Message from the Board

Dave Stricklan, PhD

Times and seasons – Change at Camas

 I tend to think of the rhythm of the seasons as timeless. Repetitive events that follow a worn grove in the stream of time as it flows in a comfortable and predictable gentle loop. That notion is snuggly and secure and allows me to mentally calibrate time units comfortably, particularly in relation to places that I know and love, like the Camas National Wildlife Refuge. It is also wrong.

 Since the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch roughly 2.5 million years ago, there is evidence of at least 20 periods of glacial advance and subsequent melt back. Each melt period sent a varying but huge amount of sediment-laden meltwater pouring down the Sinks System streams, including Camas Creek. At differing intervals a large lake basin near present day Mud Lake, known as Lake Terreton, filled and then dried, exposing sediment deposits to the southwest winds. Some of these sediments, along with those from the catastrophic Bonneville Flood event, were deposited at the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. Waterfowl and other migratory birds surely must have adjusted their travel patterns, sometimes yearly, to respond to the changing availability of water for waypoints on the migratory route or as destination nesting spots. Some years must have provided wonderful habitat, and some years not so much. Long term and short term droughts occurred, and over geologic time there was climate change as well.

 Today we are seeing drought and climate change (this time primarily human-caused) play out temporally on the landscape of the Camas National Wildlife Refuge. This year, the amount of early winter precipitation gives real hope that Camas Creek will bring above-average springtime snow melt from the mountains. Added to that, grant funding obtained by Wildlife Refuge Manager Brian Wehausen will allow the placement of a liner to prevent water loss in some of the water channels on the refuge. Older irrigation deep wells will also be moved closer to the refuge, further reducing water loss and allowing for delivery of more water to ponds and marshes. Bottom line, this should be a good year for waterfowl and the people who watch them. Construction is not yet complete and may dictate distribution of unusual amounts of water to different ponds and marshes, but there should be water (unless I jinxed it by saying it out loud) and the birds will find it.

 Good water years are to be celebrated and even cherished. This should be a good bird year – who can know about future years, so let’s enjoy it! Make plans to visit the refuge this summer and make memories with those that you love during (what will be in 20 years) “the good old days!”

Refuge Manager's Notes

Brian Wehausen, 

Camas National Wildlife Refuge

What's New      

Come To Roost

Friends of Camas will be hosting the annual Come to Roost event event this year. You and your family can watch the bald eagles fly in to roost.  The event will be held Saturday, February 11th from 4:30 PM until dark.  Besure to dress warmly and bring you binoculars and cameras.  Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.  




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