The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, May 20, 2015, Image 10

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Wetlands: ‘I didn’t think the project would go this long’
Continued from Page 1A
Sarah Lertora knew about
the wetland from her older sis-
ter Rachel Lertora ,doing it as
a freshman, and their mother,
Ashley Lertora volunteering
to lead students. She said it
was a chance to see classroom
specimens in the wild, such as
the northern red-legged frogs
she said she saw leaping off of
banks into the inlets.
Her mother Ashley Lerto-
ra, with the Oregon Depart-
ment of Forestry, worked with
groups of students monitoring
water quality, including tem-
perature, oxygen content and
“I’ve run tests in the lab
before, but never in nature,”
said Claire Albright, one of
Lertora’s students. “This is the
This week, the students
found themselves back in
says on their time in the wet-
lands, and preparing for their
peers on what they observed.
Astoria High School sci-
ence instructor Lee Cain
said the presence of tree
swallows, four of their eggs
found in a nesting box, in-
dicates the wetlands at the
Astoria Mitigation Bank are
doing well.
saw an opportunity with the
mitigation bank across Youngs
Bay at the airport, monitored
for the past 18 years.
“I came along in 1998 and
was looking for something to
do with kids,” Cain said. “So
we look at whether this is
functioning as a proper wet-
A continuing
land. I didn’t think the project
In an era of school auster- would go this long.”
Lee has gathered volun-
Map courtesy of Lee Cain
The Astoria Mitigation Bank, just southeast of the Astoria
Regional Airport and west of the Lewis and Clark Bridge,
was created to offset development by the Port of Astoria.
teers from a menagerie of
environmental and natural
resource groups to lead the
students around, even getting
sponsorship andT-shirts for the
lending group Craft3.
Andrew Mattingly said. He’s a
commercial portfolio adminis-
trator with the group, who led
students around the wetlands
checking nesting boxes for
bird eggs.
Julie Tennis, an indepen-
dent volunteer who works for
tute in Olympia, Wash., that
encourages teachers to get
their kids outside, said Cain’s
project is an example of how
teachers on strapped budgets
tunities. She studies bees on
her own time, and is helping
students assess the abun-
dance of them at the mitiga-
tion bank.
“It’s accessible,” she said of
the bank, less than two miles
school. “It’s relevant, because
it’s the local environment.”
Students looked rather hes-
wetlands, Tennis said. “But
then that sense of exploration
and curiosity takes over,” she
said. By the end of their time,
kids were enthusiastically
slogging through the brush,
nets waving, trying to catch as
many bees as possible.
Emerging trends
In the 17 years his students
have been monitoring the
wetlands, Cain said he’s seen
some trends emerging, both
positive and negative.
“Everything is early this
year,” he said about the mild
winter, which has led to an
early blooming and arrival of
many animals, including the
tree swallow, a migratory spe-
cies that winters as far south
as Central America before
traveling to North America in
the spring. Cain beamed at the
larger-than-usual numbers of
in the nest boxes around the
“If they’re here in decent
numbers, it means the wet-
lands are in good condition,”
Cain said.
The property has also seen
a spread of the invasive, nox-
ious weed yellow iris, which
Cain added volunteers over the
years have started to cut down
on, with the help of targeted
herbicide spraying.
He’s noticed native marsh
wrens declining, but Cain’s
upbeat about other arrivals at
the mitigation bank.
nally seeing a native mussel
colonizing it,” he said of the
native clams that have started
His students will present
their reports as a class proj-
ect, before their research joins
the volumes of observations
stretching back beyond their
‘Fake Willy’: Model emits orca sounds
Continued from Page 1A
HILLARY BORRUD — Capital Bureau
Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, spoke to a group of about 70 recreational anglers
and members of the sportfishing industry in front of the state Capitol building Tuesday.
Sportfishers were in Salem to oppose the appointment of Astoria resident Bruce Buck-
master to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Sportfishers said they want Gov.
Kate Brown to appoint a commissioner from their industry.
Gov. Kate Brown to appoint a
commissioner from their industry
Continued from Page 1A
In a surprise move, the
committee held back the
governor’s two reappoint-
ments — Holly Akenson of
Enterprise, and Michael Fin-
ley of Medford — because
senators said they want new
commissioners who will take
a more active role in helping
the Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife to fix its
long-term budget problems.
The agency has a $345
million proposed budget
for 2015 through 2017 but
as committee member Sen.
Brian Boquist, R-Dallas,
said Tuesday, it is also $32
million short of the revenue
necessary to balance that
“In short, the agency’s
upside down,” Boquist said.
“It’s in serious financial
Atkinson said he would
bring his experience work-
ing on corporate turnarounds
to the commission, and he
would push for the state
to more effectively market
fishing and hunting opportu-
nities in Oregon. Buckmas-
ter said he would also apply
his business experience to
improve the agency’s finan-
cial health and would like
the state to rank the agency’s
programs in terms of their
importance to its mission.
Atkinson said he initial-
ly considered what it could
mean to his professional rep-
utation if he takes a position
overseeing an agency that is
in financial trouble. Sen. Ted
Ferrioli, R-John Day, said
this was a valid concern.
“It’s doing everything it
can to alienate its customer
base,” Ferrioli said of the
Oregon Department of Fish
and Wildlife, which receives
much of its revenue from
hunting and fishing fees.
“You want the job, you got
it. I’m going to vote for both
of you. But I’m going to
tell you something, I’m not
sure you’re going to like me
a year from now because I
voted to confirm you. You’re
worried about your credibil-
ity senator? You should be.”
Ferrioli and other sena-
tors said another reason they
did not vote on the two re-
appointments Tuesday, aside
from the desire for commis-
sioners who would take a
more active role in oversee-
ing the agency’s budget and
policies, was they want more
balance among interests on
the committee.
Buckmaster previously
owned a salmon feed compa-
ny and served on the board
of Salmon for All, a group
that represents commercial
fishermen, processors and
other businesses on the Low-
er Columbia River. Atkinson
is a fly-fisherman, former
state senator and Republican
candidate for governor.
Liz Hamilton, of the
said the Fish and Wildlife
Commission is already im-
balanced because it lacks a
member from the sportfish-
ing industry.
“This doubles down on
that imbalance,” Hamilton
said of Brown’s appointees.
Oregon is implementing
a plan to phase out gillnet-
ting on the main stem of the
Columbia River by 2017 and
increase the portion of fish
allocated to sportfishers.
The sportfishing industry
raised concerns that Buck-
master could undermine im-
plementation of that plan,
something that Buckmaster
said Tuesday he would not
Tom Hester of Poulsen
Cascade Tackle in Clacka-
mas asked the senators to
vote “no” on Buckmaster’s
appointment because “it’s
very plain for all to see that
there is no balance at all” on
the Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Commission. Hester said, if
the Senate confirms Buck-
master’s appointment to the
commission, there will be
two commissioners from the
commercial fishing industry
and none from the sport-
fishing industry, despite its
contributions to the econo-
my. “That is not a balance,
it’s a stacked deck,” Hester
said. “Oppose Buckmaster,
put someone from our side
in there.”
Opponents have de-
scribed Buckmaster as a lob-
byist for Salmon for All, but
Buckmaster said Tuesday he
was never paid to serve as a
lobbyist and only registered
with the state as a lobbyist
because that is required for
anyone who frequently tes-
tifies before the Legislature.
Among those who spoke
in support of Buckmaster
Tuesday was Paul Lumley,
executive director for the
Columbia River Inter-Tribal
Fish Commission.
“He understands that the
only way our region can
have successful fisheries is
by rebuilding abundance,
a view that the tribes have
shared for decades” Lumley
Atkinson said Buckmas-
ter was among the first peo-
ple he met in the state Cap-
itol building and although
they do not agree on every-
thing, they became good
enough friends that Atkinson
met up with Buckmaster on a
boat trip past Astoria.
“I want strong personal
relationships on the com-
mission, even with people
you might not 100 percent
agree with,” Atkinson said.
“I don’t think anyone’s in-
terested in doing a manage-
ment by consensus that’s a
slow death.”
The Senate Committee
on Rules already sent the 92
other candidates in Brown’s
latest round of appointments
to the full Senate last week,
after separating out the Fish
and Wildlife Commission
The Capital Bureau is a
collaboration between EO
Media Group and Pamplin
Media Group.
Technology, which had unsuc-
cessfully tested lightly pulsing,
proved relatively unsuccessful, sea lions off docks. The last
and the fake orca mostly dis- experiment failed because the
appeared from mention after brackish water in Astoria wasn’t
salty enough for sea lions to no-
Knight said the man vol- tice the small shocks from the
unteered to drive the fake orca pads after getting wet and laying
down to Astoria and have it on docks. Knight said he was
pulled around in the water near told the pads had been improved
the East End Mooring Basin, for Astoria’s conditions, and that
where hundreds to thousands of Smith-Root representatives will
sea lions congregate, depending be in Astoria today to test them
Port staff will tow the mod-
el around, while it emits orca news items popped up at the
Port Commission meeting
“I observed two orcas at Tuesday:
• The Port Commission vot-
Buoy 25 yesterday,” said Port
Commissioner James Campbell, ed unanimously to authorize
who operates a marine towing Knight to sign a license agree-
company. “Hopefully we can ment with the National Oceanic
coax them up to the east basin.” and Atmospheric Administra-
Knight said he also heard tion and other agencies to in-
back from Smith-Root Fisheries stall a 30-foot meteorological
tower and a Trimble GPS unit
at the Astoria Regional Airport,
provided it doesn’t interfere
with the U.S. Coast Guard’s op-
erations. It approved a related
access agreement for Battelle
Memorial Institute from Rich-
land, Wash.
• Knight reported the Riv-
erwalk Inn, owned by Brad
Smithart, appears to be in tran-
sition of ownership to Ganesh
Sonpatki, a Portland budget
hotel operator. By February, Fi-
nancial Manager Jim Grey es-
timated Smithart owed upward
of $179,000 in delinquent rent,
although he’s since embarked on
a repayment plan. Smithart also
transient room taxes to the city
of Astoria, along with more than
$16,000 in IRS tax liens. Smi-
thart is preparing for the expan-
sion of his downtown business,
the Arc Arcade.
Supporting you for a
Lifetime of Health
of North Oregon Coast
community support connection
3 rd Wednesday of the month, 6:30 pm
CMH Health & Wellness Pavilion
3rd Floor Conference Room
2165 Exchange Street
Astoria, OR
May 20: Martha Pine, yoga instructor
June 17: Dr. Diana Rinkevich, cardiologist
Join your local chapter of
WomenHeart, an organization for
women living with or at risk of heart
disease. This chapter is sponsored
by Columbia Memorial Hospital.
Contact Michele Abrahams
for more information at
WomenHeart is the only national organization dedicated to advancing women’s heart health through
advocacy, community education and patient support. As the leading voice for the 42 million American
women living with or at risk of heart disease, WomenHeart advocates for equal access to quality care
and provides information and resources to help women take charge of their heart health.