CORVALLIS, Ore. A major initiative to create alternative nesting sites for the largest colony of Caspian terns in the world and to help protect juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River is finding early success.
A recent survey of a new nesting site at Crump Lake in southern Oregon, which was just constructed in February by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found more than 135 nesting pairs of Caspian terns, as well as more than a thousand pairs of gulls and two nesting pairs of double-crested cormorants.
Redistributing the terns is critical because research by Oregon State University scientists found that terns and cormorants annually consume more than 10 million juvenile salmon and steelhead migrating through the Columbia River estuary en route to the Pacific Ocean. OSU researchers helped lure the Caspian terns to Crump Lake, which is northeast of Lakeview, with decoys and recorded sounds of nesting terns that they had recorded in the Columbia estuary.
"It is amazing that more than 520 Caspian terns have found the new island, which was only constructed five months ago and that some have decided to nest there," said Dan Roby, an OSU professor of fisheries and wildlife and principal investigator in the study. "There is a history of nesting at Crump Lake and clearly the birds have some kind of 'populational' memory of the place. That is a real key to the success."
The joint effort between the Corps, OSU, Real Time Research, Inc., and the U.S. Geological Survey's Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is being funded by a $2.1 million grant to OSU from the Corps and Bonneville Power Administration.
The Corps' avian predation program aims to reduce the number of young salmon consumed by terns in the estuary and "substantially improve the survival of fish listed as threatened or endangered" under the Endangered Species Act, said Geoff Dorsey, a wildlife biologist with the Corps' Portland Distr
|Contact: Dan Roby|
Oregon State University