WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
KLAMATH FALLS FWO: Service Partners With Iverson Ranch to Protect and Restore Habitat for Oregon Spotted Frog
Region 8, December 2, 2009
Wetlands along Jack Creek on Iverson Ranch, August 26, 2008. (photo: USFWS) 
Wetlands along Jack Creek on Iverson Ranch, August 26, 2008. (photo: USFWS)  - Photo Credit: n/a
Construction of log cribs around Oregon spotted frog overwintering springs, November 2009. (photo: USFWS)
Construction of log cribs around Oregon spotted frog overwintering springs, November 2009. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Keith Little, ranch manager, Iverson Ranch, Klamath County, Oregon, November 2009. (photo:  Michelle Barry, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust)
Keith Little, ranch manager, Iverson Ranch, Klamath County, Oregon, November 2009. (photo:  Michelle Barry, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust) - Photo Credit: n/a

by David Ross, Klamath Falls FWO
The Iverson family in Silver Lake, Oregon was having difficulty resolving grazing issues, wetland protection needs and the habitat requirements for the Oregon Spotted frog on their ranch. Their pastures are in-holdings along Jack Creek that is completely surrounded by Fremont-Winema National Forest.   The Iverson’s invited the Klamath Falls Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program (PFW) to visit the ranch and come up with a plan to provide for a viable livestock operation while simultaneously restoring wetlands and protecting over-wintering habitat for this unique amphibian ( a federal candidate species). 

First, the cattle were removed to other pastures for several years to allow the wetland plant community to recover (photo).  One of the first observations shared by all the project participants was the severe encroachment onto the wet meadow habitat by lodgepole pine stands.  Such encroachment envelopes the wetlands and lowers the local water table.  A grant application was sought by Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT) and awarded by the Resource Advisory Committee of the Fremont-Winema National Forest to cover the costs for managing the lodgpole pine encroachment.

Basic surveys late in the fall documented the presence of large springs that remained open after freeze-up suggesting the use by the Oregon spotted frog for overwintering.  A partnership was developed with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to begin monitoring the frog population with respect to overwintering ecology and reproduction.  USGS, with the partnership of KBRT and the PFW garnered a grant from State Wildlife Incentives Grant program to begin the needed research.

Preliminary finds documented the presence of adult frogs near the springs in late fall. Livestock crib exclosures were constructed around the largest springs to protect the springs from being trampled by livestock.   In the spring, a solar watering system will be installed to provide water for stock away from Jack Creek.  Water availability, coupled with lodgepole removal and subsequent regrowth of forage, will provide water and feed for livestock to allow for the continued health of Jack Creek and its associated wetlands.

This successful project resulted in the protection of four springs used by the Oregon spotted frog, the restoration of 320 acres of wetlands, 75 acres of uplands and moist meadows and 1.9 miles of stream and riparian habitat. Key to the project's success was close communication and partnership with the Iverson’s ranch manager (and grandson) Keith Little.  His knowledge of livestock management integrated with the needs of the frog made the project effective and real.

Contact Info: David Ross, 541-885-2518, dave_ross@fws.gov