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Conservation News

Conservation News – The conservation committee is committed to providing up-to-date conservation news for our members and visitors to our website.


Olympic Hot Springs Road Long-Term Access/Environmental Assessment

Olympic National Park (ONP) is preparing an Environmental Assessment for Olympic Hot Springs Road (OHSR) long-term access. The road has experienced multiple washouts since the completion of the dam removal project in 2014. The Elwha Valley is one of the most visited areas within ONP and the OHSR provides the only vehicular access into the valley.

The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the 8.2 mile OHSR (aka Elwha Valley Rd.) within ONP to ensure public and administrative access to visitor use areas within the Elwha Valley.  Read more about the project.

OPAS supports relocating the road, but the one-mile bypass road should be designed and constructed to minimize impacts to both the Elwha and its fisheries. In our comments, we expressed concern about the removal of many of the mature and old-growth trees that cover the reroute. Read our comments.


Read this update on the OPAS Trumpeter-Tundra Swan Study (March 2019)

by Laura Davis and Liam Antrim

By the end of March, the Dungeness Delta will be bidding farewell to the last of our winter-resident Trumpeter Swans, and so we reflect here on the study year in progress. Read more.


Update on the Marbled Murrelet Long Term Conservation Strategy

Chick with fish
Sketch by Paul Harris Jones

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released a Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) on eight alternatives for the Long-Term Conservation Strategy of the Marbled Murrelet.

The comment period ended on December 6, 2018. OPAS submitted comments that expressed concerns about DNR’s preferred alternative and the remaining seven alternatives. None of the alternatives presented in the RDEIS do enough to maintain and protect Marbled Murrelets in Washington State. Read our comments.

You can follow the Murrelet Survival Project Facebook page as DNR reviews public comments and develops a final EIS.


2018 Purple Martin Report

By Ken Wiersema

Inland Nest Boxes Photo by Ken Wiersema

Evidence supports that our work to establish a sustainable Purple Martin colony in proximity to the 3 Crabs restoration site is succeeding. This year we repaired and re-marked eighteen nest boxes to install on the 3 Crabs pilings, and another six boxes for the sites on Protection Island NWR. At the end of June, we erected four new boxes next to the tidal lagoons adjacent to the pilings. These boxes were over land rather than over water, as were our boxes on the pilings. We had successful nests in every box but one of the last ones installed.  Read more.


September 2018 Western Bluebird Report

By Joyce Volmut

Western Bluebird checking out nestbox.

Western Bluebirds had two broods this year in a nest box placed with permission on Department of Natural Resources property.

Study volunteers, Cindy Fulwiler reported the pair defending the box in late June and John Woolley reported two juveniles near the nest box on July 29. This is the first recording of two broods in the same same nest box.

In addition, at a home near Carrie Blake Park, two broods were reported, but it was unclear how many birds fledged. Near Obrien Road, three broods were reported this year. Seven birds fledged from the first brood, six from the second, and six from the third.


Conservation Award for 2018
by Ken Wiersema
This year our OPAS Conservation Committee recognized Bob Boekelheide for his many years of stellar dedication to the science of birds and bird study within our community. He was presented with a certificate which describes his salient contributions toward supporting the protection and conservation of wildlife habitat and biodiversity on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Specifically noted were his enduring and significant accomplishments in
preparing and leading us toward the use and development of accurate and documented bird population data. Bob’s science leadership as a high school teacher, Director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, and service on regional science advisory councils for both the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve are unsurpassed.
Since 1995, he has compiled our Chapter’s Christmas Bird Counts and Bird-a-thon. He has done breeding bird surveys, seabird studies, analyzed Trumpeter Swan counts, monitored bird population changes resulting from the 3 Crabs restoration, and established the Railroad Bridge Park Wednesday bird walk data base.
Werely on his bird data and analysis to support our policy and advocacy correspondence on regional conservation actions.
Bob generously shares his data, analysis, and knowledge toward enriching the birding enjoyment of our Chapter members and our community. He personifies being a teacher, conservationist, researcher, and scientist–but for us, he’s our gull guy! — Well done and well deserved.


Important Notice! What to do if you encounter aircraft disturbance at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

By FAA regulation, aircraft, including fixed wing, helicopter, drone, powered or unpowered are required to maintain a safe non-disturbance distance from wildlife. Should our members note what they believe is an aircraft disturbing wildlife they should contact:

FAA’s Flight Standards District Office (FDSO Seattle)
1601 Lind Avenue SW
Renton, Wa 98057

Phone: (425) 227-2813 or (800) 354-1940 Fax: (425) 227-1810

Wildlife disturbance on or near the DNWR should also be reported to Refuge Law Enforcement, David Falzetti ( or 360-457-8451). However, without detailed information including a tail number, date, time, and detailed wildlife disturbance behavior information he can do little. It is highly recommended that reports include photos of the tail number and type of wildlife disturbance. Understandably, these details can be very difficult to get, but the effort is important for follow-up.


Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report – 314 Species on the Brink

Shrinking and shifting ranges could imperil nearly half of U.S. birds within this century. Read the Audubon Climate Report.