OTTERS EMERGE ALONG AMAZON CREEK.Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard
The sudden ripples on the water were the first clue. Then, near the bank along Amazon Creek, a sleek head poked up, followed by another.
On Friday morning, just as the sun broke briefly out of the clouds, five river otters rolled at the surface then disappeared before re-emerging 15 feet upstream, snacking on crayfish crayfish or crawfish, freshwater crustacean smaller than but structurally very similar to its marine relative the lobster, and found in ponds and streams in most parts of the world except Africa. Crayfish grow some 3 to 4 in. (7.6–10. as they went.
River otters - once a rarity in the west Eugene wetlands - were spotted several times by visitors during the summer. They've been seen as far south as the west fork West Fork may be:
It's news that delights wetlands enthusiasts, said Eric Wold, wetlands manager for Eugene.
Some people have scoffed at the reports, insisting that it's just nutria nutria (n`trēə) or coypu (koi`p - an invasive rodent from South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. - roiling the creek waters. But biologists and veteran observers beg to differ.
Jack Long, open waterway program supervisor A Program Supervisor is the chief administrator of a school program, such as the high school, elementary school, middle school or pre-school. A Program Supervisor is comparable to a Principal (school), with the responsibility of enrolling students, hiring new teachers, placing for Eugene, was ambling This article is about the four-beat intermediate gaits of horses. For more information on how horses move, see Horse gait.
The term Amble or Ambling is used to describe a number of four-beat intermediate gaits of horses. north on the bike path last August when he saw the water rippling just downstream of the Amazon Creek bridge over Terry Street.
"I thought I'd see nutria or a beaver, but it was an otter," he said. And not just one. As he watched, six otters swam downstream.
"They'd dive and come up and sniff along the bank and occasionally crunch something, a freshwater clam or mussel mussel, edible freshwater or marine bivalve mollusk. Mussels are able to move slowly by means of the muscular foot. They feed and breathe by filtering water through extensible tubes called siphons; a large mussel filters 10 gal (38 liters) of water per day. ," he said.
Long kept pace, watching as they foraged. Then one otter stopped, raised up, turned his head from side to side and lunged into a big mound of grass. It re-appeared with a baby nutria clenched clench
tr.v. clenched, clench·ing, clench·es
1. To close tightly: clench one's teeth; clenched my fists in anger.
2. in its jaws, flopped on its back in the water and gulped the rodent down in several bites.
`I went, `All right! Cool!' I'm not a big fan of nutria,' Long said. "It's really great that we have something like otters out here, that it's not just nutria and old carp floating around."
Nutria are herbivores accidentally released into the wilds of Oregon after being imported to fur farms here early in the previous century. They strip creek banks of vegetative vegetative /veg·e·ta·tive/ (vej?e-ta?tiv)
1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of plants.
2. concerned with growth and nutrition, as opposed to reproduction.
3. cover, causing erosion, Wold said.
Otter, on the other hand, belong in Oregon's rivers, lakes and marshes, and their presence in Amazon Creek suggests a healthy habitat capable of supporting the foods otters prefer: fish, crayfish, frogs and snakes, Wold said.
That's good news to the consortium of government and private agencies working to restore the 3,000 acres of wetlands that run roughly northwest from the Willow Creek Preserve at Bertelsen Road and West 18th Avenue to Dragonfly dragonfly, any insect of the order Odonata, which also includes the damselfly. Members of this order are generally large predatory insects and characteristically have chewing mouthparts and four membranous, net-veined wings; they undergo complete metamorphosis. Bend at Royal Avenue and Greenhill Road.
Different sections of the land are owned by The Nature Conservancy Nature Conservancy, nonprofit organization established in 1951 to preserve or aid in the preservation of natural environments. It protects wilderness areas in the United States and Canada and is affiliated with similar groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. , the city of Eugene, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Lane County.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, McKenzie River For rivers name "Mackenzie", see .
The McKenzie River is a tributary of the Willamette River, 86 miles (138 km) long, in northwestern Oregon in the United States. It drains part of the Cascade Range east of Eugene into the southernmost end of the Willamette Valley. Trust and Oregon Youth Conservation Corps are also partners in restoration efforts.
In the past several years, the Years, The
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See : Time Amazon Creek - once a narrow, deep and relatively straight channel - has been widened with curves introduced to add complexity. Native species such as willow, red osier dogwood Noun 1. red osier dogwood - common North American shrub with reddish purple twigs and white flowers
American dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, red osier, redbrush, red dogwood and nutka rose have been planted along the banks to cool the water for fish and provide perches for birds.
The former ditch's purpose was once to move water as quickly as possible out of the city. Now, it's a meandering creek with side channels and ponds, although stormwater from the city still drains pollutants into the system, Wold said.
No one knows just how many otters have been attracted to the wetlands, but BLM's natural resource specialist Sally Villegas says that half a dozen separate sightings have been reported to wetlands staff this year, compared with just one last year.
Villegas and Wold say the increased reports may be the result of more people visiting the wetlands, thanks to the increasingly popular Fern Ridge Bike Path that follows the creek for several miles.
Wold himself saw river otters a year ago at Stewart Pond early one June morning when he'd stopped to check on restoration efforts there. Their antics captured his attention for an hour, he said.
"They're my favorite animal in the whole world," he said. "To humans they look playful. They're very elegant in the water. They're fun to watch."
Amazon isn't the only place in Eugene to see river otters, according to state Fish and Wildlife biologist Bill Castillo. They're common along the banks of the Willamette River, where people may also see mink and beaver, he said. In fact, river otters once thrived throughout North America but unregulated trapping sent them into decline. They became extinct in several Midwest and Southeastern states. While Oregon also experienced decreases, their numbers here improved once trapping was regulated, Castillo said. In fact, Oregon otters were used to help re-establish otter populations elsewhere, he said.
"They were fairly rare for a while. They made a pretty good recovery and now they're fairly common," he said.
Spotting otters can be a tricky business because the animals range over a fairly broad area, said Judy Berg, a retired biologist who studied the species in Colorado and has written about them.
"In my study site at the headwaters of the Colorado River, otters didn't stay in one location," she said. "They ranged anywhere from eight to 38 miles. You'd see them for three or four days in one area and then they'd be gone for two or three weeks."
But otters don't hibernate See hibernation mode. or migrate, which means they should be out in local waterways all year long. They can be active at all times of the day, but are frequently seen at dawn or dusk, said Berg, who will be giving a lecture and slide presentation on the creatures at Tsunami Books next week.
To spot them, look for disturbances in the water. You'll know you're seeing an otter and not a nutria because of their athleticism and agility.
"An otter, unless you just see the head, doesn't look anything like a nutria," said Long, the open waterways supervisor. "They're not little paddlers. They're acrobatic swimmers."
RIVER OTTER EXPERT
Judy Berg, a retired wildlife biologist, studied Colorado river otters for six years and wrote "The Otter Spirit: A Natural History Story." She will offer a lecture and slide show next week.
Details: Sat. Nov. 5, Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St. 5 p.m. Free.