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					                          Oklahoma
                          Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry
                          Forestry Services Division
                          2800 N. Lincoln Blvd
                          Oklahoma City, OK 73105



Project Name              Canadian River Riparian Forest Restoration Project

Project Leads               Tom Murray, Forester, ODAFF                Mary Marek, Forester, ODAFF
                                                                                                   th
                            P.O. Box 910                               USDA Field Station – 2000 18 St
                            Burns Flat, OK 73624                       Woodward, OK 73801
                            580/562-4882                               580/254-3213
                            Tom.Murray@oda.state.ok.us                 Mary.Marek@oda.state.ok.us
Abstract
Running waterways and forested riparian areas are especially important in Oklahoma and the western
portion of the Southern Region. Riparian forests provide many important benefits to humans. They are a
source of fresh drinking water and protect or provide habitat to a multitude of fish and wildlife species, some
considered endangered or at-risk. They provide important benefits to communities as they function to
moderate the impacts of floodwaters, improve water quality, and reduce sedimentation in streams and
reservoirs. Their pleasing combination of land, water, vegetation, and wildlife attract us as places to relax
and observe nature.
Unfortunately, human activities in and around the state's waterways have often led to a loss of water quality
and the destruction of habitat for fish and wildlife. As a result, 76 percent of Oklahoma’s streams and rivers
and 49 percent of its lakes are now considered threatened or impaired by some form of pollution according to
the EPA. The Canadian River riparian forest in western Oklahoma is a shell of its former self, succumbing to
intensive agricultural pressures and invasive species expansion.
The majority of the riparian area along the Canadian River is privately owned. The primary goal of this
project is to reestablish and enhance the native riparian forests along its banks. Landowners within the
project area will be offered technical assistance provided by OFS foresters, in cooperation with a new wildlife
biologist employed by the National Wild Turkey Federation that is supported by OFS, the Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and financial assistance
opportunities through Oklahoma’s Forest Resource Development Program (FRDP) cost-share program.
Partnering Agencies and Groups/Individuals:
OFS has established partnerships with the following organizations and individuals to accomplish the desired
outcomes of this project: OK Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, USFWS, Natural Resources Conservation
Service, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wild Turkey
Federation. Discussions with numerous private organizations are currently underway to provide additional
funding for Oklahoma’s FRDP to be used to provide cost-share opportunities as a part of this project.
Project Location:       Lower Canadian-Deer Watershed (located in Roger Mills and Ellis Counties, OK)
Expected Completion Quarter:             Q3 2009
Total Federal Funding Request:           $205,139
Total Proposal Budget: (Including Federal Match)

                                                                   Organizations
      Project Expenditures/Year                    Grant   State (Non Federal)   Others         Total
      Cost-Share Grants to Landowners              $50,000                                      $50,000
      Personnel                                    $30,000             $85,000                 $115,000
      Travel                                        $5,000                                       $5,000
      Subtotal                                     $85,000             $85,000                 $170,000
      IDC (20.67%)                                 $17,570             $17,570                  $35,139
                         Annual Expenditures      $102,570            $102,570                 $205,139
                      Two-Year Project Total      $205,139            $205,139                 $410,278


                                                                                                   Page 1 of 4
SGSF Competitive Process:           Canadian River Riparian Forest Restoration Project
                                    Forestry Services Division, ODAFF


Project Description:
Running waterways and forested riparian areas are especially important in Oklahoma and the western
portion of the Southern Region. Riparian forests provide many important benefits to humans. They are a
source of fresh drinking water and protect or provide habitat to a multitude of fish and wildlife species,
some considered endangered or at-risk. They provide important benefits to communities as they function
to moderate the impacts of floodwaters, improve water quality, and reduce sedimentation in streams and
reservoirs. Their pleasing combination of land, water, vegetation, and wildlife attract us as places to relax
and observe nature.
Unfortunately, human activities within and around the state's
waterways have often led to a loss of water quality and the
destruction of habitat for fish and wildlife. As a result, 76 percent of
Oklahoma’s streams and rivers and 49 percent of its lakes are now
considered threatened or impaired by some form of pollution
according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Canadian River is the largest tributary of the Arkansas River.
It is about 760 miles long, starting in Colorado and traveling
through New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, and most of
Oklahoma where it joins the Arkansas River, about 40 miles west
of the Arkansas border.
In much of Oklahoma the Canadian River riparian forest is a shell
of its former self. Whereas cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), Figure 1. Canadian River
American elm (Ulmus americana), pecan (Carya illinoensis),
western soapberry (Sapindus drummondii), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and black willow (Salix nigra)
once dominated, overgrazing and deforestation by agriculture interests have resulted in stream bank
erosion, invasive species encroachment, and the loss of wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services.
This two-year project is designed to enhance and restore the riparian forest and habitat along a portion of
an approximately 70-mile section of the Canadian River and its tributaries located in western Oklahoma,
                                          thereby enhancing the ecosystem services provided. This
                                          portion of the Lower Canadian-Deer watershed adjoins a
                                          section of the river, located in the State of Texas, previously
                                          targeted by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and National
                                          Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) for riparian area restoration
                                          as a part of the Southern Great Plains Riparian Initiative.
                                           Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) has established
                                           partnerships with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
                                           Conservation, USFWS, Natural Resources Conservation
                                           Service, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, The Nature
Figure 2.                                  Conservancy, and the National Wild Turkey Federation to
Canadian River Project Location            accomplish the desired outcomes of this project. Discussions
                                           with numerous private organizations are currently underway to
provide additional funding for Oklahoma’s Forest Resource Development Program (FRDP) being utilized
to provide cost-share opportunities as a part of this project.
The majority of the riparian area along the Canadian River is privately owned. Landowners within the
project area will be offered technical assistance, provided by OFS foresters, and cost-share opportunities.
This cost-share will include riparian fencing, invasive species control (including the potential use of
prescribed fire), and reforestation activities that promote the use of native trees and shrubs. In addition,
Oklahoma Forestry Services’ Albert Engstrom Forest Regeneration Center will further its development of
propagation methods and planting methodologies for the native species to be utilized as part of this
project.




                                                                                                 Page 2 of 4
SGSF Competitive Process:         Canadian River Riparian Forest Restoration Project
                                  Forestry Services Division, ODAFF

Evaluation Criteria Discussion:
National and Regional Relevance:
In the western counties of Oklahoma, riparian forests provide important "islands" and corridors of wildlife
habitat while providing other ecological services of clean air and water, and recreational opportunities in a
prairie dominated landscape. The project will help conserve forestlands along the Canadian River, and
improve forest health. The project will increase the likelihood of cottonwood and other deciduous tree
species successfully re-occupying sites that are now being encroached upon by water-thirsty invasive
species, such as juniper and salt cedar.
Prioritization:
The Canadian is one of the largest rivers in Oklahoma. Throughout its length, it is under intensive
pressure from agriculture and other human interests. Studies have shown riparian forests can reduce
sedimentation and remove 88% of nitrate (a form of nitrogen) and 76% of phosphorus from agricultural
runoff, effectively reducing the quantities of these nutrients ultimately reaching Oklahoma’s streams and
lakes. This “filtering” mechanism improves both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitats, as well as reduces
treatment costs of downstream water users.
A healthy Canadian River riparian area will reduce the energy of the water flow while stabilizing the river
banks, allowing some of the water to infiltrate into the ground and to be stored in areas such as wetlands
thus reducing downstream flooding, recharging groundwater, and maintaining stream base flow during
the summer months. The State Technical Committee and a majority of the state’s conservation districts
have identified the control of invasive juniper species as Oklahoma’s top conservation priority. The project
will include invasive species control as a component of the treatment, provided that it helps restore the
riparian forest in designated areas, resulting in improvements in water quality as well as water quantity in
base flows. The City of Oklahoma City relies to a great extent on runoff from the Canadian River system
for its water supply, and will be a direct beneficiary of project success.
In some areas, the riparian forest forms a canopy that shades the stream. The shade moderates water
temperature and protects the water against fluctuations in temperature that can be detrimental to the
stream ecosystem's health.
The riparian forest provides important habitats, including nesting and roosting areas for birds, cover and a
variety of food items for wildlife species. An unbroken riparian forest also provides a pathway for the
movement and migration of animals and a connection between isolated blocks of forest.
Meaningful Scale:
Regional and national forest land priorities typically ignore the riparian areas of central and western
Oklahoma, but OFS priorities insist that we restore, conserve and enhance the habitat around these
flowing waterways. These areas are critical to maintain water quality, prevent erosion, and provide
habitat to a multitude of fish and wildlife species, some considered endangered or at-risk (specific to this
project – the lesser prairie chicken and Arkansas river shiner). This project adjoins and complements
similar projects undertaken in Texas and underway in Oklahoma by the Department of Wildlife
Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and NWTF as part of the Southern Great Plains Riparian
Initiative. All are designed to restore, enhance and protect the riparian forests of the Great Plains.
Collaboration:
Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) has established partnerships with the Oklahoma Department of
Wildlife Conservation, USFWS, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oklahoma Conservation
Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wild Turkey Federation to accomplish the
desired outcomes of this project. Discussions with numerous private organizations are currently
underway to provide additional funding for Oklahoma’s Forest Resource Development Program (FRDP)
being utilized to provide cost-share opportunities as a part of this project.




                                                                                                 Page 3 of 4
SGSF Competitive Process:         Canadian River Riparian Forest Restoration Project
                                  Forestry Services Division, ODAFF

Outcomes:
The desired outcome of this project is the reestablishment, enhancement and protection of critical riparian
forest on a portion of a 70-mile stretch of the Canadian River. This forest is identified by OFS as a high
priority forest landscape in central and western Oklahoma. Results will be readily transferrable to other
portions of the Canadian River watershed, as well as to similar watersheds in the region.
Technology:
The identified project area was identified and defined spatially. Throughout this project, spatial tools will
be utilized to direct, manage and report activities within the project area. During the development of this
project, geospatial data was obtained from each of the various partners in order to present a more
comprehensive picture of the current status of work in the watershed.
Integrated Delivery:
This project focuses existing OFS programs and services to an area of high priority forest landscape.
Oklahoma’s Forest Resource Development Program will be utilized to provide cost-share opportunities to
landowners, and EQIP funding will be utilized where available. The Forest Stewardship program will be
used as the framework for providing technical assistance. The new NWTF biologist position will help
promote the project, make landowner contacts and help deliver needed technical assistance in the project
area. There are already a number of small-scale scattered tracts that have been treated in the vicinity
with support by various organizations. The proposed project will help coordinate these disjointed efforts
into a more cohesive and larger-scale initiative.
Leverage:
OFS is already participating in a number of active partnerships with corporate sponsors and conservation
organizations. A potential corporate sponsor for a portion of this project has been identified and
discussions are ongoing. The NWTF will participate directly in this project and fund a portion of the
biologist position that is critical to following up with landowners along the river.
Influence Positive Change:
This project will enhance OFS efforts in carrying out the Division’s mission in western Oklahoma, and will
help establish support for the NWTF biologist position whose influence will extend far beyond project
boundaries. Collaboration between the various partners will improve skills in establishing riparian forests
throughout central and western Oklahoma and west Texas, and will encourage additional partnerships to
address riparian forest needs on other watersheds.
Timeliness:
The initial phases of the project, including a cooperative agreement between the main parties involved,
are underway. The NWTF is in the process of hiring a wildlife biologist to help provide assistance in the
Canadian River watershed. OFS and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have identified
areas for demonstration plantings. These will be utilized for landowner education.
Public notice of the program will begin in the second quarter of FY2008 and the cost-share incentive is
scheduled to remain available until the third quarter FY2009 or until funding is depleted.
Although removal of invasive species and regeneration of riparian forests will occur on some portions of
the watershed during the project period, landscape level changes will take more time. It is hoped that a
successful small-scale project will raise the awareness of landowners throughout the watershed, and will
result in stable funding for the NWTF partnership and increased state and non-federal funding support for
financial assistance to landowners willing to complete the practices needed to accomplish program goals
in the years ahead.




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