Feral Swine in Oregon: Interview with J.D. McComas

After our Information Forum in Hermiston, where J.D. gave a talk about feral swine in Oregon, we sent him some follow-up questions to get more information about Oregon's feral swine issue, including Oregon's next steps and what the public can do to help. 


What are the next steps in the fight agaist feral swine in Oregon?

  • Aggressive removal of all feral swine where they are known 
  • Increased public outreach
  • Creating and fostering strong relationships between state/federal/local agencies, land owners and conservation groups.

How does Oregon's feral swine issue compare to other states?

Oregon is a level 3 funding state within the National Feral Swine Damage Management program. Level 3 funding acknowledges that eradication is possible, but not immediately possible. Other states within this funding level are: Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri. With cooperation among landowners and all agencies involved, Oregon can be successful in complete eradication within the near future.

What should the public know?

It should be known that no matter how enjoyable feral swine can be to hunt, they are not an animal that you want present on the landscape. Oregon has had feral swine on the landscape for some time now and has seen relatively low impact on the landscape; This will not continue if they are allowed to persist in Oregon.

They pose a significant threat to native wildlife (diseases), livestock (diseases), water resources  and agriculture. They are also a threat to health and human safety; simply look at the case in California where an E. coli outbreak occurred that was directly linked to feral swine. To this point, the relative low negative impact on the landscape in my opinion is pure luck. Again, I cannot stress it enough, if feral swine are allowed to persist they will cause significant negative impacts to the Oregon landscape.

What should the public do?

I believe that is of the utmost importance that people immediately report sightings of feral swine. Be vigilant and educate yourselves on the damages of feral swine.

 

J.D. McComas is a Wildlife Biologist and Feral Swine expert with USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
Contact J.D. at: John.d.mccomas@aphis.usda.gov

 

Report all possible feral swine sightings by calling 1-888-268-9219
To learn more about OISC's Feral Swine campaign, visit our Squeal on Pigs webpage.

Thank you to our June OISC Meeting Attendees!

We are wrapping up our statewide Council meeting that took place in Hermiston, OR on June 20 & 21. There was a wide range of invasive species topics covered during the 2-day event. In case you were unable to join us, here are some of the important topics discussed during the Council meeting:

Day 1- Information Forum

Mark Sytsma, Oregon Lake Watch Update

  • Program goal: early detection
  • Description of various aquatic invasive species sampling methods
  • Time and money requirements to run volunteer program 
  • List of common aquatic invasive species: plants & animals
  • Limitations to program: equipment costs and time requirements

Rick Boatner, AIS Boat Inspection Updates  | PDF

  • Goal of inspection program: protect state's waters & educate those about aquatic invasive species
  • Last year: conducted almost 17,000 inspections
  • 2 new watercraft inspection stations proposed in Burns & Umatilla

J.D. McComas, Feral Swine Elimination Efforts

  • Feral swine in US: reported in 35 states- population estimated at 6 million
  • National Feral Swine Damage Management Program: $20 million appropriated by congress to USDA APHIS
  • Issues caused by feral swine: damage to agriculture and natural resources, risk of diseases
  • Oregon's feral swine action plan: 3 eradication areas in the state

Working Lunch, Local Issues of Concern | Photo of Notes

Pete Baki, Sage Grouse & Impacts of Invasive Species | Link to ODFW Sage Grouse webpage

  • Greater Sage Grouse: broadly distributed, landscape species – requires large populations in groups in multiple habitat types
  • Sage brush ecosystems: one of the most imperiled in the US- primary threat is invasive annual grasses and the resulting increased fire frequency and intensity
  • Oregon Sage Grouse mitigation program: science-based, transparent, defensible
  • Calculating "functional acres" as a planning tool: can measure changes over time

Tim Bailey, Controlling Yellow Perch Using Tiger Muskies

  • Tiger Muskies: sterile hybrid 
  • Determined a low-risk biocontrol 
  • Implementation plan: release 1,100 - 25,000  fry/fingerlings- evaluate after 5 years 
  • Approach has been successful in western reservoirs- no evident cases on unintended consequences

 

Following the Information Forum, several attendees took an impromptu field trip out to a nearby location that has been invaded by garlic mustard and other invasive weeds. Pictured: Michelle Delepine, Council member & Theodore Orr, Umatilla Co. Weed Supervisor. Photo Credit: Wyatt Williams, Council member.

Following the Information Forum, several attendees took an impromptu field trip out to a nearby location that has been invaded by garlic mustard and other invasive weeds. Pictured: Michelle Delepine, Council member & Theodore Orr, Umatilla Co. Weed Supervisor. Photo Credit: Wyatt Williams, Council member.

 

Day 2- Council Meeting Highlights

Strategic Plan & Action Plan Overview

The statewide strategic plan and statewide action plan for invasive species set forth long-term and short-term strategies for invasive species control. The recommendations in the plan are the robust and feasible products of 15 months of collaborative planning among Council members, the Council's Advisory Group, stakeholders, and other entities engaged in invasive species issues. These plans are organized around the following five Objectives:

I. Prevention
II. Early Detection & Rapid Response
III. Control & Management
IV. Education & Outreach
V. Coordination & Leadership

If you are interested in participating in the network to support the actions laid out in the plan, check out the Strategic Plan and Action Plan documents for more information.

Council Member Presentation: Kathy Leopold: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB)

Photo Credit: Jalene Littlejohn, OISC Coordinator

Photo Credit: Jalene Littlejohn, OISC Coordinator

  • OWEB 101: OWEB is a state agency that helps Oregonians to protect and restore healthy watersheds. Measure 76 gave 15% of lottery revenue to split between PP&R and OWEB. OWEB is led by 17 member oversight board. OWEB has many grant types- not trying for a “one size fits all” approach.
  • OWEB’s Connection to Invasive Species: OWEB funds a lot of weed grants and watershed restoration efforts, which resists invasive weed establishment.
  • Examples of Small Grants that OWEB has funded: instream projects, upland projects, juniper cutting, in-valley manure management, agricultural water projects, and culvert replacements.

Emergency Account Project Updates

Wyatt Williams: Sudden Oak Death
Early detection of the EU1 lineage has made it possible for rapid response and Oregon Department of Forestry is hoping for eradication. It is important to focus on conserving diversity of tanoak.

Tim Butler: Japanese Beetle
EDRR project in Beaverton, OR has been successful so far. Only a couple of holdouts out of 2,388 households. See annual report from ODA (link to PDF).

2015-2016 OISC Report Card Grades

After an engaged discussion and evaluation of Oregon’s invasive species efforts over the last two years, Council members voted on a grade for the state. Stay tuned for the published 2015-2017 report card soon!

Top Invaders

The popular OISC publication “100 Worst List” will be updated soon with a fresh look at the top list of species we need to prevent from taking hold in the state, and the top regional priority management species that should be contained (and hopefully eradicated). This effort will include removing “100” from the title, creating regional lists and developing an online searchable tool that will serve as a resource for and information hub. This topic will be discussed again at the September meeting.

 

Here’s to another successful Council Meeting! We hope to see you at our next meeting in September.

 

*Note: The views and opinions expressed in the attached file(s) or link(s) above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oregon Invasive Species Council. Please contact the author directly if you have any questions regarding the content.

The Oregon Forest Pest Detectors Program

What is the Oregon Forest Pest Detectors Program?
The Oregon Forest Pest Detector program (OFPD) is a professional training offered by OSU Extension in collaboration with Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service, USDA APHIS, and the Oregon Invasive Species Council. After completing the training, participants are able to identify potential invasive forest pest infestations that they may encounter in their daily work responsibilities, and they know where to file a report for the most rapid response. The program focuses on two high-priority insects, the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). We have also provided continuing education workshops on the Asian gypsy moth (AGM), and are developing future workshops on the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) and sudden oak death (SOD) in Southwestern Oregon.

What's the issue with these pests? 

In the less than 3 decades that EAB & ALB have been in the US, they have caused extensive urban and natural forest mortality. For example, EAB has killed over 100 million ash trees in the US since its introduction. States and municipalities with infestations have to eradicate the insects, cut down infested trees, and replant new trees. Not to mention other major costs associated with the loss of environmental services from trees (e.g. clean water and clean air), decreased property values, and trade restrictions on plant products that we sell to domestic and international partners. In Oregon, we have abundant urban and natural forests that are full of EAB and ALB hosts species, including our native Oregon ash. We also have a state economy that relies heavily on trade in plant materials, such as timber and nursery plants. If either of these insects becomes established, we risk taking a big hit to our environment and economy.

So what’s the good news? We have learned from other states that the earlier we detect these insects and the faster we react, the better the chance we have of eradicating them from our forests. The tricky part is that we do not currently have the most efficient traps for EAB and ALB, so we will need to rely heavily on visual survey for early detection.

How can I get involved? 

The program is designed for natural resource professionals, such as arborists and landscapers, parks and recreation employees, soil and water conservation district staff, and forestry technicians. We also welcome natural resource volunteers who spend much of their time working in urban and natural forests. If enough of these professionals and volunteers know what signs and symptoms to notice when working around trees in their normal routine and where to file a report, there is a much higher chance that we can detect these insects early and treat them quickly before they become established. Please report any possible invasive species sightings to the Oregon Invasive Species Online Hotline at https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org/. It is easy and fast, and there are excellent identification experts on the receiving side that handle your report. If you need help with filing a report, you can visit the OFPD website and view Module 4 of the online course for instructions on reporting.

If you are a natural resource professional or volunteer and want to take the OFPD training, you can contact Brandy directly to be placed on our mailing list. If you do not work directly with natural resources but would like to learn more, our online course is open access and free, so you can view the learning modules at any time.

Oregon Forest Pest Detectors in Action. Photo credit: Amy Grotta



Brandy Saffell | Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Staff | Oregon State University
505 N Columbia River Highway | St Helens, OR 97051 | Phone: 503-397-3462
Oregon Forest Pest Detector Program || Oregon Master Naturalist Program

Thank you to our March Information Forum speakers!

Below you will find PDFs of our some informative presentations from March 20, 2017 at our Local Information Forum in Astoria, OR:

Rick Boatner, Water Resources Development Act | PDF File

Brandy Saffell, Oregon Forest Pest Detectors | PDF File

Linda Tucker Serniak, Asian Jumping Work | PDF File

Brian Turner, Green Crab ID, Biology & Management | PDF File

Sylvia Yamada, Green Crab Oregon Coastal Data | PDF File

Marie Simonds, Gorse Action Group & Oregon Solutions | PDF File