Volume 3 • Issue 4 • April 2009

Aquatic Nuisance Species Plan

What's Wrong With the Water

Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) pose serious threats to our wonderful state’s aquatic resources.  There are several species of organisms that do not belong in the lakes and waterways of Oklahoma.  These species are causing ecological problems and can potentially threaten the economy of the state.  Zebra mussels, golden alga, white perch, and hydrilla have already become established in our lakes and rivers and we must act now to prevent the spread of these species.

Zebra mussels are a major threat to Oklahoma's waters. They are costly, damaging equipment, water pipes and motors.
ODWC has an approved ANS Management Plan that has been put into action this year.  This management plan has several goals that will be met through ODWC and other state and federal agencies.  Our primary focus will be on educating the public about how to prevent the spread of these harmful critters.  We will also focus on preventing the introduction of new species into the state by monitoring the transportation of these unwanted organisms.  Research will be conducted by our biologists for prevention strategies and treatment options.

There are several easy steps that you as a boater or angler can take to help prevent the spread of ANS.  Before leaving any body of water make sure to first do a visual inspection of your boat or watercraft and remove any debris, plant material and fish. Drain all water from your boat and equipment including motors, bilges, bait buckets, live wells, and coolers.    Allow everything to thoroughly dry for three to five days before launching in another body of water.  If this time period is not possible then wash your boat and any other equipment that came in contact with the lake or river with pressurized hot water (104°F).

Protecting your state’s water resources is very important for our aquatic resources and economy and in preserving the natural beauty of the state.  With the help of responsible anglers and boaters we can achieve the goals of maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems in Oklahoma.

Written by Curtis Tackett. Curtis is the Aquatic Nuisance Species Biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

This project is funded by the State Wildlife Grant Program. The State Wildlife Grant Program provides federal money to every state and territory for cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. This program is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and continues the long history of cooperation between the federal government and the states for managing and conserving wildlife species. For more information, visit www.teaming.com.

Cimarron Hills Wildlife Management Area

The New Addition to the Lineup

Outdoorsmen and women in Northwest Oklahoma now have another spot where they can enjoy the outdoors at Cimarron Hills Wildlife Management Area.

Cimarron Hills WMA covers 3,770 acres in western Woods County, located four miles north of the junction of Highways 34 and US 64, and then four miles west on Major Road. The area lies north of the city of Woodward, east of Buffalo, and west of Alva. Cimarron Hills WMA is primarily rolling sand hills overlooking the east side of the Cimarron River. It is dominated by mixed-grass prairie vegetation, sand sagebrush and sand plum on the uplands and by tall grass prairie species in the river bottom along with cottonwood, hackberry and western soapberry trees along West Anderson Creek.

The infamous Texas horned lizard or horny toad was once quite abundant throughout the state. Photo by Dr. Greg Sievert of Emporia State University.
Cimarron Hills WMA contains several game species of interest. Rio Grande turkeys are present in fair numbers as well as dove and rabbit. White-tail deer are present in limited numbers but mule deer are hardly seen. Duck and goose opportunities are present along the river and furbearers such as raccoons, coyotes, and bobcats are present. Quail are present in moderate numbers and pheasant are extremely rare. Cimarron Hills also has many non-game species such as western diamondback and prairie rattlesnakes, Texas horned lizards, red headed woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, snowy plovers and western big-eared bats.

Cimarron Hills WMA has hunting and birding opportunities, which are by walk-in only. Fishing opportunities exist along the river and are walk-in access only as well. The WMA also has one primitive camping area, located to the northwest of the headquarters.

If you are headed to Cimarron Hills always make sure to check your regulations before you enter the WMA.

For more information contact Larry Wiemers at (405) 990-7206 or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

Written by Matt Stout. Matt is an information and education technician with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Summer Time

The Busy Time

With warmer temperatures coming on fast, the hummingbirds will soon be arriving.  April 1st is the recommended date for putting out hummingbird feeders.  Hummingbirds consume half of their weight in sugars every single day!  Considering that these high-energy birds weigh about the same as a penny, that doesn’t sound like very much.  But if you end up with a large group, the feeders can run out pretty fast.

The basics: fill feeders with ¼ sugar to ¾ hot water and allow to cool before hanging them.  Place the feeders at least two feet off the ground in a somewhat shady spot.  If you notice one hummingbird dominating the feeder and chasing other birds away it is always a good idea to place another feeder out of sight of the first.  Be sure to keep those feeders clean!  Rinse the feeder at least twice a month with a mix of equal parts of vinegar and water to kill mold and yeast, then rinse thoroughly with water before filling it with sugar water.  Now kick back and enjoy your colorful visitors!

On another note, tax season is here (boo!)  One good thing is that with tax season comes the opportunity to help all of your friends in the state.  What friends, you ask?  All of your non-game friends like birds, bats, toads and turtles!  The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Tax Check-off Program allows anyone who receives a tax return on their state income tax to donate a portion of that return to the Wildlife Diversity Program.  Did you know that prior to 1994 this was the only source of funding for the more than 600 non-game species in our state?  Please remember all of those friends when turning in your taxes this April. 

Does the name “Bluebird Bob” sound familiar?  If not, you need to know about him.  Bob Walshaw is a resident of Oklahoma and an avid bluebirder.  In fact, he has written a book titled The How and Why of Bluebirding.  In this book, Bluebird Bob tells the history of bluebirds in North America as well as the range, nesting habits, predators and even how to make and hang a bluebird nest box.  The best thing about this book is that it’s free!  All you have to do is email Bluebird Bob your mailing address (a small thank you written in there probably helps!)  His email address is walshaw1@cox.net.  Be sure to tell Bluebird Bob that you saw his book in The Wild Side! For more information about bluebirds in Oklahoma click here.

Written by Lesley B. Carson. Lesley is the wildlife diversity information specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Our Mission:

The WILDLIFE DIVERSITY PROGRAM monitors and manages the state's wildlife and fish species that are not hunted or fished.