Message From the Board

May 2024  Zoe Jorgensen

Despite the recent weather patterns, it is spring, and it is time to get outside and enjoy S. E. Idaho’s local attractions.  One of those attractions is the Camas National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge has had several upgrades, with the final improvements scheduled to be finished this summer.  A family outing to the Refuge is a great way to encourage children to explore their world and ask questions. 

Camas is a refuge for many native, migrating birds and spring is a great time to bird watch.  Starting with birds in your backyard, the city parks, or along the river, you can engage in a dialog about how important birds are and how we can take care of their habitats.  It is the second year of the migratory bird count.  The scientists are actively counting and banding the birds throughout the refuge and are willing to interact with the visitors to the refuge. 

One fun way to become even more aware of the birds of the Intermountain West is to use an app to help identify the local birds.  The Audubon Bird Guide is a free app which includes descriptions, locations, pictures, and audio files to share information about North American birds.  It doesn’t matter what you choose to do while out of doors, it just matters that you make time to take the young people out into nature allowing them to explore, observe, and enjoy.  

Bird Counts

Andrea Kristof         Wildlife Biologist      Camas National Wildlife Refuge

Please see table below.  Highlights: a snowy egret and some double-crested cormorant suggest that there are fish in the system. This is the first of this year's spring migration surveys to report semipalmated plover and wilson's phalarope.  A high number of Long billed dowitchers are around alongside many sandpipers that would not cooperate with further identification efforts.




American coot


Ruddy duck






Northern shoveler




Long-billed Dowitcher


Sandpiper spp.


Northern pintail


Eared grebe


Lesser scaup


Ring-billed gull


Canada goose


American wigeon


Cinnamon teal


Semipalmated plover


Franklins gull


Wilson's phalarope


Green-winged teal


Sandhill crane




American avocet




Double-crested cormorant


Blue-winged teal


Clark's grebe


Black-necked stilt




Ring-necked duck


Red-breasted merganser


Long-billed Curlew


Trumpeter swan


Black-bellied plover


Great blue heron


Snowy Egret


Refuge Manager's Notes

Brian Wehausen

Camas National Wildlife Refuge

April 2024

As Refuge Manager for Camas NWR, January 4th, 2024, marked the start of my 15th year in this position.  Somehow the past 14 years have slipped away very quickly.  My kids have grown up, my hair continues to add gray every day and my memory fails more often than I would like it to.  As some are aware, April 6, 2024, marks the last day of my tenure as the Camas NWR Refuge Manager.  I will be starting a new adventure and likely finishing my career in the state of Alaska, which has been a long-time dream of mine that is finally now coming true. 

As my time here draws to a close, I have been reflecting on what has been done and the accomplishments we have made as a staff.  What stands out is the facelift the Refuge is getting with the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) funding that we received.  These upgrades have been a long time coming.  GAOA has allowed us to make some much-needed changes to our water delivery system that will give us a greater ability to manage more wetland acres for longer periods of time.  Work is still in progress but some wonderful new visitor services facilities such as the paved portion of the birding trail, a new restroom on the southern part of the tour route, an observation platform, new updated kiosks, and interpretive signs will be in place shortly.  Also, the addition of solar power to put green energy into the local network and allow the Refuge to offset some of the energy cost of water management offers a huge advantage. 

No other accomplishment, however, was as big as the standing up of the Friends of Camas NWR.  This was truly the work of a small handful of inspired individuals who poured much time and effort in making this happen.  Since those humble beginnings when we had to coerce someone to take the role of President of the group, many wonderful things have been accomplished.  Starting with no cash in hand, the group was successful with writing and obtaining grants to do two major projects:  the education pavilion and the pollinator garden around the Refuge office building.  The group was then lucky enough to inherit nearly $100,000 from a generous person none of us knew or even met before.  This was a big step in what the group could accomplish and the reason we were able to do songbird banding once again on Camas NWR.

One thing my memory will not forget is the group of folks who have made the Friends of Camas NWR successful.  It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with each one of you.  I am grateful for the coordination and cooperation that we have shared over the years and want to say THANK YOU to each and every member of the Friends of Camas, especially those who have served on the board.  Keep up the great work and I know this crew will continue to make great things happen!

What's New   

2024 Friends of Camas and Snake River Audubon Society Bird-A-Thon

? WHEN: Any one day May 20 through May 27, 2024, inclusive.
? WHERE: Any or all of our federal refuges or state wildlife management areas in eastern Idaho or other nearby
birding areas.

Kit Struthers—Birdathon chair—call, text, or email with questions—208-520-4430,

Henry's Fork Wildlife Festival

Wildlife Festival, will take place on June 22nd 10am-3pm and co-hosted by Harriman State Park. The festival this year will have free entry, with food provided by local vendors from 11am-3pm. This festival we will have larger raffle prizes and bear spray give-aways provided by Becky Lewis.  This year's festival will be taking place in iconic Harriman State Park.  




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425