Corps of Engineer lakes in Oklahoma being evaluated for Whooping Crane “stopover habitats”

By Pam Bates, Friends of the Wild Whoopers

Whooping Cranes migrate 2,500 miles two times each year between their nesting area in Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada and their Aransas Wildlife Refuge winter habitat on the Texas coast. During these migrations they must stop to rest and feed 15 to 30 times. Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) is searching for areas to provide these essential “stopover habitats”. Stopover habitats are equally as important as nesting and winter habitats.

Fort Supply Lake

Fort Supply Lake in northwest Oklahoma is one of four Corps of Engineer (COE) Lakes that have recently been evaluated to determine if they have any existing or potential “stopover habitat” for migrating Whooping Cranes.  FOTWW visited the four lakes as part of its continuing efforts to encourage protection and management of decreasing habitat for migrating Whooping Cranes.

Despite heavy rainfall, flooding and high water levels in three lakes FOTWW‘s wildlife Biologist Chester McConnell explained that: “Our evaluation team continued towork in the challenging conditions. Fortunately COE and Oklahoma Wildlife Division (ODWC) personnel accompanied me and they were well informed about the lake’s habitats. So, together, we successfully identified some good stopover habitat sites.” Fort Supply Lake is just one of many COE lakes that FOTWW has, and will be evaluating. The Operation Management Plan FY 2014 thru 2018 covers information for the COE area of primary management responsibility. The “Wildlife Management/Hunting program” is described in a separate document prepared by ODWC. The lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act approved June 22, 1936. Construction of the lake was begun in October 1938 and completed in August 1942.  There is a total of 9,899 acres of project land and water. The lake covers 1,786 surface acres of open water. A total of 8,079 acres are used for wildlife management, recreation and project operations. Although the primary mission is flood control, important secondary benefits are water supply, recreation, and natural resource management. Importantly one of the natural resources needing the lake is the only wild population of wild Whooping Cranes remaining on earth.

Whooping Cranes observed at fort supply lake

FOTWW is aware that Fort Supply Lake, has been used by Whooping Cranes and we expect that to continue and increase. Both USACE and ODWC personnel have observed Whooping Cranes on the lake several times.

Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma. Figure 1.  Two members of the team returning from a cruise around Fort Supply Lake to evaluate potential Whooping Crane "stopover habitats". Eric Summers, Assistant Lake Manager, Corps of Engineers (on right) guided the evaluation team on lake waters.  Eddie Wilson, Senior Biologist, Oklahoma Wildlife Division (on left) guided us on a tour of the wildlife management areas around the lake. These men are very informed about the lake and its surrounding wildlife habitats, vegetation and water levels. McConnell said “Their assistance was invaluable and greatly appreciated.”  Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Figure 1.  Two members of the team returning from a cruise around Fort Supply Lake to evaluate potential Whooping Crane “stopover habitats”. Eric Summers, Assistant Lake Manager, Corps of Engineers (on right) guided the evaluation team on lake waters.  Eddie Wilson, Senior Biologist, Oklahoma Wildlife Division (on left) guided us on a tour of the wildlife management areas around the lake. These men are very informed about the lake and its surrounding wildlife habitats, vegetation and water levels. McConnell said “Their assistance was invaluable and greatly appreciated.”  Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma Figure 2. The short grass, shallow water and absence of trees and bushes in this photo cause it to be suitable for Whooping Crane “stopover habitat” during normal water levels. During our evaluation, abundant rain (8+ inches) caused the lake depth to be deeper than normal. Water depths vary occasionally due to abundant rain and long drought periods. Importantly, due to various shore configurations, when one area of a lake is not suitable, some other area of the lake will likely be suitable. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Figure 2.  The short grass, shallow water and absence of trees and bushes in this photo cause it to be suitable for Whooping Crane “stopover habitat” during normal water levels. During our evaluation, abundant rain (8+ inches) caused the lake depth to be deeper than normal. Water depths vary occasionally due to abundant rain and long drought periods. Importantly, due to various shore configurations, when one area of a lake is not suitable, some other area of the lake will likely be suitable. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma Figure  3. This photo identifies a 3 to 4acre site near the lake that could be developed into a shallow water“stopover  habitat” (3 inches to 6 inches deep) for Whooping Cranes and other wild creatures. The vegetation in the area could be treated with herbicide and burned when dry. A low level berm as outlined can be constructed around the developed pond to hold shallow water for a “stopover habitat”. This small wetland would operate independently from the water levels in the lake. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Figure 3.  This photo identifies a 3 to 4 acre site near the lake that could be developed into a shallow water“stopover  habitat” (3 inches to 6 inches deep) for Whooping Cranes and other wild creatures. The vegetation in the area could be treated with herbicide and burned when dry. A low level berm as outlined can be constructed around the developed pond to hold shallow water for a “stopover habitat”. This small wetland would operate independently from the water levels in the lake. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma. Figure 4. This photo and figure 3 reveals conditions at the 3 to 4 acre site near the lake that could be developed into a shallow water habitat for Whooping Cranes and other wild creatures. The area vegetation could be treated with herbicide and burned when dry. A low level berm (Fig. 3) can be constructed around the pond to hold shallow water (3 inches to 6 inches deep) for a “stopover habitat”. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Figure 4.  This photo and figure 3 reveals conditions at the 3 to 4 acre site near the lake that could be developed into a shallow water habitat for Whooping Cranes and other wild creatures. The area vegetation could be treated with herbicide and burned when dry. A low level berm (Fig. 3) can be constructed around the pond to hold shallow water (3 inches to 6 inches deep) for a “stopover habitat”. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.
Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma. Figure 5. ODWC operates the wildlife management and hunting programs on 5,418 acres ofFort Supply Lake. This photo illustrates one of their 21 food plots on the lake property. Whooping Cranes will forage for grain and insects in such plots.
Figure 5.  ODWC operates the wildlife management and hunting programs on 5,418 acres of Fort Supply Lake. This photo illustrates one of their 21 food plots on the lake property. Whooping Cranes will forage for grain and insects in such plots. Photo by Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers.

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

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Today is GivingTuesday 2018!

Today is GivingTuesday! Please consider donating to Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) so that we can continue our “Stopover Habitat” project.

FOTWW has completed “stopover habitat” evaluations on 32 military facilities, 8 Indian Reservations and 12 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes within the wild Whooping Crane six state migration corridor. All of the evaluations were done at our expense, and were made possible by donations from our supporters who believe in our mission. Our “stopover habitat” is in its infancy with many lakes and potential habitats remaining to be evaluated.

Every donation that we receive is greatly appreciated and will go toward our ongoing “stopover habitat” efforts.

Thank you for supporting our mission and conservation efforts! ~FOTWW

GivingTuesday

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GivingTuesday 2018

This Tuesday, the 27th is GivingTuesday 2018. If you are considering giving on GivingTuesday, please consider giving to Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW).

FOTWW has completed “stopover habitat” evaluations on 32 military facilities, 8 Indian Reservations and 12 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes within the wild Whooping Crane six state migration corridor. All of the evaluations were done at no cost to the facilities, reservations or USACE, but were made possible by donations from our supporters who believe in our mission. Our “stopover habitat” is in its infancy with many lakes and potential habitats remaining to be evaluated.

Every donation that we receive is greatly appreciated and will go toward Whooping Crane conservation and our ongoing “stopover habitat” efforts to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat.

GivingTuesday
GivingTuesday 2018

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

wild whooping cranes
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

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FOTWW and the Upcoming Holiday Season

As we move deeper into the month of November, our thoughts begin to turn to the upcoming holiday season and with its arrival, comes shopping and traveling to see family, friends, and loved ones. In today’s hectic times, most of us make our travel plans and do our shopping online because it’s easier and we are able to do so in the comfort of our homes and on our own time frames.

When Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) received its nonprofit 501(c3) status in 2014, we enrolled in some online giving programs so that we could receive donations generated by our supporters who shop and search online. The programs that we have been enrolled in are AmazonSmile, GoodShop and GoodSearch. Everyone is aware of the AmazonSmile giving program, but so many are unaware of the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs.

Holiday Season
GoodShop and GoodSearch donates to FOTWW

For those who aren’t familiar with GoodShop and GoodSearch, let me try to give a short explanation on how both work. Both programs are easy to use and since we have been enrolled, our supporters who have signed up with the programs choosing FOTWW as their charity, have earned a total of $492.00 in donations for FOTWW and it was all done by shopping and/or searching online at no cost to you.

GoodSearch

GoodSearch is a search engine and works like Google or any other search engine. For every online search you make, they donate 1¢ to FOTWW. That’s all there is to it! Make 10 searches from their portal and we receive a dime donation. It may not sound like much but those pennies do add up throughout the year.

GoodShop

Now about GoodShop. Everyone knows how AmazonSmile works and we can say that GoodShop works the same way, but is even better with 3,000+ partner stores to shop from. With AmazonSmile, charities receive ½ of 1% in donations on your purchase. That means for every dollar you spend at AmazonSmile, you generate ½ cent in donations.

GoodShop gives you more freedom of store choices, travel arrangements and their percentages of donations are higher than AmazonSmile. Let’s say you are traveling for the holidays. From the GoodShop portal, you could choose Travelocity, make your reservations as usual and by doing so, FOTWW would earn a donation of up to 4% of your purchase price. Make arranges through Orbitz and the donation is up to 3.5%, and Expedia earns up to 5%. There are other travel sites, but these examples give you an idea about how it works.

Do you like shopping at Walgreens, LL Bean, or JC Penney online? Through the GoodShop portal, your purchases from Walgreens would earn FOTWW a donation of up to 4%, purchases from LLBean, 2% and JC Penney, 3%. It’s that easy! You shop and GoodShop donates to FOTWW.

Why FOTWW participates

You may wonder why we are mentioning this. FOTWW is an all-volunteer nonprofit and all FOTWW staff members donate their time, energy and sometimes their own personal funds to keep you informed and to continue our mission to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat, including our “stopover habitat” project.

So with the upcoming holidays just around the corner, won’t you please consider enrolling in the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs? All you need to do is go to their website, give them your name and email address, and choose Friends of the Wild Whoopers as your charity. Having been enrolled in the program for several years, I can assure you that you won’t receive tons of emails from them and your information is kept private.

FOTWW thanks everyone who are currently supporting us through GoodShop and GoodSearch and to those who start using it, we thank you beforehand. If you should have any questions about these programs, please feel free to send us an email or post a comment under this article, and we’ll gladly answer them.

Already using GoodShop and GoodSearch? Please share this with families, friends and coworkers who may not know about it.

Thank you all!
Pam Bates
Vice President – FOTWW

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