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Oklahoma ES May 2005 Staff Notes
Southwest Region, June 6, 2005
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OKESFO MONTHLY STAFF NOTES: MAY 2005

Congratulations to Stephanie Harmon for receiving the OKESFO ?Kestrel Award? for her efforts in organizing a ?meet and greet? for the OKESFO staff and the new director and staff of the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. This was an opportunity for both organizations to become better acquainted with each other and discuss common conservation issues and initiatives.

Girl Scout Troop 221, led by administrative assistant Patty Heckathorn, hosted a clean up day for the Mannford Outdoor Classroom, Mannford, OK for the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Campaign. The troop received a grant from OG & E to plant a tree and wildflowers at the outdoor classroom for Fall 2005.

Contaminant Coordinator, Dan Martin, on May 4, met with staff from Salt Plains NWR and the Cherokee, Oklahoma City Council to discuss discharge concerns from the City's proposed, new reverse osmosis water treatment plant. Through discussion and review of recent contaminant reports, the group concluded that quarterly sampling and analysis of intake and discharge water would present the opportunity to evaluate real-world conditions and make better informed decisions regarding possible injury to aquatic resources, especially located on the NWR.

Chris O?Meilia is working with ODWC biologists and technicians at the McCurtain County Wilderness Area assisting with technical and field based activities to manage and expand Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) populations in Southeastern Oklahoma. The field work was successful with observations of numerous active clusters, including sightings of breeding adults and RCW eggs in cavities.

Contaminant specialist, Suzanne Dudding, attended the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Miami FL. Federal and State trustees presented case studies and participated in panel discussions as five of the 30 concurrent sessions were dedicated to wildlife resources and NRDA activities. Suzanne attended the ?Best Practices for Migratory Birds During Oil Spills- Next Steps? special session, which highlighted initiatives in place in Alaska and California, and emphasized the need for additional planning with Oklahoma state agencies.

Beetle Sighting!!! Congratulations to Hayley Dikeman for her relentless work in American burying beetle (ABB) conservation. A BP Oil Company employee sighted an ABB on the location of a newly completed well. Because of T&E species training provided to all of BP's employees, the ABB was properly identified, transferred to the well site's perimeter and released intact with no evidence of harm or distress. As a result of this sighting, BP conducted an extensive review of their approval and lease agreement process to determine if any further action should be taken. As a precautionary measure, BP initiated diversionary baiting activities on site using Service protocol.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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