Written by Peter Pearsall/Photos by Dominic Bachman, MNWR Fish Biologist As Malheur Refuge endures a prolonged drought that has intensified over the past two years,
Arborist Jon Brown arrived on September 15 to assess the wind-damaged tree. The front side of the trunk was completely dead and disconnected from the living back portion and the ground. He determined that height reduction was the first step and used a pole saw to reduce and/or remove the live branches that were tall enough to strike the Nature Store in the event of the whole tree failing.
In September, I finished the last of my fieldwork for my master’s project on Malheur Lake. It has been an exciting growing season out on the lake this year, and we have seen a boom in vegetative growth— including annuals, perennials, and vegetatively-producing perennials (plants with rhizomes). As cooler weather rolled in, some areas of the lake that have been lacking vegetation historically are seeing quick growth of cattail.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is experiencing the negative effects of extended drought and landscape scale climate change. Some of the issues that are having immediate and significant effects comprise of drying springs, stressed and dying trees, and capacity challenges to the domestic well that services our buildings.
Seen commonly in wetlands and flooded agricultural fields throughout the west, the White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) is easily recognizable by its subtly beautiful iridescent plumage and comically long bill. The ibis has become the poster child for biological diversity among the arid and semi-arid wetland habitats being threatened by climate change.