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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWRC: Hopper Mountain Hosts Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office Staff for Refuge Week

Region 8, October 13, 2011
Hopper Mountain NWR Complex and Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office staff paint rocks at the Hopper Mountain NWR helipad.
Hopper Mountain NWR Complex and Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office staff paint rocks at the Hopper Mountain NWR helipad. - Photo Credit: n/a
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff build nest boxes for cavity nesting birds on Hopper Mountain NWR.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff build nest boxes for cavity nesting birds on Hopper Mountain NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Michael Woodbridge, USFWS

In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week 2011, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) staff provided staff from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (VFWO) with an exciting day at the Hopper Mountain NWR. Despite temperatures in the 90s, everyone enjoyed the chance to get out on the land, see California condors and other wildlife, and spend time working on improvement projects around the Refuge.

The day started for the 25 participants with a ride to Hopper Mountain NWR in two 15-passenger vans. Upon arrival, staff from both offices got straight to work on two service projects to benefit the Refuge. One group grabbed paint brushes and applied a fresh coat of paint to the rocks marking the emergency helipad. The bright white rocks ringing the landing site provide helicopters a clear sign of where to land when an emergency evacuation must take place. Another group spent the morning building bird boxes for cavity nesting birds that breed on the Refuge. With more than ten new bird boxes constructed, the Refuge can provide additional habitat for native birds.

Everyone’s hard work from the morning’s service projects was rewarded with a barbeque lunch in the shade. After lunch, everyone loaded into the vans and the group toured the Refuge. Along the way, participants learned about the new condor flight pen, explored the landscape of the Refuge, and gained a better understanding of how condor biologists track and monitor California condor activities on and off the Refuge. The tour ended with a special viewing of an active condor nest, where a chick is preparing to fledge.

This is the first time most of the VFWO staff had been to Hopper Mountain NWR. The last time the two Ventura-based Fish and Wildlife Service offices had performed service projects on a refuge together is estimated to have been a decade ago. “This has been a valuable opportunity for both of our offices to work together and learn from each other,” said Michael Brady, project leader for the Hopper Mountain NWR Complex. “One of the Service’s top priorities is to get people outside and to experience wildlife. We’ve got to lead by example.”

Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov