Oklahoma City—Landowners in the Canadian River watershed in portions of Dewey, Ellis and Roger Mills counties are eligible to participate in a cost-share program designed to improve water quality, wildlife habitat and reduce erosion. State forestry officials say eliminating invasive species and restoring native trees and shrubs will be the keys to the project.
"The riparian forests of the Canadian River and its tributaries provide critical environmental benefits to a large portion of the state's population," said John Burwell, Oklahoma's State Forester and Forestry Services Director. "These benefits are threatened because of invasive species and lack of young trees to replace older, mature trees. It is our responsibility to help landowners enhance and conserve these resources."
With funding from the USDA Forest Service, the Canadian River Riparian Forest Restoration Project is a partnership of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and The Nature Conservancy.
ODAFF foresters and wildlife biologists with the National Wild Turkey Federation will provide free assistance to landowners and communities in the planning and implementation of their management efforts.
Historically, wild turkeys used mature cottonwood trees in the southern great plains for roosting,” Burwell said. “The disappearance of mature bottomland forests in this region reduces the quality of turkey habitat. “We also expect to see other species like quail and songbirds benefit from the improved habitat,” he said. “I think people will be surprised at how much this watershed can be improved.”
Most eligible projects such as tree planting, prescribed burning and other activities to control unwanted species are eligible for 75-25 cost share through the program. Other activities such as fencing will be eligible for 50-50 cost share funding.
The project is scheduled for the next two years and approximately $100,000 in cost-sharing is available through Oklahoma Forestry Services. A project demonstration area is being created on the Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area in Ellis County as an educational tool for landowners.
For additional information call Oklahoma Forestry Services at 405-522-6158 or go to the project overview on the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry website at www.forestry.ok.gov/crrfp.
Posted on Thu, February 28, 2008
by Jack Carson (405) 522-4575