MARCH 2000  NEWS RELEASES 

WEEK OF MARCH  2

WEEK OF MARCH 9

WEEK OF MARCH 16

WEEK OF MARCH 23

Controlled Hunts booklets available

For hunters anxious to submit their applications for the 2000-2001 Controlled Hunts, the wait is finally over. This year’s Controlled Hunts booklets are now available at authorized hunting and fishing license dealers statewide.

Administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Controlled Hunts Program offers more than 1,000, highly desirable hunts through a random drawing. Some hunts are held to provide high quality hunting experiences on high-profile areas where it is necessary to regulate hunting pressure. Others are held to achieve management goals for certain species, and others are held to provide hunting experiences in areas where access is otherwise limited.

“The Controlled Hunts is one of the Department’s most popular programs, and the fact that it is so popular speaks volumes for its success,” said Alan Peoples, chief of the Department’s Wildlife Division. “We are pleased to offer this service for the sportsmen and sportswomen of Oklahoma for the benefit of conserving our state’s precious wildlife resources.”

The Department is currently working to prepare a system that will allow hunters to complete and submit their applications online. The online system is scheduled to be operational by April 1.

Also, non-residents interested in applying for the Controlled Hunts this year must first possess a non-resident hunting license. This can be a five-day hunting license, an annual hunting or combination license or a non-resident lifetime license.

Beginning July 24, applicants can see if they were drawn for a hunt by visiting the Department’s website at www.state.ok.us/~odwc. Last year, more than 20,000 applicants used this service during the first two days the results were posted.

For those who don’t have access to a computer, the Department will post printed results at its main office in Oklahoma City, and at its regional offices beginning July 24.

The application deadline for the Controlled Hunts will be Friday May 5, 2000.

Change your luck with Outdoor Oklahoma

If you’re interested in applying for this year’s Controlled Hunts, there’s a way you can improve your odds for submitting a successful application.

By reading Outdoor Oklahoma.

The official magazine of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Outdoor Oklahoma is dedicated to educating the public about the state’s natural resources. Toward this mission, the magazine promotes the conservation of the state’s natural resources by highlighting the abundance and diversity of Oklahoma’s hunting and fishing opportunities.

In an article titled, “Change Your Luck,” which appeared in the January/February issue, Outdoor Oklahoma editor Nels Rodefeld provided a comprehensive look at the odds for successfully drawing each of the Controlled Hunts. The article broke down each hunt in terms of available permits compared to the number of applicants, and then listed the individual odds for successfully drawing a permit to participate in each hunt.

“The purpose of the article was to illustrate how popular the Controlled Hunts are in terms of helping applicants decide which hunts might offer them the best chances of success,” Rodefeld said. “For example, a hunter stands a better chance of drawing a cow permit at the Wichita Mountains elk hunt than they do for drawing a bull permit. Some of the deer hunts offer better odds than others. We hope that prospective applicants will use the information in the article to improve their chances for participating in the Controlled Hunts Program.”

Tips include:

Modern Firearms Deer Hunts

Best Odds: The 4th Lexington WMA Hunt (1 in 2 odds).

Worst Odds: Wichita Mountains Buck Hunt (1 in 311 odds).

Draw Tips

Antlerless-only hunts offer better odds.

Hunts held during the regular season, especially those held on opening weekend, offer the best odds of getting drawn.

The January/February issue of Outdoor Oklahoma is available for $3 at the Department’s main office in Oklahoma City, at the Tulsa Office (Tulsa Fairgrounds) and at the Department’s regional offices. You can also subscribe to Outdoor Oklahoma for $10/year, or $18 for two years. For more information, call 405/521-3856.

Don’t feed Canada geese

Feeding geese is a bad idea.

Although many well-meaning wildlife enthusiasts believe they are helping Canada geese by feeding them, the opposite may actually be true. Supplemental food such as grain, for example, can encourage large numbers of geese to set up permanent residence an areas that otherwise would not attract geese.

Concentrating geese in this manner can make the birds more vulnerable to poaching, avian disease, automobile collisions and other factors, said Mike O’Meilia, migratory bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. However, the worst thing about feeding geese is that it alters their behavior and causes them to associate humans with food.

“Feeding geese is exactly the wrong thing to do,” O’Meilia said. “People think it’s in the birds’ best interest to feed them, but it’s not. You start out with a few birds, and the next thing you know, you will have hundreds of them.

“Canada geese are wonderful birds, but they’re wild birds, not pets," he added. "By maintaining the integrity of their natural, wild behavior, people can reduce conflicts with the birds and help to keep them from becoming nuisances.”

Although Canada geese are adept at foraging on their own, they will literally flock to areas where people provide food for them. Besides increasing the risks to the geese, such concentrations also create significant problems to people in the form of property damage, crop and plant depredation and other conflicts.

“Canada geese do not require any supplemental feeding,” O’Meilia said. “In almost all instances where birds concentrate and become nuisances, 99 percent of the time it’s because people started feeding them.”

For the benefit of the geese, enjoy them, but don’t feed them. It’s for their own good.

Commission announces deer meetings

At its regular March meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission announced upcoming dates for public stakeholder meetings regarding the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s statewide deer management plan.

The Department is holding the meetings to gather public input to help develop a comprehensive statewide deer management plan. As part of the development process, the Department is working with sportsmen’s groups, private landowners and representatives from the insurance agency, as well as from other stakeholders in Oklahoma’s deer resources. The object is to identify primary concerns from stakeholders in different parts of the state to help formulate progressive, proactive objectives and strategies.

The meetings will be held at the following dates and locations:

March 20: Tulsa (Tulsa Tech Center, Career Service Bldg.).

March 23: Oklahoma City (Langston University).

March 27: McAlester (Kiamichi Technology Center).

March 28: Lawton (Library).

March 30: Woodward (High Plains area Vo-Tech).

During this part of the meeting, the Commission also listened to a report on deer management by Dr. George Hulsey.

In his monthly report, Director Greg Duffy briefed the Commission on wildlife-related legislation pending in the Oklahoma Legislature.

In other business, the Commission voted to issue cellular telephones to the Department’s game wardens and designated Wildlife Division personnel. This decision is designed to make it easier for the public to contact these individuals, said Melinda Sturgess, the Department’s Chief of operations.

The action is necessary due to a state law that prohibits publishing the home telephone numbers of state government employees. In the past, game warden telephone numbers were published in the Department’s Hunting Regulations.

Also, the Commission voted to establish three mussel sanctuaries on the Poteau River. One sanctuary will extend from the State Highway 9 bridge to the old Pocola Highway Bridge. A second sanctuary will extend from the new State Highway 112 Bridge upstream to the southernmost confluence with the Lost Poteau River. The third sanctuary will extend from the U.S. Highway 59 Bridge upstream to the Kerr Ranch Bridge crossing.

As a personnel-related item, the Commission recognized Wendell Smalling, Choctaw County game warden, for 25 years of continuous service.

The Commission will hold its next meeting April 3 at 9 a.m. at the Department’s headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Department schedules pre-employment exam

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a standardized examination Friday Mar. 31 at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium at Rose State College.

The exam is for individuals seeking employment as wildlife biologists, game wardens, assistant hatchery managers, technicians and information and education specialists. It will cover state and federal wildlife laws and regulations, Oklahoma geography, biological and environmental sciences relating to fish, wildlife and environmental education and communication; journalism, photojournalism, technical writing and editing.

Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period, and test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date. Applications for employment will be sent to the individuals with the top 25 scores. Taking the exam does not guarantee employment, nor does the exam necessarily indicate the Department currently has openings. Interviews will be scheduled only when an opening is available.

The Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium is north of I-40 at the intersection of I-40 and Hudiburg Rd. in Midwest City. The doors will close promptly at 10 a.m. Those arriving after 10 a.m. will not be permitted to take the exam.

QU Youth Camp slated June 4-9

Youngsters interested in expanding their outdoors skills of Oklahoma’s can participate in the sixth annual Oklahoma COVEY Kids Camp June 4-9 at Camp Redlands in Stillwater.

Hosted by the Oklahoma State Council of Quail Unlimited, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and local Quail Unlimited chapters, the week-long camp is open to all Oklahoma youngsters ages 13 to 16. The experience exposes participants to a wide array of outdoor endeavors, said Bob Hayes, QU camp coordinator, and teaches them to better appreciate Oklahoma’s natural resources.

“COVEY Kids camp is an excellent way to ensure that future generations of sportsmen, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts will have the same opportunity as previous generations, to experience what Mother Nature and the great outdoors has to offer,” Hayes said.

Throughout the week of June 4-9, participants will receive professional instruction in archery, sporting clays and shotgunning, muzzleloading, taxidermy, dog training, radio telemetry, hunting safety, wildlife career opportunities, habitat evaluation, first aid and much more.

The camp has trained and graduated more than 150 Oklahoma youngsters since 1994. This year’s event will enroll 35 lucky kids.

To apply, applicants (and not their parents) must write a short essay explaining why they wish to attend, why they should be selected and what they expect to learn. It should also explain their involvement in extracurricular activities.

The camp costs $250.00 per person, but scholarship funds are available from each local Quail Unlimited chapters. The application deadline is May 15, 2000.

For more information, contact Bob Hayes at 918/542-1403.

Departments schedules public deer meetings

As part of an effort to develop a comprehensive deer management program, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a series of public meetings across the state.

The meetings will be held at the following dates and locations:

March 20: Tulsa (Tulsa Tech Center, Career Service Bldg.).

March 23: Oklahoma City (Langston University).

March 27: McAlester (Kiamichi Technology Center).

March 28: Lawton (Library).

March 30: Woodward (High Plains area Vo-Tech).

The meetings are an important part of the planning process which will ultimately involve anyone and everyone who is interested in the state’s deer herd, said Alan Peoples, chief of the Department's Wildlife Division. The process will invite interested parties - from hunter groups to farm and ranch organizations to wildlife biologists and game wardens - to identify issues and desires relating to managing deer populations and setting deer hunting regulations.

The meetings will not be a forum for debate, Peoples added, but they will allow individuals to express their concerns about the future of deer management in Oklahoma. Those who address the panel will be limited to about three minutes, so speakers should organize their thoughts beforehand.

“Essentially, we will be asking everyone to identify the issues, then a core group that represents all of the major stakeholders will sit down together to try and comprehensively address those issues,” Peoples said. “The result of the core group’s efforts will be what we hope to implement as our deer management program, and it will cover all aspects of deer hunting seasons, regulations and bag limits.”

No specific management strategies will be considered, however, until the Department has identified all deer-related issues, concerns and opportunities, along with ensuring that everyone is represented on the core committee that will work to create the recommended deer management plan. To ensure that the program is biologically sound, the core group will contain biologists and other personnel from the Wildlife Department.

get a chance to identify issues that are important to them, plus they will be asked to help identify persons willing to serve as representatives on the core committee,” explained Peoples. “From there, a core committee of about 30 people will look to formulate a plan that addresses the multitude of issues that have been raised. Because everyone, or at least their issues, is represented in the process, the end result will be something that they should find acceptable, and something they can support.”

Deer hunting regulations and seasons have already been set for this fall, so any potential changes recommended by the core committee would not be implemented until the fall of 2001. Although the Wildlife Conservation Commission, the governing board that sets policy for the Wildlife Department and oversees hunting and fishing in Oklahoma, must ultimately approve any changes, the Commission has expressed support for involving stakeholders in the process of formulating deer management recommendations.

In addition to publicizing upcoming meeting times and locations through normal media outlets, the Wildlife Department will posted the information on its web site, which can be accessed at www.state.ok.us/~odwc. For more information about the planning process, contact the Department’s Wildlife Division at 405/521-2739.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an updated version of an article that appeared in last week's news release packet. It contains meeting times and street addresses to the meeting locations.

Department schedules public deer meetings

As part of an effort to develop a comprehensive deer management program, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a series of public meetings across the state.

The meetings will begin at 7 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

March 20: Tulsa (Tulsa Tech Center, Career Service Bldg., located at 3420 S. Memorial, north of the Broken Arrow Expressway on Memorial).

March 23: Oklahoma City (Langston University at OKC Auditorium, 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd.).

March 27: McAlester (Kiamichi Technology Center, 301 Kiamichi Dr.).

March 28: Lawton (Lawton Public Library, 110 SW 4th St.).

March 30: Woodward (High Plains Area Technology Center Seminar Room, 3921 34th St.).

The meetings are an important part of the planning process which will ultimately involve anyone and everyone who is interested in the state’s deer herd, said Alan Peoples, chief of the Department’s Wildlife Division. The process will invite interested parties - from hunter groups to farm and ranch organizations to wildlife biologists and game wardens - to identify issues and desires relating to managing deer populations and setting deer hunting regulations.

The meetings will not be a forum for debate, Peoples added, but they will allow individuals to express their concerns about the future of deer management in Oklahoma. Those who address the panel will be limited to about three minutes, so speakers should organize their thoughts beforehand.

“Essentially, we will be asking everyone to identify the issues, and then a core group that represents all of the major stakeholders will sit down together to try and comprehensively address those issues,” Peoples said. “The result of the core group’s efforts will be what we hope to implement as our deer management program, and it will cover all aspects of deer hunting seasons, regulations and bag limits.”

No specific management strategies will be considered, however, until the Department has identified all deer-related issues, concerns and opportunities. The process will ensure that everyone is represented on the core committee that will work to create the recommended deer management plan. To ensure that the program is biologically sound, the core group will contain biologists and other personnel from the Wildlife Department.

“At these meetings, people will get a chance to identify issues that are important to them, plus they will be asked to help identify persons willing to serve as representatives on the core committee,” explained Peoples. “From there, a core committee of about 30 people will look to formulate a plan that addresses the multitude of issues that have been raised. Because everyone, or at least their issues, is represented in the process, the end result will be something that they should find acceptable, and something they can support.”

Deer hunting regulations and seasons have already been set for this fall, so any potential changes recommended by the core committee would not be implemented until the fall of 2001. Although the Wildlife Conservation Commission, the governing board that sets policy for the Wildlife Department and oversees hunting and fishing in Oklahoma, must ultimately approve any changes, the Commission has expressed support for involving stakeholders in the process of formulating deer management recommendations.

In addition to publicizing upcoming meeting times and locations through normal media outlets, the Wildlife Department has the information on its web site, which can be accessed at www.state.ok.us/~odwc. For more information about the planning process, contact the Department’s Wildlife Division at 405/521-2739.

Still time to enjoy winter trout fishing

If you want a break from traditional winter fishing, the trout fishing areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation offer excellent prospects.

In addition to the year-round trout fisheries at the lower Mountain Fork and lower Illinois rivers, the Department manages six winter trout fisheries at various locations around the state. They are at Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area, Lake Carl Etling (Black Mesa State Park), Robbers Cave State Park, Quartz Mountain State Park, Lake Watonga (Roman Nose State Park) and Lake Pawhuska.

Trout season ends March 31 at Blue River, Lake Watonga and Lake Pawhuska, and April 30 at Lake Carl Etling. Trout season ended March 15 at Robbers Cave and Quartz Mountain.

“The Department stocks trout in these waters to provide additional angling opportunities for anglers during cold weather months, said Barry Bolton, the Department’s assistant chief of fisheries. “Without them, anglers in those areas would have to travel considerable distances to fish for trout, so they are fairly popular among a number of anglers. We definitely consider them an asset to the already impressive array of fishing opportunities we have across the state.”

Fishing for trout is fairly simple, even for beginners, Bolton added. You can catch them with live worms on a hook under a bobber or with any number of commercially formulated trout baits, such as Berkley Power Bait. You can also catch them with small inline spinners.

To fish at any of the Department’s designated trout waters, you need a resident or non-resident Oklahoma fishing license or combination license, and a trout fishing permit, which costs $7.75.

Camping facilities are available at all areas for those wishing to make overnight trips. Specific trout fishing regulations, contacts and related information are in the Oklahoma Fishing Regulations, which are available at all hunting and fishing license vendors statewide.

Two weeks remaining in Conservation Order

Waterfowl hunters have two more weeks to participate in the Special Conservation Order Snow Goose Season, which ends March 31.

Passed into law by Congress in 1999, the Special Conservation Order Snow Goose Season is being held to reduce the number of snow geese returning to their nesting grounds in the area surrounding Canada’s Hudson Bay. The mid-continent snow goose population has become so large that the birds are causing severe damage to the coastal areas that comprise their primary nesting habitat. The damage is so serious that it may take more than 100 years for the fragile tundra to recover.

Snow goose distribution in Oklahoma during their spring and fall

migrations can be highly variable, said Mike O’Meilia, migratory bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Some areas of Oklahoma, particularly the National Wildlife Refuges, attract snow geese to varying degrees, but numbers of snow geese using the state have actually declined as the mid-continent population has soared. This is largely a result of changing agricultural practices and crops both here in Oklahoma and in states to our east in the Mississippi Flyway.

“Typically, snow goose concentrations are going to be in the eastern

half of the state, especially near the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge and the Wildlife Department’s refuge at Fort Gibson.” O’Meilia said. “They are also going to be found on private lands in the northeastern part of the state in Ottawa, Craig, Nowata, Rogers, Mayes and Delaware counties.”

In southeast Oklahoma, snow geese frequent certain agricultural

areas in McCurtain, Choctaw and Pushmataha counties where there is sufficient food for them. Snow geese use winter wheat more in the spring because they need the protein that green forage provides in preparation for nesting.

“Tishomingo and Salt Plains national wildlife refuges can also have good numbers of birds at times,” O’Meilia added. “In the western part of the state, hunters will find smaller numbers of snow and Ross’ geese using Washita NWR, northwest of Clinton.”

During the spring, distribution of snow geese is more variable than

in the fall, and they can show up in places they don’t normally use in the fall. Therefore, scouting by hunters is critical to a successful hunt. The numbers of snow geese in the state and how long they stay is largely dependent on weather and the availability of food. They can be here today and gone tomorrow, but hunters willing to look for the birds can have some very successful hunts.

“In recent years, the majority of snow geese have overflown Oklahoma on their way back north and ended up in Kansas and Nebraska,” O’Meilia said. “Late winter weather in March in these states and to the north will make the birds remain in Oklahoma and other mid-latitude areas until the weather permits them to continue their northward migration.”

Department schedules pre-employment exam

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will hold a standardized examination Friday Mar. 31 at the Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium at Rose State College.

The exam is for individuals seeking employment as wildlife biologists, game wardens, assistant hatchery managers, technicians and information and education specialists. It will cover state and federal wildlife laws and regulations, Oklahoma geography, biological and environmental sciences relating to fish, wildlife and environmental education and communication; journalism, photojournalism, technical writing and editing.

Individuals may take the exam once in a 12-month period, and test scores are valid for 12 months from the test date. Applications for employment will be sent to the individuals with the top 25 scores. Taking the exam does not guarantee employment, nor does the exam necessarily indicate the Department currently has openings. Interviews will be scheduled only when an opening is available.

The Tom Steed Development Center Auditorium is north of I-40 at the intersection of I-40 and Hudiburg Rd. in Midwest City. The doors will close promptly at 10 a.m. Those arriving after 10 a.m. will not be permitted to take the exam.

USFWS studying cormorant control

Those who are interested in commenting on a national management strategy for double-crested cormorants can submit suggestions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until June.

In response to concerns from anglers and other stakeholders in America’s fisheries resources, the USFWS last fall announced its plan to develop a national management strategy to control burgeoning populations of double-crested cormorants. The birds are currently protected under the Migratory Bird Act Treaty, but anglers in many parts of the country are concerned about the impact they have on sport fisheries.

As part of the management process, the USFWS will hold a series of public meetings across the nation to give the public an opportunity to voice its concerns. The nearest public meeting to Oklahoma will be at the Freshwater Fisheries Center at Athens, Texas. The USFWS has not finalized the meeting dates, but David Haukos, regional migratory bird specialist for the USFWS, said the Athens meeting will be held on either May 22 or May 23.

With the input from the public meetings, the USFWS will compile a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating cormorant status, as well as their known and perceived impacts on other resources. The EIS will also include potential management strategies while evaluating the possible administrative, logistical, and socio-economic impacts of various management strategies. Potential management alternatives range from continuing present policies to implementing large-scale population control measures on breeding grounds, wintering grounds, and migration areas in the United States.

When the USFWS publishes the draft EIS, the public will be able to comment on it, as well.

“Issues concerning double-crested cormorants are of great interest in Oklahoma, especially to our state’s anglers,” said Kim Erickson, chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We encourage anyone with an interest in this matter to share their thoughts with the Fish and Wildlife Service. We’ll be following these developments closely, and we hope the USFWS will develop a management plan that resolves these issues.”

Populations of double-crested cormorants declined dramatically during the 1950s and 1960s from the effects of unregulated hunting, the pesticide DDT and the overall declining health of many ecosystems, especially those associated with the Great Lakes. Today, cormorants are thriving due to the presence of ample food in their summer and winter ranges, federal and state protection, and reduced contaminant levels.

The resurgence of double-crested cormorant populations has led to increasing concern about the birds’ impact on commercial and recreational fishery resources. Cormorants and other water birds such as pelicans and herons can have adverse impacts on fish populations at fish farms, hatcheries, and sites where hatchery-reared fish are released. Because cormorants are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, their nests and eggs cannot be disturbed, and birds cannot be captured or killed unless a depredation permit is obtained from the USFWS.

In-depth information on cormorant-related issues is available on the Internet at www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/issues/cormorant/cormorant.html. Comments may be submitted electronically to cormorant_eis@fws.gov, or by mail to Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Fr., Room 634, Arlington, VA 22203.

Youth squirrel hunt at Spavinaw WMA

Youngsters who are interested in an exciting hunting opportunity are invited to participate in the annual Youth Squirrel Hunt June 2-4 at Spavinaw Hills Wildlife Management Area.

Sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the hunt will be limited to 40 participants between ages 10-15. Registration runs from May 1 until June 1 and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This hunt has traditionally been very popular, and it always draws a lot of interest,” said Bob Smith, area manager for Spavinaw Hills WMA. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to get out and enjoy the outdoors with somebody special, and it’s an experience they remember for the rest of their lives.”

Each hunter must be accompanied by an adult, Smith added. Wildlife Department personnel will be on hand during the hunt and may assist inexperienced hunters in the field. Adult companions may also hunt if they have a valid hunting license. Those who have not passed a 10-hour hunter education course or a home study hunter education course may attend a hunter education class on Friday June 2. Those who pass will receive a hunter safety card.

Camping will be available at the refuge area, but participants must furnish their own camping equipment and food. Campers must arrive on June 1 to set up camp. Other family members are encouraged to attend, as well.

To register, call 918/683-1031. For more information, call 918/253-4253.

Outdoor funding bill gains support

A Congressional bill that would send $3 billion back to states each year for wildlife and outdoor recreation gained two huge boosts recently.

After passing out of the House Resources Committee last fall, H.R. 701 (the Conservation and Reinvestment Act) now has 317 co-sponsors, or more than two-thirds of the House membership. Oklahoma co-sponsors include Representatives J.C. Watts, Wes Watkins and Frank Lucas.

In addition, a Senate counterpart bill just introduced as S. 2123 includes the same wording as H.R. 701, which had undergone a lengthy debate process last year. The Senate bill has ten co-sponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Without raising taxes, CARA would redistribute funds from offshore oil royalties back to the states to provide funding for wildlife conservation and environmental needs. If passed, the new legislation would provide nearly $17 million in annual dedicated funding to Oklahoma for seven areas of interest:

• Land and Water Conservation Fund: $6.8 Million

• Wildlife Conservation and Restoration: $5.5 Million

• Urban Park and Recreation Recovery: $170,000

• Historic Preservation Fund: $1.8 Million

• Federal and Indian Lands Restoration: $600,000

• Conservation Easements and Rare Species Recovery: $430,000

• Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes and Refuge Revenue Sharing: $1.4 Million

“There’s no doubt that this is the greatest conservation bill put before Congress in several decades,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “No other bill has had such far-reaching impacts for state conservation needs. The bills also have an amazing amount of support, led by a national coalition of more than 3,000 groups and businesses, including 160 Oklahoma members.

“However, there still will be a need within the state to provide matching funds toward these federal dollars. Even if the bills pass, we may be unable to take full advantage of the federal dollars unless we have an influx of new state funds.”

Despite the support for the bills, CARA still has several hurdles to overcome. The House bill, H.R. 701, must pass the House Floor, while the Senate bill (S. 2123) must pass both a Senate Committee and the Senate Floor. If passed out of both houses of Congress, the bills must go to the President for his signature.

To express support for CARA, you can contact congressmen Thomas Coburn, Ernest Istook, Steve Largent, Frank Lucas, Wes Watkins or J.C. Watts at 202/224-3121. Call Senator Jim Inhofe at 202/224-4721 and Senator Don Nickles at 202/224-5754.