Habitat - Wildlife Area Management
Date Published: November 2006
Number of Pages: 45
Author(s): Brian Calkins
The 2,341-acre Shillapoo Wildlife Area was established in 1952 for habitat protection and bird hunting, with the first 277 acres purchased between the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake in Clark County. Subsequent acquisitions, primarily in the 1990¡¦s, were directed at protecting and improving waterfowl and wetland habitat.
A large focus of the acquisition and management of this area has been to reestablish wetland habitat within the Shillapoo Lakebed, which was drained in the 1950¡¦s for agricultural production. Although a substantial portion of the former lake is still in private ownership, plans to reestablish wetland conditions are moving forward in the WDFW-owned portion of the Wildlife Area. Improvements and enhancements to other wetland areas and habitat types are either in progress or are planned. The Shillapoo Wildlife Area is also a part of The Bonneville Power Administration¡¦s mitigation program for the Columbia River hydropower system, which currently funds almost all operations and enhancements.
The primary management and public concerns for the area include:
- Controlling invasive exotic plants including reed canary grass, Himalayan blackberry, poison hemlock, and purple loosestrife
- Providing Canada goose wintering habitat, in part to reduce crop depredation on private lands
- Restoring native type habitat for species diversity
- Controlling public abuses of the wildlife area lands, facilities, and adjoining areas
- Managing public access for hunting and other uses
An assistant manager was hired in 2006 and new equipment was secured, which helped WDFW make significant progress toward the control of weeds and undesirable brush in the Wildlife Area and improvement to both wetland and upland waterfowl winter foraging habitat. Increased presence on the Wildlife Area has also helped to reduce some of the abuses of the site. In addition, infrastructure maintenance has improved substantially.
Control of Himalayan blackberry and reed canary grass will continue to be a focus in 2007 by mowing, disking, spraying, and manipulating water levels to favor native plants. Tree planting will occur in oak habitat sites and the Lake River riparian zone. Two major projects intended to reestablish native wetland vegetation in the Shillapoo Lakebed are planned through partnership projects with Ducks Unlimited and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2006. Shillapoo Wildlife Area Management Plan. Wildlife Management Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia. 45 pp.