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Conservation News

On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

July 2007

The hot, dry days of July gave biologists and field survey workers lots of time under the sun to work on Strategy-related projects.

cascades frogContents

Studying Frogs and Toads in the Higher Elevations

Holly Truemper, ODFW Diamond Lake Restoration Project biologist, was recently awarded a Conservation Strategy Implementation grant to study Strategy species at Diamond Lake—specifically the western toad and the Cascades frog. While it is important to determine frog and toad populations and distributions at Diamond Lake, the project has another important focus: determine differences in pre- and post-rotenone treatment populations of amphibians at the popular high mountain lake.

Last September, Diamond Lake was treated with rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide, to remove the invasive tui chub that had destroyed water quality and devastated the fishery. ODFW will add amphibian surveys to existing electrofishing surveys and conduct an overall population survey in Diamond Lake and surrounding wetlands.

western toadWhy study amphibians? “Outside of the fact that frogs and toads are very cool,” said Holly, “Many scientists consider amphibians to be an indicator species—animals whose decline provide early warning signs of ecosystem damage or change.”

The grant allows biologists to add another component to monitoring work that is already being done at Diamond Lake. “This year, we have a unique situation at Diamond Lake—during breeding season, we had a fishless lake that has now been restocked with fish that will have an impact on the next amphibian breeding season.”

Information on Oregon’s amphibians including the western toad and Cascades frog

Email Holly, Holly.A.Truemper@state.or.us


Oregon Attempts to Hold the Line

It was standing room only last week when the Oregon Marine Board and ODFW trained natural resource managers and enforcement personnel on how to inspect boats to find and destroy quagga and zebra mussels. Seventy attendees represented 22 agencies. “Oregon is the line to hold in the battle against invasive mussels,” said presenter Bill Zook, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

In January 2007, the discovery of quagga mussels in Lake Mead, Nevada heightened concern that they will too soon reach the Pacific Northwest. If they do, the negative effects will be both economic and environmental.

“If quagga mussels come to Oregon, it will be by boat or houseboat,” said Jim Gores, ODFW invasive species coordinator. “We are trying to mobilize as many resources as we can to protect Oregon’s freshwaters—and citizens—from what would be a very costly management effort.” Millions upon millions of dollars are spent each year by states infested with quagga and zebra mussels to keep water systems unclogged and ecosystems balanced.

"We are focused on the borders—specifically the southern and eastern entry points to Oregon,” said Randy Henry, Oregon Marine Board. “This is high boating season and we are trying to educate boat owners to inspect and clean their boats and trailers as they come in and out of the state. It's a huge effort and success will come only if boat owners understand the problem and take having a clean boat seriously." All boaters need to be concerned including personal watercraft, canoe and kayak users.

What states are paying the price of invasive mussels

Contact Jim Gores, james.k.gores@state.or.us

Contact Randy Henry, randy.h.henry@state.or.us


Conservation Advisors Think Locally

Putting the Conservation Strategy to work on a landscape as large and diverse as Oregon’s takes a grassroots effort—as a voluntary, far-reaching, costly and complex undertaking, it is the only way it will work. It is local biologists, groups, schools and landowners who understand their local communities and issues who will know what it takes to get work done. To facilitate local involvement in the Strategy, ODFW has designated 12 regional Strategy Coordinators to answer questions and provide outreach in their homelands.

ODFW regional coordinators are: Chris Carey, wildlife biologist, Bend; Lanny Fujishin, Klamath Wildlife Area manager, Klamath Falls; Rod Klus, assistant wildlife biologist, Hines; Nancy Taylor, district wildlife biologist, Corvallis; Steve Niemela, assistant wildlife biologist, Central Point; Dave Loomis, Umpqua Watershed District Manager, Roseburg; Vic Coggins, district wildlife biologist, Enterprise Field Office; Shannon Jewett, assistant wildlife biologist, Heppner; Doug Cottam, district wildlife biologist, Newport; Susan Barnes, Northwest Region wildlife diversity biologist, Clackamas; Charlie Corrarino, Conservation and Recovery program manager, Salem; and Cristen Don, Habitat and Nearshore Assistant project leader, Newport. Looks for news about them and their partners in this and future issues.

Contact information for ODFW staff and offices

Historic Range will Benefit Native Wildlife

“While evaluating restoration efforts on the Grassland, we researched the area’s historic vegetation—we asked, what was here pre-settlement? We believe the animals that evolved here need native habitat to thrive so it was important to find out,” said Anne Roberts, Crooked River National Grassland biologist. What came into focus through research are three distinct habitats that support a rich variety of game and nongame wildlife: ponderosa pine, shrub-steppe and juniper woodland. “Understanding the original landscape allows us to focus our restoration efforts.”

Grassland staff and a coalition of partners as diverse as the habitat are continually at work in the area. Currently, with help of a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, they are focusing on the west side of the Grassland removing 1,800 acres of juniper from ponderosa pine stands to stimulate understory forage production and increase the number of large pine trees. Elk, mule deer and numerous bird and mammal species will benefit.

“The promotion of large ponderosa pine will help the gray flycatcher, flammulated owl, Lewis’ woodpecker and olive-sided flycatcher,” said Chris Carey, ODFW wildlife biologist and Audubon member.

Partners in restoration of the Crooked River National Grassland include the Mule Deer Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, ODFW, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Oregon Hunter’s Association, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, private landowners and contractors.

Chris, a Strategy coordinator in Bend, explains the Grassland is included in the Strategy’s Blue Mountain ecoregion and includes important transition habitat between the East Cascades and Blue Mountain ecoregions. Learn more about the Blue Mountain ecoregion (pdf)

Westside Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project Decision Memo

Back to Nature

For the first time in 40 years tidal waters from the estuary of Alsea Bay reached what was once—and will be again—marshland habitat. “This is a milestone in our project to restore Lint Slough to as near a natural state as we can,” said John Spangler, ODFW Watershed Council liaison, as he contemplates the conservation work in progress.

John is overseeing decommission of an old fish research facility, removing concrete, dikes and structures to restore the rich ecosystem when freshwater meets the sea. The three-phase project will improve the natural processes that create and maintain estuarine habitats, such as mud flats and marshes. Restoration work includes removing hydrologic barriers and lowering upland habitats to marsh or channel elevation.

“This is a fantastically productive area for salmonids and migratory shore birds. It is listed as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society and called out in the Conservation Strategy as a Conservation Opportunity Area,” said John.

Funding comes from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Department of State Lands, ODFW Fish Passage and Screening Program and ODFW Restoration and Enhancement Program. Key strategy species that are found in the Alsea Bay area include bald eagles, band-tailed pigeons, California brown pelican, Caspian tern, shorebirds, waterfowl, chum salmon, coho salmon and winter steelhead. Currently, there are two active bald eagle nests near the water.

Estuarine habitat (pdf) is a key strategy habitat in the Coast Range ecoregion.

Oregon’s Important Bird Areas: website for information on coastal birding sites,

Contact John Spangler, John.J.Spangler@state.or.us


Send us news about Your strategy-related projects

Meg Kenagy, editor and Conservation Strategy communications coordinator
Peg Boulay, Conservation Strategy outreach coordinator

 
Contact Information

Meg Kenagy
(503) 947-6021

Oregon Conservation Strategy

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