Volunteers sought to help save wildlife from wire fences


Last updated 8/12/2008 at Noon

Craig Miller

A baby elk died after becoming tangled in a wire fence. Volunteers will pull such fencing out of Glaze Meadow.

Those who care about wildlife know that old barbed wire fences can be fatal to deer, elk and birds moving through the forests and meadows near Sisters.

The Sierra Club and East Cascades Bird Conservancy are looking for volunteers to join them in removing old fencing near Black Butte Swamp and Glaze Meadow on Saturday, August 16, to make this scenic area a little safer.

Project coordinator Marilyn Miller is a certified naturalist with a passion for fence removal because of its unintended impacts on wildlife.

"Great horned owls, when hunting, have been known to fly into barbed wire fences, get tangled and die slow and painful deaths," she said. "My husband Craig and I were out there last week and found a dead baby elk tangled up in the fence wire. It was heart-breaking to see that."

An elk herd is often seen moving through the forest by horseback riders and residents of Black Butte Ranch.

The Glaze Meadow area has been a focus for collaborative restoration efforts in the past several years, with the partnership between Oregon Wild, Warm Springs Biomass Project LLC and the Forest Service. Sierra Club and East Cascades Bird Conservancy (ECBC) volunteers have donated many hours removing tangled barbed wire fence left behind after a cattle grazing allotment was closed.

ECBC has faithfully repeated systematic bird surveys to document the diverse mix of bird species which frequent the old-growth ponderosa pine forests, second-growth forests, meadows, aspen groves and streamsides east of Black Butte Ranch.

Bird watching with a group of expert birders will start out the day in the cool morning hours. Those interested in birding will begin the morning at 7:30 a.m. The fence removal will begin at 8:45 a.m. Highlights of last year's birding include: ruffed grouse, veery, and the striking red-eyed vireo. Birders were also thrilled last year by the sighting of a northern parula, a bright little yellow warbler from the East Coast, never before seen in Deschutes County.

Fence removal can be hazardous and requires attention toward safety.

Long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, leather gloves and eye protection are a must. Miller also recommends participants bring lunch, snacks, water, sunscreen, insect repellent and of course binoculars.

For directions and further information call Marilyn Miller at 389-9115 or e-mail her at [email protected]


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