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    Tulsa District programs work together for the good of the environment


    Photo By Stacey Reese | Tulsa District Forester, Reilly Cloud uses an increment bore to sample an oak tree. ...... read more read more



    Story by Stacey Reese 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

    TULSA, Okla. – Special hunts, prescribed burns and forestry may seem to have little in common but in reality, all play a vital role in Tulsa District Corps of Engineers vast environmental mission.
    While the correlation may not be apparent, controlled deer hunts and the environment go hand in hand. Hunting is an imperative part of wildlife conservation. Hunts held throughout Tulsa District USACE projects play an important role in wildlife management.
    “In areas where the deer population needs to be managed, but the harvest needs to be limited, controlled hunts are the perfect solution” said Jeff Knack, chief Natural Resources and Recreation Branch.
    These controlled hunts provide an outreach to visitors who might not otherwise have that hunting opportunity. Hunts are tailored to youth, veterans, and disabled hunters.
    “Getting kids in the outdoors teaches them to preserve the eco systems around us,” said Josh Wingfield, Texoma Area environmental specialist. “These hunts teach them about their own responsibilities such as ethics, patience, respect, responsibility, and emotion control. These are things they carry with them the rest of their lives.”
    The ultimate goal of wildlife management is to monitor populations in order to keep population growth at level which is beneficial to the herd.
    “A partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation works to ensure the wildlife management goal is achieved” said Knack.
    Staff from ODWC does spotlight surveys throughout the summer months. These counts show trends going up or down over time in population, harvest, and participation of the deer at the project, determining how hunts should be held to manage the population.
    “These trends tell a more complete story than just looking at a single year, which can be impacted by things like precipitation and temperature” said Michah Holmes assistant chief of communication and education division Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
    Prescribed burns, also known as controlled burns, use a method of planned fires to meet management objectives and are another important part of wildlife management.
    “Utilizing these burns enables staff to maintain and increase habitat diversity” said Tulsa District Environmental Biologist Stacy Dunkin.
    These burns help reduce dangerous fuel loads and restore natural habitats for the good of the deer population as well as other wildlife found around the projects.
    Burning of leaves and other debris on the forest floor returns nutrients to the soil. This practice stimulates new growth of nutritious vegetation for the deer and other wildlife population.
    Tulsa District added a forester to the district for the first time in October of 2019, adding another layer to the environmental program.
    A properly managed forestry program allows for thinning of the vegetation. This benefits the ecosystem by removing trees that are not thriving in a particular area, allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor.

    “The added sunlight helps regenerate growth, providing for sustenance of wildlife such as deer and turkey” said Reilly Cloud, Tulsa District forester. “Thinning the trees increases the forest health as well as the wildlife.”
    Cloud uses guidelines such as tree diameter, height and age when determining thinning needs for an area.
    Using an increment bore, Cloud is able to take a sample from the tree giving him the ability to count the rings and get an age for that particular tree. Once he has the needed information, the sample goes back into the tree and the tree remains healthy.
    Along with the age of the tree, Cloud also considers the height and diameter of trees in the stand.
    A sight index table uses the factors to give a number showing how well trees are doing in a certain area. The taller a tree gets, the better the stand gets. Species that do well are left standing, while those not suited for the area are thinned to ensure management objectives are met.
    All of these programs work hand in hand for the good of the environment. Maintaining the habitat in a sustainable way helps ensure perpetuation of the species for future generations. Tulsa District manages more than 1 million acres of lands and waters.



    Date Taken: 01.18.2022
    Date Posted: 01.18.2022 12:36
    Story ID: 413009
    Location: TULSA, OK, US 

    Web Views: 81
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