Message from the Board

May2 - 5, 2022

Friends of Camas NWR 2022 Idaho Gives: Bird Banding Study

Friends of Camas National Wildlife Refuge is promoting and seeking help in funding a two-year bird-banding project focused on songbirds that utilize the refuge to fuel up during seasonal migrations and for nesting in springtime. A lot of improvements are coming to Camas NWR in 2022 and 2023. Many of these changes will involve increasing the efficiency of the refuge’s water distribution system with an eye on enhancing critical riparian habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as facilitating the growth and future regeneration of newly planted native trees and shrubs that are so important for supporting many species of migrating songbirds. Funding for most of the above projects, as well as improvements in visitor infrastructure, will be coming from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) which was passed in 2020.

What is NOT included in the GAOA money is funding for a study to provide data on where we are now in terms of species diversity, abundance, and fitness gained by migratory birds spending time at the refuge. For this study to move forward, Friends of Camas NWR needs your financial support. Conducting this banding project in the next two years will provide us with important data to compare with a similar study completed in 2005-2007 when water tables were higher, and the trees and shrubs were healthier. A future study five to ten years out from the one we are proposing now could be used, along with other factors, to evaluate the effectiveness of our current attempts at habitat improvement and inform future decision making.

We are working with BSU, ISU, and MPG Ranch (https://www.mpgranch.com/ ) to develop a suitable study. We will include local K-12 school students, college students and the public in educational events related to the banding. Any donation you could make to Friends of Camas NWR through Idaho Gives (https://www.idahogives.org/ ), our website (www.friendsofcamas.org), or simply mailing us a check to support this project would be much appreciated. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with no paid staff. All of our funding comes from grants and donations. Donors will all receive a receipt for their tax-deductible contributions.

Thanks for your support of Friends of Camas NWR Inc,

Sincerely,

 Karl Bohan

 President, Friends of Camas NWR, Inc.

Refuge Manager's Notes

Brian Wehausen, 

Camas National Wildlife Refuge March 23, 2022 

Camas Refuge is now snow free and the roads are beginning to dry nicely.  The spring waterfowl migration has been slow to this point.  Within the area really no ponding happening in the fields to provide that open water that attracts spring migrants.  With the cold weather we have had in the first part of March, all the local water bodies are still frozen over and not providing good roosting areas.  Just this week we are noticing tundra and trumpeter swans in better numbers.  Canada geese really just starting to show up in the area to look for nesting sites.  Red-winged blackbirds have been on the Refuge for all of March, and Robins have recently showed up in good numbers.  To date I have not seen snow geese on or near the Refuge.

If you have or are planning to the visit the Refuge in the near future, please be aware that we are currently not running water into our ponds, and will likely not do so this spring.  Camas NWR has a large construction project to help facilitate better water management capacity that is set to start in May.  We plan to keep things dry at least until part of the project are completed which could be mid-summer.  At this time it does not appear Camas Creek will provide much or any water to the Refuge again this year.   

Bald eagle viewing in the roost trees has come to an end as the Red-tailed hawks have showed back to defend their nesting territory.

Recent weather has still remained for the most part cold especially overnight temperatures.  The forecast is for us to improve quickly with 60’s by the end of the week.  The crab creek snotel site is reporting 29 inches of snow depth and only 8.2 inches of water equivalent.  This is just slightly down from what we saw last year at this time, which would appear not enough runoff to supply the Refuge with any water.

Currently Refuge roads conditions are good, as they are currently clear and dry.  Hopefully the migration makes a good push with warmer weather showing up this week.  We have had reports of a cow moose with a calf being sighted on a regular basis this week.

The Idaho Gives Program starts this Monday.  It runs May 2nd to 5th.  Login is easy at https://www.idahogives.org.  Support of your local charities is appreciated.

What's New 

Notice to Visitors of Camas NWR

We have entered that magical time of the year known as spring migration.  For folks who are planning a trip to Camas NWR to see this migration in full swing, please be aware that the Refuge is currently dry and will likely remain that way for most of 2022, especially in the area around the auto-tour route.  In most years we would use our groundwater wells to fill some of our wetland areas to provide open water habitat for migrating waterfowl and other birds.  However, this spring we will not be operating our wells as we are on the verge of starting a construction project to improve water management capabilities for the future.  Some of the work requires that our wetlands will need to remain dry.

Additionally, temporary closures of the auto-tour route may occur at any time during construction (May thru October 2022) for the safety of visitors and construction crews.

We appreciate the patience of our visitors and look forward to the completion of this project that will improve the Refuge for wildlife and those who visit.  If you want more information about the current status of water or access to the Refuge please call the office at (208) 662-5423 or email the Refuge Manager at:  brian_wehausen@fws.gov.


Contact

E-mail
camasfriends@gmail.com

Phone
208-662-5423

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