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Stream-Associated Amphibians
Copies of the new OFRI publication, Stream-Associated Amphibians, are free.

On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

January 2010

The new year delivers new information, legislation and energy that will make a difference to Oregon’s fish and wildlife.

Amphibians in Working Forests
Aquatic Invasives Species Prevention Program Gears Up
Conservation Easements Save Native Willamette Valley Habitats
Tax Checkoff for Nongame Wildlife
New Law Targets Feral Swine
One Small Thing

Amphibians in Working Forests
Many forest managers and landowners are accustomed to managing their woodlands for birds and mammals, but less information is available about amphibian life in forests. To help fill the gap, Oregon Forest Resources Institute has released a new publication, Stream-Associated Amphibians, which gives an overview of the latest science and research on the subject.

Rick Boatner
Rick Boatner, ODFW fish and wildlife biologist, will head up the new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention program.

“Many of Oregon’s native frogs, toads, salamanders and newts depend on freshwater streams and forest riparian habitat for breeding and rearing their young,” said Julie Woodward, OFRI’s Forest Education specialist. “Historically, research in streams has focused heavily on fish habitats. This was an opportunity for us to provide a synthesis of the current research for some amphibian species.”

Woodward expects this publication to be especially useful to wildlife biologists, researchers and land managers. Copies of Stream-Associated Amphibians are free and can be ordered or downloaded from the OFRI website.

OFRI supports the Oregon Conservation Strategy which lists 17 amphibian species in the state as in need of conservation help, including coastal tailed frogs and Cope’s salamanders which are discussed in the publication. For information on these species, see Conservation Summaries for Strategy Species (pdf) in Section B of the Strategy.

Aquatic Invasives Species Prevention Program Gears Up
Rick Boatner, ODFW’s new Aquatic Invasives Program coordinator, is eager to get out of the office and start talking to people, but he has some work to do first.

Quagga Mussel
Invasive quagga mussels attach easily to boats, docks and buoys and prove devastating to rivers and lakes.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Herod, USFWS

Tasked with setting up an aquatic invasive species prevention program by the 2009 State Legislature, ODFW and the Oregon Marine Board are on a fast track to get it up and running before spring boating season. Boatner’s first task is to hire and train program staff.

“By May, we’ll have five two-person teams on the ground—a permanent team in Salem, and seasonal teams in La Grande, Clackamas, Central Point and Madras,” said Boatner. “They’ll inspect boats for nonnative aquatic species, teach people how to adequately inspect and clean boats and educate them about invasive species.”

Outreach is a critical component of the program. If quagga and zebra mussels get into our waters, it will be by boat, and if they become established, the expense to Oregonians will be huge. Recreational anglers will not be happy either. In California, a number of waterbodies have been closed to anglers due to invasive mussels and recreational fisheries in the Great Lakes are affected as the mussels disrupt the aquatic food chain.

Although quagga and zebra mussels are on everyone’s most wanted list, other lesser known, but dangerous invaders, are also targeted through the program.

“Kayaks, canoes and drift boats can transport tiny invaders such as Japanese and New Zealand mud snails, and whirling disease spores and plant fragments have been found inside paddlecraft,” said Boatner. “The message today is: if you are moving your boat between water bodies, you have to ‘clean, drain and dry.’”

Fender's blue butterfly
Afternoon sun shines through oak trees on the Polk County property which supports one of the largest known populations of Fender’s blue butterfly. BPA photo.
Dorie Welch
Dorie Welch, BPA , and Beth Casper, Statesman-Journal, discuss the importance of BPA's conservation easements in the Willamette Valley. BPA photo.

To deliver the message, Boatner and the new watercraft inspection teams will spend a lot of time at boat launches, at entry points to the state, at boat shows and training events—talking and teaching.

To fund the new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention program, most boaters who launch boats in Oregon waters, will need an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit. Registered power boat owners pay a $5 fee with their boat registrations. Kayakers and other paddlecraft operators with boats 10 feet long or longer are required to purchase a $7 ($5 permit, $2 agent fee) annual permit. For more information on the program and where to buy a permit, see the ODFW website . Find information on zebra and quagga mussels .

Conservation Easements Save Native Willamette Valley Habitats
Fish and wildlife in the Willamette Valley have gained nearly 500 acres of newly protected habitat, including some of the best remaining slices of native wetlands, prairies and oak woodlands, through three purchases of conservation easements funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. All the parcels fall within the Conservation Opportunity Areas outlined in the Conservation Strategy.

Basically, a conservation easement is a voluntary, but legally binding agreement that allows a landowner to give up one or more of their rights (for example, rights to subdivide and develop) on a given piece of land while retaining the remainder of the rights (for example, rights to farm.)

“Conservation easements are a great tool for supporting fish and wildlife while allowing for some traditional uses of the land,” said Eric Rickerson, ODFW Conservation Program manager. ”They are especially good in an area like the Valley that is almost exclusively privately owned.”

The new conservation easements: 150 acres in Polk County represents one of the best remaining examples of native prairie and supports one of the largest known populations of Fender’s blue butterfly; 200 acres on a farm near Albany extends a network of protected lands along the main stem of the Willamette River; and, 120 acres on a Polk County farm at the confluence of the Willamette, Luckiamute and Santiam rivers support a diversity of wildlife.

BPA ratepayers funded these protection efforts in the Willamette Valley in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, Greenbelt Land Trust and ODFW to help mitigate impacts of the construction and operation of federal dams in the Willamette River system. These easements bring the total Willamette Valley lands protected by BPA funding to about 6,200 acres. BPA has funded conservation easements and other protections on more than 300,000 acres of land throughout the Pacific Northwest. For more information on BPA-funded land acquisitions and conservation easements, visit BPA’s Environment, Fish and Wildlife website.
For more information about conservation easements, see How to Get the Job Done: Voluntary Conservation Tools in Section B of the Strategy .

Tax Checkoff for Nongame Wildlife
You can help conserve Oregon's wildlife and their habitats by making a donation on your state tax form. The Nongame Wildlife Fund, established by the state Legislature, funds the conservation of the 88% of Oregon's wildlife that are not hunted, trapped or angled, supports habitat restoration and species management. For more information .

Support Oregon's Nongame WildlifeNew Law Targets Feral Swine
ODFW biologists believe it is still possible to eradicate Oregon’s population of feral swine before the population gets out of control and wildlife habitat and agricultural crops are laid waste. To put some teeth in the fight, the 2009 Legislature passed a law that prohibits the sale of feral swine hunts and requires land managers to report and remove feral swine from their property.

New rules adopted at the January meeting of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission give land managers 10 days after discovering feral swine on their property to contact ODFW and 60 days to work with the agency on a removal plan that includes a timeline.

“Landowners should contact their local wildlife biologist if they suspect they have feral swine on their property,” said Larry Cooper, Deputy Administrator of ODFW’s Wildlife Division. “We can help them with a removal plan and technical advice.”

Feral swine rooting
Feral swine can “rototill” a hillside in a night, destroying crops, pastureland and stream banks.
Photo courtesy of ODFW

It is legal to hunt feral swine, but opportunities are limited because most of the feral swine identified to date have been on private land, which requires landowner permission. On public lands, swine can be hunted with a valid hunting license. There is no limit or tag required, but on public property all hunting regulations must be followed.

Feral swine are free-roaming pigs, that is, they are not being held under domestic confinement. They are responsible for damage to habitat and depredation of livestock and wildlife as well as disease transmission to wildlife, livestock and humans. Read the Feral Swine Action Plan for Oregon on the Oregon Invasive Species website. For information on hunting feral swine .

One Small Thing
Nix English ivy. It is an invader that takes over, smothering trees and driving out wildlife. The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides has good information on how to get rid it out of your yard once and for all. For more information, see OSU’s Weedmapper  Find native plant alternatives to English ivy.

Past Issues of the Newsletter
On the Ground newsletter archives

feral pig
Trail cam photo of a feral pig rooting on private land. ODFW photo.

About the Oregon Conservation Strategy
The Oregon Conservation Strategy provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats through a non-regulatory, statewide approach to conservation. It was developed by ODFW with the help of a diverse coalition of Oregonians including scientists, conservation groups, landowners, extension services, anglers, hunters, and representatives from agriculture, forestry and rangelands.

Meg Kenagy
Oregon Conservation Strategy Communications coordinator
(503) 947-6021

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