Monthly Archives: July 2018

NIFC reports 1,300 lightning strikes in S. Oregon overnight

Map depicting heavy lightning in southern Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – June 16, 2018 –The Northwest Interagency Fire Information Center reports higher-than-average temperatures, low humidity, and lack of rain are contributing to new fire starts in southern Oregon following thunderstorms that brought more than 13,000 lightning strikes in the past 24 hours.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, located in southwest Oregon, reported more than 100 new fire starts today, following the storms, and is implementing seasonal restrictions on potentially fire-causing activities on the forest.

The Umpqua National Forest also announced seasonal fire restrictions are in effect on that forest, beginning today, due to the hot, dry weather and rising wildland fire risk.

The Klamathon Fire, which has been burning in north-central California just south of the Oregon border, is 90 percent contained as of this morning, according to Inciweb. a federal and state inter-agency wildland fire incident information system.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton, Ore. has issued a red flag warning for southern Oregon from Tuesday, July 17 at 1 p.m. through Wednesday, July 18 at 8 p.m. due to forecasted wind gusts and continuing dry weather creating elevated fire risk and potential for extreme fire behavior.

Read more Pacific NW wildland fire-related news and weather info on the Northwest Fire Information Center blog: http://nwccinfo.blogspot.com/.

For more information about specific, large (named) fires, visit InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

Map depicting heavy lightning in southern Oregon

The Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, OR reported 1336 lightning strikes in 24 hours in southern Oregon, from 8 a.m. July 15 to 8 a.m. July 16, 2018.


Source Information: Northwest Fire Information Center, InciWeb, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Umpqua National Forest (staff reports)

Forest Service at Oregon Zoo July 17 & Aug. 21

Smokey Bear waves to someone off-camera as he leads a group down a walking path at an outdoor event.

PORTLAND, Ore.July 16, 2018 – The Forest Service provides outdoors education activities and information at the Oregon Zoo during “Twilight Tuesdays,” July 17 and Aug. 21.

The zoo offers reduced-price admission for $5 per person on designated Tuesdays during the summer months, from 5-8 p.m. (or $3.50 with proof of TriMet public transit ridership to the event).

The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region partners with the zoo to offer conservation education events to youth in Portland’s metro area throughout the year.

Admission info: https://www.oregonzoo.org/events/twilight-tuesday.


SOURCE INFORMATION: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff.

Above – Visitors received stickers, explored “bat boxes,” and got lots of information about National Forests in the Pacific Northwest during last year’s Oregon Zoo ‘Twilight Tuesday’ event, Aug. 15, 2017. USDA Forest Service photos by Heather Ibsen, Gifford Pinchot National Forest Public Affairs.

Going swimmingly: Mt. Hood fish stream restoration update

A forest stream flows through a rocky streambed, past fallen logs,.

Between 2012 and 2017, the Mt. Hood National Forest and its partners performed extensive restoration work within the Still Creek watershed that flows nearby the Zigzag Ranger District. Restoring the health of Still Creek watershed is vital to recover healthy populations of threatened and endangered fish such as Coho salmon and steelhead among other wildlife species that are listed as “species of concern” tied to the Endangered Species Act.

“Still Creek has been identified as being one of the best areas for us to focus our efforts around Mt. Hood National Forest due to its historical populations of these important fish species,” Greg Wanner, Fish Biologist for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said. “The watershed health with potential to provide a lot of stream diversity also made it a prime candidate for our work.”

Total investments in the watershed amounted to nearly $2.2 million dollars and have resulted in significant improvements in habitat quality, water quality, and ecosystem function.

The project was driven by a few key goals: 1) restoring natural watershed processes and removal of invasive plants, 2) improving water quality in terms of temperature, and sediment reduction, 3) providing educational opportunities for nearby communities, 4) providing jobs to contractors and the local fishing industry, and 5) strengthening relationships between partnering organizations and private landowners.

A man wearing waders spreads his arms apart while standing on a pile of large diameter wood logs above a stream bed.

Greg Wanner demonstrates how a stream will spread out into the flood plain during the winter’s high water events with the addition of large wood – downed tree trunks and branches – in this still image from a 2013 video about the Still Creek fish stream restoration project. USDA Forest Service image..

Over the last several decades our understanding of what it means to have a healthy watershed has changed drastically. As recently as the early 90’s scientists and engineers believed that the best way of producing healthy fish populations was to channelize streams by removing boulders and large wood structures like logjams and generally straightening rivers wherever possible. The urgency for this work was also spurred by flooding events where cabins along streams near Mt. Hood specifically were damaged by high water levels.

The thinking back then was that if the water flowed faster, more water cold pass through the same space thus decreasing the possibility of water levels rising and at the same time, helping anadromous fish — fish that migrate to the ocean and then return to spawn — reach the ocean. Sadly, best intentions don’t always pan out the way we wish they did.

The streams in Mt. Hood’s watersheds saw a near total collapse of fish bearing stream habitats following the channelization. What fish biologists and other scientists soon realized was that the slower moving waters off the main channels of streams were vital places for fish to rest and feed. They further discovered that large woody structures helped create these slower water by spreading out the floodplains and provided important food sources for juvenile fish.

“The large woody debris structures are so important since they provide for juvenile fish places to rest and great food sources in insects in the slower moving waters,” Wanner said.

So, Mt. Hood biologists have been bringing back the logs and boulders and adding diversity back in the streams’ construction. Over the last five years, biologists have successfully restored 8 miles of stream along Still Creek and 185 acres of essential floodplain habitat.

In addition, the forest has successfully:

  • Built 240 logjams throughout the main channel of Still Creek.
  • Reconnected 6.5 miles of side channels to the main channel.
  • Rehabilitated 19 dispersed camp sites to help reduce contamination and sedimentation.
  • And removed barriers, like failing culverts, on over 3 miles of habitat for migratory fish.

But this story of success includes more players than just Forest Service biologists. Since 1999, the Sandy River Basin Partnership (SRBP), originally consisting of the City of Portland, Portland General Electric (PGE), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), has played a huge role in making this restoration work a reality. Since its conception, SRBP now has 14 active partners.

With such a daunting task as restoring potentially tens of thousands of acres of watershed, SRBP decided to focus first on sections of stream that have historically supported salmon and steelhead populations from a variety of life stages and that have fairly well-connected river networks. Still Creek was identified as being a great location to restore stream habitat for Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and winter steelhead.

“This work would not be possible without the vital partnership of so many nonprofit, state, and federal organizations,” Wanner said. “More than just providing funding, these partners have been pivotal in providing insights and legwork that has led to a much better project than we could have ever hoped for if we had worked alone just within our agency.”

The restoration efforts in adding large woody debris, boulder placement and stream diversification will continue to bring rich dividends for decades to come but restored spawning grounds for these threatened fish have already started to see increased use from these fish species.

Salmon and steelhead are important to the entire river ecosystem. They recycle nutrients back into the streams after they spawn, which shows the intricate interdependence of ecosystems. As this stream restoration effort continues, expanding to other areas beyond Still Creek, the Mt. Hood National Forest looks forward to continuing their partnership with the Sandy River Basin Partners in the hopes of assisting these vital fish species to continue to thrive.

Greg Wanner explains more about restoring salmon and steelhead habitat on Mt. Hood National Forest in the 2013 video, “Jumpstarting Fish Habitat: The Story of Still Creek,” at https://youtu.be/JmN86_Nrkp8.


SOURCE INFORMATION: Chris Bentley is the Website and Social Media manager for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communication and Community Engagement.

Mt. Hood kids fishing derby (photos)

MT. HOOD, Ore. – May 19, 2018 – Mt. Hood National Forest staff, volunteers, and a host of partner organizations angled to get children hooked on outdoors recreation during Hood River Ranger District’s annual fishing derby May 19, 2018.

Nearly 70 children took part in fishing clinics, crafts, outdoors education activities. Participants also vied for prizes in the longest cast competition and for landing the biggest fish.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, Oregon State Police (Fish & Wildlife Division), Middle Fork Irrigation District, Hood River Valley High School, Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers, Dairy Queen, Rosauers Supermarkets, McIsaac’s Grocery Store and Starbucks Coffee also partnered with the USDA Forest Service to conduct the annual event.

Children get “hooked” on fishing at the Hood River Ranger District kids fishing derby at the Middle Fork settling pond on Mt. Hood National Forest May 19, 2018. USDA Forest Service photos by Jeffrey Lee, Hood River Ranger District, Mt. Hood National Forest.

Clockwise from top left: 1) First runner-up of the biggest catch competition.  2) Participants cast lines and wait for a bite at the pond’s edge. 3) Winner of the biggest catch competition. 4) Caught fish being measured for judging in the biggest catch competition.  5) Ron Kikel, a forest information assistant, and Jack the Owl provide an outdoors education clinic for fishing derby participants. 6) Event staff grill hot dogs for the hungry junior anglers. 7) Winner of the longest cast competition with family. 8) A panoramic view of the derby location. 9) “Frank the fish” greets participants signing up at the registration area. 10) A panoramic view of the Middle Fork settling pond, where the fishing derby was conducted. 11) A colorful sponsor recognition banner recognizes organizations that contributed to the event’s success. 12) Oregon State Patrol troopers shared some “fish stories” at story time during the derby. 13) Children paint colorful wooden fish cutouts during the derby’s art clinic.


Source information: Mt. Hood National Forest staff. This story was featured in “Valuing You: An R6 Update,” the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region’s employee newsletter, in the July, 2018 edition.

Horses pull weight on Forest Service pack string

In some parts of the old west, horse culture still reigns- and there’s no place where that’s more true than Washington State’s Methow Valley, on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Traditions and skills that were once required by every Forest Service employee are today kept alive by people like Amber Deming, Lead Wilderness Ranger for the Methow Valley Ranger District and organizer of the inter-agency Horsemanship and Packing training the forest hosted in June.

For people like Deming, horses and mules are more than just animals or a recreational activity, they’re friends and companions that carry a lifeline of food, supplies and all of the tools needed to survive an eight day patrol in the rugged and roadless Pasayten Wilderness.

A horse carrying a man approaches the camera

National Park Service Horse Packer Jeff Fitzwater rides “Clancy” during a joint agency horsemanship and pack training clinic on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest June 5, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement

Created by the same legislation that created North Cascades National Park, the 531,000 acre Pasayten Wilderness is home to hundreds of miles of trail, and because it straddles an international border of more than 50 miles with Canada it has some very unique and challenging management needs.

For USDA Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol and National Park Service employees at North Cascades, the annual Horsemanship and Packing Training outside of Winthrop, Washington is a much needed chance to get reacquainted, both with each other and their animals, before the start of the busy summer season.

A rider mounts a horse in a gated corral, while two riders observe

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Josh Bocook demonstrates how to properly mount a horse, putting his left foot in the stirrup while holding onto the horn of the saddle with his left hand, during joint agency packing and horsemanship training on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest June 7, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement

Born from a chance encounter between Deming and Morgan Seemann and Josh Bocook of the U.S. Border Patrol, the training combines decades of practical and hands-on experience to provide both new and returning riders a solid background in good horsemanship.

“Even though our agencies have different missions, a lot of what we do is the same,” Amber said, “and the training gives us a chance to get together and learn, both about each other and our horses.

Starting with horse and rider safety, students learn about the different parts of a horse and types of personalities and ways in which they might behave.

Two women kneel over a package tied with rope, while the woman on the right pulls the rope to tighten a knot.

Heather Swanson, a National Park Service horse packer, left, teaches Amber Deming, lead wilderness ranger for the USDA Forest Service’s Methow Valley Ranger District, to tie a pack using the unique Methow style of packing June 6, 2018 during joint horsemanship and packing training on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement

They learn how horses see, about the two blindspots that every horse has (directly behind them and directly between their eyes) and how having an eye on each side can help them see almost completely around their bodies as they look out for predators.

Students then take that knowledge out to the arena, where for the first time they learn to approach and catch their animals before proceeding to halter, lead and tie stock with various quick release knots and hitches.

Before riding, the animals are thoroughly brushed and inspected, and extra care is given to remove any burrs or sharp objects that might aggravate when stuck under a saddle.

To provide cushioning for both rider and horse a saddle blanket is placed on the withers, or ridge between the shoulder blades, where it is then slid backwards to rest comfortably in the middle of the back.

Then it’s time to saddle up; the latigo, or cinch strap, goes underneath the horse and once tightened helps keep the saddle snug and in place.  The rear cinch strap gets buckled in the same manner, and last but not least the breast collar is attached.

Four people look left of the camera while relaxing in a rustic, white-painted barn.

Participants in a joint agency horsemanship and pack training are surrounded by saddle blankets in the horse stable’s tack room on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest June 7, 2018. Pictured from left are Rob Messick and Zack Schaarsmidt, both USDA Forest Service employees from the Methow Valley Ranger District, Jordan Allen-Flowers, Wenatchee River Ranger District, and Heather Swanson, a National Park Service horse packer and an instructor for the training. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement

Before hopping into the saddle, each rider learns to inspect everything diligently – making sure the saddle is comfortably attached, for themselves and their horse. The latigo is tightened one last time. When the saddle is secure the horse is ready to be ridden.

To mount up a rider approaches on the horse’s left side and, holding the reins in their left hand grabs the horn of the saddle. The right hand holds onto the cantle, or back of the saddle, and the left foot is placed in the stirrup.

The rider then stands up straight and, once balanced and standing in the stirrup, finishes the maneuver by swinging their right leg up and over and into the other stirrup.

But before a student can mount a horse they have to learn their ground work. Taking the time to determine the horse’s attitude before a trip, the rider goes through a number of different motions and exercises to make sure the horse is ready before ever hopping in the saddle.

For beginning riders time is spent on learning how to gain forward momentum, how to turn, circle and stop.  Riders learn how to hustle by driving forward with their hips and through rhythmic kicking, and they learn how to maneuver by safely taking their animals through a cleverly designed obstacle course.

After learning how to ride, students spend time learning how to pack for their horses and mules.  Perfect for use in the non-motorized Wilderness, a typical pack string can carry up to four times the weight a helicopter can carry, with each animal carrying an average of 200 pounds.

A man ties a rope overhead to secure a horse in a corrale, while a second man observes attentively

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Morgan Seemann, left, teaches Mike Calvert, Methow Valley Ranger District, how to tie a highline, used to tie and secure animals when in the field during a horsemanship and packing clinic on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest June 7, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement

In addition to hauling food, heavy tools and supplies, a Forest Service pack team can be essential for a successful search and rescue.

“As an example, one time, when the sheriff’s office contacted us about helping with a search and rescue, one of our outfitter guides had a Girl Scout camped in up at Robinson Creek who sprained her ankle really bad,” said Deming.  “They asked us to go in with a horse and go get her and ride her out.”

To get some search-and-rescue practice, students conduct and exercise where they work together as a team to sweep a meadow for a hidden backpack. Then, after successfully finding it, students finish out the class by learning how to get their animals ready for transport.

A stock truck or horse trailer can be used, depending on the route and destination, but hauling a live load always requires extra caution. With each horse easily weighing up to 1,000 pounds or more, students are taught to watch for special signage, to drive slower than usual and to watch out when going through a curve or driving over bridges.

Without regular training to introduce new generations of riders, the skills required to maintain supplies to the backcountry using horse and mule pack trains would likely be lost. The continued use of horse pack trains on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is made possible, in part, through partnerships with Mt. Adams Institute and the Washington Trails Association.

A woman rides a horse in a corral at the base of a forested slope

Katlyn White practices riding during a horsemanship and packing clinic on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest June 5, 2018. White is a Forest Service employee for the Wenatchee River Ranger District. USDA Forest Service photo by Kathryn Dawson, Region 6 Office of Communications and Community Engagement


Source information: By Kathryn Dawson, USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest region’s Office of Communications and Community Engagement. Dawson is the editor of “Valuing You: An R6 Update,” region’s employee newsletter. This story appears in the July, 2018 edition.

Campfire safety for forest visitors

Graphic of an aged paper banner on wood plank background, featuring caption text and graphic rendering of a bucket of fire being poured on flames from a fire ring.

PORTLAND, Ore. – July 9, 2018 – With warm and dry conditions across the region, fire officials urge visitors to practice campfire safety when recreating outdoors.

“Our firefighters will be busy this summer responding to lightning-caused wildfires,” said Traci Weaver, Public Affairs Officer for Fire Communications for the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region. “Please help us out by being safe and responsible with fire so we don’t add unnecessary human-caused wildfires to the mix.”

Nationally, approximately 90% of wildfires are human caused. Unattended campfires are the number one source of human-caused wildfires on public land. In 2017, 45% of wildfires in Oregon and 91% of wildfires in Washington were human-caused.

If you are planning to have a campfire, please remember:

  • First, “know before you go” whether campfires are allowed in the area you are visiting. Fire restrictions may be in place depending on local conditions.
  • Keep your campfire small and away from flammable material, like overhanging tree branches or shrubs.
  • Use a designated campfire ring when available.
  • Keep water and a shovel nearby.
  • Completely extinguish your campfire by drowning your fire with water and stirring with a shovel.
  • Make sure your campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it.

This short video demonstrates how to properly build and extinguish a campfire.

More info:

Smokey Bear’s Campfire Safety checklist (PDF) – via smokeybear.com

Smokey How to Extinguish Campfire (002)


USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region staff.

Forest Feature: Butterflies

A blue butterfly is perched on a purple thistle flower.

In July, our Pacific Northwest “Forest Feature” is the butterfly. Butterflies, like moths, are species of insects in the order Lepidoptra.

A gray-green butterfly with red-orange spots blends in against green woodland ground foliage.

A Clodius Parnassian butterfly is camouflaged against green foliage in the South Fork Skokomish watershed, located on the Olympic National Forest, June 7, 2016. USDA Forest Service photo.

Nearly 200 species, representing seven families of butterfly, are found in the Pacific Northwest – Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Riodinidae, and Satyridae.

Moths are also members of the Lepidoptra order, but, there are some differences between them and their butterfly cousins: Butterflies have thready antennae with a knobbed or hooked tip, while a moth’s antenna may be thready or feathered, but will tapers to a point at the end. Both moths and butterflies hatch as caterpillars, but moths will cover their cocoon in fiber, soil, or leaves; a butterfly transforms to its adult form inside a smooth-coated chrysalis. Butterflies fly during the day, while moths are usually active at night.

Three butterflies native to the Pacific Northwest are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Silverspot (Speyeria zerene hippolyta) is federally listed as threatened, while the Taylor’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) and Fender’s Blue (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) butterfiles are listed as endangered species.

A fuzzy black caterpillar, observed from above, creeps up a stalk of grass.

A Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly caterpillar (post-diapause larvae), observed Feb. 26, 2016 on the Olympic National Forest . USDA Forest Service Photo by Karen Holtrop.

There are several reasons for this, but, a major one is that catepillars may be hungry, but some of them are picky eaters. Adult butterflies feed on pollen from many different sources. But as caterpillars, their eggs may need to be laid on on a specific species of plant to survive. This selectivity makes their species very vulnerable to invasive plants and noxious weeds, if those plants that crowd out the plants those caterpillars rely on, and to any environmental or other habitat changes that affect their preferred species for feeding or shelter.

You may think of butterflies as sun-loving creatures – and they are! Butterflies are cold-blooded, and must stay warm to fly. But forest meadows are a very important habitat to to Oregon Silverspot: The Siuslaw National Forest is one of the few remaining places you might spot it this butterfly; which thrives on foggy, breezy conditions.

Two of the six known remaining populations of Oregon Silverspot are on the forest, at Mt. Hebo and Cascade Head.

The butterfly’s survival is dependent on the early blue violet, Viola adunca, the only species on which the butterfly can successfully feed and develop as larvae.

A black, orange and white butterfly rests on a yellow wildflower.

The Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly, Euphydryas editha taylori, seen here in an undated photo, is a federally-listed endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. US Fish and Wildlife Service photo by A. Barna

Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has lost 99% of its native habitat to development and suppressed wildland fires; paved roads, new buildings, and even trees have overtaken the prairie meadows that once hosted the native plants the butterfly relies on to lay eggs and for its caterpillars to feed upon after hatching.

One of the last remaining breeding areas for Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly is a military base, where explosives used in training set fires that have preserved the open prairie. Eggs are collected from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State each spring, raised under the supervision of scientists at the Oregon Zoo, and released back into the wild as caterpillars the following year.

The Fender’s Blue butterfly faces similar challenges in its native habitat, the upland prairies of the Willamette Valley. Establishing federally-designated protected habitat, using prescribed fire to expand prairies and reduce invasive grasses, and re-planting the prairie with native wildflowers – including Kincaid’s lupine, on which the butterflies lay most of their eggs – has helped increase the endangered butterfly’s numbers since it was federally listed in 2000.

The black-and-orange Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, might be one of the most recognizable butterfly species in our region. This regally-named butterfly found throughout North America, including the Pacific Northwest. Its larvae grow on several species of milkweed.

A monarch butterfly rests in the cup of a person's hand

A monarch butterfly rests in the cup of a person’s hand in an Aug. 1, 2016 USDA Forest Service photo.

Entymologists (researchers who study insects) warn that while the Monarch butterfly isn’t endangered yet, its numbers have been declining rapidly for a decade.

One theory is the butterflies are running into problems finding flowers, or flowers free of pesticides, when they migrate south for the winter. Another is that deforestation has reduced their winter habitat, and stressed the butterflies who crowding in to overwinter. But no one is quite sure.

Do you want to help butterflies survive and thrive here at home in the Pacific Northwest? One way to help is to plant species of flowering plants and shrubs that feed caterpillars for butterflies that are native to your area around homes or public spaces.

Have you heard of a “butterfly garden?” According to the Washington Dept. of Wildlife, you can plant a garden that feeds butterflies in a space as small as a container outside your home!

Butterflies like to feed on brightly-colored flowers planted in sunny places, especially those that are protected from the wind. You can find a list of suggested plants in this brochure. Not only will the flowers help butterflies (and moths), they may also attract other pollen and nectar-loving creatures – including hummingbirds, and bees!

Try to avoid using insecticides – even organic ones, like Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) – when you can. If you do use them, follow the instructions and follow your state agriculture service’s recommendations to minimize the risk of exposure to beneficial worms, caterpillars, or insects in your area.

One plant that should not be part of your butterfly garden is the “butterfly bush” (Buddleia davidii). This bush is native to Chile, and is considered a noxious weed and a highly invasive plant in the Pacific Northwest – which means it could become a threat to native plants that our local butterflies depend on.

Did you know?

  • Butterflies “taste” with their feet.
  • Butterflies can “see” ultraviolet light.
  • A butterfly’s skeleton is on the outside of its body. The exoskeleton protects it and keeps it from drying out.
  • A butterflies tongue is like a long straw, which curls back up under their body when not in use.
  • Some butterflies don’t poop! They burn everything they consume to generate the energy to fly.
  • The largest butterfly in the world is Queen Alexandra’s birdwing, Ornithoptera alexandrae. It has an average wingspan of almost 10”! No one is sure what the fastest butterfly is
  • Butterflies live in nearly every habitat, on every continent in the world – except Antarctica. This might be because butterflies are cold-blooded, and can’t fly if their body temperature drops below 86 degrees F.

More information:

General information:

Butterflies and Moths of North America (Butterfly and Moth Information Service):
https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

Butterflies and Moths of Pacific Northwest Forests and Woodlands (USDA Forest Service):
https://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/technology/pdfs/MILLER_LEPIDOPTERA_WEB.pdf

Endangered & threatened species:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: ESA listed species information
https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489459
https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489449
https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489429

Oregon Zoo: Endangered and Threatened species conservation programs
https://www.oregonzoo.org/conserve/fighting-extinction-pacific-northwest/oregon-silverspot-butterfly
https://www.oregonzoo.org/conserve/fighting-extinction-pacific-northwest/taylors-checkerspot-butterfly

Siuslaw National Forest: Oregon Silverspot butterfly info
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/siuslaw/learning/nature-science/?cid=fseprd522077

Xerxes Society:
https://xerces.org/oregon-silverspot/
https://xerces.org/taylors-checkerspot/
https://xerces.org/fenders-blue/

Butterfly gardens:

North American Butterfly Association project (Butterflies and Moths of North America)
http://www.naba.org/

Butterflies and How to Attract Them (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife):
https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/butterflies/
https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/butterflies/butterflies.pdf

Monarch butterfly lesson plans, activities, and projects:

Journey North
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/

Monarch Watch
www.monarchwatch.org

Monarch Lab (University of Minnesota)
https://monarchlab.org/

Forest Features highlight a new Pacific northwest species (or sometimes family, order or genus) each month as part of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region’s regional youth engagement strategy. If you’re an educator who would like more information about incorporating Pacific Northwest environmental and forest science in your classroom, email us at R6Update@fs.fed.us.

Two brown-winged butterflies with white spots rest on a set of spiky green and red leaves.

A pair of Two-Banded Checkered Skipper butterflies, Pyrgus ruralis, found during a survey May 18, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo.


USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region

In the News: Eagle Creek fire, then & now

a batch of green is visible between two waterfalls in a valley below a burned forest ridgeline.

Some fires rekindling after dry winter, spring

A tree trunk filled with glowing embers is visible amidst a charred area of forest

PORTLAND, Ore.July 6, 2018 – Some of last summer’s fires in western Oregon have shown light smoke or small hots pots recently after a dry spring and low snow pack this winter.

Hot spots are not uncommon in heavy fuels like logs and organic duff that can hold heat over winter and flare back up after a period of warm, dry weather. Most of the isolated hot spots are well within the interior of the burned area and pose no threat of the fire escaping containment.

Last month, a small hot spot flared up near Herman Creek on the Eagle Creek Fire.  Hot spots are among the known post-fire hazards that have caused area and trail closures to remain in place. Other hazards include fire-weakened trees and loose boulders that can fall on trails at unpredictable times, as well as ongoing rock slides and landslides.

The seasonal outlook suggests a hot, dry summer with elevated fire danger in Oregon and Washington. People are reminded to be vigilant with campfires and observe any local prohibitions due to fire hazards. As a reminder, fireworks are always illegal on federal public lands. Always check that a campfire is stone-cold out before leaving: If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

Visitors are encouraged to contact local offices or recreation sites to “know before you go” if any fire restrictions or closures are in place.


USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region, Fire and Aviation Management

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