Open Spaces : Oklahoma

Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 19th

Well, it's here - the end of the year is upon us.  Looking for something to do to celebrate a new year? Ring in the holidays with events at a refuge!  

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country through the end of December. Check out this link for even more events happening in December on our refuges, including the nearly century old tradition sponsored by the Audobon Society - the Christmas bird count!

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you.

Let's go outside!

Christmas bird count, Nevada 2009Birders participating in the 2009 Christmas Bird Count at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 12th

Is holiday shopping, cooking, and preparing making you say "Bah-Humbug" more than "Happy Holidays!"?  Take a break from all the running around and head outside to get a breath of fresh air. Even though the temperature is dropping there are still things to do and see.

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country this week, some in the spirit of the season.  Check out this link for more events happening in December on our refuges.

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you.

Let's go outside!

SnowshoeingGuests snowshoe at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in the Mountain-Praire Region, Photo: Jennifer Jewett

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Oklahoma: Warmer Streams Could Add to Stresses on Rare Water Species

Four fat mucket mussels sit in the palm of a hand

A researcher displays juvenile freshwater fat mucket mussels that will be used as stand-ins for rarer species in studies on water temperature tolerance. Study data will help researchers assess how vulnerable rare Oklahoma aquatic species will be to potential warming tied to climate change. Photo: David Martinez, USFWS. Download.

Several rare and distinctively-named creatures depend for survival on the cool, mountain-fed Little and Kiamichi River Basins in southeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas. At Little River National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas, the Ouachita rock pocketbook — a freshwater mussel — filters the water alongside two other endangered mussels, the scaleshell and winged mapleleaf. A small federally threatened fish called the leopard darter also hides in these upland streams.

Because streams in these river basins originate in the Ouachita Mountains, their water is relatively cool compared to streams in other ecosystems such as the Great Plains. High temperatures range from about 64 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 84 degrees in summer — a range that suits popular game fish such as smallmouth bass.

But threats abound. Water pollution, agriculture runoff and the construction of dams and reservoirs have already shrunken habitat for these rare aquatic species. A historic drought is compounding the problem. And now, biologists speculate the fish and mussels could face another potential stressor: rising stream temperatures resulting from climate change, if projections by an intergovernmental panel prove accurate. 

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Last updated: June 21, 2012