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Malheur Conservation Work Party: Carp Edition

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When: Jul 16, 2018 05:00 PM to Jul 18, 2018 01:00 PM

Join the Portland Audubon for this carp-themed Malheur Conservation Work Party. As part of the refuge conservation plan, biologists are studying carp reduction and removal strategies on Malheur Lake. As part of these efforts, the refuge is conducting a common carp biomass study.

Where: Meet at Double O Unit on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge at 7:00 am, Tuesday July 17, 2018

Join the Portland Audubon for this carp-themed Malheur Conservation Work Party. As part of the refuge conservation plan, biologists are studying carp reduction and removal strategies on Malheur Lake. As part of these efforts, the refuge is conducting a common carp biomass study. The purpose of this study is to identify the threshold where carp reduction will permit the recovery of aquatic plants.

Common carp were introduced into the Harney Basin in the 1920s. The spread of carp throughout the Malheur system coincided with the loss of submerged aquatic vegetation throughout Malheur lake. Today, Malheur Lake produces a fraction of historic waterfowl nesting habitat. The hope is that we can learn to live with carp, while supporting healthy freshwater marshes and bird populations. We will work with refuge staff, and fish biologists from Abernathy Fish Technology Center to catch, tag, and transport carp to the study area at Windmill Pond, in the Double O Unit. 

While you're at the Refuge, take time to enjoy the abundance of wildlife. Enjoy the 187,757 acres of wetlands, lakes, dry lakes, native grass meadows and arid upland habitats. The area is truly a birder's paradise. Late July is the perfect time to look for shorebirds on the southbound migration and young ducks, geese and swans are also abundant.

What to Bring

Please bring your own lunch and water, sturdy ankle-high work boots, sunscreen, and dress for the weather. This time of year, conditions can fluctuate between cool/wet and hot/dry, so be sure to check the weather before your trip.

The refuge sits (deceivingly) at ~4,000ft in elevation; slightly noticeable for some, but not an issue for most. The terrain at near the lake can be uneven, though largely flat. Much of this work party will require standing for several hours, sometimes in the water, and the ability to lift adult carp (about 10-20 pounds). There will be plenty of opportunities for pacing oneself during the day, and plenty of extra water to stay hydrated. Our number one priority is that everyone stays safe!  

You are responsible for arranging your own food, lodging and transportation. We can facilitate participants organizing a carpool by sharing participant contact info if participants desire. It is a long drive to Malheur from the Willamette Valley, so take that into consideration before committing to this trip. 

Trip Timeline

  • Monday, July 16: We recommend out-of-town folks arrive in the evening and get settled into your hotel or camping area.
  • Tuesday, July 17: Drive to Double O Maintenance Area (see directions below). Please arrive on time at 7 a.m. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the field.
  • Wednesday, July 18: Reward day! Join Portland Audubon biologists for a morning of birding and wildlife watching in some of our favorite hot spots on the Refuge. More details to come!

RSVP

Please complete the RSVP form. Group size is limited to 12 people. You will receive a follow-up email by July 9th. The confirmation email will provide any new updated information regarding the event and we will confirm that everyone is still able to participate.

This trip is led by Portland Audubon’s Eastern Oregon Field Coordinator, Teresa Wicks (twicks@audubonportland.org).

Lodging Options

City of Hines and City of Burns, 32 miles north of Refuge Headquarters, provides lodging accommodations. Please contact Harney County Chamber of Commerce at 541-573- 2636 or visit their website. For more rustic conditions, consider the Malheur Field Station or camp along the Blitzen River at Page Springs Campground, just three miles from the town of Frenchglen. 

Make sure to make reservations at the field station in advance (Page Springs Campground does not take reservations, camping is at a first come first serve basis).

Directions 

From Burns: Head south on Hwy 205 approximately 21 miles to Double O Rd. Turn right and drive along Double O Rd for about 14 miles, continue forward across the cattle guard, and travel another 3 miles to a flagged gate. Turn left and drive up the driveway to the Double O maintenance area.  

From Frenchglen: Head north on Hwy 205 approximately 37 miles to Double O Rd. Turn left and drive along Double O Rd for about 14 miles, continue forward across the cattle guard, and travel another 3 miles to a flagged gate. Turn left and drive up the driveway to the Double O maintenance area. 

Thanks for working with us to conserve and restore Malheur!

Malheur Landscape
Photo by Tara Lemezis
 
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