Harbingers of Spring; Wood Ducks return to Lake Sacajawea

Wood duck pair (USFWS) On February 28, the first pair of Wood Ducks was seen on Lake Sacajawea in Longview.

We hope these ducks will nest in one of the duck boxes recently placed on the Lake. On February 12 and just in time for breeding season, Bob Arnsdorf and John Green put up new boxes and refurbished two old ones.

Three new were placed on the north island near Ocean Beach Hwy, and the 2 old boxes on that island were cleaned and repaired. On the south island, Bob and John placed 2 new boxes; they left the remaining old box which contained an enormous bee hive. There are now a total of seven duck boxes on the lake to accommodate the new Wood Duck families.

Wood Ducks are not the only signs of spring. Have you noticed the American Robins singing in the mornings? Spring is just around the corner.

Indian Jack Slough’s Renaissance

Indian Jack Slough - Columbia Landtrust StaffBattered, tired, cold, and drenched to the bone from enduring a late-February day’s worth of non-stop rain, I and two other colleagues were ready to seek our urban sanctuaries. Our knuckles, fingers, and thumbs were bloody and throbbing from swinging hammers that too often missed 2-inch-long galvanized staples—unmerciful reminders of our final day’s efforts to complete 7,300 feet of fencing. We built this important fence surrounding a 50 acre portion of the 180-acre Indian Jack Slough property in order to discourage elk from consuming the nearly 45,000 native trees and shrubs that were to be planted a few months after the fence’s completion, in March and April of 2011.

Exhausted, we slogged and waddled our way back to our truck, thinking only of hot coffee, steamy showers, and dry clothes, and then something caught my eye that immediately extinguished all my thoughts of discomfort.

Read more: Indian Jack Slough’s Renaissance

Nelson Creek Update

Melissa Knudson, Andrea Berkley and Ellie, Ann Kastberg, and Kris Parke

We have been busy at Nelson Creek this last summer. Vegetation surveys: Pam Wright headed up a crew with Andrea Berkley, Columbia Land Trust, establishing permanent vegetation plots throughout the Nelson Creek property. These inventory plots will be monitored to document the change due to our restoration efforts.

The Nelson Creek committee met in July to update everyone as to what has been completed and what still needs to be done. We welcomed Kris Parke to the committee. Kris has been involved for several years monitoring upper Nelson Creek for fish populations. He volunteered to head up a fish survey in Jack's Slough. Andrea reported that CLT now has funding to proceed with restoration projects that will include site preparation and replanting with native species. We expect to get started this winter.

Read more: Nelson Creek Update

Leadbetter State Park Restoration

The joint project of Grays Harbor Audubon and our chapter to support habitat restoration for coastal western snowy plovers and streaked horned larks at Leadbetter State Park has received funding for one additional year.  Part of our funds will allow us to hire briefly the Audubon biologist, Don McIvor, to give input to this project.

At the end of May a group of volunteers,  Alan Richards, Tom Finn and Randy Robinson,  joined WDFW biologist Kathy Gunther  to survey the 10 plots in the dunes which constitute this Habitat Restoration Area, and then to ride with her onto the beach of the Willapa Refuge to see a total of 10 adult snowy plovers and 3 chicks.

We will join Kathy for one more survey, and then do a few more on our own. Also in late July we will join WDFW biologist Dave Hays to do some vegetation monitoring.

If you are interested in joining us for any of this, or know someone who might be, please contact Ann Muschè at 360-484-7119.