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<v Steve Amen>Hello, I'd like to welcome you to the Oregon Field Guide Education Program. <v Steve Amen>I'm your host, Steve Amen. Our hope is that we've designed a program that will not only <v Steve Amen>entertain but enlighten. <v Steve Amen>This portion of the program focuses on organisms and should be viewed as a journey of <v Steve Amen>sorts. We'll be looking at Oregon's past and ending with a view towards the future. <v Steve Amen>The video segments are just 1 part of the program. <v Steve Amen>We worked with some of the leading educators around the state to provide additional <v Steve Amen>background information and suggestions for extending the experience through classroom <v Steve Amen>projects. But these are only suggestions. <v Steve Amen>This is your program. You can follow it to the letter or completely modify it to fit <v Steve Amen>your style. The outdoors is meant to be enjoyed and so is this program. <v Steve Amen>Our hope is that the reports on the lost animals of Oregon, the marbled murrelets, <v Steve Amen>opossums, amphibians, Kiger mustangs and the like are not only fun to watch, <v Steve Amen>but they give you and your students a much better idea of the complex nature of the <v Steve Amen>various ecosystems and many forces that affect them. <v Steve Amen>And with that in mind, what do you say we get started? <v Steve Amen>Throughout this segment, we'll be taking a look at a number of Oregon animals that are
<v Steve Amen>endangered, and it's crucial that we do focus a lot of our attention on them. <v Steve Amen>But first, in order to show you why it is so important, we're going to look back in time <v Steve Amen>at several species that used to thrive here but are now gone. <v Steve Amen>Hopefully, as John Tuttle reports, we can avoid some of the mistakes of the past if <v Steve Amen>we just take time to study it. <v Jon Tuttle>Once Oregon had its own buffalo, not these, but a distinct and <v Jon Tuttle>different species. The native buffalo of southeastern Oregon were bigger <v Jon Tuttle>animals with straighter horns. <v Jon Tuttle>Scientists believe Oregon's buffalo were hunted into extinction 200 years ago <v Jon Tuttle>before the first white explorers found their way into the area, but after the nomadic <v Jon Tuttle>tribes that acquired horses. <v Jon Tuttle>Horses made the Indians so much more efficient hunters that by the time the whites <v Jon Tuttle>arrived, the Oregon buffalo were gone. <v Jon Tuttle>The end of the Oregon Buffalo is the first recorded instance of an Oregon species
<v Jon Tuttle>wiped out by advancing technology. <v Jon Tuttle>That puts it first on our list of lost animals of Oregon: species that <v Jon Tuttle>have disappeared in relatively recent times, eliminated or pushed out of the way <v Jon Tuttle>by people. <v Jon Tuttle>Indians and Europeans working the Oregon coastline were equally efficient with the sea <v Jon Tuttle>otters. These animals were photographed in California waters, not Oregon. <v Jon Tuttle>Oregon has no sea otters. <v Jon Tuttle>Russian fur traders sailing the Pacific and buying hides eliminated Oregon sea <v Jon Tuttle>otters, all of them about 100 years before the earliest immigrants came down <v Jon Tuttle>the Oregon Trail. In turn, our immigrant forebearers eliminated <v Jon Tuttle>the wolves. <v Bill Haight>Wolves were common in Oregon when the white settlers first got here. <v Bill Haight>And 1 the best records we have, the last <v Bill Haight>wolf disappeared in the 1930s was uh was taken <v Bill Haight>by white men.
<v Jon Tuttle>Bill Haight, who works with threatened and endangered species for the state of Oregon. <v Bill Haight>Eh every once while somebody sees a large canine, a large dog <v Bill Haight>type animal in the backwoods of uh Oregon, we're <v Bill Haight>not sure what those are. And we've never had one of them in hand to determine what they <v Bill Haight>are. <v Jon Tuttle>Once Oregon had Northwestern Timberwolves and Plains Wolves. <v Jon Tuttle>Now it has rumors of wolves and zoo wolves. <v Jon Tuttle>And zoo grizzlies. <v Jon Tuttle>At the turn of the century, there were still grizzly bears in the Wallowas and at least a <v Jon Tuttle>single survivor in the south of the state. <v Bill Haight>Ironically, the last one that we're aware of was one that was named Real Foot <v Bill Haight>that was killed in- outside of Medford in southwestern Oregon in the early <v Bill Haight>1900s. And uh there's an animal, too, that just <v Bill Haight>was not too compatible with man's activities in the <v Bill Haight>settled parts of Oregon.
<v Jon Tuttle>The wolves and grizzlies fell prey to a belief that at the time there was 1 too <v Jon Tuttle>many species in Oregon. <v Jon Tuttle>Other species were wiped out almost without notice as their habitat gave way to expanding <v Jon Tuttle>farmlands. To the list of lost Oregon animals, add these: <v Jon Tuttle>the California condor; a wingspan of nearly 10 feet makes it the <v Jon Tuttle>biggest bird in North American. <v Jon Tuttle>There are references to California condors in Lewis and Clark's account of their <v Jon Tuttle>expedition to Oregon. <v Jon Tuttle>The explorers killed 2 of the birds in what is Clatsop County today. <v Jon Tuttle>They killed a third near present-day Portland. <v Jon Tuttle>The last reported condor in Oregon was in Lane County in 1851. <v Jon Tuttle>Also shot and killed. <v Jon Tuttle>Today, there are no California condors in Oregon and only 40 of the birds in <v Jon Tuttle>the world, all of them in zoos. <v Jon Tuttle>Then there was the fisher, a marmot-like animal pushed out of its Oregon habitat. <v Jon Tuttle>This is Fish and Wildlife's stock photo of a Fisher.
<v Jon Tuttle>Like all Oregon fishers, this animal is dead. <v Jon Tuttle>After it was stuffed, it was posed for this photograph. <v Jon Tuttle>And the lynx. As a species, there are still lynx in other states. <v Jon Tuttle>But to use the biologists' word, they have been extirpated, eliminated in Oregon, <v Jon Tuttle>trapped until there are none left. <v Jon Tuttle>Another lost bird: the sharp-tailed grouse. <v Bill Haight>Habitat modification was the big problem there as <v Bill Haight>we converted so much of that habitat into rangeland and agricultural land. <v Bill Haight>And also it, just like the bighorn sheep, it was uh <v Bill Haight>ready prey for the ranchers or the homesteaders that moved into those areas. <v Bill Haight>It was common in the draws and so forth and very, very good to eat. <v Bill Haight>So it was readily hunted. <v Bill Haight>So habitat modification and overhunting were the 2 main factors that drove <v Bill Haight>it out of existence. <v Jon Tuttle>A cousin to the prairie chicken, there were still sharp-tailed grouse in eastern Oregon <v Jon Tuttle>as late as the 1950s.
<v Jon Tuttle>There is a tendency to think of these stories as distant history and <v Jon Tuttle>to dismiss the eradication of whole species as the work of people somehow <v Jon Tuttle>less enlightened and far different than the kind of people we are today, <v Jon Tuttle>which is why there is reason to remember an odd and ugly little fish known to scientists <v Jon Tuttle>as Lampetra Minima. <v Jon Tuttle>About the only place you see specimens of minima today is in the basement of Nash <v Jon Tuttle>Hall on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. <v Jon Tuttle>Minima, or as they are better known, Miller Lake lampreys, are no longer found <v Jon Tuttle>in Miller Lake. Now they are only found in jars. <v Jon Tuttle>Carl Bond is our guide. And as a young fisheries biologist, Professor Bond <v Jon Tuttle>was coauthor of the paper that first described the minima. <v Carl Bond>They're the uh smallest parasitic or predatory lamprey <v Carl Bond>known and they are extinct. <v Jon Tuttle>The end of the lampreys was recorded in a series of black and white photographs.
<v Bill Haight>We were uh, that is the old game commission, was attempting to <v Bill Haight>manage Miller Lake for Brook Trout. <v Bill Haight>The problem was that the lamprey found them as ready prey to parasitize. <v Speaker>[Bill Haight talks in background] <v Jon Tuttle>The problem was that for at least the last 6 to 7 thousand years, this Klamath <v Jon Tuttle>County Lake already had a native fish: the lampreys. <v Jon Tuttle>But the Oregon State Game Commission wanted to stock Miller Lake with brook trout and it <v Jon Tuttle>regarded the minima as trash fish. <v Bill Haight>If they were in the way and causing a problem, we tried to eliminate them. <v Bill Haight>So in spite of the fact that the Miller Lake lamprey was very <v Bill Haight>unique, it was causing a problem and that was the judgment of the old game commission to <v Bill Haight>get rid of it. So we used toxaphene to treat that lake, which is a very <v Bill Haight>hard pesticide-. <v Jon Tuttle>Um a poison. <v Bill Haight>A poison, yes. <v Jon Tuttle>Did you pour it into the lake? <v Bill Haight>It was uh poured into the lake, it was spread around with uh <v Bill Haight>equipment that distributed it throughout the water.
<v Bill Haight>And uh not only killed the lampreys, it kept that lake hot for about 7 years. <v Bill Haight>That is toxic for that period of time. <v Bill Haight>And we were very effective. We- we eliminated the lamprey. <v Jon Tuttle>Today, Miller Lake is known as a trout lake. <v Jon Tuttle>Biologists have searched the neighboring creeks for surviving minima, but Oregon's <v Jon Tuttle>eradication effort was apparently a 100 percent success. <v Carl Bond>I recognize them as being different and I- I talk to <v Carl Bond>people about the inadvisability <v Carl Bond>of removing them because they were different from anything else we knew about. <v Carl Bond>But uh there was no <v Carl Bond>uh really organized effort to uh stop this. <v Carl Bond>There may have been a few letters written, but <v Carl Bond>uh uh the worth of the fishery was <v Carl Bond>uh deemed to be greater than the worth of the <v Carl Bond>unique lamprey.
<v Jon Tuttle>The last of the lampreys, a total of perhaps 100 specimens, <v Jon Tuttle>are pickled in jars of alcohol. <v Carl Bond>Well, in those days we lived in a- in a different world with <v Carl Bond>different attitudes, and there was <v Carl Bond>really no way to discourage it. <v Jon Tuttle>Carl Bond is being kind, but he is probably also repeating <v Jon Tuttle>the epitaph for all the lost animals of Oregon. <v Jon Tuttle>From the Oregon buffalo to the minima, the excuse has always been that what happened <v Jon Tuttle>was part of a different time and different attitudes. <v Jon Tuttle>1 sign of these times is that the state of Oregon is now drawn up a list of species <v Jon Tuttle>it regards as sensitive. <v Jon Tuttle>Species on their way to the threatened or endangered lists. <v Speaker>[fishermen cheer] <v Jon Tuttle>The sensitive species list includes several runs of Coho, spring and fall <v Jon Tuttle>Chinook salmon, birds like the pileated woodpecker, <v Jon Tuttle>and the Townsend's big-eared bat.
<v Bill Haight>It is um a list of a little over 100 species of animals that are declining <v Bill Haight>in the state, in addition to those that are on the threatened endangered species list. <v Bill Haight>And our whole idea here is that we want to make people aware of this list. <v Bill Haight>And if land managers out there can do anything to turn around the decline in that <v Bill Haight>population and- and keep those from someday becoming listed, we're well ahead of the <v Bill Haight>game. <v Jon Tuttle>What else do you find on the list of sensitive species? <v Jon Tuttle>Bull trout and coastal cutthroats, 9 varieties of salamanders, <v Jon Tuttle>6 species of frogs, plus lesser species of owls, woodpeckers, <v Jon Tuttle>voles, snakes and rabbits. <v Jon Tuttle>A total of 107 in all. <v Jon Tuttle>This sensitivity list can be taken as a positive sign that Oregon times <v Jon Tuttle>and attitudes have changed. <v Jon Tuttle>Though if this story were being told by a wolf for a grizzly instead, it would <v Jon Tuttle>probably end with a forecast that more animals will move from the sensitive <v Jon Tuttle>list to the threatened list to endangered to lost.
<v Speaker>[kids talk in background] <v Jon Tuttle>The record shows this isn't a different world with different attitudes, yet <v Jon Tuttle>the only proven difference so far is that ours is the generation <v Jon Tuttle>that makes lists. <v Steve Amen>Only knowledge can help prevent making the same mistakes. <v Steve Amen>You can obtain the current list of sensitive species by calling the Portland office of <v Steve Amen>the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. <v Steve Amen>All along the West Coast, concern is growing about a little seabird called the marbled <v Steve Amen>murrelet. The concern is that the bird may be having serious trouble adapting to man <v Steve Amen>cause changes in its habitat. <v Steve Amen>Habitat that's miles inland in the coast range forests. <v Steve Amen>Jim Newman has the latest on an investigation of the elusive bird, research that could <v Steve Amen>have a big impact on logging. <v Jim Newman>Out beyond the breakers, the seabirds ride the gentle swells to feed on <v Jim Newman>fish and crustaceans.
<v Jim Newman>They find anchovies and sand lands and capelin within a half-mile of shore. <v Jim Newman>But the open water habitat helps make some birds a mystery to interested <v Jim Newman>humans. Feeding, sleeping, mating off shore as they do, <v Jim Newman>the seabirds live their lives well beyond the limits of casual observation. <v Jim Newman>Yet scientists have more than a casual interest in 1 robin-sized bird <v Jim Newman>making its home on the surface of the Pacific. <v Jim Newman>The behavior of the marbled murrelet may have significant impact on regional <v Jim Newman>logging practices, and researchers are studying the bird as carefully as <v Jim Newman>can be. <v Speaker>[scientists talk in background] <v Jim Newman>Kim Nelson of Oregon State University and 1 of her staff are at a city park <v Jim Newman>in Yachats on Oregon's Central Coast. <v Jim Newman>They are conducting a sea bird count. <v Jim Newman>They will diligently record sightings of rhinoceros auklets and murres and <v Jim Newman>puffins and other birds living on the ocean. <v Jim Newman>But their true purpose here is to determine the population of the marbled murrelet.
<v Jim Newman>In the 1930s, ornithologists reported the marbled murrelet was a common <v Jim Newman>bird on Oregon's coast. <v Jim Newman>Now the bird is rarely seen in much of its former habitat. <v Jim Newman>Yet marbled murrelet research is in an early stage in Oregon. <v Jim Newman>A survey just getting underway to gauge the bird's decline and learn how to <v Jim Newman>reverse the trend may take years to complete. <v Kim Nelson>Just the fact that they are so uh camouflaged and <v Kim Nelson>their whole behavior is centered around not being detected, it makes it very <v Kim Nelson>difficult for collecting information. <v Jim Newman>To study the marbled merlot is to track an entire lifecycle of the outer perimeter <v Jim Newman>of the human environment. The bird leaves the ocean to nest and produce <v Jim Newman>its young in coast range force miles inland. <v Jim Newman>And for Kim Nelson, looking for a tiny bird in the forest is like looking <v Jim Newman>for a needle in a haystack. <v Kim Nelson>Ornithologists have been trying to figure out what the murrel been doing since the late
<v Kim Nelson>1800s. They fly 60 miles an hour and <v Kim Nelson>most of their activity is at dawn and dusk when light levels are very low. <v Speaker>[Kim Nelson talks and laughs in background] <v Jim Newman>The time is 5 o'clock in the morning and we are 9 miles inland from the coast. <v Jim Newman>It is the Trout Creek drainage at the edge of the Drift Creek wilderness area. <v Jim Newman>Kim's crew of researchers deploys along a logging road at strategic intervals, <v Jim Newman>clipboard in hand. <v Kim Nelson>We end up doing observations from openings like roads or openings in the forests, just <v Kim Nelson>because it's easier for us to see. We need to see what's going on. <v Jim Newman>Tracking the marbled murrelet in the forest will help scientists learn more about what <v Jim Newman>kind of forest it needs to survive. <v Jim Newman>But this morning will not be good for bird-watching. <v Jim Newman>Kim gets a flickering glimpse of just 1 murrelet. <v Jim Newman>The team's primary contact with the bird this morning will be audio-only. <v Speaker>[birds call]. <v Kim Nelson>Just hear them give their typical keer call.
<v Kim Nelson>It's keer keer keer. <v Kim Nelson>Sounds like a gull. <v Jim Newman>Within the tapestry of morning sounds, the delicate thread of the murrelet's distinctive <v Jim Newman>call reveals some birds about 200 meters away. <v Speaker>[murrelets keer call] <v Jim Newman>Such faint contact is frustrating, but it does confirm there are marbled <v Jim Newman>murrelets nesting in this part of the forest. <v Jim Newman>Indeed, as daunting as Kim's work is, it has already produced results. <v Jim Newman>This remarkable video of an adult brooding, a newly hatched chick is the <v Jim Newman>product of the team's efforts, and Kim's research allows her to generalize <v Jim Newman>with confidence about some aspects of the marbled murrelets' behavior. <v Kim Nelson>We know that these birds nest in old-growth trees, all the nests have been found only <v Kim Nelson>in old-growth trees. We know that they're found only in mature and old-growth forests. <v Jim Newman>Eventually, Kim's investigation may help forest managers know just how much forest <v Jim Newman>should be set aside to ensure the bird's survival.
<v Jim Newman>And that search for marbled murrelet nests, nests which are needles in a very, very large <v Jim Newman>haystack, demands an odd forest specialty. <v Jim Newman>Paul Engelmeyer is a tree climber by profession. <v Jim Newman>When the research team spots nesting behavior such as silent murrelets <v Jim Newman>flying through high branches, he combs the surrounding trees for nest locations. <v Jim Newman>The female marbled murrelet often lays her egg on a branch at least 150 feet <v Jim Newman>off the ground. The search for the nest demands sheer muscle power. <v Paul Engelmeyer>I like to think that my contribution is- is opening up a world that no one- <v Paul Engelmeyer>or very few people get to look at and bring that back <v Paul Engelmeyer>to people. <v Kim Nelson>Takes time with a species like this to discover everything about its behavior and <v Kim Nelson>habitat preferences. The problem is when it comes to land management <v Kim Nelson>and with the uh conflict between saving habitat for a species <v Kim Nelson>that needs old-growth forests and the timber industry, <v Kim Nelson>which would like those trees for lumber, we are not going to have all the answers
<v Kim Nelson>immediately to provide the land manager with <v Kim Nelson>all of the information that is necessary to manage for this species. <v Jim Newman>Paul Engelmeyer's acrobatic feat yields video footage that is particularly <v Jim Newman>stunning. The fact is that as late as the mid-1970s, no <v Jim Newman>one knew where marbled murrelets made their nests. <v Jim Newman>Now scientists have a critical glimpse into the private life of a bird that is <v Jim Newman>still, in large part, a mystery. <v Kim Nelson>Adults will come back between 1 and 4 times a day. <v Kim Nelson>Each adult. So the check will be fed between 2 and 8 fish a day. <v Kim Nelson>The older it gets, the more fish it's fed. And compared to other birds like songbirds, <v Kim Nelson>it's not very much parental care at all. <v Kim Nelson>A lot of the songbirds, there will always be an adult with- with the chick. <v Jim Newman>The marbled murrelet's approach to parenthood seems consistent with a bird used to the <v Jim Newman>sea, not the land. It does not build a nest as a songbird would.
<v Jim Newman>The videos show the marbled murrelet's nest is never more than a simple cup-shaped <v Jim Newman> in the moss on a high limb. <v Jim Newman>Branches large enough to support such a nest don't exist on trees much younger <v Jim Newman>than 200 years or so. <v Kim Nelson>What they need is a large limb that provides a large platform <v Kim Nelson>in order for them to make a little depression and lay their single egg, which is about <v Kim Nelson>the size of a chicken egg. And so if you don't have a large flat <v Kim Nelson>branch that has some sort of soft substrate on it <v Kim Nelson>so that the egg will not roll off, then uh then it won't work. <v Jim Newman>The marbled murrelets' dependency on old-growth may 1 day make the bird as controversial <v Jim Newman>as the spotted owl. And Kim Nelson's data shows the merlot may be further threatened <v Jim Newman>by clearcutting practices. <v Jim Newman>23 murrelet nests have been discovered along the West Coast so far, but only <v Jim Newman>6 chicks have lived to adulthood. <v Jim Newman>That is an alarmingly bad survival rate.
<v Jim Newman>The others were eaten by predators. <v Jim Newman>This chick, for instance, disappeared from its nest. <v Jim Newman>Kim believes it was very likely taken by a great horned owl. <v Jim Newman>Kim says clearcutting generates habitat for predators like great horned owls, <v Jim Newman>ravens, and such. Marbled murrelets living in a fragmented forest landscape are more <v Jim Newman>likely to fall victim to predators. <v Jim Newman>More murrelet predators are there. <v Kim Nelson>So the populations of those predators increase in a fragmented landscape. <v Kim Nelson>All of those species are known to eat marbled murrelets. <v Kim Nelson>And so with more fragmentation, the more predators and the less <v Kim Nelson>chance that a marble murrelet chick will survive. <v Speaker>[birds call] <v Jim Newman>There is lots of work to be done before a definitive study of the marbled murrelet is <v Jim Newman>complete. Kim expects to invest years learning what she can about the creature. <v Jim Newman>She has already gathered enough facts about the bird to provide land managers <v Jim Newman>considerable guidance. <v Kim Nelson>We have found out a lot about this bird, but there are still questions unanswered
<v Kim Nelson>and those may never be answered just because of the behavior of this bird. <v Speaker>[birds call] <v Jim Newman>She tempers her optimism in part perhaps because the marbled murrelet is thought to spend <v Jim Newman>80 percent of its life at sea. <v Jim Newman>If that is true, got to be pretty easy for such a bird to keep a few secrets. <v Steve Amen>In Alaska, more research on the bird is a lot further along. <v Steve Amen>The scientists have recorded a 15 to 25 percent decline in the marble merlot population, <v Steve Amen>but it's still too soon for an accurate prediction here in Oregon. <v Steve Amen>A quick quiz: what do you consider 1 of Oregon's most unpopular animals? <v Steve Amen>Well, for a lot of people, it's the opossum, particularly if you live in the residential <v Steve Amen>areas. But as Jon Tuttle reports, the opossum may be getting a bum rap. <v Steve Amen>And he's found a number of people who believe that to know them is to love them. <v Speaker>[car honks] <v Jon Tuttle>When most Oregonians encounter opossum, it is in the worst of all possible
<v Jon Tuttle>circumstances. <v Jon Tuttle>Those we don't see in the glare of our headlights along our roadsides <v Jon Tuttle>are the occasional animal which shows up unwanted in our yards or under our porches. <v Jon Tuttle>The truth is, most of the opossums we see are dead and most of what we <v Jon Tuttle>know about the animals is hearsay. <v Charice Palmer>I think they've gotten a bum rap because people don't know anything about them. <v Charice Palmer>And I think that it's really easy to hate something to be afraid of it, <v Charice Palmer>because maybe we perceive it to be unattractive or we don't know anything about <v Charice Palmer>it and people really don't know anything about opossums. <v Charice Palmer>[fade out] <v Jon Tuttle>The point here is that while there may be prettier animals in Oregon and smarter <v Jon Tuttle>ones, it would be difficult to find an Oregon animal that is less understood. <v Jon Tuttle>Here in the northwest, there is no native Indian word for opossum because there were <v Jon Tuttle>no native opossums.
<v Jon Tuttle>Our opossums are Virginia opossums who come from the southeastern part of the United <v Jon Tuttle>States. 1 theory has it the possums were brought out west during the Great <v Jon Tuttle>Depression of the 1930s by workers at the CCC, the Civilian <v Jon Tuttle>Conservation Corps. <v Joe Pescick>I think people brought them as pets. Probably the C.C. <v Joe Pescick>boys brought them as pets and they were either turned loose or escaped. <v Joe Pescick>[fade out] <v Jon Tuttle>Joe Pejic with Oregon Fish and Wildlife. <v Joe Pescick>They have a high reproductive rate, so it didn't take too long for 'em to populate <v Joe Pescick>the entire area. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums in the Oregon woods have to contend with bobcats and coyotes who keep their <v Jon Tuttle>numbers under control. <v Jon Tuttle>But in Oregon cities and suburbs, the oppussum, who can live on slugs and mulch, <v Jon Tuttle>has lots of ready food and just 1 enemy. <v Jon Tuttle>In numbers, would it be your guess there'd be more opossums or more people in Portland, <v Jon Tuttle>Oregon? <v Joe Pescick>Uh probably getting very close. Getting very close. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums are catching up with us? <v Joe Pescick>Well, I think proudly that they're getting close enough that they're-
<v Joe Pescick>if we took a census right now and probably have about as many opossums as we do people. <v Jon Tuttle>Some of Portland's most pampered possums live at the Washington Park Zoo. <v Jon Tuttle>Remember being told as a child how it was our thumbs that made people unique? <v Janet Swanson>They've got a thumb just like we do, so they can climb trees and- and grab a hold of <v Janet Swanson>apples and things like that. <v Janet Swanson>See how she uses her hands, just like we use our hands? <v Janet Swanson>She hangs onto her banana. <v Jon Tuttle>Zookeeper Janet Swanson says when people first see possums, they have a predictable <v Jon Tuttle>response. <v Janet Swanson>Yuck. That's the first 1. Most people don't really like opossums, so it's usually yuck. <v Jon Tuttle>But let people see a possum up close. <v Janet Swanson>Would you like to her? <v Jon Tuttle>Pet 1 and learn a little. <v Janet Swanson>Once they learn how interesting they are then they actually like them. <v Janet Swanson>This is the only marsupial that we have here in North America. <v Janet Swanson>And a marsupial is a pouched animal. <v Janet Swanson>Gene? Gene. <v Janet Swanson>You want to help me show her pouch? <v Gene>What was that? <v Janet Swanson>You want to help me show her a pouch? I'll lift her up.
<v Janet Swanson>And then-. <v Gene>Can we see your pouch, Annabelle? <v Janet Swanson>There's your little pouch? <v Gene>Can I put my finger in your pouch, huh? <v Janet Swanson>Okay, okay she says that enough. That's enough of showin' [kid chatter in background] my <v Janet Swanson>pouch. It's kind of a personal place to go. <v Gene>I know [laughs]. <v Jon Tuttle>There is the thumb, the pouch, and there is that tail. <v Janet Swanson>It's not real attractive, but what's it kind of look like? <v Janet Swanson>Maybe a monkey's tail? <v Janet Swanson>It's called prehensile so it can hook onto things. <v Janet Swanson>Opossum's can't really hang by their tails and trees like they show in- in cartoons <v Janet Swanson>and things like that. But they when they're little, they can hook onto their mother's fur <v Janet Swanson>and it can also help keep them from falling. <v Jon Tuttle>Oregon's opossums probably have no greater advocate than Joan Dahlberg. <v Jon Tuttle>Mrs. Dahlberg operates a hotline, providing advice and even explaining where to <v Jon Tuttle>get veterinary care for injured opossums. <v Joan Dahlberg>I think they're very precious. They look like they're straight out of Walt Disney to me. <v Joan Dahlberg>[laughs] <v Jon Tuttle>We asked Mrs. Dahlberg to sit down and say some more kind things about these
<v Jon Tuttle>misunderstood animals. <v Joan Dahlberg>[laughs] What a character. <v Jon Tuttle>This story is not going to tell you that opossums are perfect. <v Joan Dahlberg>Scared, gracious all over me. <v Jon Tuttle>But across the city and state, we had no problem finding households with pet opossums. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums who were accepted or at least tolerated by other house pets. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums who are trained to use litter boxes. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums who know their names and who come when they're called. <v Jon Tuttle>Opossums, who like dogs and cats, inspire genuine affection. <v Jon Tuttle>[background chatter] Cherice Palmer and Stinky. <v Charice Palmer>And my husband had said that there'd be no opossums in this house. <v Charice Palmer>But as soon as he held him up, I knew that Stinky was gonna stay. <v Charice Palmer>So he's become a real family member. <v Charice Palmer>He's um- he sleeps in the bathtub at night <v Charice Palmer>and he watches TV with us on the bed in the evening. <v Charice Palmer>And he likes macaroni and cheese and he eats it from a fork. <v Charice Palmer>And we just really adore him. He's just a sweetie.
<v Jon Tuttle>Pet opossums are not for most of us, but we found a common thread <v Jon Tuttle>in what we heard from people who know opossums. <v Jon Tuttle>Do you think possums get a bad rap in Oregon? <v Joe Pescick>Um, I believe they do. I think they're- they're not a very lovely animal. <v Joe Pescick>They got this long rat-like tail, these little beady eyes. <v Joe Pescick>They're not- they don't have big brown eyes like a deer. <v Joe Pescick>They don't- they have the rat tail. <v Joe Pescick>They're real slow. And people see 'em killed on the highways a lot. <v Joe Pescick>So they have a low value. They put a low value on the animals. <v Joe Pescick>And uh there's a lot of jokes about opossum. <v Joe Pescick>Um I think they're just 1 of uh nature's creatures. <v Joe Pescick>They have a place and uh they're very, very good survivors. <v Joe Pescick>They've been around for maybe 150000 years, um almost longer <v Joe Pescick>than anything else. And they're probably going to be around a lot, lot longer. <v Jon Tuttle>Another way to look at it is that the average lifespan of a possum is 2 years, <v Jon Tuttle>which means if the first animals arrived in the 1930s, critters like this one
<v Jon Tuttle>are now 40th generation Oregonians. <v Jon Tuttle>That makes local opossums considerably more native than most of us. <v Jon Tuttle>Native or not, as one of nature's creatures, when 1 shows up at your house, <v Jon Tuttle>Joan Dahlberg has a plea for tolerance. <v Joan Dahlberg>We would hope that they would let the opossum stay. <v Joan Dahlberg>They're just a wonderful neighbor to have in your yard. <v Joan Dahlberg>They, in fact, um will keep your yard free of insects, bugs, slugs and <v Joan Dahlberg>even uh decaying leaf debris. <v Joan Dahlberg>That's their primary diet. But we certainly try to get the word out to people <v Joan Dahlberg>about how sweet and gentle they really are and how they need our protection and how <v Joan Dahlberg>we should really let them live undisturbed because they are a precious bit of nature in <v Joan Dahlberg>our midst. <v Jon Tuttle>Another way to consider it is this: that the way most of us regard opossums <v Jon Tuttle>says more about us than it does about the animals. <v Charice Palmer>I think that it's really a shame when we hate something <v Charice Palmer>instead of get to know about it, because when we learn about something,
<v Charice Palmer>um we really turn into better people. <v Steve Amen>I think it's also interesting to note that many of the opossum lovers share the same <v Steve Amen>concerns of other animal lovers, and that's helping to keep the population down through <v Steve Amen>sterilization of opossums that our family pets. <v Steve Amen>There's been a lot of talk lately about the decline in our salmon populations. <v Steve Amen>And there're quite a few reasons for that decline. <v Steve Amen>But for now, we're going to focus on the streams along Oregon's south coast. <v Steve Amen>That's where we met 1 scientist who believes logging practices are just 1 of the <v Steve Amen>contributing factors and that something needs to be done about them, now. <v Speaker>[water flows] <v Jim Newman>Euchre Creek reaches the ocean near the town of Ophir, about 50 miles north of the <v Jim Newman>California border. <v Jim Newman>Travel a few miles upstream and it's easy to feel days away from civilization.
<v Jim Newman>If you like, to fish, Euchre Creek is a kind of place you'd want to visit in November <v Jim Newman>with a fly rod. But here's a tip: don't bother. <v Jim Newman>Not here. The most recent fall Chinook season over 60 days long <v Jim Newman>yielded 10 fish. Something's not right. <v Chris Frissell>We've seen species like fall Chinook exhibit fairly steady declines <v Chris Frissell>over the past 20 years. <v Chris Frissell>Coho salmon populations, we've seen them diminishing greatly and- and uh disappearing <v Chris Frissell>from many rivers. <v Jim Newman>Chris Frissell is a fisheries biologist from Oregon State University. <v Jim Newman>The streams of the south coast or his laboratory, his research team, including Rich <v Jim Newman>Nawa and Joe Ebersole, is studying the effects of land use on fish habitat. <v Jim Newman>Salmon were once abundant in this area, but things have changed. <v Jim Newman>The forests were logged quickly and heavily in the 50s and 60s. <v Jim Newman>Since then, the salmon in nearly every stream on the south coast are found only in very <v Jim Newman>small numbers. The state Fish and Wildlife Department classifies the fish populations
<v Jim Newman>as depressed. The list of waterways with those depressed salmon populations <v Jim Newman>includes Euchre Creek, Hunter Creek, and the Pistol, Chetco, and Winchuck <v Jim Newman>Rivers. <v Jim Newman>[background noise of scientists walking in river] But other parts of the state have been logged too, <v Jim Newman>and the salmon populations are fairly healthy in many of those areas. <v Jim Newman>So what's happened to the fish on the south coast? <v Jim Newman>Chris blames gravel. The terrain here is naturally rich with it, but <v Jim Newman>he claims too much of it is entering the streams, that it's damaging fish habitats <v Jim Newman>and that it's coming from old and new timber clear cuts. <v Chris Frissell>The main uh problem, apparently, is that there's uh large quantities of bed material <v Chris Frissell>moving through the system and it's caused the channel to become more unstable. <v Rich Nawa>Because the bed is moving so much the salmon end up burying their eggs <v Rich Nawa>in- in ground that's essentially unstable. <v Rich Nawa>It's on its way to the ocean. <v Jim Newman>According to these men, the pools where young fish live and grow are continually filled <v Jim Newman>in and fertilized salmon eggs very deep in the unstable stream beds are
<v Jim Newman>often scoured out and washed away before they can hatch. <v Jim Newman>The winter storms, which are disruptive even to stable streams, can be especially <v Jim Newman>damaging to a stream like Euchre. <v Rich Nawa>This area may have been this deep, you know, and the water was just muddy brown. <v Rich Nawa>There's no way of understanding what the- what the bed of that stream is doing during <v Rich Nawa>those flood events. <v Chris Frissell>Yeah, it tends to fill in to be about the same level that it started out. <v Chris Frissell>But in the meanwhile, it scoured down quite deeply. <v Jim Newman>In the fall of '88, a spawning salmon buried its eggs here. <v Jim Newman>Next to the egg deposit, called a red, the researchers inserted a stack of plastic <v Jim Newman>beads. Rich explains how the beads are used to record changes in the gravel stream <v Jim Newman>bed. <v Rich Nawa>We had these inside a pipe, and we drove them down into the bed of the stream so that <v Rich Nawa>this first bead was flush with the top of the stream bed. <v Rich Nawa>And since then, uh during the winter of <v Rich Nawa>uh '89, there were storm events and it pushed- it scoured the bed <v Rich Nawa>down and allowed these beads to go to the end of this wire down here.
<v Rich Nawa>And that's when we just activated them up. <v Rich Nawa>And by measuring or counting or measuring the number of beads that are down at the end, <v Rich Nawa>we know how far the stream bed scoured down. <v Rich Nawa>We got 39 centimeters, Chris. <v Chris Frissell>?Please hold? <v Rich Nawa>There's a good- there is a likelihood that a lot of the- the eggs that were buried in <v Rich Nawa>this red were lost. <v Chris Frissell>But we've documented vast quantities of- of bed load gravel materials <v Chris Frissell>and sand materials down in the lower ends of these streams. <v Chris Frissell>That seems to be a problem for fish. <v Chris Frissell>Now, it's a matter of backing up the watershed and tracing where that material is coming <v Chris Frissell>from. <v Jim Newman>Chris traces a lot of that material to sources like this: eroding tributary streams <v Jim Newman>on clearcut sites. Later in the year, Chris took us back up into the hills of the south <v Jim Newman>coast. <v Chris Frissell>This is a class 2 stream on private lands that was cut <v Chris Frissell>in 1989 during a winter flood. <v Chris Frissell>When water is pouring off through these hillsides, concentrating in these
<v Chris Frissell>little streams, they move gravel and sand down to the main stem of the river <v Chris Frissell>rather efficiently. <v Jim Newman>Class 2 is a forestry department term. <v Jim Newman>It refers to a stream with no fish in it, like this tributary of Pistol River. <v Jim Newman>A stream with fish is called a class 1. <v Jim Newman>When private land along a class 1 fish bearing stream is logged, state law requires <v Jim Newman>a protective buffer zone of trees to be left along the banks. <v Jim Newman>The buffer provides shade to keep the water cool and helps prevent erosion. <v Jim Newman>However, class 2 streams receive no such protection. <v Jim Newman>A timber company can and usually does cut to the edge of a class 2, <v Jim Newman>clear all trees and slash burn over it. <v Jim Newman>Chris thinks the state is wrong to not protect these smaller fishless streams. <v Jim Newman>They outnumber the streams with fish 5 to 1 and more importantly, the gravel and <v Jim Newman>sand that run through these fishless tributaries will end up downstream where the fish <v Jim Newman>are. According to Chris, it's not just the streams themselves that are generating <v Jim Newman>gravel. They serve as a delivery system for other sources.
<v Chris Frissell>In fact, the majority of both road failures and landslides do <v Chris Frissell>enter main stems via these small tributaries. <v Chris Frissell>We're doing a width Rich, so somewhere over by that stake. <v Jim Newman>Collapsed logging roads are not uncommon on these steep hillsides. <v Jim Newman>This failure is just north of Euchre Creek, high above the Elk River. <v Jim Newman>There's a small class 2 stream below the road. <v Jim Newman>Chris says within 8 or 10 years, much of this material will be in that stream and <v Jim Newman>eventually in the river it feeds. <v Jim Newman>Though, fisheries biologist by title, these researchers often find themselves up on the <v Jim Newman>slopes. Here, far from water, they calculate the amount of loose soil released by <v Jim Newman>the road failure. <v Jim Newman>The terrain of the south coast is steeper than in many other parts of the state. <v Jim Newman>This and the gravel rich soil add up to increased threat to the streams from logging. <v Chris Frissell>You can see with the steepness of the slopes here, virtually any part of this hill that <v Chris Frissell>fails, there is there's gonna be sediment that gets down into the stream. <v Chris Frissell>That clear cut across the way that was cut about- it looks like about 5 years ago
<v Chris Frissell>there was fairly extensive gullying down in the draws along the <v Chris Frissell>uh class 2 streams. We also had some fairly large landslides <v Chris Frissell>along the road system. And I presume that uh you know <v Chris Frissell>this conforms to present forest practices standards. <v Jim Newman>In 1972, Oregon adopted the Trendsetting Forest Practices Act. <v Jim Newman>This law was 1 of the first in the nation to require buffer zones along fish producing <v Jim Newman>streams. It promotes environmentally sound logging. <v Jim Newman>It aims to protect fish and wildlife on all state and privately owned forest land. <v Jim Newman>But though the timber companies are complying with the Forest Practices Act, damage like <v Jim Newman>this continues to occur. <v Chris Frissell>The forest practices have clearly improved, but not fast enough to keep pace with <v Chris Frissell>the kinds of risks that are being incurred by- by cutting on these extreme high erosion <v Chris Frissell>risk lands. <v Jim Newman>And Chris says that's why the fish are still depleted here, though this law has been in <v Jim Newman>place for 18 years.
<v Dale Sheridan>Why they don't come back in the southern uh streams? <v Dale Sheridan>That's somebody else's problem. I mean, it really doesn't relate, in my opinion, to <v Dale Sheridan>forestry and harvesting under our present forest practices rules. <v Dale Sheridan>[fade out] <v Jim Newman>Dale Sheridan works for the State Forestry Department. <v Jim Newman>As the forest practices forester in the Euchre Creek area, he enforces those rules. <v Jim Newman>Dale considers the Forest Practices Act to be state of the art and effective. <v Jim Newman>He doesn't appreciate the timber industries being the scapegoat in still another <v Jim Newman>controversy. And neither does Dale's supervisor, district forester <v Jim Newman>Ron Fox. <v Ron Fox>I don't know for sure where you- where you expect the industry to go. <v Ron Fox>You know are we just uh to completely stop any harvesting and uh <v Ron Fox>until such time, it's going to be proved that uh <v Ron Fox>that uh that harvesting is not going to have some impact? <v Chris Frissell>To me, it would be difficult to prove that activities like this, logging and its <v Chris Frissell>consequences, are not having effects on fish. <v Dave Loomis>State forestry, they are enforcing the rules that are enacted.
<v Dave Loomis>I guess if- if there is a problem is that the rules do not give full protection <v Dave Loomis>to those habitats. <v Jim Newman>Dave Loomis could be considered the legal guardian of the fish in the south coast <v Jim Newman>streams. He's a district fish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. <v Jim Newman>When talking about the salmon here, he does not mince words. <v Dave Loomis>It is a crisis for the numbers of fish that we're seeing in- in those streams. <v Dave Loomis>So I have a concern that through habitat problems that may be coming up again <v Dave Loomis>or just anything that happens in the near future, be it natural or manmade, we <v Dave Loomis>could, in fact, lose those populations forever. <v Jim Newman>The forests here have been growing back since the heavy harvesting of the 60s, but some <v Jim Newman>areas, like this 1, are already being recut for pulpwood. <v Jim Newman>Dave worries about the new round of recutting. <v Jim Newman>The fish, he says, may not be able to survive it. <v Dave Loomis>When they were impacted 20 years ago, it took a very good <v Dave Loomis>population down to a very low level.
<v Dave Loomis>They're not at that high level that maybe could deal with some habitat problems <v Dave Loomis>on a short term basis. Chris's study is very important. <v Dave Loomis>We've got away from the classic class 1 fish producing stream. <v Dave Loomis>Everybody knows now that needs to be protected. <v Dave Loomis>Now we need to look on the basin up on the slopes and see, well, what actually needs to <v Dave Loomis>be protected up there. <v Jim Newman>To change the way forestry is practiced here, Chris Frissell and his research team have <v Jim Newman>to generate some pretty convincing data. <v Jim Newman>Asking timber companies not to log along smaller streams is asking them to cut into their <v Jim Newman>profits and asking the state Forestry Department to take a heavier hand in regulating <v Jim Newman>private land is playing with a political hot potato. <v Jim Newman>But Chris seems undaunted. <v Chris Frissell>We have this inherited history of some- some real problems out <v Chris Frissell>there in the landscape that haven't gone away. <v Chris Frissell>We need to consider moderating our- our present-day practices, maybe even a little more <v Chris Frissell>than we- we normally would, in order to try to compensate for those- those past <v Chris Frissell>abuses.
<v Steve Amen>We first did that story back in 1989, and now almost 5 years later, <v Steve Amen>the situation appears to be even worse. <v Steve Amen>Chinook populations in some streams are down as much as 50 percent from the time we shot <v Steve Amen>the story. And the Coho are no better off than they were then. <v Steve Amen>Well, there's still talk about adapting tougher regulations, but so far it appears <v Steve Amen>to be merely cosmetic. <v Steve Amen>In the past few years, biologists have been sounding an alarm. <v Steve Amen>An entire class of animals, including thousands of species, seems to be in trouble. <v Steve Amen>It's a global problem. And as you'll see, it's an Oregon problem, too. <v Jim Newman>Frogs, toads, and salamanders: these are the amphibians, <v Jim Newman>animals with the ability to live both in and out of water wherever <v Jim Newman>they live. They're an important part of the food chain. <v Jim Newman>They eat huge numbers of insects before becoming food for other larger animals.
<v Jim Newman>But perhaps most important to us, amphibians are excellent bioindicators. <v Jim Newman>With their thin permeable skins and their exposed unprotected eggs, they're <v Jim Newman>ultra-sensitive to changes in the environment. <v Jim Newman>And that, says biologist Andy Blaustein, is why people should pay more attention <v Jim Newman>to these animals, because the amphibians are disappearing everywhere. <v Andy Blaustein>Worldwide decline of amphibians is uh a problem that is extremely perplexing <v Andy Blaustein>to lots of biologists. There have been die-offs. <v Andy Blaustein>There have been range reductions. <v Andy Blaustein>There have been animals disappearing from pristine habitat. <v Andy Blaustein>And it's been happening in all the continents in which amphibians are found. <v Jim Newman>Lost Lake is an hour and a half from Andy's office at Oregon State University. <v Jim Newman>Oregon has several lost lakes, and this one is near Santiam Pass in the Cascades. <v Jim Newman>Tree frogs seem to be plentiful here. <v Andy Blaustein>Pacific Tree Frog. <v Andy Blaustein>He's been calling a lot, he's got a nice, colorful air sac.
<v Andy Blaustein>This is the thing you hear in every Hollywood movie. <v Andy Blaustein>This species, whether it takes place in Spain or New York, <v Andy Blaustein>they use this frog. <v Interviewer>Why? <v Andy Blaustein>Because they're found in Hollywood. <v Interviewer>Oh, really? <v Jim Newman>But Andy is here to study the western toads. <v Speaker>There's a toad right there. <v Speaker>[toad makes noises] <v Jim Newman>The adults are big. They can live as long as 20 years, too, but we see <v Jim Newman>mostly juveniles, the toadlets. <v Andy Blaustein>Here's a 1-year-old toad. <v Jim Newman>We even found 1 perplex looking toadlet that had been mounted by an adult tree frog. <v Andy Blaustein>It's incredible. He thinks he's got a mate, but it's the wrong species. <v Jim Newman>The small toads, even the best of times, have a dim future. <v Jim Newman>About 99 percent will die before they reach adulthood. <v Andy Blaustein>Garter snakes are the main predator of the little toads. <v Andy Blaustein>They specialize and almost nothing else eats 'em because they have uh poisons in them.
<v Jim Newman>For a garter snake, the edge of Lost Lake is like a candy store. <v Jim Newman>This snake devoured 3 toadlets in 5 minutes. <v Andy Blaustein>That's 1 stuffed snake. <v Jim Newman>But snakes are not the reason the toads here are in trouble. <v Jim Newman>A couple of weeks ago, this was the scene of a toad mating frenzy. <v Jim Newman>Hundreds of adults laid over 3 million eggs at this spot. <v Andy Blaustein>This whole area here is all 1 solid mat of eggs. <v Jim Newman>But now it's a foul-smelling mess. <v Jim Newman>90 percent of the eggs have died. <v Jim Newman>An abnormal trend that first began 4 years ago. <v Andy Blaustein>This is the worst it's ever been. <v Andy Blaustein>They've laid more eggs this year than ever. <v Andy Blaustein>Yet more of them died than ever. <v Jim Newman>These repeated egg die-offs, coupled with the normal high mortality rate for the <v Jim Newman>juveniles, could spell disaster for the Lost Lake toads. <v Andy Blaustein>Eventually, you're going to see the population decline to extinction if this keeps up. <v Jim Newman>The same thing is happening in other nearby lakes too.
<v Jim Newman>But why? <v Andy Blaustein>Now, we've actually collected some animals from here while they were dyin', brought 'em <v Andy Blaustein>in a lab, they're doin' fine. <v Andy Blaustein>I can't figure that one. <v Jim Newman>At first, he suspected a disease or something else in the water, but back in the OSU lab, <v Jim Newman>even eggs reared in lost lake water all hatched into healthy tadpoles. <v Jim Newman>Now Andy thinks that ultraviolet or UV radiation may be the problem. <v Jim Newman>Various lab experiments have shown amphibians to be especially sensitive to UV <v Jim Newman>and around the world with the thinning ozone layer, levels of UV in the atmosphere <v Jim Newman>are increasing. <v Andy Blaustein>No one knows that much about U.V. <v Andy Blaustein>effects on animals in a natural habitat. <v Andy Blaustein>To my knowledge, this is the only study of amphibians in a field like this. <v Jim Newman>In this study, Andy will compare tadpoles hatched in open exposed trays with <v Jim Newman>others in trays shielded from UV radiation. <v Jim Newman>But the experiment is still new and at least a year away from generating any results. <v Steve Amen>There's more frog work being done up north at Portland State University.
<v Steve Amen>In the specimen room, jars of frogs line several shells, jars <v Steve Amen>with about every kind of frog ever found in Oregon. <v Steve Amen>And here another biologist is studying the amphibian decline from a different angle. <v Steve Amen>Along with the collected specimens, Mark Hayes has compiled historic records of frog <v Steve Amen>sightings throughout Oregon. <v Steve Amen>He and his team then visit the sites to see if the frogs still live there. <v Steve Amen>He's particularly interested in this animal, the western spotted frog. <v Mark Hayes>There's been quite a bit of feeling for some time that uh spotted frogs have disappeared <v Mark Hayes>from much of western Oregon, but all that information was anecdotal. <v Mark Hayes>And uh what we're trying to do now is to basically document <v Mark Hayes>its disappearance. <v Jim Newman>The spotted frog, it turns out, is in even worse shape than Mark had suspected. <v Jim Newman>He has only been able to find it at 1 of its historic locations: here at Gold Lake Bog, <v Jim Newman>also in the Cascades. But these frogs have a different story from the toads we saw <v Jim Newman>earlier. Mark knows why spotted frogs are in danger.
<v Jim Newman>They've been squeezed out of their traditional range. <v Mark Hayes>You have all this problem with habitat alteration, change in flooding regimes, and the <v Mark Hayes>introduction of a great number of different exotic aquatic predators. <v Jim Newman>Spotteds require a certain type of marshland and most of that has been drained. <v Jim Newman>Also, bass, pan fish, and bullfrogs, all of which devour smaller frogs, <v Jim Newman>now thrive in Oregon. <v Jim Newman>The Gold Lake Bog has remained a safe haven for spotteds. <v Jim Newman>Here they coexist with tree frogs and toads, <v Jim Newman>like this colorful and lumpy western toad. <v Jim Newman>Large green leeches thrive here too. They attach, or in this case, try to attach <v Jim Newman>to frogs for transportation around the marsh. <v Jim Newman>But the leeches don't harm their amphibious hosts. <v Jim Newman>The spotted frog has reached the brink of extinction in western Oregon, and largely <v Jim Newman>because of Mark's research, this frog may soon appear on the endangered species list. <v Jim Newman>There used to be spotted frogs here on the side of Mount Hood in places like Trapper
<v Jim Newman>Springs Creek. <v Jim Newman>But here Mark thinks cattle were the problem. <v Mark Hayes>You had grazing practices during the late 60s and 70s <v Mark Hayes>that uh really damaged some of the meadow areas. <v Jim Newman>He comes to Trapper Springs Creek to study red legged frogs, which continue to flourish <v Jim Newman>here. <v Jim Newman>Red leggeds are not endangered, but they, too, have become scarce in their traditional <v Jim Newman>Willamette Valley range. <v Mark Hayes>The primary reasons there are introduction of bullfrogs and <v Mark Hayes>warm freshwater fishes. <v Jim Newman>There are amphibians that are not on the decline. <v Jim Newman>And here's 1. While some other salamanders around the world are in serious trouble, <v Jim Newman>the rough-skinned newt is a notable exception. <v Mark Hayes>With this species, there isn't much evidence of it declining anywhere. <v Mark Hayes>In fact, in a number of places, it's becoming the dominant amphibian. <v Mark Hayes>It's also a predator on the eggs and larvae of quite a number of other amphibians.
<v Mark Hayes>They have skin toxins that are not too different from those that you find <v Mark Hayes>in puffer fish. And uh there's not too many things that will eat them. <v Jim Newman>In Oregon, as around the world, the overall numbers of amphibians are down. <v Jim Newman>In many cases, as with the frogs that Mark studies, the reasons are identifiable, <v Jim Newman>like loss of habitat, predatory fish, or water pollution. <v Jim Newman>That's bad enough, he says. But at least we can work to preserve the good habitat that is <v Jim Newman>left and the amphibians that live there. <v Jim Newman>What really troubles Marc and many other biologists are the unexplained disappearances, <v Jim Newman>mostly in the higher elevations. The pristine environments were no obvious problems <v Jim Newman>exist. <v Mark Hayes>There are sort of parallel reports for the Andes in South America, <v Mark Hayes>for the Alps in Europe, for mountains in Australia, in which <v Mark Hayes>you have complete disappearance of certain populations. <v Jim Newman>And now in places like Lost Lake in Oregon's Cascades, the western toad
<v Jim Newman>eggs are dying every year. <v Jim Newman>Increased U.V. radiation may be the cause of these high elevation declines. <v Jim Newman>And if, as Andy says, amphibians are like canaries in a coal mine, that's <v Jim Newman>bad news. <v Andy Blaustein>This is very scary to me as a person, a human being. <v Andy Blaustein>If we have this environmental change that we're not detecting yet and if it is destroying <v Andy Blaustein>amphibians as the first indicator, we've got problems, major league, global problems. <v Steve Amen>Andy says he's received hundreds of letters from Oregonians about old ponds and creeks <v Steve Amen>where the frogs have disappeared over the years. <v Steve Amen>He has yet to come up with just 1 where the population is on the increase.
Oregon Field Guide Education Program
Focus on Organisms
Part 1
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Part one follows various issues of species endangerment in Oregon. The program starts with a discussion of wolves, condors, grizzlies, fishers, buffalo, and other animals that no longer have a natural habitat in Oregon. The program then introduces case studies of attempts to preserve the state's wildlife: Carl Bond's studies on Miller Lake lampreys (or minima), Kim Nelson's tracking of the marbled murrelet, a general movement on the behalf of the Oregon opossum and their bad reputation, Chris Frissell's study on the effects of logging on the Chinook and Coho salmon populations, Andy Blaustein's efforts to combat the decline of amphibians, and Mark Hayes' research into the decline of the western spotted frog. The program then highlights various attempts at wildlife conservation in Oregon. Mike Gregg of Oregon State University is attempting to figure out why the Steens Summit is becoming less hospitable for sage grouse, interviewed by Jim Newman. Steve Amen then interviews the Craig family, whose Native American lineage is of Nez Perces (father Fermor Craig) and Cayuse (mother Priscilla Craig), as they attempt to keep their heritage and beliefs surrounding their relationship with wildlife alive through their children. Then, the program summarizes the issues of fur-trapping in Oregon, interviewing the president of Action for Animals, Jan Volts; trapper, Rod Harder; state overseer of fur trapping in Oregon, John Teevus; and fur-trapper, Don Nichols. The program then issues a correction on a former clip discussing Kiger Mustangs, featuring Mark Armstrong of the Bureau of Land Management and Ron Harding, wild horse manager and specialist, as they incorrectly said the Kigers were native to Oregon. Lastly, the program showcases the efforts of scientists and conservationists, like Ruth Shea, Rod Drouin, and Marty St. Louis, to bring trumpeter swans back to Summer Lake in Oregon. All name spellings come from best guesses or outside sources.
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"The OREGON FIELD GUIDE EDUCATION PROGRAM was designed in collaboration with leading educators from around the state to help give teachers the tools they need to improve the environmental literacy of their students. "Over a year-and-a-half in the making, the program is intended for use in classrooms from the fourth grade up to the university level. The complete notebook and videotapes were distributed free to over 130 teachers. They were then trained in a series of one day workshops on how to best implement the program. These teachers were then assigned by their various schools to act as mentors for other teachers. "The video segments were also made available to all Oregon teachers when the segments were broadcast statewide on Oregon Public Broadcasting on March ['] and 25th of 1994. More than 30,000 teachers were notified in advance regarding the availability of taping these programs through OPB Education Services monthly newsletter, SIGNAL. "THE OREGON FIELD GUIDE EDUCATION PROGRAM is built around twenty story segments on two videocassettes. The tapes are accompanied by a teacher's manual that includes video segment synopses, background information on each topic, activity suggestions and related maps/diagrams. A field journal for students is also included."--1994 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Host: Amen, Steve
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Identifier: cpb-aacip-db31c6d18bb (Filename)
Format: U-matic
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Chicago: “Oregon Field Guide Education Program; Focus on Organisms; Part 1,” 1994-03, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 9, 2023,
MLA: “Oregon Field Guide Education Program; Focus on Organisms; Part 1.” 1994-03. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 9, 2023. <>.
APA: Oregon Field Guide Education Program; Focus on Organisms; Part 1. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from