Monthly Highlights for Sequoyah NWR
Sequoyah hosted the 6th annual youth waterfowl hunt in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Law Enforcement Division. Local students, ages 13-15 were asked to submit their names in a random drawing to be eligible to participate in the two day program. Day one consisted of classroom activities. Participants were taught shotgun safety, duck calling, decoy setup, duck identification, and dog handling. The second day, the youth were escorted by Game Wardens and members of Delta Waterfowl Assoc. to a guided hunt on the refuge. The students were very successful in harvesting a number of mallards, gadwall, and coots. Everyone involved had a wonderful time.
Refuge staff conducted a small maintenance burn on the entrance area of the refuge. The burn was conducted to remove invasive vegetation that was growing in the native wildflower plot adjacent to the parking lot. A second maintenance burn was conducted earlier in the month to remove a large slash pile that was created when staff removed several trees around the perimeter of a wetland.
The refuge is currently developing cooperative farming contracts for the 2012 season. These contracts specify the amounts and locations of the refuge’s share of standing grains.
Record spring rains resulted in optimal moist-soil vegetation for migratory and wintering waterbirds. To monitor waterbird response to wetland management, the refuge in conjunction with the Indian Nations Audubon Society has conducted bi-weekly surveys (starting in August) of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. These surveys provide refuge management with insights into the success of moist-soil production, species response to the timing of flood-ups and draw-downs, and the phenology of the various waterbirds utilizing the refuge.
Sequoyah has embraced the USFWS’s new Inventory and Monitoring (I &M) Department. At the refuge, the I & M Department has helped to design new studies that answer pertinent management problems at the refuge, and have helped to refine existing studies so that they are more biologically and statistically grounded. Sequoyah has volunteered to be the site of a pilot study for a newly designed landscape-level waterfowl survey. This survey will look at waterfowl use at a landscape scale, and will provide insights into the values of wetland and agricultural areas to wintering and migratory dabbling ducks and snow geese. In conjunction with Region 2 Migratory Game Bird Coordinator and the I &M Department, Sequoyah will be the focus of wetland soil seed bank testing. This will provide guidance on how to promote desirable wetland vegetation, as well as how to avoid nuisance species such as Giant Cutgrass and Sesbania.
Long time employee, Claude Phelps, retired at the end of December. Claude had over 16 years with the Service as a heavy equipment operator. Claude’s attention to detail and ability to expertly operate all types of heavy equipment made him a valuable asset to the Refuge and Service. His creative thinking on how to tackle projects and willingness to get the job done and done right the first time will be greatly missed by the staff.
Refuge Outdoor Rec. Planner, Chad Ford, completed the stations Aviation Safety Plan. The plan thoroughly covers all aspects for safe and effective aerial flights that the refuge will complete in the coming years.
The refuge conducted two adult muzzleloader deer hunts during the month of December. During the two 2 day deer hunts, 107 hunters harvested 22 deer across the refuge. The staff would like to thank all the volunteers who contributed their time in helping run the check station.