Between surveying and conservation projects, we were kept on our toes as the strange, cool, wet spring here morphed into summer. Although the heavy rains experienced here this spring were much needed and a welcome relief from drought conditions, the high water levels at the lakes and the severe storms crossing the Great Plains meant our surveying goals were diﬃcult to meet. Patient and in good spirits, we took it in stride.
6/9/2013 to 6/10/2013 – Taking the Lead:
As our first week of surveying ended, we found ourselves doing well with the technicalities of the program. We were very successful at getting visitors to participate in the survey, especially for so early on in the season. To end the week in style, we celebrated Mark’s birthday with some pizza, cookie cake, and ice cream. It’s the simple things of life that keep us happy.
6/11/2013 – One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish, Four:
Our conservation project today found us again at Fort Gibson Lake, helping the rangers construct fish shelters. To construct the shelters, we first gathered river cane from along the shoreline. The cane is a quickly growing, durable material that will decompose slowly over time. After gathering the river cane, we bunched stalks together and then cemented them into cinder block holes. It’s a simple yet effective way to provide protection for smaller fish within the lake as they hide from the larger predatory fish. In total, we built 32 units that we will later place around the lake.
6/12/2013 to 6/16/2013 – The Wind Right Behind the Rain:
When we returned to surveying after our conservation project, it was eventful. The week, and especially the weekend, had significant severe storms throughout our region. We were rained out at various sites as the thunderstorms rolled through the area, but we made the best of things. We surveyed where we could and enjoyed the lightning shows when we couldn’t get out.
6/17/2013 – Day Trip to OKC:
As luck would have it, today was a day that all were off from surveying. We took advantage of the day and drove over to Oklahoma City to learn a bit about the state and its capitol city. While there, we visited Bricktown, the OKC National Memorial and Museum, and the Oklahoma State Capitol.
6/18/2013 to 6/19/2013 – Shaking It Up:
Having completed two weeks of surveying, it was time to switch the teams up. Rotating surveyors to different sites and changing survey partners helps ensure that data biases introduced by how a surveyor conducts a survey are minimized in our results.
6/20/2013 – Fins and Feathers:
Back at Fort Gibson Lake for a conservation project day, we placed the completed fish shelters in a cove of the lake. Using one of the ACE’s small work barges, we took turns going out to drop the shelters in the water. Afterwards, we looked at a couple of wetland areas and decided where we would later install Wood Duck boxes. While out walking, we also installed 14 Blue Jay boxes. It was a nice, productive day. Everyone especially enjoyed the colorful wetland, which was ﬂush with yellow and white wildﬂowers.
6/21/2013 to 6/22/2013 – Clear Skies Ahead:
With the storms and rains behind us, we headed back out for another weekend hoping that the weather stays nice for surveying.