"Some people have called for shooting the terns to protect the fish," he added, "but that solution is far less than ideal. Caspian terns are not a numerically abundant species. They just happen to have concentrated their nesting activities in this one location, which is an unfortunate location at that."
One reason for the super-colony at the mouth of the Columbia River, Roby said, is that the birds' historical nesting sites in the western United States have been destroyed by human activities. The draining of marshland habitat in some locations, and the flooding of historical nesting sites in others, has decimated their favored nesting habitat bare sand islands.
Now, working with a plan developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Corps and NOAA Fisheries, the OSU-led team is starting to restore alternative nesting colonies for Caspian terns. In addition to the Crump Lake site, the Corps created an artificial island in Fern Ridge Reservoir in the Willamette Valley, and plans to build three half-acre islands in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area in southern Oregon this summer and next. The plans at Summer Lake include the construction of a half-acre floating island made of recycled plastic with a coarse sand and gravel surface.
Crump Lake and Summer Lake are historical nesting sites for terns, Roby said, but Fern Ridge is not. And thus far, the terns have been slow to embrace Fern Ridge as a nesting site.
"We knew Fern Ridge would be a long-term project that may take several years to find success," Roby said. "The first step was to provide the habitat. Then we added the social attractio
|Contact: Dan Roby|
Oregon State University