Summer Lake Wildlife Area
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The Summer Lake Wildlife Area (also known as Summer Lake State Game Management Area) is a wildlife refuge located on the northwestern edge of the
Great Basin The Great Basin ( es, Gran Cuenca) is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds – those with no outlets – in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Gene ...
drainage in south-central
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

Oregon
. It is administered by the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the state government, government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. The agency operates hatch ...
. The refuge is an important stop for
waterfowl Anseriformes is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...
traveling along the
Pacific Flyway The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south flyway A flyway is a used by large numbers of birds while between their and their quarters. Flyways generally span s and often pass over s. Although applying to any species of migrating bird, the ...
during their spring and fall migrations. The Summer Lake Wildlife Area also provides habitat for
shorebird FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found along shorelines and mudflats that wikt:wade#Etymology 1, wade in order to foraging, forage for food (such as ins ...

shorebird
s and other bird species as well as wide variety of mammals and several fish species. The
Ana River The Ana River is a short spring-fed river in south-central Oregon. It is on the northwestern edge of the Great Basin drainage. It flows from springs at the foot of Winter Ridge through High Desert (Oregon), high desert, rangeland, range, and w ...
supplies the water for the refuge wetlands.


History

Following a decade of droughts in the 1930s,
Federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...
and state governments joined with private interest group to saving North America's rapidly disappearing
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s. The result was the creation of many federal and state wildlife refuges. This was especially important along the migratory bird flyways. The Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 (also known as the Pittman–Robertson Act) helped finance land acquisition, habitat development, and refuge infrastructure at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area."Purpose and Need of Summer Lake Wildlife Area"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, pp. 4–5.
The Summer Lake Wildlife Area was established April 12, 1944 to protect and improve the area's waterfowl habitat and provide a site for public hunting. It is located in the northwest corner of the Great Basin drainage in central
Lake County, Oregon Lake County is one of the Oregon counties, 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 7,895. Its county seat is Lakeview, Oregon, Lakeview. The county is named after the many lake ...
. The Summer Lake refuge was the first wetland-focused wildlife area established in Oregon. It originally included only of
wetlands A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevailing, especially in the soils. ...
north of . Nevertheless, the Summer Lake wetlands were an important stop for migratory
waterfowl Anseriformes is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...
and
shorebirds FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found along shorelines and mudflats that wikt:wade#Etymology 1, wade in order to foraging, forage for food (such as ins ...
traveling along the Pacific Flyway. The wildlife area was also home to a wide variety of indigenous bird, mammal, and fish species."Wildlife Area Establishment"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, p. 7.
Over the years, the Summer Lake Wildlife Area has grown as additional parcels of land were acquired by purchase, inter-governmental agreement, and private easements. The last two large purchases were in 1963, when the refuge purchased the Williams Ranch expanding the north and east boundaries of the wildlife area, and 1971, when the River Ranch tract was acquired. Today, the wildlife area extends over of Oregon's high desert range land, meadows, wetlands, marshes, and open . The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife owns of the refuge's land. An additional are owned by the
Bureau of Land Management The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the . It is responsible for the management and ...
and other agencies. However, those lands are administered by the Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of the refuge. Finally, there are of private land covered by easement agreements. The Summer Lake wetlands and neighboring high desert uplands along the Ana River provide habitat for many wildlife species. Because of it large and diverse wildlife population, the Summer Lake Wildlife Area is a popular destination for
fishermen A fisher or fisherman is someone who captures fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which ...

fishermen
,
birdwatcher Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity or citizen science. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes ...

birdwatcher
s, photographers, and
hunter Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism ...

hunter
s. The sale of hunting licenses remains the sole source of funding for operation and maintenance of the Summer Lake Wildlife Area.


Habitat

The
Ana River The Ana River is a short spring-fed river in south-central Oregon. It is on the northwestern edge of the Great Basin drainage. It flows from springs at the foot of Winter Ridge through High Desert (Oregon), high desert, rangeland, range, and w ...
supplies the water that maintains the Summer Lake Wildlife Area wetlands. For most of its short course, the Ana River meanders through the Summer Lake Wildlife Area. It flows from a series of springs at the foot of Winter Ridge at the north end of the wildlife area to Summer Lake at the south end of the refuge. The river's source springs are located near and under Ana Reservoir.Anderson, E. William, Michael M. Borman, and William C. Krueger
"Vegetation"
, "High Desert Ecological Province", ''The Ecological Provinces of Oregon'', Oregon State University, 1997.
The reservoir is owned by the Summer Lake Irrigation District; however, the district's reservoir frontage is surrounded by the Summer Lake Wildlife Area property. The springs provide a constant flow year round. This helps the river maintain a relatively mild water temperature, even during the cold winter months."Warm Water Fishing in Oregon"
, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, State of Oregon, Salem, Oregon, February 15, 2008.
"Public Use"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, pp. 36–39.
Witty, Jim
"Ana River"
''The Bulletin'', Bend Oregon, January 5, 2007.
After leaving the reservoir, the Ana River flows southeast for approximately with private ranch land on its north bank and the Summer Lake Wildlife Area on the south bank. Then for a short distance, the river passes through BLM land administered as part of the refuge. As the river enters the Bureau of Land Management area, it turns south, reaching the River Ranch Campground in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area in about . The vegetation along this part of the river is dominated by
big sagebrush ''Artemisia tridentata'', commonly called big sagebrush,Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Pam MacKay, 2nd ed., 2013, Great Basin sagebrush or (locally) simply sagebrush, is an aromatic shrub from the family Asteraceae, which grows in arid and semi-arid ...
,
rabbitbrush Rabbitbrush is a common name for shrubs, principally of the western United States, in three related genera Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () ...
, greasewood, Achnatherum, needlegrass, Oryzopsis hymenoides, ricegrass, and squirreltail. Native trees are rare along the Ana River except for a few Western juniper."Habitat Types"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, pp. 15–17.
Shewey, John
''Complete Angler’s Guide to Oregon''
Wilderness Adventures Press, Belgrade, Montana, 2007, p. 219.
Just after the River Ranch Campground, the Ana River flows through a large impounded wetland. The wetlands and marsh pools cover approximately . In this area, a series of manmade dikes and channels maintain critical wildlife habitat. In the marsh, vegetation varies from sedges, Scirpus, rushes, and Poa, bluegrass in the meadows to cattails and Schoenoplectus, bulrushes around the marsh pools. In the lower part of the river, the water becomes increasingly alkaline. Approximately from its source, the Ana River empties into the north end of Summer Lake. The Summer Lake Wildlife Area is extremely important because its wetlands host hundreds of thousands of migratory birds each year. In 2005, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife joined with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oregon Hunters Association, Ducks Unlimited, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council to enhance approximately of seasonally flooded wetland habitat in the River Ranch area of the wildlife area. The project replaced a series of diversion structures along the Ana River supplying water to the adjacent wetlands. The project significantly improved the efficiency of the water management system, benefiting both the river and wetlands. In 2009, the United States Army Corps of Engineers built three islands in the Summer Lake wetlands. The islands provide additional nesting sites for Caspian terns and other birds. The project was a joint effort by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oregon Department of State Lands, and Oregon State University. In 2010, a project financed by the State of Oregon, the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, Summer Lake Irrigation District, and Ducks Unlimited revitalized an additional nesting habitat.


Wildlife

Today, the Summer Lake Wildlife Area supports 40 mammal species, at least 280 species of birds, 15 reptile and amphibian species, and eight fish species. The wildlife area provides habitat for aquatic mammals like beaver and muskrats. The area also supports non-aquatic animals such as Mountain cottontail, Nuttall's cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbits, yellow-bellied marmot, chipmunks, Belding's ground squirrels, California ground squirrels, long-tailed weasels, mink, raccoons, striped skunks, mule deer, coyotes, and bobcats. There are also three bat species which live in the Summer Lake area."Biological Resources"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, pp. 20–26.
"Appendix C, Wildlife Species Know to Occur on the Summer Lake Wildlife Area"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, pp. 67–72.
The various Summer Lake habitats supports a diverse population of upland game birds, songbirds,
shorebirds FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found along shorelines and mudflats that wikt:wade#Etymology 1, wade in order to foraging, forage for food (such as ins ...
,
waterfowl Anseriformes is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...
, and bird of prey, birds of prey. In the dry high desert country at the north end of the wildlife area, California quail and mourning doves are common. There is also a small breeding population of ring-necked pheasants along with sage grouse, greater sage grouse and Chukar partridge, chukars. Songbirds common to that area include Bullock's orioles, sage thrashers, canyon wrens, rock wrens, and sagebrush sparrows. Songbirds commonly found in the marshy areas of the lower Ana River include Brewer's sparrows, lark sparrows, marsh wrens, red-winged blackbirds, and yellow-headed blackbirds.Rakestraw, John
"Summer Lake Wildlife Area"
''Birding Oregon'', Morris Book Publishing, Kearney, Nebraska, 2007, pp. 26.
"Summer Lake Wildlife Area"
''Basin and Range Birding Trail'', Bureau of Land Management in cooperation with the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge and the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Alturas, California, May 19, 2010.
Numerous shorebirds nest in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area. These include American avocets, black-necked stilts, Kentish plover, western snowy plovers, spotted sandpipers, Wilson's phalaropes, Wilson's snipes, long-billed curlews, Willet, western willets, and killdeer. Sandhill cranes, great egrets, snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, white-faced ibis, double-crested cormorants, Caspian terns, American white pelicans, and Forster's terns also nest in the Summer Lake wetlands. The wildlife area hosts large nesting populations of waterfowl including Canada geese, mallards, cinnamon teal, blue-winged teal, gadwalls, American coots, and redhead (duck), redhead ducks. Additional bird species stop in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area during their spring and fall migrations. These include trumpeter swans, tundra swans, snow geese, greater white-fronted goose, greater white-fronted geese, long-billed dowitchers, Baird's sandpipers, red-necked phalaropes, and dunlins. File:Snow Geese at Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon.jpg, Snow geese File:American Avocet2.jpg, American avocet File:Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge, Oregon (sandhill cranes).jpg, Sandhill cranes File:Cygnus bewickii 01.jpg, Tundra swan Because of the large numbers birds found in the Summer Lake basin, birds of prey are common. Native owls include great horned owls, barn owls, and short-eared owls. Prairie falcons, American kestrels, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, Swainson's hawk, golden eagles, and bald eagles are also found in the Summer Lake area. The Ana River has stocked populations of hybrid striped bass and rainbow trout as well native Summer Lake tui chub and non-native Goose Lake tui chub. The river's tui chub range in size from less than an inch to about ten inches in length. Both species of tui chub are found throughout the Anna River system and provide an important food source for a wide variety of mammals and birds as well as other fish. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the river with approximately 2,000 hybrid bass fingerings every two years. Like the bass population, all of the river's rainbow trout are stocked. While the river has been stocked with up to 20,000 trout every year since the early 1940s, there is no evidence of trout spawning in any part of the river.


Recreation

The Summer Lake Wildlife Area provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities including fishing, birdwatching, wildlife photography, hunting, and camping. The refuge is open year-round. Its facilities include well maintained access roads and parking area, restrooms, picnic areas, nature trails, a canoe launch, camp sites, and interpretive signs. Approximately 7,500 people visit the refuge each year. However, there is no drinking water at any of the sites except the refuge headquarters located just off Oregon Route 31 in the small unincorporated community of Summer Lake, Oregon."Summer Lake Wildlife Area"
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, State of Oregon, Salem, Oregon, May 19, 2010.
The upper Ana River offer excellent fishing that can be accessed from the shore or by canoe or kayak. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocked the river with rainbow trout and hybrid bass. Because of the river's constant temperature, fishermen access the river year round. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the best fishing occurs in the late winter and early spring. While trout and hybrid bass have been found in the lower Ana River, their normal range is limited to the first four miles (6 km) of the river from Ana Reservoir to River Ranch Campground. Rainbow trout range in size from fingerlings to over , and the hybrid bass can reach . The Summer Lake Wildlife Area provides critical wetland habitat. These wetlands host hundreds of thousands of birds during the annual spring and fall migrations along the Pacific Flyway. Because of the large numbers and wide variety of birds that use the Summer Lake wetlands and meadows, the refuge area is popular for birdwatching, wildlife photography, and hunting. Hunters can find a variety of waterfowl, upland birds, and big game in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area. Most of the wildlife area is open to hunting during specific seasons. The River Ranch area is particularly popular for waterfowl hunting. During hunting season, the Summer Lake Wildlife Area opens two hours before sunrise and closes a half-hour after sunset."River Ranch"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, p. 89.
The Summer Lake Wildlife Area maintains four primitive campgrounds. The River Ranch Campground near the northeast corner of the wildlife area is probably the most popular camping area. The River Ranch Campground is located on the east bank of the Ana River's main channel approximately southeast of Ana Reservoir on a gravel access road. The campground has primitive campsites with picnic tables and restrooms. There is also a barn and several sheds at the site which the Department of Fish and Wildlife uses for refuge information and education programs. The Department of Fish and Wildlife closes all four campgrounds during hunting season."Developments/Facilities"
''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Plan'', Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Salem, Oregon, October 2007, p. 33.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also maintains several day-use sites along the Ana River. These sites provide access to hiking trails, bird watching locations, and shoreline fishing. Some of the sites have picnic tables and restrooms, but visitors must bring their own drinking water.


See also

*
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the state government, government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. The agency operates hatch ...
for list of state wildlife areas


References


External links


Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife''Summer Lake Wildlife Management Area''
program on Oregon Field Guide
Outback Scenic Byway
{{Protected Areas of Oregon Protected areas of Lake County, Oregon Protected areas established in 1944 Oregon state wildlife areas 1944 establishments in Oregon