March 23, 2015
Coquille Point South Stairway OPEN to Public
The stairway leading from the Coquille Point parking lot down to Bandon Beach has been reopened to the public after being closed since October 2014. The stairs were closed after concerns were raised about their structural stability due to geologic shifting and instability of the headland. The closure of this popular stairway, which is regularly used by local residents and visitors, was necessary to ensure visitor safety.
Following the closure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) awarded a contract to a structural engineering firm to inspect the stairway and provide a report outlining long term options for repair or replacement. The report, received yesterday, concluded that there was no evidence of imminent large-scale slope instability that would cause sudden failure of the stairway. However, it is anticipated that the slopes and staircase will continue to be subject to slow, long-term creep and shifting. Reopening of the stairs was determined to be safe at this time.
The Service is evaluating the long term options provided by the engineering firm and has made it a top priority to move forward with repairs or replacement.
The Coquille Point headland and the adjacent rocks and islands are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for coastal and marine wildlife.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 10:07 AM in Category: Bandon Marsh NWR
February 12, 2015
Update on Mosquito Management for 2015 at Bandon Marsh
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Coos County Public Health will continue to implement their Mosquito Management Plan for salt marsh mosquitoes at the restored Ni’les-tun Unit of the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in 2015. Monitoring for mosquito larvae is planned to begin in April depending on weather conditions, before the date when larvae begin appearing. As was done last year, if larvae reach a predetermined threshold density they will be treated with the larvicide Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or Bti, by hand or backpack spreader. Bti is a naturally derived larvicide that kills mosquito larvae but is non-toxic to bees, moths, butterflies, fish, mammals, and birds when applied. It was used last year to prevent twelve separate salt marsh mosquito flyoffs.
Additionally, the Service will monitor the effectiveness of the 80,000 linear feet of new tidal channels that were dug in 2014 to drain about 80% of all the mosquito breeding pools inadvertently created during marsh restoration. Based on monitoring results, the Service will dig additional channels as needed to drain more mosquito breeding pools.
“The goal is to eliminate the vast majority of the pools that produce mosquitoes so future larvicide application will no longer be necessary,” said Acting Project Leader Rebecca Chuck.
Last year, monitoring for mosquito larvae and adults continued into October. The plan for 2015 is to again track active mosquitoes until the end of the breeding season. Mosquito eggs currently dormant in the marsh are expected to start hatching around mid-April.
“Because of the Bti treatments and breeding habitat reduction that occurred last year, we expect only a small fraction of last year’s numbers of mosquitoes to hatch this year,” said Chuck.
The Service has provided funding to Coos County Public Health for monitoring and application of larvicide. The County issued a request for proposals from mosquito control companies to provide monitoring and treatment for mosquitoes on the Refuge. The deadline for proposal submission is 2/26/2015 at 2 pm. The County expects to award a contract in March. That contractor will work closely with Coos County Public Health and new Bandon Marsh Refuge Manager Eric Mruz to implement this year’s plan.
For updates on the Integrated Marsh Management Approach at Bandon Marsh Refuge: www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/bandonmarsh/Mosquito.html.
Coos County Public Health:
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 9:43 AM in Category: Bandon Marsh NWR
January 22, 2015
Whale Cove Protected thanks to diverse partnership
Depoe Bay OR –The land around Whale Cove on the central Oregon Coast is now a protected part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge thanks to a partnership between the property owner and federal, state, and nonprofit organizations. The 13.97-acre property in Lincoln County is two miles south of Depoe Bay, and surrounds the oldest marine reserve in Oregon where all marine life is protected. The site will be managed for its natural resource values and to protect Whale Cove’s ecology. The cove provides scenic views from nearby Rocky Creek State Park and US Highway 101.
The deal closed on December 31, 2014 thanks to support from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Federal Highway Administration, (FHWA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the nonprofit North Coast Land Conservancy, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), and property owners Bryce and Beebe Buchanan. The property was valued at $2,250,000; however, the owners donated $1,150,000 by reducing the sale price for the property, accepting $1.1 million. The Buchanans originally purchased this portion of Whale Cove to conserve it; previous to their owning it there were multiple high-density development proposals for the land. The FHWA awarded a Scenic Byways Grant for $650,000 in 2008 to purchase the property. OPRD provided $450,000 in matching funds through Bandon Biota, an Oregon business. Neal Maine with The North Coast Land Conservancy played a pivotal role in applying for the federal funding and negotiating a deal with the Buchanans. ODOT coordinated the scenic byways funding, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to take ownership of the property and manage the site in perpetuity.
"Seldom do you find an Oregon citizen like Bryce, who not only intentionally buys land for the purpose of conservation, but then has the patience and fortitude to work for more than a decade with multiple government agencies to achieve the goal of preservation," says Neal Maine with the North Coast Land Conservancy.
"We are grateful to the partnerships that have resulted in this new addition to Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.” said Rebecca Chuck, Refuge Manager for the USFWS "Refuge designation will provide an undisturbed upland buffer to the marine resources of the cove in addition to added protection for the nesting seabirds and marine mammals.
As part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Whale Cove will protect habitat for nesting seabirds including black oystercatcher, pigeon guillemot, pelagic cormorant, and western gull along with bald eagle and many species of songbirds. The cove also provides resting and pupping habitat that is used by over 100 Harbor Seals year-round. People will be able to enjoy the scenery from the nearby state park viewpoint, and by paddling in from Depoe Bay. USFWS staff and volunteers will focus on removing invasive plant species, especially English ivy, to improve the forested areas for wildlife.
Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 762 acres of coastal rocks, islands and headlands along 320 miles of the Oregon coastline. The refuge provides nesting habitat for most of Oregon’s 1.2 million nesting seabirds, and a large percentage of Oregon’s seal and sea lion population use the refuge to rest and produce their young.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 12:34 PM in Category: Oregon Islands NWR
January 7, 2015
Update on staircase closure at Coquille Point
Bandon, OR. - The stairs leading from the Coquille Point parking lot down to Bandon Beach were closed in October after concerns were raised about their structural stability due to geologic shifting and instability of the headland. The closure was necessary to ensure visitor safety.
Since the closure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been working to secure the expertise and funding necessary to repair or replace this popular stairway which is regularly used by local residents and visitors. The Service recently awarded a contract to a structural engineering firm to inspect the stairway and provide a report by March 15, 2015. The engineering report will detail options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement. The Service will then evaluate the options from the engineering firm and will make it a top priority to move forward with repairs or replacement.
An alternate staircase to the beach is still available at Coquille Point. Visitors can walk the short path (800 ft.) to the north end of Coquille Point and access a staircase at the end of 8th St. The Coquille Point headland and the adjacent rocks and islands are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for coastal and marine wildlife.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 1:50 PM in Category: Oregon Islands NWR
November 13, 2014
Ducky At Dawn Walks
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites you to participate in a free bird watching event called Ducky at Dawn. Sunday morning at dawn throughout the month of November, wildlife refuge volunteer Lee Sliman will staff the sheltered bird observation deck at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Six different kinds of goose along with thousands of ducks rest and feed in and around the pastures of the wildlife refuge. It’s an ideal time to see fall colors and fields covered in waterfowl of all shapes and sizes. Spotting scopes, binoculars and seating in the covered shelter will be provided to make your birding event easy.
So bundle up, bring a hot beverage, relax and before you know it those geese that ‘all looked alike’ will take on separate identities. Meet in the lower parking lot at the bird observation deck. This event is fun for the entire family.
Ducky At Dawn Offered:
November 9rd 7:30 am
November 16th 7:45 am
November 23th 8:00 am
November 30th 8:15 am
Nestucca Bay NWR is located on the west side of Highway 101 approximately six miles south of Pacific City. To visit the refuge turn west off Highway 101 onto Christensen Road and proceed a half-mile to the lower parking lot. For more information contact volunteer Lee Sliman at 503-812-6392.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 11:11 AM in Category: Nestucca Bay NWR
November 4, 2014
Coquille Point Stairs Closed
Bandon, Ore. – On Monday, November 3 the south staircase at Coquille Point will be closed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) due to public safety concerns. The staircase has suffered structural damage as a result of geologic shifting on the point. A path and second set of stairs on Coquille Point, 800 feet to the north at the end of 8th street, will remain open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach.
In early August the Service contracted with a structural engineering firm. At their direction, movement indicators were created across all joints on the stairs. These indicators were monitored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff for movement on a weekly basis. Also under the firm’s recommendation the Service hired a survey company to install survey points from the beach to the parking lot on both sides of the stairs to monitor movement of the slope. It was determined that the staircase could remain open until the end of October, unless movement of any joints in excess of 1/4" was detected, or a significant rain event was forecasted. Now that the rainy season has begun, the stairs will be closed as planned for an indefinite period of time to ensure public safety, while a more detailed structural and geotechnical investigation is conducted and a repair or replacement plan is developed.
“The Service realizes this creates an inconvenience for visitors to Coquille Point and we are sorry to have to close the popular staircase. However, the safety of our refuge visitors is a top priority, making this closure necessary.” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point. “We have begun evaluating options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement.”
These stairs have provided visitors with access to Bandon Beach and rocky intertidal areas at the base of Elephant Rock since their construction in 1998. Coquille Point is managed as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spectacular place to observe seabirds and harbor seals. The point overlooks a series of coastal rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull and Brandt's Cormorant as well as Harbor seal and rocky intertidal invertebrates. A paved trail winds over the headland and features new interpretive panels that share stories about the area's wildlife.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:20 PM in Category: Oregon Islands NWR
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