September 04, 2001 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is gaining an ally.

A new organization, Friends of Ladd Marsh, is being formed. Its members will be involved in a wide variety of activities at the marsh, such as:

Participating in work projects. Members will help with habitat plantings, bird banding, nest box construction and more.

Putting on guided tours of the wildlife area. The tours will be on foot and in motor vehicles on roads within the management area.

Attending meetings about the Ladd Marsh area and its wildlife. Wildlife sightings, upcoming projects and hunting information will be discussed.

Friends of Ladd Marsh members will receive a newsletter that will come out six times a year.

One of the organizations purposes is to create a list of people who are willing to help with projects, said La Grandes Jim Ward, the groups founder. The list will make it easier to assemble groups of volunteers quickly for projects.

Having an organization in place will also make it easier to draw speakers for seminars at the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area headquarters. Ward said people are more willing to give a presentation if it is being put on by an organization that will have members present.

Friends of Ladd Marsh is open to hunters and non-hunters.

Hunters and non-hunters often disagree on how best to manage wildlife, but in many ways both have more in common than they may realize, Ward said.

He explained that the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Management Area was purchased by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with the help of money it received through the sale of hunting tags. He noted, however, that a large number of non-game species are helped by Ladd Marsh in addition to hunted game species.

Certainly non-hunters have a great stake in the future of the wildlife area. That is why anyone with an interest in wildlife is encouraged to become a member of the Friends of Ladd Marsh, Ward said.

The organization will be informal and have no officers or board members.

Annual membership dues will be $5 to cover the cost of printing and mailing the bimonthly newsletter.

For information call Ward at 963-6977.