Grand Lake Watershed Conference 2010

GRDA has provided the necessary infra-structure and resources to address the complex issues threatening the integrity and function of our watershed. GRDA’s state-of-the-art water quality and research lab located within the new Ecosystems and Education Center and subsequent longterm partnerships with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are laying the foundation to address the challenges facing natural resource scientists in the 21st Century.

Rush for Brush Improves Habitat for Fish


Darrell E. Townsend II, Ph.D.,  Brent Davis


The Grand River Dam Authority’s (GRDA) annual “Rush for Brush” program is designed to rehabilitate aging lakes associated with its two hydro projects in northeastern Oklahoma. This program encourages local individuals to volunteer as partners in conservation by helping GRDA staff construct and deploy artificial structures (also known as spider blocks) to enhance fishery habitat throughout two Oklahoma lakes.

Using supplemental food and its influence on survival of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)


Darrell E. Townsend II, Robert L. Lochmiller, Stephen J. DeMaso, David M. Leslie, Jr., Alan D. Peoples, Scott A. Cox, and Edward S. Parry


Biologists have debated the effectiveness of supplemental feeders as a management tool for the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), but few extensive evaluations have been conducted. We examined 783 crops from harvested bobwhites during 1992-1996 to determine effects of climatic stress in winter on use of supplemental feeders and their impact on survival rate in winter. Crops of bobwhites harvested from areas with supplementa l feeders contained 28.2% supplemental food compared with 5.5% (P<O.OOl) for those from areas without supplemental feeders. Winter climate was not a significant predictor of the proportional use of supplemental feeders. Rates of winter survival were greater on areas with supplemental feeders compared with non-supplemented areas in winters 1992-1993 (P:::O.001) and 1993-1994 (P:::O.002), but in 1994-1995, rates were greater on nonsupplemented areas (p:::O.032). Causespecific mortality rates indicated that supplemental feeders did not predispose bob
whites to hunter harvest or predators. Results suggested that bobwhites can gain nutritional benefits from supplemental feeders during times of severe winter stress.

Evaluating Relationships between Spatial Heterogeneity and the Biotic and Abiotic Environments


Darrell E. Townsend II, Samuel D. Fuhlendorf


While most studies of heterogeneity have focused on describing patterns of species or communities, few have focused on the relationships between biotic and abiotic environmental landscape-level gradients. Our study was designed to determine relationships between grazing (heavy, moderate, ungrazed), topographic position (upland vs. riparian), vegetation structure and the thermal environment (i.e., soil-surface temperatures) and determine the influence on landscape patterns of heterogeneity. Biotic and abiotic patterns of heterogeneity were evaluated by establishing 200-m transects that were centered on and perpendicular to a riparian zone so that spatial patterns of variability could be determined along each transect which transcends the maximum level of landscape heterogeneity. Vegetation cover and structure and soil-surface temperatures were recorded at 1-m intervals along the transect. Bare ground increased and leaf litter, grass cover, vegetation heights and angle of obstruction decreased with grazing intensity. However, mean soil-surface temperatures did not differ between grazing treatments. Tree canopy cover associated with riparian areas generally reduced soil-surface temperatures 20 C below that of upland temperatures. In fact, 96% of observations of riparian soil-surface temperature were ≤ 39 C, while 94% of upland soil-surface temperatures were ≥ 40 C regardless of grazing intensity. Vegetation characteristics and soil-surface temperatures were correlated (P , 0.05), but correlation coefficients were small because soil-surface temperature was highly variable. Grazing influenced patterns of landscape heterogeneity, but effects were inconsistent among biotic and abiotic variables. Although grazing had little influence on moderating mean soil-surface temperatures, results suggest that grazing intensity influences thermal heterogeneity at a variety of spatial scales. For instance, thermal heterogeneity (in moderately grazed treatments) is highest at smaller (lag distances ≤ 20 m) and larger (lag distances ≥ 48 m) spatial scales but was lowest at moderate scales (lag distances 22–45 m). For all variables, other than soil-surface temperature and forb cover, semi-variances of moderately grazed sites generally lie intermediate between heavy and ungrazed sites. Nearly all ungrazed vegetation characteristics, except leaf litter, fit a spherical model that reached a sill at a lag distance # 20 m and became spatially independent thereafter, while heavily and moderately grazed sites typically fit an exponential model, indicating a high degree of continuity. Patterns of thermal variability (on uplands) are not related directly to any one vegetation variable, hence, landscape patterns based on vegetation parameters alone are of limited value since patterns of thermal variability are effected by the integration of vegetation and environmental variables within the ecosystem.

The Power of Restoration Oklahoma’s Indian Territory Chapter partners with power company for quail


Darrell E. Townsend II, Ph.D.


Oklahoma’s Indian-Territory Chapter is partnering with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to establish quality quail habitat on about 30,000 acres of company right-of-way in Northeast Oklahoma and portions of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.