March 22, 2009 Caspian Tern Resettlement Fiasco Continued: Page Bottom

"The Corps
The Corps
the Corps"

douglas macarthur

Pax to the Max

Tern Island on
Fern Ridge Reservoir

Caspian Tern Mitigation:
Resettlement Fiasco
Caspiam Term Resettlement

Tern Island, April 3. 2008. Had the island looked like this on March 3 there would
be hope of attracting the wily feathered beasts (the Caspian Tern) this year. . .

Tern Island, Eugene
Tern Island Ziggurat April 3 –– too late for the northern migration but the square
flat acre looks great but the Caspian Tern passed overhead a month ago.


Like reservation indians,
the Caspian Tern is forced on a trail of tears
by the Corps of Engineers

The Caspian Tern was discovered to have been taking the lions share of salmon smolt migrating back to sea from the Columbia. Five years ago, it was decide to move the Tern Rookery to a more benign location. Fern Ridge Reservoir was picked and the rest is history. There was little public notice of this forced relocation of the species and no request for public input. I had discovered the relocation by accident and tried to float suggestions to the Corps but found no way to contact the appropriate bureau.
I had distinct suggestions to front to the Corps for positive modifications to help the project succeed. It was only after contacting the ODF&W that I was given a Corps address to submit information. I was given no acknowledgment of receipt of suggested improvements. I was only to discover after Tern Island was plopped in place that none of my suggestions or modifications were implemented. Suggestions that, I felt, would help secure the success of the project, the Corps of Engineers is above taking public input it seems. And now the lake is less than half full with little hope of Tern Island being an island at all.
Suggestion below:

Tern Island: Looking south from the shoal running to Gibson Island. pics taken 3/08/08
Management on Fern Ridge Reservoir
Tern Island is one square acre of rock dumped at the end of Royal Ave.
Now there is an entire new industry, endangered species decoys.

Coming Soon:
The Caspian Terns, on their lofty pedestal, will have box seats for the land-speed trials on the mud flats of Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Tern Island: South-East corner, blind for calling those mysterious terns. pics taken 3/08/08 Fern Ridge Reservoir, Caspian Tern Corps of Engineers Ziggurat: atop the plateau, a shrine to Corps sensitivity.

All is in place it would have been a sign of foresight to have filled the lake.

I'm a sailor
Fern Ridge is the best sailing venue in Oregon and supports a considerable sailing community, sailors of all types, racers cruisers and gunkholers. There were to be two National Championship Races to be held this year but management ineptitude has closed our opportunity to entertain competition. I have no problem with a better managed lake for the promotion of wildlife species, flora and fauna. I had hoped the Corps of Engineers would start treating Fern Ridge Lake as the precious place that it is, but instead it's just another management headache; an obsolete encumbrance to be placed on the back burner –– the ugly stepchild of dalliances long past.
Fern Ridge has suffered abuse after abuse by the Corps of Engineers as its importance is eclipsed by other priorities, but it's the most trafficked lake in Oregon. Somehow this problem must be reconciled. I am hoping the sailing community will take more interest in the overall health of the lake, a lake that sustains a vibrant sailing community. I would hope the Corps of Engineers might take an active interest in imaginative interactive management for the sake of all involved.

Mike Randles

Suggestion Addendum: 3/12/08
We all know the water quality of Fern Ridge needs a facelift. There needs be year-round flow in that lake. Summer flow has been proposed for years by shunting the Mill Race into the Amazon Slough to refresh the exhausted and polluted lake in late summer.
With the retrofit of Hydro Power in the Dam face there would be a solid rational for the whole McGilla. It's a no brainer to add supply to the grid. The Dam is like new after the rebuild –– Plug and play.
With an operation like that, Eugene gets a waterway in town, Kids can float to Fern Ridge, the fish can swim and the birds gonna fly.
An operation like that requires no more infrastructure but just change the plugs and good to go. The best part is, the Corps of Engineers would have to run the dam like an instrument rather than using it as a blunted club. Then the operators, with their feet on the control panel, would have do something besides pop gum.

The Caspian Tern
Resettlement Pogrom

The heavy hand of engineered mitigation:
The Army Corps Of Engineers (AEC) has no interest in seeing the Caspian Tern Resettlement Program to success. The planning for such a project was not thought through. This Pro-Forma exercise was just another project to soothe the duped and move more earth.

Had the Corps been earnest the Lake would have been at least 60% full by early March to insure that "Tern Island" was in fact an island rather than a wasteland. The Tern Resettlement Program has become the Tern Resettlement Pogrom.

Fern Ridge Reservoir Rule Curve for all to see
a glass half full is not a glass half empty –– a glass half empty is not half full.

Tern Island: Looking North, a Corps. of Engineers Pro forma exercise. pics taken 3/08/08
Gibson Island on Right and our lovely "little" lake is waffeling off in the distanceCaspian Tern Island
This is it. With a cast of thousand, at a cost of millions, Tern Island is here to stay.

Lake level

Tern Island:
The bulk of rock is defiantly square and definitely engineered so satellites from space can testify to its symmetry. The perfect square is placed on a north south axis as Caspian Terns are attracted to geometric forms and billiard table flatness. As the Pyramids of Cheops, the edifice will last thousands of years. Many years hence archeologists will measure and conclude that some advanced culture had created a rookery for Caspian Terns to nest.

Had the Corps been interested in attracting the smarter terns they might have designed a pentagon or a hexagon perhaps an ellipsises to challenge their wits. Islands can be 'U' shaped too.

Or: If I were into Conspiracy Theory, I might conclude this is the first step in a covert operation to build a Nuclear Power Generation Plant. The vented heat from power generation could promote new crops. Water Hyacinth comes to mind to add to the already introduced species for the good of man. I can imagine the stacks shooting skyward for us all to wonder; "What's in it for me?"

Gus O. Kahan

Tern Island: the plane of the rookery is filled with pea gravel: the perfect driving range mud flats of Fern Ridge Reservoir.
Tern Island is one square (very square) acre raised to a level several feet above theoretical high water mark. Theoretical High Water is, this year, quite theoretical.

Yes, we had the same thought too. Tern Island would be a great place for Japanese interns to practice their gravel raking skills. An aspiring gravel raker could rake patters of infinite complexity while more students could cover the work with yet more patterns and on and on. The possibilities are boundless for the apprentice Japanese Gardener; the experiment could spread to other islands too.

The Tea Cup Syndrome:

The Tea Cup Syndrome: I find it troubling, the Corps can't reconcile the
disparity between the RED LINE and THE BLUE LINE of the rule curve.

Seems that the two lines, if engineered, should coalesce into a synchronized
efficient use of resource.
As one can see by the TEA CUP CURVE, Fern Ridge engineering looks like the
water to be retained is the lowest priority in this regulatory process –– as
water retention is ignorant of the CURVE RULE:
The graph alone is evidence of a job well done. The numbers alone speak
to the successes of engineering. –– HURRAH! But the idea is to fill the
lake, Yes?
Why do the red line and blue line seem to ignore one another? I will
postulate that this ignorance is engineered by the Corps. The graph has become
an end unto itself.
As can be noticed, the discreet control of draining (left of curve) is at
odds with filling (right side of curve). The lake is just the method for
generating lots of numbers. And the numbers are good numbers, as numbers go they are
as good as numbers can be.
But the idea is to fill the lake.
The idea is to fill the lake.
Prayer Management is an option, engineering a large enough group of
devotees to turn the trick is massively inefficient when one can see by the Rule
Curve Graph, there was no need for Prayer Management, just rational use of

Pssst. Coming Soon: The Caspian Terns, on their lofty pedestal, will have
box seats for the land-speed trials on the mud flats of Fern Ridge Reservoir.

The Tragedy of the Commons

Lord Bufort Mumford Augustine Tullyrill's Shoe Last
From the 5th The International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition.
An exercise in willful ignorance;
a tragedy of the commons.

Bimbi Luboso’s Right Foot
From the 6th The International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition.

Example of history not recorded for obvious reasons; For insurrection, mitigations are plentiful in human history. Disobedience is the bane of human order -- in the natural world the problems only multiply exponentially.

Common Tragedies
common tragedy

Shoebox Sculpture Tragedy
tragedy commons

Mar. 23/08 The lake is filling but slowly
Filling with Senseless Beauty

The lake is filling but slowly, it's finally more than 50% full. Had it been at the level it is now in early march, there might have been hope of attracting birds this year. This page has links to water level.
I went out to have another look 3/22/08. If you go out, look at the roadbed you are driving on. Note the painted hashmarks. That would only be the damage the county can directly attribute to fair wear and tear; the roads leading to Royal Ave have taken a hit too.
I rode a bike out to the second barricade, I was not able to see much from there but I did see how much road building it took to get the yardage out to build the island.
The roadbed has been raised from 18" to 24" all the way out to "Tern Island."

A good question: How much did it cost to build Tern Island?
How much did it cost to build the road to build Tern Island?
My bet is: The cost of the road exceeds the cost of the island by a factor of two.

If the Corps is not forthcoming, the contractor would be helpful I am sure.
My guess is: The road cost was not factored into the cost of the project.

When standing on Tern Island looking north, you can see a berm running north to Gibson Island.
That berm was built several years ago during the autumn and it took no additional improvements to yard that gravel to build the water catchment berm.

In conclusion:
If the Corps wants to surround Tern Island with water why not continue, the now built up roadbed, around Tern Island to connect with the water catchment berm. You know, like a castle with a moat.

Lastly: with all this filling of a flood control reservoir by the Corps of Engineers there is less water to impound for that Biblical event for which all this strutting and fretting was tasked
Remember, when creating Senseless Beauty, Less is More.

Michael Randles


Submitted Suggestions to the Corps of Engineers for the Caspian Tern Project

Nov. 13, 2007
To: Geoff Dorsey
Wildlife Biologist
Portland District
Geoff, this is to confirm suggestions presented to your office.
Thanks for sending an e-mail of your recollections on Fern Ridge
Tern Island. E-mail traffic from ODFW was helpful in getting through to you.

From our previous conversation there was discussed in summary:
1. larger rock on Gibson Island road sub-impoundment dike to provide
better fisheries habitat conditions for both crayfish and small game fish. Rock should be scattered on both sides of the berm.
2. Fish habitat is degrading at Fern Ridge with encroachment of reeds canarygrass. This could be mitigated by mindful pool level control and some eradication program.
3. turbidity-siltation concern behind Gibson Island sub-impoundment
dike, 6" deep and fast accretion.
4. adjust Northern 50 meters of sub-impoundment berm 45 degrees to facilitate silt removal from area; allow current flow behind berm by wind surface current and wave action in summer. lower level of sub-impoundment berm to within 6" of south discharge to facilitate current for sediment discharge; removed material can be used to build the 45 degree wing berm to channel surface current behind berm to flush sediment.
5. Restore channels that formerly separated Gibson Island into 3-4
islands and thus facilitate centrarchid spawning in former prime spawning
area for that species and promote yet more fisheries for tern resettlement.
6. Rotate Tern Island 45 degrees to north to cut run up by waves (to 5 feet swells) and install a small breakwater to the north of breaking swells from Summer Northerlies.
I would suggest several small breakwaters, arches of rock from 50 to 100 feet long extending west from existing sub-straight berm.
7. Consider felling cottonwood trees around lake parameter to improve fisheries. Either ODFW or Corps. could, at low pool pull over selected cottonwood onto lake-shore. This would help arrest shore erosion as well as promote fish /bug / bird habitat. I stress pulling over trees to secure tree in place, leaving rootball to secure the snag; by this process, the lingering survival of felled tree will promote more insect habitation and fish cover.
8. For God Sakes do something about Zumwalt Park erosion. Shit it's a no-brainer to save that beautiful spot; I watched the Corps. remove and burn several hundred tons of vitrified stumps from the lake two years ago. That material could have been used to stabilize Zumwalt Park and other spots on the lake. I could not believe my eyes.
9. I have a myriad of suggestions, to include invasive species eradication, but for now this is sufficient.
Thank you for receiving my suggestions. I hope they will help in the success of the Caspian Tern Resettlement Program.

Michael Randles

Caspian Tern Resettlement
Caspian Tern on the wing
As a sailor I can appriciate the foils on this specimen.

Caspian Tern Nesting Cycle

The Caspian Terns return to Oregon from their southern migration locations in early March. Eggs are laid in late April and peaks in early May. Only 1 to 3 eggs are laid. Incubation is 26 - 28 days and chicks will fly 4 to 5 weeks later. Caspian Terns are the largest of the North American terns and can live a long time, frequently over 20 years. Their diet is mostly small fish that they capture near the surface of the water.

Data provided by the Lane Audubon Society


The Caspian Tern:
A species reliant on fisheries.

The Caspian Tern rookery was originally situated along the shore of Long Beach Washington. Years ago the Long Beach folks opened the beach to all form or motorsports and recreation, development of beach-side housing, Condos, etc., thus pushing out the Caspian Tern form it homeland.
The resilient Caspian Tern moved their nesting grounds to the mouth of the Columbia where the Corps of Engineers had created an ideal nesting ground by dumping the spoil from dredging the of the Columbia Shipping Channel so those out-sized container ships from China can get to us, The Consumer, to disgorge its bounty.
These huge sand dunes extend to the river making for perfect fledging and fishing; a Caspian Tern could waddle from its babies down to the shore and pluck a few salmon smolt, waddle back and not even have to get wet or fly. It was like heaven until wildlife biologists discovered that the Caspian Tern was plucking 60 percent of salmon fry headed back to sea. So it is now recognized that the Caspian Tern Tribe must pack up from its reservation and march on, a metaphorical "trail of tears" to Fern Ridge to live happily ever after.
The Corps of Engineers has without any thought plopped down a hunk of rock in Fern Ridge. This was done without any preparation, thought or insight. The Corps of Engineers has moved a bunch of bulk out in the now dry reservoir in a pro-forma exercise of plausible deniability.
Now the Caspian Tern must dutifully respond to the delicate hand of the Corps of Engineers.
Epilogue: The Corps of Engineers is about removing a problem (Caspian Tern) they created by going through the motions of providing space for a species that has no interest in hanging out at Fern Ridge especially if the lake is a mudhole with no fish.
So, in the end, the Corps of Engineers, an Institution just a hundred years old has the right to exterminate a species that has lived on this Earth for millions of years.
This will all be done by mandate of The Corps Mission.
The Mission is: As MacArthur put it, "The Corps The Corps and The Corps."

Ephima Morphew


Yacht Clubs on Fern Ridge

  • Eugene Yacht Club
    A family oriented Yacht Club with moorage and Club house near Richardson Bay.
  • Triton Yacht Club Triton Yacht Club is a very active club located on the Fern Ridge Reservoir, near Eugene, Oregon.  Triton hosts many activities in the form of regattas, cruising, club and fleet racing, and community gatherings.  

Lane County not happy
Why you ask? The Corps. sees fit to build their Pro-Forma solution in midwinter. Lane County Roads paid a heavy price for the Caspian Tern and ACE engineering. County demands compensation for road damage.
Why, if The Corps. having no intention of attracting birds this year, build in mid-winter? The ACE could have thought through the idea and worked in Sept. and Oct., Nov. of 08 and worked on hard-earth saving much treasure. February was not the time to work in a bog;
why not first stay home, play the X box or with toy models or with Jell-O and get it right then, then mass their assault to save the Tern


RULE CURVE, Corps of Engineers
the Corps and the Corps


Mar. 25/08

Open Letter to Randy Kolb

Randy, thanks for the criticism without using the "venom" accusation, it
makes for a more civil discussion.
As a Venomous pseudo-intellectual, I might pose our respective organizations,
Eyc,Tyc, Jrc attend each others discussion on the Corps of Engineers'
treatment the Long Tom Watershed in preperation for the meeting with the ACE.
The Lane County and City of Eugene, need to engage as they are heavily
invested in Fern Ridge as are many others –– non affiliated moorage holders,
interested parties, etc.
Further engagement with the Long Tom Watershed Council would be helpful.
History should not repeat itself –– but it could rhyme.

Randy you state: "The fill curve is driven by unpredictable events - the
weather. My guess is that in about a week we will be right on the curve. At that point wailing at the ACE about the 2008 fill curve will be, well, silly."

I will allow the weather its due, but it's silly to allow the ACE to do what
it does. What is silly? It's silly not to demand the DoD Corps of Engineers live
up to its mandate.

Randy, Had you really looked? I will draw you attention to
Oct 11, 07 missive, Letter to Fern Ridge Sailors
The Corps has changed its mandate. The whole rule curve strategy is to be
rethought. So, let us help rethink it and that's not silly.
What is silly, is to ho-hum our way till next year and on an on till we
return to dust.

Wyde Lode


[fernsail] mar. 27/08
Corps & Sailors meeting
April 21, 6:00pm at EYC

Email from: risingmoonstephanie(at)

1) The meeting is open to all Fern Ridge sailors - tell one, tell all.

2) Questions for the Corps MUST be submitted to me (
by April 11 at noon - that gives you two weeks to submit your questions.

3) Due to the number of people we are expecting, there will NOT be a chance for
questions from the floor the night of the Corps presentation. You have a question? You
submit it to by April 11 at noon. Yes, there will be a
meeting facilitator and yes, you will take a long walk on a short plank if you think this
whole "ask your question prior to the meeting" doesn't apply to you.

4) I'll tally the questions/topics and submit to the Corps on the 11th.

5) So what do you do if you have a question for the Corps….let's all say it together…"I'll
email my question to by noon on April 11th".

So, what do you want to learn from the meeting? Let me know!

There will probably be some form of food and I'm guessing the S20 fleet meeting will be
prior to the 6:30pm Corps meeting. More to come on the details from our esteemed

Tern Island, April 3. 2008. The Caspian Tern Deeks look good and the sound system, great.Caspian Tern Nesting Decoys
From the Ship's Log of Wyde Lode: Nesting Decoys oogling to other nesting decoys –– it's lonely out there but for the scarcrows and there can be found no crows within miles and miles. The Corps has engineered a square flat space, Ziggurat, because the Corps likes to engineer stuff but the tern won't nest there –"It's too flat"

The cost $757,000 is the cost of the Island but the road to build it, how much did that cost? Just think how much defence Blackwater Security could provide the Homeland with that money? How many guns and good guys could protect us from evil doers with that good money. Who is running this operation? Why? What's in it for us anyways? Why not invest everything in Homeland Defence and share the fantasy.

[fernsail] april, 15/08
Corps & Sailors meeting
Questions to be answered
April 21, 6:00 pm at EYC

Pre-screened questions submitted to the Corps of Engineers to be answered, public meeting at Eugene Yacht Club
Meeting begins at 6pm next Monday at EYC.

I. History:
Would you please explain the basic history of the dam, its original purpose, what the "rule
curve" is in terms of a management device, where it came from, how often it is evaluated,
and the criteria used to determine when the lake is filled, to what level, and when the
water is let out.

What legislation determines the purpose of the dam and the regulation of its levels?
What is the language of this legislation? What are the legally mandated goals that must be
fulfilled by those people and organizations responsible for filling and emptying the lake?
Are there other considerations that area also used to make these decisions? What are they?
How specific is it in terms of the fill curve, recognized stakeholders, who manages the
lake, and how they make their decisions?

How does the Corps of Engineers share the long term watershed plan with the public?
B. Does the public have any way to influence decisions made?

What are the primary factors that control the current operation of the dam?

II. Fill curve:
The urban myth is the fill curve was developed 50 years ago and has not been modified
since, true? If true, have there been studies or plans for studies to evaluated its
effectiveness for flood control while assuring adequate water supply for recreation?

What document contains the supporting analysis for the current operational curve? Does
the Corps feel that all the assumptions and data used in that analysis is still valid based
on current conditions and best available data?

What is the statistical reliability of reaching full pool on any given year? Does the Corps
have a target reliability they would like to achieve? Has a reliability analysis been
conducted? If so, what is the title of that document?

Could there be alternative fill curves that are chosen for a season based on variable
criteria - predicted weather pattern, snowpack levels, etc.?

Is the Corps making any adjustment to its management plan and strategy for water
conservation over downstream navigation and flood control based upon climate change?
B. If so, will the Corps take into account the needs and desires of lake users?

Why is it necessary to drain the lake 20 feet when the top 2 or 3 ft contain 80% of the
volume of water in the lake?

Could the fill of the lake start in January and be regulated locally? Could the draw down of
the lake be postponed for a few weeks into Oct. and the lake level left higher throughout
the year?

What are the downstream flow requirements by month? Is it true that the Corps is required
to provide a certain amount of irrigation water from Fern Ridge to downstream users every
year? What water levels are required to meet the terms of that agreement?

Has the Corp considered extending the Mill Race to the Amazon Canal so it could feed
water from the Willamette River into Fern Ridge?

Has the Corps considered modifications to Fern Ridge Reservoir that would improve the
homeland, such as hydroelectric Generation or modification to lake levels by capturing
more of a pool more often?

III. Natural Resources:
Given the Corps negotiations with The Nature Conservancy – Sustainable Rivers Project
does this reflect a flexibility in management practice going into the future?

Does the installation of Tern Island imply the mission of Fern Ridge has changed?
B. Within the Caspian Tern Resettlement project are there modifications, allowances for
lake administration – including the fill curve? If so, in what way and how soon?

C. When do the Caspian Terns nest and fledge? What water level is required for them to do
this successfully? How was that determined? Are there other birds that use Fern Ridge
that require certain minimum water levels at particular times for successful reproduction?

Will the Corps attempt to promote desirable species and recreation by extending the
useful season of Fern Ridge?

Are there efforts to suppress the spread of invasive species, water weed and land plants?

Is there policy stated for the promotion of wildlife species?

IV. Collaboration:
Do recreational users of the lake have any recognized importance in the management of
the lake?
B) Same as above for wildlife.

BLM, the county, and the Corps have projects around the lake. Is there a coordinating
body or committee that develops plans and/or shares information about short and long
range projects?

Does the Corps consult with other organizations, like the BLM, ODF&W, Long Tom
Watershed Council?

Is the Core Corps administration policy for the Long Tom Watershed up for review?

Is the Corps of Engineers working with Lane County in the reconstruction of Richardson

V. Data Requested:
What is the flood history for the downstream regions of the Fern Ridge watershed?

Where can the public find a complete historical record of lake levels? The published data
on the USGS website is incomplete.

Can the Corps provide, or give guidance as to how to obtain, the stage-volume curve or
bathymetric survey data for the reservoir?

Is there an existing reservoir model for Fern Ridge? If so, how can the public obtain a

How often is the Fern Ridge Reservoir website updated, including relevant data, links and
include a contact addresses?

Is it possible to post on your website Lake Levels by volume and rule curve for each year it
has operated along with a graph of rainfall for each year.

What is the web site we can go to, to find the topographical data of the hole so we can
figure out mathematically exactly what the volume percentages are at the different levels?


Engineered Mitigation

Yes, The AEC is trading habitat for habitat but the horror, the horror of stupidity.

Yes, the deeks are in place and the sounds of oogling terns
wafts aloft –– plop and it's there.
Note: the Tern will not nest on a flat space, they will not attract real birds as the island is not mounded to afford the Tern a view of the water to protect themselves from preditors –– Terns love a room with a view; an open unobstructed field of view is paramount for nesting terns but the Corps of Engineers cant afford the attention to detail.

The Caspian Tern:
These birds have been around for millions of years, having developed stratagies over time for the species to succeed. The Corps could learn from the Tern.

News Flash: July 6, 08

from the Log of Wyde Lode
Mitigated Successes, Caspian Tern sighted -- July 6, 08
west of Gibson Island one Caspian Tern was seen around 13:00.
The Tern was on the wing circling a patch of water that has been proven grounds for Osprey fishing.
The Tern circled for a minute and was off headed west for parts unknown.
After $1.5 million in mitigation the Caspian Tern Resettlement program has broken new ground. The presence of just one Caspian Tern on Fern Ridge Reservoir is a victory for the Corps and all the brave men and women that salute the flag under the banner of the Corps of Engineers.
Great job folks.

August 3, 08

from Sailor Luddite, Time: 0845
Location: Fernridge reservoir 1nm NNW of Gibson Island
Conditions: Force 2 with clear skies
I had spent the night anchored in the lee of Gibson Island on
Fernridge reservoir the night of August 02, 2008. Awoke early, had my coffee and was sailing back towards Richardson marina from the north side of Gibson Island when around 0845 I observed 4 large terns flying off my port quarter. I watched them dip, dive and frolic for about 1 1/2 minuets before they rose to about 35' of elevation and steadily flew off in a northerly direction,m i lost sight of them after about 1 minute.

September 7, 08

from the Log of Wyde Lode
Beyond the first Caspian tern sighting there is another incident, an encounter on September 7, 08. This rare event took place just after sunset in a stout northerly, about 20 knots. The Caspian Tern wheeled in ever tighter circles to then scooped the water and then it was off not to be seen again.

New year same problem

March 21, 09 Ziggurat by Zumwalt

first sail of the year

Yes, Wyde-Lode, the old gal gets another bullet, the honors keep mounting. She got her dunking, a quick tune and a voyage, and yes it was eventful. A nice beat to Zumwalt and a reach to our new island, for housing the wayward Caspian Tern, what's it called?
We were going to record the first of the New Nesters. But alas, the lake was not full enough to attract the northern migration, yes, they are up on the
Columbia again pestering the makers of our ziggurat on the mudflats ––
The Corps or Engineers.
But then, from the southwest a wall of dark energy appeared.
Twas kinda scary for a while. We reached from Zumwalt to Orchard Pt. in 12 minutes, they went by quickly powered by a "WHITE SQUALL."
Wyde-Lode's stern spitted out a tongue of flat water 10 meters. It was all fine at 30 knots but in the puffs, at 40 plus, things got twitchy.
We got wet, very wet. But endorphins must be tickled or one won't know where trim is.

Santana 23, Wyde-Lode
Santana 23 beat,Wyde lode in search of Ziggurats

3/21/09 Airport weather station recorded a weather cell gusting to 45 knots with sustained winds of 25 to 30 knots.

Caspian Tern Background

Tern Resettlement Story: Caspian terns, sequentially displaced by human activities, have found a, somewhat, refuge in San Francisco Bay.

Links to appropiate organizations

  • Fernsail, Fern Ridge discussion board for the sailing community
  • Lane County (Oregon) Audubon Society
    A chapter of the National Audubon Society and a non-profit organization
    dedicated to the conservation of and education about our natural environment,
    with a primary focus on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats.
  • West Eugene Wetlands Education Center
    Located in the watershed of the Long Tom River, a major tributary of our Willamette River, the West Eugene Wetlands comprises 3,000 acres of rare habitat, protected and restored by the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership, a unique partnership of state, federal and private agencies.

The Caspian Tern Resettlement Fiasco

The Caspian Tern:

Feb. 28/08

A species reliant on fisheries. The Caspian Tern rookery was originally
situated along the shore of Long Beach Washington. Years ago the Long Beach folks
opened the beach to all form or motorsports and recreation, development of
beach-side housing, Condos, etc., thus pushing out the Caspian Tern form it
The resilient Caspian Tern moved their nesting grounds to the mouth of
the Columbia where the Corps of Engineers had created an ideal nesting ground by
dumping the spoil from dredging the of the Columbia Shipping Channel so those
out-sized container ships from China can get to us, The Consumer, to disgorge
its bounty.
These huge sand dunes extend to the river making for perfect fledging and
fishing; a Caspian Tern could waddle from its babies down to the shore and
pluck a few salmon smolt, waddle back and not even have to get wet or fly. It
was like heaven until wildlife biologists discovered that the Caspian Tern was
plucking 60 percent of salmon fry headed back to sea. So it is now recognized
that the Caspian Tern Tribe must pack up from its reservation and march on, a
metaphorical "trail of tears" to Fern Ridge to live happily ever after.
The Corps of Engineers has without any thought plopped down a hunk of rock in
Fern Ridge. This was done without any preparation, thought or insight. The
Corps of Engineers has moved a bunch of bulk out in the now dry reservoir in a
pro-forma exercise of plausible deniability.
Now the Caspian Tern must dutifully respond to the delicate hand of the Corps
of Engineers.
Epilogue: The Corps of Engineers is about removing a problem (Caspian Tern)
they created by going through the motions of providing space for a species
that has no interest in hanging out at Fern Ridge especially if the lake is a
mudhole with no fish. So, in the end, the Corps of Engineers, an Institution two
hundred years old has the right to exterminate a species that has lived on this Earth for
millions of years. This will all be done by mandate of the Corps mission.

Wyde Lode

Tern Island, Fern Ridge
The island is built to Corps standards, one square acre. If you want to
see what a square acre looks like the Corps has created a text book example
for all to see; I'm not sure if the Caspian Terns appreciate geometry but they
should because it looks like the base of a pyramid; a frustum I believe it's
called. All dress right dress, shucks it looks engineered to me, go visit it's
at the end of Royal Ave.
Terns are migratory, they just need a place to plop to do their
procreation thing, make babies, feed the babies, teach-em to fly and they are happy;
they don't need no stinking square acre built to bombshelter standards. But, if
the Corps dumps $2 million in rock to make an island and the lake don't fill
because they see fit to flush the lake below the curve rule then the island is not
an island and no amount of decoys and squawkers on tape loops will call them
in. Daaah.
The first shot took out the left foot, the other took out the right. The
Corps has made no provisions for additional fisheries improvement so the
Caspian Terns will have to cut bait all day and fish by lantern at night. I don't
think the Tern is aware of this need for continuing education -- but that's
not a Corps problem -- "The little bastards are just slow learners."
At least they won't be eating salmon smolt.
You can only guess how happy the Audobon Society is? The Corps, like the
roar of a D–9 Cat rumbles on and on, lumbering over hill and dale eating up
those dollars supplied by you and me; shucks, I can hear the lugs slapping the
dirt from here. In the Business it's called a Moral Hazard. In a perfect
world, the Corps of Engineers would merge with Hallibuton, Walmart and
Blackwater to supply us with everything the world needs –– A secured flat planet with
endless rows of cargo containers filled with stuff to salve our souls.

If the Tern thing don't work out, it will be a great place to lease, lease it
to one of them Demon Worshiping baby sacrificing cults that live out in
Venita. I can see them out there in their feathered robes with blood rolling off
the alter to seep into the drinking bowl while chanting devotees crowd the
plaza. Oooh buga buga, I have spoken.

Gus O. Kahan

feb. 28/08
Open Letter to Fernsail Discussion Group

I would like to refresh your memories. It was last October that I proposed
some active interest in cooperation with other organizations to set some
kindling under the ossified people that brought New Orleans to its knees.
As it were, what with Global Warming (climate change) there is much to
anticipate. I'm not sure the Corps of Engineers is equipped to move beyond a
glacial pace, a pace inappropiate for what this planet now faces –– the glaciers
are gone.
There are concerned organizations that have interest in this watershed
besides the sailing community; this is important for building any sort of
coherent direction for the Corps to march to.
We can continue with our myopic sailing obsession or we can look to the
needs of the entire watershed, its flora and fauna, upstream and downstream
while enjoying our particular interests.
I have enclosed my October 11 missive on this issue; I hope after you
look at the reservoir this year you will realize the Corps has not a clue for
"practically" managing this man made body of water. Fern Ridge is now old enough
to have created an ecosystem of its own, a system that needs only consistent
water levels to support what has now been created. This year the Corps has
spent millions to build an island for the Caspian Tern to nest on but it is
doubtful if the island will float. When Islands don't float they ain't islands.
I can't help but remember the Venita public meeting the Corps Engineers put on five
years ago, the one with the Bird Colonel who told us they way things were.
At the door, as we entered, a dutiful Corps employee was passing out brochures
on "SANDBAGGING." Sandbagging and more sandbabbing makes for a lotta sandbags.

Letter to Fern Ridge Sailors
Oct 11, 07 missive
*Note: Da da da is the Corps of Engineers

A modest proposal for JRC and etc.
So folks out there, I enjoyed the year despite the truncation thanks to da da
da. There is an opportunity afoot.
There is going to be pressure placed on Fern Ridge soon.
It's value is going to be more for conservation of species, species that
can't find homes and the Da da das are going to have to bend to needs that
align with ours.
Da da da will listen because they will benefit. It's up to us to describe
our interests in terms that promote the wetlands above and below the damn. The
jewel in the crown, Fern Ridge needs extra attention. We, as a group need, to work with the BLM and then approach the Da da da.
There is going to be need for Da Da Da to show concern for turbidity,
fisheries, habitat, erosion control, invasive species and a rational level for
minimum pool by the da da da.
We need a few more islands on the lake for hydraulics, and bird nesting.
We need the wetlands to be further integrated into the lakes and tributaries.
Some power boat control on shoreline is critical. I have witnessed the lake
20 plus years, the change wrought by the complete ignorance of the da da da
has created its own can of worms. Much of this was simply management of resource or lack there of. Invasive species run riot with no concern, fires run willy nilly and water weed nestles in every nook and cranny.

Like: The year before last I watched the da da da haul several hundred tons of vitrifed stumps out of the lake to burn.
Humm, that was erosion control rip rap and shoals, they could have stopped
the melting of Zumwalt park and Signal Island to say nothing of nesting
platforms; the list is long.
I say again there is an opportunity to do good and do well by our own lights.
We can do a bit for the fly way, fisheries and the very health of the lake.
And yes, there must be a method to purge Fern Ridge in summer with fresh
water. This is critical for keeping the lake fully alive with hide-aways for
the fishies to expose their naughty bits and make little fishies.
Think about it. It needs some chatter and thought but if we don't you know
da da da is always out there lurking, lurking.

Gus O. Kahan
*This message was posted in code, ie.using Da da da for the Corps of Engineers because this discussion group is monitored by the Da da da.


Thanks to Dan Weise, we have documentary evidence of the insight of the beloved institution that afflicts our lives with fear and tremblling, the Corps. of Engineers.

Last weekend, pics taken 3/08/08
We all appriciate the efforts in documentation of this exquisite example of sensitive environmenal engineering by Our Corps of Engineers. Thanks Corps..

The Nature Conservancy - Sustainable Rivers Project
Has caused the Corps of Engineers to rethink what would not have ever been done by the Corps alone. We can add to the avalanche of input. The Corps can change into a leaner meaner thinker but they can't do it alone. The Corps can learn to be flexible.

Corps increasing water releases from Dexter Dam 4/1/08
Action supports regional efforts
to improve river health
Portland, Ore. – Water levels on the Middle Fork Willamette River are increasing by six to 18 inches through April 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today.
The action, which is part of the Willamette River Flow Management project and supports a 2006 agreement with The Nature Conservancy to improve river health, will affect the Willamette River between Dexter Dam and Eugene. The increased flows are designed to mimic natural river conditions experienced during this time of year in the area prior to dam construction in the mid-twentieth century.
Water releases from Dexter Dam will increase gradually to about 4,500 cubic feet per second by the evening of April 3. On April 5, the Corps will gradually reduce water releases. Additional pulses of water may be scheduled this spring if river conditions allow for them.
River users will notice a rise of about 12 inches at Jasper and 6 inches at Eugene.
“We are pleased we have reached a point in this agreement where we are making changes to our operations in support of this program,” said Col. Tom O’Donovan, commander of the Corps’ Portland District. “We look forward to future such opportunities.”
In February 2006, representatives from the Corps’ Portland and Walla Walla districts and The Nature Conservancy signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing “to work toward regional cooperation and mutual solutions to ecosystem restoration challenges by working within their respective organizations.”
Under the framework of the regional agreement, the partners will evaluate opportunities to expand their collaboration in the state of Oregon to seek pragmatic solutions to protect the ecological health of rivers and surrounding natural areas while continuing to provide services such as flood damage reduction and hydropower generation.
The Willamette River Flow Management project is part of the Sustainable Rivers Project, a partnership between the Conservancy and the Corps working at eleven river basins around the nation to restore the natural connection between rivers and land by modifying the way dams release water. The project aims to better guide the operation of dams to benefit the environment and native species, while meeting needs of flood control, recreation and irrigation.
To learn more about the Sustainable Rivers project, visit For additional information on the Willamette River Flow Management project visit

Tern Island, April 3. 2008, square, flat, lonly and cheap, the cost was only $758.759.18 Caspian Tern Island, Fern Ridge
Yes, the deeks are in place and the sounds of oogling terns wafts aloft –– plop and it's there.
Note: the Tern will not nest on a flat space, they will not attract real birds as the island is not mounded to afford the Tern a view of the water to protect themselves from preditors –– Terms love a room with a view; an open unobstructed field of view is paramount for nesting terns.

News Flash from outside the Box
Caspian Tern makes front page news.
If you don't read the Eugene Weekly then you can retrieve it online.
Reporter Camilla Mortensen did a great job of cobbling together dispirit sources to deliver a humorous, informative news item.
Yes the Caspian Tern is taking more prizes for the Corps. It's worth a look, it's a good story for the uninitiated. The Corps moves on with its shoelaces tied together, shuffling along with a sandpaper rhythm in time to the sound of a rock crusher. Kaachunka-- Ka-chunk, Kachunk
A few of us sailed down to the sinking aircraftcarrier to have a look from the water. And yes, its real, with little tern decoys, and a stereo sound system piped in, all driven by massive solar arrays, images posted. There were about 2000 sandpipers flying around the square island; they flew clockwise and banked hard for those 90 degree turns, all according to military regulation, but no terns in sight.

As the oceans rise and the fishes weep we carry on damning and diking spillage of entropy. Ah, the moment when grow-or-die meets Godzilla.

Thaddeus Quella

If folks wish more background on the Corps and their nefarious activities elsewhere try:

Corps & Sailors meeting, the Human Vector
Answers to be Questioned
After Action Report April 21/08

Yes folks we did meet with the Corps of Engineers and they did do us with POWER POINT.
We were Power Pointed and then Power Pointed some more. I was reeling in a Power Point Torpor.
After Power Point Presentation I wrote the Operations Manager of the Willamette Valley Project, Apr. 22:

Sir: I can't help but express my disappointment in the pro-forma power-point exercise you orcastrated at the Eugene Yacht Club last evening.
As a group (the sailing community) we had submitted a series of questions that I was lead to believe would be addressed by your offices unless they infringe on Homeland Security.
Did those Questions get lost?
Is the information classified?
What happened?
Where did the Questions Go?
Why were our concerns not addressed?
I really want to know why there can't be a forthright exploration of issues that will affect this end of the valley going into the future. We are all invested in making this human experiment work.

sincerely, michael randles

I did get a reply from the Operations Manager, Apr, 23:

Mike - I'm sorry you were dissapointed. I believe we addressed much of the
information requested of us. Many in the audience expressed appreciation to
me. It is clear that I cannot satisfy everyone. I look forward to spending
some time on the ground with you. esp

And I was one who expressed appreciation for his coming as well. I had no problem with the messengers, but the messengers brought the wrong message

My response to Operations Manager, Apr, 23:

thank you for the reply.
I am looking forward to time on the ground with you.
I know the bowling balls to be juggled are too big and heavy to be artfully managed but a few people armed with hand outs and a list of issues submitted would have served my interests.
Some of the points that would help us and the public at large:
#1.) Update the Fern Ridge website with real links to real information -- A Public Service Page
a.) Links:
take the rulecurve graphic and plug in the percentage of full pool either on left or right of existing graph with hash marks on graph: of course these are static numbers that do not change. It's simple and informative. From that any fool can extrapolate the rate at which the lake is filling, evaporating or draining.
b.) Include a brief history of the rational for the project, include the reasons for the rebuild and the functions that are no longer a priority. Include the recreation priority
c.) Include links to an overview of Fern Ridge Res. in the scheme of the valley.
Include information on water quality, fisheries, bird habitat. Express your problem with invasive species.
d.) Plug in conservation practice and cooperation with other entities and projects being implemented and to be implemented.
e.) include contact information too, volunteers may want to help beat back the Reeds Canary Grass and Scotch Broom etc.
I will conclude by stating that, in information presented, it was clear that Fern Ridge is the ugly stepchild of the Willamette Project.
1.) It's on the wrong side of the valley and needs a stand alone policy.
2.) The functions for creation have been eclipsed by much grander water projects.
3.) Several of the reasons for its creation are no longer viable -- or have been forgotten completely.
4.) The alteration of volume stored, 1966 changes the dynamic function of the lake proper.
5.) A Rule Curve created in 1938, before the dam was even built, is obsolete with today's use patterns. Just the plugging in of Tern Island changes your stewardship mandate and thus the rulecurve.
6.) A statement: Thoughtful resource use for overall consideration of change of climate and potential influence rests on us all. I know, I know Dick Cheney is still in denial but the Corps must move beyond CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL into a new Congress and President -- full stop.

This nation has frittered away the last 8 years with stacking skeptic on skeptic to promote consumption -- but the problems did not go away, they have only grown.
These are but a few of the issues I had hoped would be discussed.
Again, I am looking forward to getting out on the ground with you soon.
Last: I do understand you are foremost a political animal but policy is policy and politics is politics, both should be driven by thoughtful overview.

Michel Randles
Epilogue: In the ACE presentation there was no mention of water quality.

More on the Caspian Tern Fiasco
And from the Right
: the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
"The regulators best serve themselves by spinning tales of an endangered species, an ecosystem about to collapse. Their media image is slipping; however, because the good neighborliness facade is eroding.
Even the Corps’ proud heritage cannot hide the fact that it has become an arrogant mammoth with little resemblance to its past. The Corps has become so big, so all-powerful, that it is almost completely unaccountable to anyone. Our representatives in Congress have lost meaningful oversight of how well-intentioned laws are managed and enforced.
The government’s formula for solving a problem is to regulate something. The Army Corps of Engineers is about to write a new chapter in their history, by moving the world’s largest tern colony, then by regulating predation, and finally by helping to diminish the output of the country’s oldest salmon hatchery".
By Jim Starr Contributing Writer
copyright Scari©2008
all rights reserved Scari.Org



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Representative Peter DeFazio (D) (541) 465 6732

Senator Ron Wyden (D) (202) 224-5244












Wyde Lode, Santana 23 D, prestart
Racing on Fern Ridge Lake
Wyde Lode, MORC # 28866 midget ocean racer

From the Ship's Log of Wyde Lode, sail number 28866, Midget Ocean Racer, Santana 23 D

Early September decoy nesters on Tern Island.
Yes the decoys are still out there attracting lots of attention from Bald Eagles.

Caspian Tern Decoys awaiting that magic moment
when a real Caspian Tern arrives to relieve their resin resin headed brethern.
Fern Ridge, ODF&W, ACE Management
Tern Island in early September of 08. They are great decoys, if there were live
Caspian Terns within a hundred miles they would flock to the spot to see what's happening.


May o2, o9
ACE Ziggurat visited by the Spiritual Powers


August 31, 11
As of yet there has not been one Caspian Tern
to land on the Ziggurat called Tern Island.
It is hoped The Corps will get it right next time.






mystery box