Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Washita/Optima NWRsAccomplishments
Southwest Region, March 31, 2006
Print Friendly Version
Turkeys are now a common sight on Washita NWR.  Plans are underway to open portions of the refuge to limited hunting.  Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 3/29/06
Turkeys are now a common sight on Washita NWR. Plans are underway to open portions of the refuge to limited hunting. Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 3/29/06 - Photo Credit: n/a

We received some welcomed relief from the drought that has gripped Oklahoma for the last 5 months. We have received rain and snow totaling 1.84" at Washita, and 1.15" of precipitation at Optima during the month. That brings the total for the last 5 months to 2.41" at Washita and 1.51" at Optima - about an average month’s worth.

With the scarcity of moisture, the decision was made to turn under most of the refuge’s force account farm land. We spared one field (220 acres) in hopes of producing some seed for next year - and recent rains may help the gamble pay off. We have been very fortunate during this dry period - no fires have occurred on or adjacent to the refuges.

Refuge staff completed CPR training this month, and our firefighters completed their pack testing.

We have received 10 (of 13) interpretive signs for an Auto Tour Route to be constructed on Washita this summer. The sign project will dovetail nicely with the opening of the Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma - a road-based wildlife trail highlighting wildlife, culture and history. For more information on the Oklahoma project, see www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifetrails.htm .

A plan to reduce the number of vehicle collisions with deer on the highway that bisects Washita was submitted to the Oklahoma Highway Department this month. Their Risk Analysis folks are reviewing the plan, and we’ll followup to develop funding and designs in months to come.

An opening package for turkey hunting on Washita was completed this month and forwarded to the RO for review. Turkey numbers have increased dramatically in recent years to a point where a recreational hunt can be added.

Work began in earnest on a (MMS funded) boat launch ramp at Riverside Recreation Area. When we began peeling back the layers of sediment at the site, we discovered an old concrete ramp 6 feet underneath! This structure was probably built concurrent with impoundment of Foss Reservoir - when the target elevation of the lake was 6 feet higher. The old ramp is too steep to be useable, but will provide a good base from which to work - extending and moderating the pitch of the launch site.

We forwarded refuge farming agreements for Washita and Optima in response to a FOIA request from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The requested information "should shed direct light on whether or not National Wildlife Refuges are being converted to commercial uses, specifically farming, in violation of the Refuge Improvement Act."


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



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer