Wolf meeting slated in Colville next week

The potential impact of wolves on game species such as deer and elk will be the focus of a public meeting at 6 p.m. next Wednesday (March 27) at the Colville Ag Trade Center.

State and local wildlife managers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will give an update on wolf-monitoring efforts in the state’s northeast corner, along with population trends and harvest data for white-tailed deer, elk and moose. Dave Ware, WDFW’s game manager, said the department hasn’t documented any measurable impacts from wolves on state game species yet, but understands that reports from other states have raised public concerns.

“We want to talk to people in northeast Washington about this issue,” Ware said, “because that’s the area of the state that has the largest number of wolves.”

TU water expert is fly-fishers’ guest

Lisa Pelly, director of Trout Unlimited’s Washington Water Project, will be the featured speaker at tonight’s 7 p.m. Yakima Fly Fishers Association meeting at Jack-sons Sports Bar (Tieton and 48th).

Pelly will speak about her work around the state, focusing on projects going on in our area, including significant projects on both Manatash and Cowiche creeks.

YFFA regulars should note the meeting location, which has changed from the group’s longtime meeting spot. The event is free and open to the public.

Cascadians meeting focuses on Nepal trek

Last October, Yakima resident and Cascadian day-hikes committee chair Phil Bird and a friend, Jim Gullickson, did a 10-day trek in the mountainous country of north-central Nepal. Next Wednesday (March 27), at a 7 p.m. presentation prior to the Cascadians’ regular monthly meeting, Bird will give a photographic recollection of that trek.

The event, set for the Meyer Auditorium at the Living Care Retirement Community (215 N. 40th Ave.) is free and open to the public.

Bird and Gullickson, traveling with a guide and a porter, trekked into the base camp used by alpinists attempting to climb Annapurna, the world’s tenth-tallest peak (elev. 26,545 feet). They traveled the Modi Khola (river) valley, beginning in a semitropical environment, staying in “tea houses” along the way, and ending in rock, ice and snow, surrounded by some of the world’s most impressive peaks.

The presentation will also touch on their visits to Nepal’s principal cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara, along with a short tour of Seoul, Korea.

Group seeks proposals for salmon recovery

A consortium of public and private agency, tribal and biological experts is seeking proposals for salmon-recovery grants in the Yakima Basin region.

The Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board is looking for applicants seeking grant proposals for projects in excess of $5,000 that protect or restore salmon habitat. Applicants must provide money or resouces matching 15 percent or more of the grant (with a few exceptions), with a 10-year stewardship commitment, for projects that must be completed within three years. There is no maximum limit for a grant request, but available annual funding for the Yakima Basin is about $1.5 million.

Preapplications for the grants, which are administered by the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board, are due by April 15, with the full-proposal deadline set for May 20. Yakima Basin grants must meet the Yakima Basin recovery board’s goals as outlined in the 2009 Yakima Steelhead Recovery Plan. For more information, call Darcy Batura of the Yakima Basin group at dbatura@ybfwrb.org or 509-453-4104.

BIRD ALERT

American white pelicans are back in the Lower Valley along the Yakima River, as well as quite a few double-crested cormorants. Violet-green swallows were noted flying around Cherry Hill near Granger and tree swallows, Say’s phoebe and a northern goshawk were also noted in the area.

Twelve birders on the Yakima Valley Audubon Society’s bird walk along the Poppoff Trail spotted 43 species, including cackling goose, wood duck, brown creeper, Bewick’s wren and hermit thrush.

The small farm pond between Outlook and Granger held four least sandpipers (smallest of the shorebirds), American wigeon, mallard, green-winged teal and a ruddy duck. A drive along Marion Drain produced lots of northern harriers, bald eagles, and a barn owl in a small roadside tree.

A small group of about 15 cedar waxwings and one bohemian waxwing were spotted feeding in a small mountain ash tree on Fechter Road, a few blocks north of Modesto and Madera on 48th Ave N., and canyon wrens were reported singing in the Selah Creek area.

Sandhill crane numbers are increasing in the corn stubble fields around Othello and the numbers should pick up for the next few weeks, making it a good time to venture over to see these wonderful birds.

Please email bird sightings to the Yakima Valley Audubon at birds@yakimaaudubon.org or leave a message at 509-837-6930.

Kerry L. Turley

AROUND AND ABOUT

The next meeting of the Trails and Wilderness Interest Group (TWIG), 7 p.m. April 2, will be preceded at 6 by a “NEPA 101 and Comment Writing Workshop,” to help forest volunteers and others interested in forest management to navigate the National Environment Policy Act and other environmental documents and processes.

The population of the West Coast fisher, a weasel family member about the size of a large house cat, is the subject of an “information collection period” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The declining fisher population in Washington, Oregon and California has been a “candidate species” for protection under the Endangered Species Act since 2004.

STURGEON LIMIT CHANGED: State wildlife commissioners last Friday modified the annual catch limit for white sturgeon at its meeting in Olympia. As previously adopted, the rule would have limited anglers to one sturgeon per year, but commissioners changed the annual limit to two, beginning May 1.

ON THE CALENDAR

The Cascadian Free Spirits will head down past Goldendale to do a trek up The Dalles Mountain, an eight-mile round-trip hike entailing about 2,500 feet of elevation gain. The route, overlooking the Columbia River near Horsethief State Park, features good looks at a waterfall and was featured in The Mountaineers Books’ “Best Desert Hikes Washington,” which — be forewarned — dubbed it “difficult.”

Bring lunch, the 13 essentials and lots of energy to the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart parking lot before 8 a.m. If the drive or destination doesn’t suit you, the Cascadian Trekkers will be heading out on a different, to-be-determined-that-morning adventure at the same time.

The Cascadian Pokies will go hike at Selah Cliffs, a protected DNR preserve at the entrance to the Yakima River Canyon. For meeting time and place, call Diane Gillan at 509-576-8975.