrections crews clearing blackberry along Bass Lake. Hauswald and Wildlife Area Manager Calkins also replaced a gate on the South Unit where part of the gate was stolen probably to sell the metal. Fortunately this gate was in need of replacement anyway.

Administrative Tasks: Due to flooding on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area in Oregon, there has been a dramatic increase in field trial permit applications. So far we have been able to accommodate each of the requests that have come in. Region 5 front office staff and Westside Lands Supervisor Warren have done an outstanding job of customer service in helping prepare and process these permits. Wildlife Area Manager Calkins was able to get a new equipment trailer ordered after spending a great deal of time working with several vendors on bids and other complicating matters.

Klickitat Wildlife Area:
Road Work: Manger Van Leuven facilitated work by the WDFW heavy equipment crew to improve roads on the Wildlife Area. The surface of the road onto the Goldendale Hatchery Unit was rocked, four culverts were installed on the South Breaks Road, and two parking areas on the Sheep Canyon Road were improved with rock. Boulders were also placed along the Sheep Canyon Road to discourage off-road driving. The South Breaks Road will be closed until June 17 to allow the disturbed surface of the road to solidify.

Cowlitz Wildlife Area:
Peterman Unit: Wildlife Area staff completed a 24 mile road inventory on the Peterman Unit. Green Diamond Resources (GDR) continues to maintain a timber reservation on this unit from the original purchase by Tacoma Power for mitigation of the Cowlitz Hydroelectric Project. When GDR harvests the timber they turn back the timber rights to Tacoma Power who is the deeded landowner. At the same time they can also turn back the responsibility of maintaining the logging roads to the harvest units. Earlier this year GDR notified WDFW, who manages the Peterman Unit as part of the Cowlitz Wildlife Area under mitigation, that they would be returning approximately 24 miles of roads. As managers, we inventoried the roads to make sure improvements (i.e., RMAP issues, ditches, water-bars, and road surfaces) will be brought to acceptable levels under forest practices before we accept them back under our control.

GAME DIVISION

Black-tailed Deer Research Project: Biologists Holman, Stephens, and Koberstein continued fawn searches for the Washougal portion of the black-tail research project. Four adult does remain in GMU 568 and they are equipped with both traditional VHF radio transmitters as well as satellite transmitters, which generate a GPS location. Two fawns have been captured in 2011.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Flamulated Owl Surveys: Biologist Anderson prepared for flamulated owl surveys that will be conducted in the month of June. The flamulated owl is a sensitive species of which little is known in Washington State. Because it is a highly migratory species, it arrives later in the nesting season and initiates breeding later than most typical owls. Survey protocol, maps and equipment were prepared and organized for field work to begin in the next two weeks.