$2.2 million to be
spent on fish and wildlife habitat at Grand Lake in NE Oklahoma
Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma is
arguably one of the most productive and scenic lakes in the state,
and fish and wildlife conservation efforts at the 60-year old lake
will be getting an additional boost thanks to a newly created fund.
The Grand River Dam Authority will be investing $2.2 million
into habitat projects as part of a new Pensacola project (Grand
Lake) fish and waterfowl habitat management plan. Officials with the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation announced the new plan
to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission at the Commission s
November meeting in Oklahoma City.
The money will come from the recently established Pensacola
project fish and wildlife mitigation fund. The monies will be
allocated for conservation projects over the next 20 years. In the
initial year of the funding, $260,000 will be allocated, with
$100,000 being added for the next 19 years. Conservation efforts in
the future may include projects such as millet seeding, shoreline
stabilization, installation of fish habitat structures or wetland
A technical committee will meet twice a year to discuss
habitat projects. The committee has already met and approved an
aquatic vegetation enhancement project at Grand Lake, which will be
funded for the next three years.
In other business, Commissioners heard a report on a
three-year trout stocking study in northeast Oklahoma. The goal of
the study was to examine what impact the stocking of rainbow trout
would have on the native smallmouth bass and the overall ecology of
Brush Creek near Tahlequah. Department fisheries officials are
planning on meeting with northeast Oklahoma landowners and fisherman
to discuss the study.
Commissioners also took action on several personnel items.
Commissioners approved a career incentive program which will be
retroactive to July 1, 2003. To cover the salary and benefits costs
of the program, the Commission voted to increase the 2004 fiscal
year budget in the amount of $888,138. Additionally, the Commission
voted to reduce the 2004 fiscal year budget by 20 full-time
In other business, the Commission approved the creation of a
new grants specialist position. The new employee will assist the
federal aid and research coordinator in writing and reporting of
federal sportfish and wildlife restoration grants as well as other
grant funds. Since 1986 the Department s grant revenue has jumped
from less than $2 million a year to more than $10 million in 2003.
Also at their November meeting, Commissioners recognized a
pair of Department employees for their service to the sportsmen of
the state. Dekota Cagle, state game warden stationed in Dewey County
was recognized for 25 years of service and Linda Fergason, license
cashier, was recognized for 20 years of service.
In housekeeping business, the Commission heard a report on the
actuarial valuation report for the retirement plan from Diane Hunt
from Mellon Consultants. The report showed that the retirement plan
is 90.7 percent funded. No action was taken on this item.
The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member
governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing
regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department, and indirectly
oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities.
Commission members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by
The Commission approved dates for the 2004 Wildlife
Conservation Commission meetings. Meetings are scheduled for Jan. 5,
Feb. 2, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 12, Aug. 2, Sept 13,
Oct. 4, Nov. 8 and Dec. 6.
The next scheduled Commission meeting is December 1 at the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters
(auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln,
Oklahoma City at 900 a.m.