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Little River
National Wildlife Refuge

P.O. Box 340
Broken Bow, OK   74728
E-mail: David_Weaver@fws.gov
Phone Number: 580-584-6211
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Little River National Wildlife Refuge
Containing most of the remaining bottomland hardwood habitat in southeastern Oklahoma, the Little River National Wildlife Refuge currently contains 13,660-acres of the 15,000-acres authorized for acquisition. The Refuge is characterized by low, wet habitat with old oxbow lakes and sloughs interspersed throughout the bottomland hardwood forest.

Most of the refuge is forested with bottomland species such as willow oak, sweetgum, cypress, white oak, and holly, but some areas on higher ground support species such as loblolly pine, hickory, and walnut.

Getting There . . .
The Headquarters Office is located at 635 South Park in Broken Bow.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Waterfowl, primarily mallard and wood duck, have traditionally used the habitat within the refuge. Other waterfowl species that take advantage of the seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood habitat include Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, and Gadwall.

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Gaze long enough at the wildlands protected at Little River and you might be able to envision aprehistoric people who hunted and gathered here between 6,000 BC and 10,000 BC during the Archaic period. Archeologists know that the culture began to change by about A.D. 100. Pottery shards point to the beginning of farming that became increasingly evident by A.D. 800. This culture emerged as the Caddoan-speaking people, known for mound building and ceremonial practices. Mounds exist on the refuge, but have been disturbed by forestry practices prior to the establishment of the refuge.

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Management Activities
The managers at Little River NWR are working hard to ensure the future of the existing bottomland hardwood forest. The refuge has restored 1,227 acres of bottomland hardwood forest that had been converted to pine plantation prior to refuge ownership. Forest management activities are being implemented to ensure desired forest conditions are being achieved to maintain a healthy productive bottomlanf hardwood forest to meet the habitat needs of trust wildlife resources.

Today, upstream dams prevent Little River from flooding as it naturally did. What can managers do to make sure the waters fluctuate and flood the forests at the right times? Constructing green tree reservoirs that store rainfall and then release water into certain areas in winter for the benefit of trees and winter waterfowl is one solution. They also remove beaver dams in spring and summer when backwaters flood hardwood trees that need to dry out to grow. Its a tricky process to mimic nature and strategies continue to evolve as the ecology is better understood.