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Ski Shasta adding new chairlift

MOUNT SHASTA — Approval to add a new chairlift at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park has been approved.

Siskiyou County commissioners approved the expansion at their Tuesday meeting. Construction of the new lift is scheduled to begin June 1.

Ski Park officials said the Gray Butte fixed quad lift will be the area’s longest with 14 towers. It will rise from a base elevation of 6,400 feet to 7,500 feet, an elevation gain of 1,154 vertical feet. The chair will require a 9-1/2-minute ride. It will offer a long run of slightly more than three miles and access 88 acres of skiable, intermediate terrain on five new runs.

The project site is in an unincorporated area of Siskiyou County near the base of Mount Shasta, about six miles north of McCloud. Most of the proposed project is on Shasta Ski’s undeveloped property.

“We look forward to inviting you to ski and snowboard the new lift this winter,” ski area officials said in a statement.

— By Lee Juillerat

ODFW researching shellfish in Tillamook Bay

NEWPORT — Residents and visitors to Tillamook Bay will see ODFW biologists on the sand and in the bay through October conducting new surveys of bay clams and estuary habitat.

Biologists with ODFW’s SEACOR (Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon) program periodically survey bay clam populations and estuary habitat in all of Oregon’s major coastal bays. This year, the new work is focused on Tillamook Bay, according a news advisory from ODFW.

Surveys gather information on where recreationally important species (butter, cockle, gaper and littleneck clams) are located, abundance, and preferred habitat type for each species. Surveys also describe other shellfish in the estuaries, including purple varnish clams and juvenile Dungeness crabs.

The data are used to produce detailed maps of productive clamming areas that are highly useful to recreational clammers.

Surveys also document changes to species and their habitats, adding to a growing database of information on the health of Oregon’s bay clams and estuaries.

SEACOR biologists are particularly busy during low tides. They follow GPS coordinates to specific sites on the tide flats, lay out quadrats, record habitat information, identify the presence of gaper or butter clams by their siphon shows on the tide flat surface, and rake the sand or mud to a depth of six inches looking for cockle or littleneck clams.

Some sites are surveyed in greater detail by hand digging or “megacoring,” which pumps out sediment, collecting clams buried deeper below the surface. SEACOR biologists megacore sites in shallow areas of the bay and work with contracted divers to conduct megacoring surveys in the subtidal zone.

Bay clammers can get detailed maps for Alsea, Coos, Netarts, Siletz, Tillamook and Yaquina bays on myodfw.com, or check the SEACOR page for more information on the project.

ODFW also uses SEACOR survey information to manage the commercial bay clam fisheries in Tillamook Bay. The Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee is currently working with ODFW to develop recommendations for management of the recreational and commercial bay clam fisheries.