Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 15, 2016, Page 3, Image 3

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April 15, 2016
Oregon, Washington to begin
assault on gypsy moths April 16
Capital Press
Sean Ellis/Capital Press
A band of 2,450 sheep grazes April 12 in the Boise foothills. Recreationists have been alerted about
the presence of the sheep, which will be in the area for about 10 days before heading north.
Band of 2,450 sheep graze their
way through Boise foothills
Capital Press
BOISE — A group of cu-
rious onlookers watched as
2,450 domestic sheep were
unloaded from trucks onto the
rolling foothills near Boise on
April 12.
Idaho Rangeland Resource
Commission offi cials alerted
Boise residents about the ar-
rival of the sheep, which will
graze in the area for about 10
days as they make their way
IRRC Executive Direc-
tor Gretchen Hyde said the
sheep’s owner and the range-
land commission want to en-
sure people who encounter the
band of ewes and lambs don’t
have their outdoor experience
Using posted signs and lo-
cal media, the IRCC offers tips
for recreationists, including
keeping their dogs on a leash
to prevent a clash with sheep
“The sheep do intersect
with quite a few of the rec-
reational trails so we want
to make sure that people are
Sean Ellis/Capital Press
Wilder, Idaho, rancher Frank
Shirts speaks to the media on
April 12.
aware of that and have a pos-
itive experience with them,”
Hyde said.
Wilder, Idaho, rancher
Frank Shirts, who owns the
sheep band, has grazing per-
mits on federal and state land
in the area. Several private
landowners in the foothills
also pay him to have his sheep
graze their land.
Shirts said most people are
happy to see the sheep and a
lot of people in the homes that
line the foothills ask him to
bring his sheep close to their
property to control weeds and
reduce the fi re danger.
“Ninety-fi ve percent of
people love to see these sheep
but there are always that one
or two that don’t want ’em out
here because they don’t want
(anything) on the land,” he
He said the media atten-
tion, onlookers and the wel-
come from most homeowners
in the area is satisfying.
“It makes you proud,” he
said. “You know you’re doing
a good job.”
Tim Wilcomb, who owns
a home and land in the area,
turns up every year to wel-
come the sheep. He also feeds
the sheepherders pizza and
allows them to re-charge their
phones at his home.
“We love it when they come
around and, plus, they keep the
weeds down,” he said.
Hyde said the sheep’s an-
nual trek through the foothills
area provides an opportunity to
showcase the benefi ts of man-
aged grazing, including weed
control, reducing the use of
herbicides and reducing fi re
danger by suppressing fuel
The Washington and Ore-
gon agriculture departments
will start aerial assaults on gyp-
sy moths April 16 by spraying
over the ports of Tacoma and
Vancouver and parts of Port-
The Oregon Department of
Agriculture plans three appli-
cations by helicopter in the St.
Johns, Forest Park and Hayden
Island areas of Portland, about
8,800 acres total. Three Asian
gypsy moths and two European
gypsy moths were found in the
area last summer.
In Washington, the de-
partment plans to spray about
10,500 acres in seven places,
including the densely popu-
lated Seattle neighborhood of
Capitol Hill.
Both departments will use
the biological insecticide Bacil-
lus thuringiensis var. kurstaki,
commonly known as Btk. ODA
describes it as a natural-occur-
ring bacterium that has been
used on gypsy moths in Oregon
since 1984 and in Washington
since 1981.
Gypsy moths are notorious-
ly destructive, and the concern
is they will damage North-
west forests and crops such as
Christmas trees if unchecked.
The insects are established
in 20 states in the Northeast and
Midwest. Western states have
been fi ghting an aggressive
battle for more than 35 years to
keep gypsy moths at bay.
Last summer, WSDA
trapped 32 European gypsy
moths and 10 Asian gypsy
The Asian gypsy moths
were particularly concerning.
They have a wider appetite and
more mobility than their Euro-
pean counterparts and hadn’t
been detected in Washington
since 1999.
To ease concerns, both
states have hosted public meet-
ings about the spray plan and
mailed notifi cations to postal
Courtesy of John H. Ghent, USDA Forest Service
A gypsy moth caterpillar feeds on a tree. The Washington and Or-
egon agriculture departments will start spraying to eradicate gypsy
moths on April 16.
“We really want to make
the public aware of what’s hap-
pening so they aren’t alarmed
when they see an airplane com-
ing over their neighborhood
with Btk,” WSDA spokesman
Hector Castro said April 11.
WSDA has mailed three
rounds of postcards to about
30,000 addresses in Seattle, Ta-
coma, Kent, Gig Harbor, Nis-
qually, Lacey and Vancouver.
Each site will be sprayed
at least three times, three to
10 days apart, as caterpillars
The applications will begin
about 30 minutes before dawn.
People on the ground may
not feel the mist, Castro said.
“The goal is for it to end up in
the trees,” he said.
WSDA tentatively plans to
spray 640 acres on Capitol Hill
on April 29, though weather
More information
To receive updated informa-
tion about when areas will
be sprayed, WSDA advised
people to go to a website, agr., and sign
up for email, text or phone
call notifi cations.
Oregon residents may sign
up to receive text messages
or phone calls to know when
spraying will occur by going to
They can also hear pre-re-
corded information about the
status of the project by dialing
211. ODA will also provide in-
formation on Twitter at http://
could change the schedule.
The Washington Depart-
ment of Health said people can
minimize their exposure by re-
maining indoors during spray-
ing and 30 minutes afterward.
Irrigators face tricky negotiations after legal victory
Capital Press
Irrigators fi ghting a lawsuit
over the threatened Oregon
spotted frog have won a key
battle but face new challenges
in upcoming settlement negoti-
U.S. District Judge Ann
Aiken has fi led an offi cial
opinion denying a preliminary
injunction sought by environ-
mentalists that would have
signifi cantly disrupted the op-
erations of three irrigation res-
ervoirs in Central Oregon.
The Central Oregon, North
Unit and Tumalo irrigation dis-
tricts must now strive to protect
their interests during settlement
talks with environmentalists
and the federal government.
Growers are generally out-
matched in terms of time and
money in such litigation, which
doesn’t help their position
during negotiations, said Karen
Budd-Falen, an attorney who
represents natural resource in-
“The farmers are going to
be under signifi cant pressure to
settle even if they end up with
less water,” she said. “It really
is like David and Goliath, with
two Goliaths instead of one.”
Aiken’s recent ruling was
no surprise, since she’d al-
ready told the plaintiffs — Wa-
terWatch of Oregon and the
Center for Biological Diver-
sity — they’d failed to prove
such an injunction was neces-
sary during a court hearing in
However, the environmen-
talists then asked the judge not
to issue a written ruling, which
would have prevented the opin-
ion from being cited in future
legal proceedings.
Aiken has now denied that
request and issued a decision
stating their proposed injunc-
tion would “create certain hard-
ship for farmers and ranchers”
while its benefi ts to the spotted
frog would be “questionable.”
The environmentalists argue
that the Crane Prairie, Wickiup
and Crescent Lake dams have
reversed the natural fl ow pat-
terns of streams to the detri-
ment of the frog in violation of
At a glance
Oregon spotted frog
Binomial name: Rana pretiosa
Appearance: Medium-size frog ranging from 1.75 to 4 inches long. Body
color varies with age. Adults appear brown to reddish brown with black
spots with ragged edges.
Courtesy of U.S. Fish
Range: British Columbia, Washington,
and Wildlife Service
Oregon and California
Habitat: Found in or near
perennial bodies of water that
include zones of shallow
water and vegetation.
Status: Threatened
Reasons for decline:
Habitat loss, competition
from non-native species,
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
the Endangered Species Act.
Their injunction motion
sought an order requiring the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
to alter reservoir operations to
promote higher fl ows in winter
and lower fl ows in summer.
The government and irriga-
tion districts argued the species
had adapted to the system over
the past 70 years, so the injunc-
Alan Kenaga/Capital Press
tion proposal could hurt the
frogs as well as farmers.
In her written opinion, Aik-
en said she would defer to fed-
eral biologists rather than “pick
and choose among expert
opinions,” particularly since
the stream fl ow options de-
manded by the environmen-
talists wouldn’t clearly help
the frogs.
SAGE Fact #129
At the Tidewater Terminal in
Boardman, cranes annually move
more than 21,000 containers
between barges and trucks.