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Elk Head CONSERVATION
Native fish, wildlife and their habitat
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Red-legged frog
Red-legged frog tadpoles metamorphose into terrestrial froglets starting in May.
— Photo by ODFW—

On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

April 2010

The Oregon Conservation Strategy is part of a national initiative to conserve wildlife and habitats before they become more rare and more costly to protect. The Strategy is implemented in the state by a variety of organizations, agencies and individuals—there is a part of everyone.Learn more.

CONTENTS
Peregrine Survey Complete
Aquatic Invasive Species Detectives Hit the Street
Frogs are Cool!
Mule Deer Crossing
Big Game and Wind Farms
One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish, More
One Small Thing

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons are fast, diving at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. — Photo by Kende Emerson —

PEREGRINE SURVEY COMPLETE

The peregrine falcon is doing well in Oregon. Results of the 2009 breeding survey showed a continued upward population trend. Five new breeding areas were found for a total of 154 sites. Productivity for the state during 2009 was 1.81 young per occupied breeding area and 2.21 young per successful nesting attempt.

“Peregrines are recovering, but we need to stay mindful and continue to monitor them,” said Martin Nugent, ODFW Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species coordinator. “Peregrines are like the canary in the coal mine when it comes to contaminants. Because they are at the top of the food chain, they can be affected by accumulated pesticides and other pollutants.”

The American peregrine falcon was delisted from the federal endangered species list in 1999 and the state endangered species list in 2007. A condition of the federal delisting requires surveying every three years to ensure peregrines thrive.

The 2009 survey was led by John Koloszar, Oregon State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and funded by the USFWS and a Conservation Strategy Implementation Grant with contributions from OSU, ODFW and the in-kind support of many organizations and volunteers.

For information on the species’ recovery, visit the USFWS website.

Martyne Reesman
Martyne Reesman has worked for ODFW for 10 years in a variety of research and fisheries positions.
— Photo by ODFW—
Jason Teem
Jason Teem, a marine biologist, has seven years experience with ODF, ODFW and NMFS.
— Photo by ODFW—

AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES DETECTIVES HIT THE STREET

Travelers transporting boats along the I-5 corridor this spring and summer can expect to meet Martyne Reesman and Jason Teem, ODFW’s new Aquatic Invasive Species technicians, who will soon be inspecting boats at rest stops along the highway.

According to Rick Boatner, ODFW Aquatic Invasive Species Program coordinator, Reesman and Teem will provide free inspections and show boaters how to check their own boats for aquatic hitchhikers before they launch them.

“Many boaters come to Oregon from states that already have established populations of quagga and zebra mussels,” said Boatner. “We have to make sure their boats are not carrying any invasive species. We also have to make sure Oregonians are not spreading the invasive weeds and New Zealand mudsnails that we already have in the state from one area to another.”

The team will also work boat ramps, fishing tournaments and boat shows. If invasive species are detected on a boat, they are responsible for decontaminating it.

“It’s good to be involved in a preventative program,” said Reesman. “Seeing the destruction invasive mussels have caused in Lake Mead in only three years has been a wake-up call for many Western states.”

So, if you see a “Boat Inspection Station Ahead” sign this summer, get ready to pull off the highway. Inspections should take less than 10 minutes a boat and will help keep Oregon’s waters clean and open for boating, fishing and recreation.

In addition to motor boats, kayaks, canoes and drift boats will be inspected.

“People don’t realize what a role these manually-operated crafts play in spreading mudsnails and aquatic weeds,” said Boatner.

By Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the boating season, four additional two-person inspection teams will be in place at Clackamas, Madras, La Grande and Central Point.

The inspection and decontamination program is funded by a legislatively-mandated Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit that is required for both motorized and non-motorized boats ten feet long and longer. For information on who needs a permit and where to buy one, visit the Oregon Marine Board website.

Invasive species are identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as one of the biggest threats to the state’s native fish, wildlife and habitats. For more information on quagga and zebra mussels, visit ODFW’s website .

Frogs are Cool!

FROGS ARE COOL!

Did you know red-legged frogs can call underwater and that Pacific treefrog vocalizations are often heard on movie soundtracks? A new ODFW Conservation Strategy flyer for kids and their adults includes these and other fun facts and introduces Oregon’s 12 native species of frogs and toads. View a copy here (pdf).

Providing opportunities for Oregonians to learn about their natural environment is a key component of the Strategy.

MULE DEER CROSSING

The expansion of Highway 97 south of Bend included construction of two wildlife underpasses designed to help animals to cross safely under the highway and to reduce dangerous deer-vehicle collisions. While the underpasses are a significant accomplishment, the team who provided design expertise to the project isn’t ready to rest on its laurels.

Mule Deer Crossing
ODOT, USFS and ODFW staff discuss vegetative treatments and placement of boulders and large wood inside an underpass on Highway 97.
— Photo by ODFW—

“We are now looking at about 100 miles of the highway, from Bend to Chiloquin,” said Sandra Jacobson, USDA Forest Service Wildlife biologist. “That whole stretch of 97 runs perpendicular to a major mule deer migration route from the Cascade Mountains summer range to winter range east of the highway.”

Jacobson is a member of the Oregon Wildlife Movement Strategy inter-agency group currently developing recommendations on where mitigation measures such as wildlife crossing structures would be most effective along the highway. Once identified, the group will prioritize the importance of the sites and work with the Oregon Department of Transportation and others for funding.

“This is a departure from the way things have been done in the past,” said Jacobson. “Typically, resource agencies respond to highway projects instead of proposing mitigation measures.”

Partners in the Oregon Wildlife Movement Strategy group include the USDA Forest Service, ODFW and ODOT. A short video about the Hwy. 97 project illustrates its benefits. To learn more about the Oregon Wildlife Movement Strategy, visit ODFW’s website .

BIG GAME AND WIND FARMS

Forty deer and elk near the Grande Ronde Valley in Union County are sporting new global positioning system collars as part of a multi-year study that will track their movements and distribution before a wind farm is built and after its construction.

While the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm is still in the permitting process, the GPS telemetry study is a follow up to an observational big game study that was conducted on the adjacent Elkhorn Valley Wind Project. Although preliminary results from the Elkhorn study indicate that deer and elk usage of the project area changed, the reasons why are unclear. The new GPS study is designed to provide better data to evaluate whether there are any seasonal changes in big game distribution related to the turbines, roads and human activities associated with the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm.

"Horizon Wind Energy is proud to fund scientific research that creates a body of knowledge about wind energy and wildlife, while creating local jobs and a source of clean, safe energy for the planet,” said Valerie Franklin, Project Manager for Horizon Wind Energy. “We are proud to collaborate with ODFW on this groundbreaking study to create a sound scientific understanding of how big game interact with wind farms."

“We want to expand on what we learned from the Elkhorn Valley Wind Project study,” said Leonard Erickson, ODFW Wildlife biologist. “These data should help with siting wind farms in the future.”

Currently, deer and elk use the Valley slopes and ridges as they migrate elevationally between summer and winter ranges. Data on their movements will be collected from 2010 to 2015 in the “store-on-board” GPS collars.

The study is being conducted by Western Ecosystem Technologies (WEST) and funded by Horizon Wind Energy, the developer of Antelope Ridge. For more information about wind energy and wildlife, visit ODFW’s website.

Willamette River seine
ODFW employees Charlie Stein and Paul Scheerer use a seine net while surveying for Oregon chub in the Coast Fork of the Willamette River.
— Photo by ODFW—

ONE FISH, TWO FISH, THREE FISH, MORE

When the Willamette River was a meandering waterway with side channels, oxbows and ponds, the Oregon chub, a tiny silver minnow found only in the Willamette Valley, flourished. But by 1993, when it was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, the chub was found at only nine locations—just two percent of its historic range.

Today, thanks to 17 years of work by private landowners, state and federal agencies, the chub is again well-distributed throughout its range in the Valley and, with 46 known populations, the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service has changed the fish’s legal status from endangered to threatened.

Joan Jewett, Chief of Public Affairs for the USFWS Pacific Region, attributes the chub’s rebound to a good recovery plan and a lot of boots on the ground and waders in the streams. ODFW surveys, species reintroductions, safe harbor agreements with private landowners and the designation of 132 acres of critical habitat all combined to make recovery possible.

“A lot has been accomplished but the species still needs ESA protection,” said Jewett. “Its populations are small and isolated and need management and monitoring.”

“Most of the work to date has focused on recovery of chub in isolated habits,” said Paul Scheerer, ODFW Native Fish biologist. “Now, as we work for full recovery of the species, we’ll focus on restoring floodplain habitats and reconnecting them to the river where we can. We’ll also look at water temperature and water flow as factors in recovery.”

Canada Geese
Canada Geese
- Photo by Kathy Munsel -

But the news is good: planning and on-the-ground (or in-the-water) efforts do work. Especially when they are based on partnerships. For more information, visit the USFWS website.

ONE SMALL THING

Please don’t feed the ducks and geese. Bread and popcorn fed to waterfowl can cause starvation, spread disease and cause deformities. Left on their own, ducks and geese eat a variety of foods that provide the nutrition they need—plants, seeds and bugs. Learn more and teach the children in your life to enjoy waterfowl by watching and photographing them.

PAST ISSUES OF THE NEWSLETTER
On the Ground newsletter archives

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.

EDITOR
Meg Kenagy
Oregon Conservation Strategy Communications coordinator
(503) 947-6021
meg.b.kenagy@state.or.us

To subscribe or unsubscribe, please e-mail the editor. Note: The use of trade, firm, or corporation names and links in this publication is for the information of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


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