Wildlife and fish use of seasonal watercourses and wetlands in vegetable producing farms of the Willamette Valley (2013)

Research report to the Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission

Guillermo Giannico and Dana Sanchez
OSU Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife   

OBJECTIVES: 1) Document the presence of fish, and examine the temporal changes in both species composition and fish abundance in seasonal watercourses and wetlands of three Willamette Valley vegetable farms. 2) On the same farms, document nesting season biodiversity of bird species, describe biodiversity of herpetile species present, and sample mammalian biodiversity via automated cameras. 3) Use this information to advise farmers on methods they can use to maintain or improve the quality of the fish and wildlife habitats they host. Use preliminary results to support grant applications for a larger project involving more vegetable growers and with greater scope of final results.

PROGRESS: Much of the work for this project will be conducted during winter 2013-14 and spring of 2014. One 2013 sampling visit was conducted to collect fish and aquatic insects, but the main sampling will occur as precipitation and stream water levels produce optimal conditions (winter/spring ’14). We were able to collect bird data at the end of the 2013 spring migration. We conducted a total of 7 point counts for birds on 3 cooperators’ farms. We detected 50 species, several of which are of high conservation value. Because we sampled late in the season, more bird species were likely present, but no longer singing and detectable in our surveys. This preliminary data indicates that the habitat patches are providing valuable resources for native bird species of significant conservation value. We will conduct a full season of bird point counts during the upcoming 2014 spring migration season. Similarly, we will conduct the herpetile and mammal surveys in synch with the spring emergence and movement season.