The annual WHAS picnic will once again be held at Larry Brandt's home overlooking the Columbia River, in Cathlamet. Time will be 3-6pm, potluck, horseshoes, etc. Larry has an indoor pool and invites people to use it that day. More information and driving directions will be available in couple weeks.
Anyone who is a WHAS member or attends WHAS programs or field trips is welcome. Mark your calendar!
We have reached the half way point in the year with exactly the same number of species as last year at this time when we set a record for the most species seen in the county for a calendar year in the ten years of this project. Last year we did have a phenomenal run of unusual species from mid-October through mid-December to reach that 207 species total. Since we have seen the winter birds and a migration into the breeding season, additions to the 192 species to date will come much slower and I'll be sending updates every two months rather than monthly for the rest of the year as usual.
Since 2011 Willapa Hills Audubon Society and other Audubon chapters have been working to oppose the coal export terminal in Longview. This facility has been proposed by Millenium Bulk for the former Reynolds Aluminum site on the Columbia River. Thousands turned out for the scoping hearings in 2013, and we need even more support at the hearings for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which was published April 29, 2016.
Public Hearings will be held:
Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., Longview, WA. Cowlitz County Event Center 1900 7th, Longview, WA 98632
Thursday, May 26, 2016, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., Spokane, WA. Spokane Convention Center 334 W Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99201
Thursday, June 2, 2016, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., Pasco, WA. TRAC Center 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco, WA 99301
April was slower than usual for adding new species to the list, possibly due to a lack of coverage as some of our more active birders spent big portions of the month out of the county. There were no reports of unexpected species. Even Cassin's Vireo and Nashville Warbler which show as less than annual probably pass through in small numbers each year as migrants, but aren't seen or reported every year. Since they don't stay to nest they can be missed some years. Many of the April additions were in the last week and as migration peaks in May we should be finding more on a regular basis this month, the most exciting time for many birders.
Willapa Hills Audubon Society has kindly agreed to sponsor the Fallen Leaf Nature Library. It is a collection of approximately 700 used books and 100 VHS videos on natural history and environmental education, which we hope to make available to Longview/Kelso families and teachers for circulation. These general interest books and videos, donated by Ann and David Cordero, Marie Fernandez, Sherry Evans, Lynn Smith, Gloria Nichols and others, would be available to anyone free of charge for a month or longer to stimulate an interest in the natural world and promote literacy. Volunteer staff could provide simple interpretation such as touch tables, exhibits, displays, story times, demonstrations and experiments, homework help, or preparation for the Science Olympiad—any nature activity they choose to lead in the space where the library resides.
That is the key: where will we put this library? Lower Columbia College has approved the use of the McLaughlin Community Resource Center in the Health and Science Building for the nature library! LCC has been very gracious about this prospect, saying that it is the kind of thing for which the room was intended and that this will be a mutually beneficial relationship to be continued as long as it works for both parties and which can be terminated by either party.
Does this sound like fun? You can help make this happen! We will need volunteers (as much or as little time as you like) and ideas for interpretive activities.
Together we can provide a new community resource for children, books to supplement classroom lessons, interaction between people with natural history interests, and better visibility for WHAS.
Audubon Washington's new citizen-science project is looking for volunteers! Participate in a regional volunteer monitoring effort, learn about coastal ecology, meet like-minded community members, and spend time near the water!
WHAT: Observe intertidal habitat use of waterbirds
WHO: Be part of a team of scientists including the University of Washington (UW), NOAA Fisheries (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR)
WHEN: Waterbird surveys will be conducted monthly during low tides, recording the abundance and behavior of birds in vegetated and unvegetated patches. Surveys will occur from mid-March through September 2016.
WHERE: Shore-based surveys of intertidal habitats will occur at fixed sites around Puget Sound and in Willapa Bay.
Deadline extended: Write your comments by March 18!
Due to letters from twenty organizations, numerous people, and Patty Murray’s office, the BLM re-issued the same Environmental Assessment for this proposal, with a new 30-day comments period. The new deadline for comments if March 18. This gives you a chance to send in new comments if you feel your last ones were rushed, or to send comments if you did not get the opportunity.
Ascot Resources—a Canadian mining company—is once again seeking federal approval to conduct mining exploration in the Green River valley—on the very border of the Mt. Saint Helens National Monument. The modified environmental assessment (EA) (pdf) for the Goat Mountain exploratory drilling project attempts to answer questions raised by the U.S. District Court decision in 2014 that the last EA was inadequate. But many questions remained unanswered.
Comments are due by March 18, 2016. For help in writing your comments, go to talking points (pdf).