Response for project 200301200: Shillapoo Wildlife Area

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

We do wish to renew this project for FY 2006 The recommended Council budget of $253,430 is consistent with our expectations and should be sufficient to meet project needs in FY 2006.

Accomplishments since the last review

Produce Design and/or SpecificationsDesign work for 2 wetland basins within Shillapoo Lakebed and one further north in the North Unit are both 50% complete.
# of acres of vegetation planted (0.1 ac.)Planted oak seedlings at two locations totalling ten acres
# of acres of vegetation planted (0.1 ac.)Over seeded 25 acres of upland pasture to improve waterfowl forage and aid in weed and brush control.
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Initiated control of Himalayan blackberry in 60 acres and an additional 1500 linear feet of fencelines.
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Removed scattered plants or seedheads from purple loosestrife in two sites totaling approximately 200 acres.
Create, Restore, and/or Enhance WetlandConstruction of one levee and associated water control structure is 50% complete.
Create, Restore, and/or Enhance WetlandCompleted the installation of the water supply for approximately 80 acres of wetlands on the Vancouver Lake Unit.
Maintain Terrestrial StructureMaintaind and operated water control structures as needed or conditions allowed on the South and Vancouver Lake Units.
Maintain Terrestrial Structurerepaired approximately 0.5 miles of fence.
Maintain VegetationMaintained or enhanced 400 acres of goose forage habitat by mowing to produce lush regrowth.
Maintain Vegetationfertilized 40 acres of upland waterfowl forage habitat.
Maintain VegetationMaintained 5 acres of planted trees and shrubs.

2004: Permitting/coordination neared completion with Ducks Unlimited and NRCS for the first wetland cell at the south end of Shillapoo Lake. Design work for the remainder of the Shillapoo Lakebed began in coordination with US Army Corps of Engineers. Design/permitting work initiated for wetland enhancement on the North Unit in cooperation with DU. ~200 acres were mowed to increase quantity and quality of grazing habitat for Canada geese. Himalayan blackberry control was initiated in approximately 60 acres of important upland and wetland habitat managed for wintering waterfowl and 1500 linear feet of fence line. Repaired fencing on a portion of the North unit, which will reduce maintenance costs and result in improvement of the area as waterfowl forage area. Fertilized 40 acres of mowed pasture. Increased control efforts for Poison Hemlock and Purple Loosestrife. Repaired fences, placed tree mats and tubes and cleared blackberry in existing and future oak and riparian enhancement sites. Desirable volunteer plants were marked for preservation. Began long term monitoring by establishing photo points 2005 (to date): Completed installation of the Vancouver Lake unit water supply. Began managing water levels to effect vegetation management. DU began construction of the first wetland cell in Shillapoo Lake. Permitting work for the North Unit wetland project began. Over seeded 20 acres on the North Unit and 5 acres on the South Unit intended to improve waterfowl pasture and aid in blackberry and poison hemlock control. All known major occurrences of P Hemlock treated by mid-May. Planted oak trees in two five acre sites. Repaired 800 feet of boundary fence. Reestablished advisory group for the wildlife area to assist with management planning and user group conflict resolution. All non-grazed waterfowl sites (~400 acres) in the North and South Units were mowed for waterfowl forage enhancement.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

# of acres of vegetation planted (0.1 ac.)Begin planting 20 acres along Lake River.
# of riparian miles treated (0.01 mi.; count each bank separately)1.8 miles
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Apply moist soil practices to 50 to 100 acres of wetlands to remove reed canary grass.
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Initiate 50 acre area to remove Himalayan Blackberry and an additional 500 linear feet along fencelines etc.
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Spray 200 acres for Canada thistle removal.
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Control 200 acres of Purple Loosestrife.
Create, Restore, and/or Enhance WetlandBegin or complete work on 700 acres of wetlands associated with three separate projects.
Maintain VegetationFertilize 200 acres, plant 50 acres understory crops, 100 acres fall grain, 50 acres pasture.
Maintain VegetationMaintain 10 acres of oak habitat plantings and 40 acre heron nest site.

Continue coordination with DU, USACOE and others working toward completion of wetland enhancement projects and/or begin full operation to enhance wetland habitats. Implement Moist soil management practices on 50 to 100 acres. Begin control work for Himalayan blackberry in an additional 50 acres and 500 feet of fence or roadside. Complete site prep and begin restoring riparian zone along Lake River. Modify South Unit intake pump and/or screens to improve it's utility to manage wetland basins and provide improved fish protection. (Currently the pump is not operable during low water in order to protect listed fish and wetland goals are not being met as a result.) Fertilize 200 acres. Plant 50 acres understory crops. Plant 100 acres fall grain. Over-seed 50 acres pasture. Spray 200 acres for Canada Thistle. Continue Purple Loosestife and Poison Hemlock control work. Continue planting as needed and maintain oak habitat and great blue heron sites.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

This project is part of the Washington Wildlife Agreement (Section 5b line 9 as “Vancouver Lowlands”) and is designed to partially mitigate wildlife impacts of Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day dams. Key species addressed in management of the wildlife area include yellow warbler, Canada goose, and Sandhill cranes, which were also used in development of the subbasin plan for the Lower Columbia Mainstem. The focus of enhancement work here has direct ties to the subbasin plan through reestablishing/improving wetland and riparian habitats. The project is consistent with Strategies 1,2 and 4 (pages 2-2, 2-6 and 2-12) of the supplement to the Mainstem Lower Columbia River and Columbia River Estuary Subbasin Plan. Wetland enhancements address strategy 1 by creating water regimes that would be more typical of the historic peak seasonal discharge (p 2-2,2-3) to restore native plant communities. Strategy 2 is addressed by restoring wetlands and riparian habitat in areas that had been developed for agriculture (p 2-8). Strategy 3 is addressed by wetland management measures that favor native plant communities and direct control measures for exotic invasive plants.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

This project accomplishes priority work for multiple species by protecting or restoring riparian and floodplain habitat along Lake River and other areas associated with limiting factors Sa.LF.1, Sa.LF.2 (p A-176), BE.LF.2 (p A-184), Os.LF.2 (p A-189). This also addresses physical objectives Sa.PO.1 (p A-223), BE.PO.2&3 (p A-230), Os.PO.1 (p A-239), Providing overwintering habitat for dusky Canada geese and Sandhill cranes is a key focus for managing this wildlife area: Limiting factor MI.LF.1 (p A-190) and Physical objectives MI.PO.1, 2, 3&4 pp A-241, 242). The wildlife area also represents potential future dispersal habitat for Columbian White-tailed deer (limiting factor CWTD.LF.1, p A-185; physical objectives CWTD.PO.1, 2&3) and provides habitat protection and enhancement benefiting River Otter (p A-186 and physical objective RO.PO.1, p A-235) yellow warbler (p A-189 and physical objective YW.PO.1, p A-240), and red-eyed vireo (p A-189 and ReV.PO.1). Although the suitability has not been fully explored the wildlife area is considered a potential site for western pond turtle recovery efforts. The western pond turtle is a component of plans for other adjoining subbasins upstream.

Other comments

Improvements made over the past two years have not gone unnoticed with the public. Comments we have been receiving are positive. There is strong public support for enhancements to this area. The potential value to further improve fish passage into portions of the wildife area and surrounding lands is currently being studied. The evaluations are still under way and not complete but the recommendations may be the subject of future funding requests.