River Currents Vol 10 Issue 1
Spotlights in the River Basin
Blue Thumb, the outreach arm of the Oklahoma
Conservation Commission’s Water Quality Division,
provides water pollution education and information to
Oklahoma citizens. Volunteers for Blue Thumb assist in
monitoring streams, screening groundwater, and educat-ing
the public about pollution prevention. A volunteer train-ing
session will be held in Tahlequah this March.
The session will be held at the Armory Municipal
Builindg at 101 N. Water Street in Tahlequah, March 9th -
10th from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Interested individuals can
register by contacting Blue Thumb Coordinator Cheryl
Cheadle by phone at 918-398-1804, or by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline
for registration is March 4th.
All individuals are welcome to participate. There
will be an outdoor component on the first day of training,
and participants are encouraged to dress comfortably as
well as bring a change of clothes.
Blue Thumb Volunteer Training
Following the successful completion of several
streambank stabilization projects in the Illinois River basin,
the Oklahoma Conservation Commission is holding a
Riparian Vegetation Workshop.
This workshop will teach participants about the
process of selecting and utilizing vegetation as a tool for
streambank stabilization and riparian health. Attendents
will learn how to choose and plant vegetation.
The workshop will be March 19th - March 20th in
Tahlequah at the Armory Municipal Building at 101 N. Water
Street in. To register, contact Reserve Enhancement
Program Coordinator Gina Levesque at 918-456-1919 or
by e-mail at email@example.com.
Participants will begin Tuesday morning hearing
from speakers. The afternoon, as well as Wednesday, will
be spent in the field planting vegetation. Participants will
want to dress appropriately for outdoor work and bring
Riparian Vegetation Workshop
Want to learn more about or participate in river conservation? This March, the
Oklahoma Conservation Commission is offering two great opportunities for
individuals to get involved with conservation efforts in the Illinois River Watershed!
Native Plant Species: River Cane
There are many kinds of plants native to Oklahoma. One of the
most significant is the river cane.
River cane, called “i-hi” in Cherokee, is an important ecological
and cultural asset to Oklahoma’s scenic rivers. From a conservation
standpoint, river cane can be extremely beneficial. The cane grows in
stalks that form strong roots and can help reduce erosion and stabilize
stream banks. River cane can also serve as a natural filter, reducing
sedimentation and nutrient loading which can be harmful to river
ecosystems. Canebrakes (thick growths of river cane) provide habitats to
many species, including endangered animals such as the long ear bat.
Historically, river cane has played an important role in the lives of
early Oklahomans, and continues to be a part of Native American tradition.
River cane was once an abundant and versatile resource used for everything
from building and art materials to weaponry to food. Today many individuals
still use river cane in arrows, spearguns, flutes, and weaving.
There has been a massive decline in the plant, however; one
Cherokee scholar, Roger Cain, estimated that 98% of Oklahoma’s river
cane has been lost. The massive decline led the Cherokee Nation
Environmental Protection Commission to place river cane on CN’s Culturally
Protected Species list in August 2012.
River cane along the Mountain Fork River.
Photo courtesy Dana Allen.
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