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Byline: The Register-Guard


CORVALLIS - Farmers' fields that are seasonally flooded play a role, not only in creating a sanctuary for fish during high-velocity water, but in providing access to high-energy foods and places for breeding, according to researchers at Oregon State University.

Even more important, the researchers say, is that these "intermittent watercourses" are dominated by native fishes whose behavior may have evolved to take advantage of such conditions.

"Floods have always been a dynamic part of the system, much the same way that snow is for elk in Yellowstone," said Guillermo Giannico, a freshwater fish ecologist at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the study. "Over time, animals will adapt to get the most out of their habitat. We have found that native fish have adjusted their behavior to use these floodplains, mostly in agricultural lands, to great benefit."

In their study, the researchers call for the promotion of agricultural conservation practices in floodplain habitats. Although many of the complex channels of streams and rivers in the Willamette Valley have been lost to development, those remaining in these agricultural lands are of benefit to native fishes, Giannico said.

The research team studied five sub-basins in the Willamette River drainage - the Luckiamute River, Mary's River and Long Tom River on the west side of the valley, and the Calapooia River and Muddy Creek on the east side. These sub-basins include the high-elevation Cascade Mountains, the hills of the Coast Range and the floor of the Willamette Valley, where most of the flooding would occur.

Researchers discovered 13 different fish species, and only three of those species were exotic, or non-native. Even more surprising to researchers was the number of native versus exotic individuals. Of the 1,526 fish they captured, almost 99 percent were natives. The most common were redside shiners (534 individuals) and threespine sticklebacks (347), which were found at nearly three-fourths of the sites. They also found tiny Chinook salmon and cutthroat trout, as well as speckled dace, large-scale suckers and northern pikeminnows, which are native to the valley.


Learn how to create native backyard habitats during a Nearby Nature workshop from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Alton Baker Park. November is the time to plant trees and shrubs so they can develop root systems and naturalize before the dry Willamette Valley summer. The workshop will offer tips on how to create water-wise native plants that support native wildlife. The instructors will be Bruce Newhouse, from the City of Springfield Planning and Development Department, and Yotokko Kilpatrick, the founder of Walama Restoration. They will teach about Willamette Valley habitats, plants and pollinators. Those attending will be allowed to take starts and seeds home to plant in their own yard. Details:


Rivers and streams: Last week, Alton Baker Canoe Canal was stocked with 1,500 rainbow trout. Note that non-adipose fin-clipped trout are legal to harvest in the canal.

Large brood trout, ranging in size from eight to 18 pounds, were released at Junction City Pond. The fish are 4- and 5-year-old rainbow trout from ODFW's Roaring River hatchery.

ODFW reports that the sturgeon bite on the lower Willamette River is improving.

Marine zone: Bank fishing at the mouth of the Elk River has been very good on days during and following the big tides. "Numerous" 50-pound fish have been caught that way, said John Gross of Roaring Fork Guide Service. Low water has made driftboat passage upriver difficult on both the Elk and Sixes. Flies have been the best producer, Gross said, with bait No. 2, and then spoons, spinners and plugs trailing.

ODFW reports suggest chinook catches on the Siuslaw River have been slow to fair. The Alsea River looks like a better bet right now; fall chinook there can be found from the lower bay up to the fishing deadline at Five Rivers. Many fish have moved upriver above the fishing boundary, but fresh, bright chinook should continue to pulse in over the next few weeks.


Timely tips: At this time the deer are rutting, and hunters can expect to find bucks hanging around close to does. Thick cover on the coast and Cascades will make spotting deer more difficult, but hunters can take advantage of scents and rattling antlers to draw a buck into the open.


Best bets: Bald Eagles are now commonly seen along the mainstem portion of the Umpqua River from Roseburg to Reedsport.

- From ODFW and Register-Guard reports


To submit events

Submit listings to: Events are open to the public and free, unless otherwise noted.



Senior ride: City of Eugene Adult Services invites senior riders to free, in-town rides departing from Campbell Center, 155 High St. 10:30 a.m. Details: 682-5318.


GEARS: 65-mile ride begins at 9:30 a.m. from Alton Baker Park. Details:


GEARS: Paul Adkins leads a "low" 20-mile ride to Mount Pisgah, starting at 9:30 a.m. from Alton Baker Park. Details:



BOGS: Presentation by Steve Barron about China trip highlights group meeting. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at Campbell Center, 155 High St.


Christmas Bird Count: Davey Wendt will lead a tour through local cemeteries, golf courses and other areas to get a sample. All levels of birders are welcome. Meet at South Eugene High, rain or shine, at 8 a.m. and return by noon. A $3 donation is suggested. Details: Leila at or 968-5533.



The Altair Ski and Sports Club: Board meeting, open to all members. 6 p.m. at 440 E. Broadway, Suite 300.



Altair: Meets at 10 a.m. at Hendricks Park, 5.5 miles. Details, RSVP: 746-6263


Altair: Meets at 10 a.m. at Hendricks Park, 5.5 miles. Details, RSVP: 746-6263


Mossbacks Volkssport Club: Group walk in Eugene, 3.1 or 6.8 miles, 8:45 a.m., Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way. Details: or 726-7169.

Altair: Meets at 10 a.m. at Skinner Butte and River trails, 4.5 miles. Details, RSVP: 343-7893.



Obsidians: On Ribbon Trail, with Barbara Revere. Sign up at the Eugene Family YMCA, 2055 Patterson St.


Nearby Nature: Meet at 10 a.m. outside the Alton Baker Park Host Residence for a two-hour, family-paced hike, and learn about raccoons and other creatures of the night. Cost is $2 per person or $5 per family. Registration recommended: 687-9699.


Altair: Chuck Wager will lead an 8.2-mile Youngs Rock hike. Details, RSVP: 543-1489



Eugene Natural History Society: Professor Nora Terwilliger from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology will present "Invertebrates Natural History," offering insight about invertebrates, crabs, spiders and insects. 7:30 p.m., room 100, Willamette Hall, UO campus. Free to the public.
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Title Annotation:Briefly
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 17, 2009
Previous Article:Buzzworthy.
Next Article:Catch-share idea a disaster for fishing families, the oceans.

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