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Washita Optima NWRs April Accomplishments
Southwest Region, April 30, 2006
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The Zone Fire Crew from Wichita Mountains and Washita staff conducting a prescribed fire on an abandoned railroad right-of-way.  Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/13/06.
The Zone Fire Crew from Wichita Mountains and Washita staff conducting a prescribed fire on an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/13/06. - Photo Credit: n/a
Maintenance Workers Parker and Hollingsworth set sheet piling for the Riverside Boat Launch Ramp.  Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/18/06.
Maintenance Workers Parker and Hollingsworth set sheet piling for the Riverside Boat Launch Ramp. Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/18/06. - Photo Credit: n/a
Maintenance Worker Young loads rip-rap for use in stabilizing erosion at Washita NWR.  Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/20/06.
Maintenance Worker Young loads rip-rap for use in stabilizing erosion at Washita NWR. Photo by David Maple, Washita NWR, 4/20/06. - Photo Credit: n/a

We received .71" of rain this month at Washita, and .57" of precipitation at Optima during the month. That brings the total for the last half year to 3.23" at Washita and 2.08" at Optima. We’ve had droughts before in the recent past, but this one will be one folks tell their grandkids about.

Refuge Manager Maple agreed to serve on the Oklahoma Quail Forever Technical Committee, which held its inaugural meeting on the 5th in Stillwater. QF is a spinoff organization of Pheasants Forever, and is focused on habitat improvement projects, research, and continuing education opportunities for landowners and the public - to benefit quail populations.

Despite the lack of moisture - and a statewide burn ban - we conducted a small prescribed burn at Washita this month. The state had provisions in place for prescribed burning, with permission from local fire departments and the state agriculture office - and we had a need. So we filled out the paperwork, made the requisite notifications, and lit a fire. The burn was < 10 acres of an abandoned railroad right-of-way, and was bounded on either side by green wheat fields, and on the ends by a river and a highway - so complexity was low. The Oklahoma Zone Fire Crew and Washita staff completed the burn in about 3 hours, then monitored it for several more.

Work continued this month on a boat launch ramp at Riverside Recreation Area. We used sheet piling to form the sides of the 20' X 130' incline, and began substituting rock for mud as the ramp neared the river’s edge. The saturated soil isn’t much good for holding the metal piling - even driven to 5' depth - so it has been a tedious process placing and stabilizing the structure.

Biologist Ausmus teamed up with Salt Plains ORP Neidigh and Volunteer Mayu Sugayato to staff an interactive booth at the Sciencefest event at the Oklahoma City Zoo on the 20th. The trio engaged 4,500 grade schoolers with activities to educate the students on the benefits of wetlands.

ROS Lockwood departed on the 23rd for NCTC to attend the Refuge Manager Academy.

Admin Tech Rhoads left the same day for a week of Financial Fundamentals training at NCTC.

Maintenance Worker Young spent a good bit of the month hauling rock from an abandoned railroad trestle site to a deep erosion cut in one of our agricultural fields adjacent to the Washita River. A refuge cooperative farmer had gradually expanded the boundaries of the field until all the vegetation next to the river was removed - and a heavy rain event a few years ago took a half-acre chunk of dirt with it. After the cut is stabilized, it will be re-vegetated with native grassland species. And it WON'T be put back into farm production.


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



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