Corvallis Science and Nature: Fish and Wildlife Meeting, Meadow Restoration, Bird Count and a Master Gardner Talks  

Fish and Wildlife Meeting January 13th 

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets for the first time in 2023 on Friday, January 13th at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife building in Salem. Topics for this meeting include renewable energy development, a lawsuit between the state and several tribes over fish hatcheries, and a few hunting and commercial fishing issues. The full agenda is available here. Any Oregonian can testify to the commission either in person or remotely. To comment on one of the issues on the meeting agenda, either register over Zoom at this link up to 48 hours before the event, or register on the day of the event for in-person testimony.   

The commission is a seven-member panel appointed by the governor, with one member from each Oregon congressional district, plus one more member each from east and west of the Cascades. Corvallis is represented by two members: Bob Spelbrink, for the 4th congressional district, and Mary Wahl, representing Western Oregon. 

Willamette Valley Restoration Report 

The time between Halloween and Christmas may not seem like a prime outdoor work season, but it’s the busiest time of the year for habitat restoration in the Willamette Valley. Corvallis-based nonprofit The Institute for Applied Ecology just released the report from their fall-winter restoration season, including some impressive numbers.

A team of AmeriCorps volunteers, working alongside Institute ecologists, planted over 17,000 individual plants. The bulk of these were seedlings of the federally endangered Willamette Daisy (Erigeron decumbens), a wildflower species that grows nowhere else in the world but the Willamette Valley. They also removed trees and cleared non-native plants to allow this and other vulnerable meadow species a better chance to regain a little of their lost habitat.   

Christmas Bird Count Results Are In 

On December 20, Corvallis Audubon coordinated the 62nd Corvallis Christmas Bird Count (CBC), and now the numbers are in on this important annual event. A total of 121 species were counted on the day, by 33 birders working in 18 teams.   

The CBC is more than just a fun day out for birders. It provides one of the longest records of bird abundance across the United States. The Corvallis edition started in 1912, but then took a 50-year hiatus, with the second count finally taking place in 1962. It has been conducted every year since then. Some of our most common Corvallis winter birds, like the song sparrow and black-capped chickadee, have been seen in all 62 counts. But others are much less consistent. The northern mockingbird made only its fifth appearance this year, and the tricolored blackbird only its fourth. The most exciting find of the day was a single Blackburnian warbler, the first ever recorded in a Corvallis CBC. Full results are available here.  

Shade Gardening Talk at the Library 

On Tuesday, January 17th, Benton County Master Gardeners and the Corvallis Public Library present the third of their winter “Gearing up for Gardening” series, focused on one of the most challenging places to grow plants: Dry shade. Master Gardener Kathy Clarke will talk about plants to choose for low-light and low-water conditions, to help plan for the growing season ahead. Details on this and the rest of the series available here. 

By Ian Rose 

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