Thursday, July 26, 2012

Refuge to Host History Day at Hagerman

By Kelby Archer

1944 was one of the keystone years of the 20th century.  With June 6 came the landings of Allied forces at Normandy, which signaled the beginning of the end of World War 2.  However, 1944 also saw an event which happened locally that forever altered Texoma – the dedication of the Denison Dam and the filling of Lake Texoma.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Hagerman would like to bring together local residents who have personal stories of the “before and after” of this big local event, as well as anyone who would like to hear the stories.  Of particular interest are memories from people who lived in the Hagerman area.  History Day will be held at the Refuge on Sunday, July 29, from 2 - 4pm.  Dr. Jerry Lincecum and Dr. Peggy Redshaw of Austin College will be leading the workshop based on principles they have developed for the Telling Our Stories series at Austin College.

The event is totally free of charge and all are welcome!  Participants are encouraged to bring vintage photos, clippings, letters, and other items from the era that can be copied and added to a Hagerman Archive.  Material can be copied from 1 – 5pm on July 29.

For more information, email or call the Refuge at 903-786-2826.  Hagerman NWR is located at 6465 Refuge Road, four miles west of State Highway 289 in Sherman, Texas.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recreation on Hagerman NWR Waters

By Kathy Whaley

Ever think about launching a boat, canoe, or kayak at Hagerman NWR, but you were not sure when or where it is allowed?  Here are a few tips that should help you plan your day on the water.

As of now (July 2012), Refuge waters are open to all types of boats from March 15 through September 30th each year.  This means you can launch a trailered boat from ramps at Tern Road, L Pad Road, and the road that lies between Pad A and Pad B roads on the northwest side of the refuge during this period.  You can also put in a canoe or kayak at these sites, or launch by hand anywhere off the pad roads, at Big Mineral Day Use Area, at the Goode Day Use Area, or near the low water crossing at Meyers Branch (just north of the Visitor Center).  Basically, hand launching is allowed anywhere except along the main Wildlife Drive.

Late in 2011, Refuge staff submitted the required paperwork that will make changes to 50 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) related to boating on Refuge waters.  As soon as the 50 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Proposed Rules that were released July 11, 2012 are finalized later this year, the new regulations will be in effect and the following rules will apply:

·       Entry into refuge impoundments and ponds by any means (i.e., foot, boat, other floating device) for any purpose is prohibited year-round.  Ponds are open to fishing March 15 – October 1.
·        Airboats, hovercraft and personal watercraft (jet skis, wave runners, jet boats, etc.) are prohibited year-round on refuge waters.
·       Boats and all other floating devices are prohibited on all open waters of Lake Texoma except Big Mineral Creek from October 1 through March 14 annually.
·       October 1 through March 14, non-motorized boats only are permitted in Big Mineral Creek from the point where it joins Lake Texoma to the upstream end of navigable waters. This includes any type of gas or electric motor that is on-board and capable of use.  Launching is permitted only from L Pad Road or by hand at the Big Mineral Day Use Area.
·        At the point where Big Mineral Creek joins Lake Texoma, Big Mineral Creek becomes a year-round no wake zone to the end of upstream navigable waters.
Basically this means that non-motorized boating will be allowed year-round in Big Mineral Creek, and it should be safer due to the no-wake requirement for boats.  You may want to check back this fall or winter to see if CFR has been finalized and the new rules have gone into effect.  In the meantime, from now through September, you are allowed to boat anywhere on the Refuge.  As always has been the rule, swimming on the Refuge is and will remain prohibited.  If you need more information, please call (903) 786-2826 or stop by the Visitor Center Monday-Friday and ask for Kathy, Gayle, Rick or Kevin. 

Ed.  Note: July is Lakes Appreciation Month - Take time to enjoy our freshwater resources!

Photo:  Big Mineral Creek, by Joe Blackburn (2008)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 14 Second Saturday Activities

By Kelby Archer

Wildflowers will be the featured topic for Second Saturday at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on July 14. Dr. Connie Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, will be the speaker for the program, which will begin at 10 am in the Multi-purpose Room of the Visitor Center at the Refuge.

Dr. Taylor, who now lives on her own prairie east of Durant, Oklahoma, retired after teaching at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for 28 years. She holds three degrees in Botany from the University of Oklahoma. Among her special research interests are the goldenrods of Oklahoma and Texas and Southwestern U.S.; the distribution of all the native and naturalized plants of Oklahoma, and study of the seeps and bogs in southeastern Oklahoma.

Dr. Taylor and her husband reported over 150 species of plants new to the Oklahoma Flora, and collected several plants new to science, including 3 in Costa Rica and 2 goldenrods in Oklahoma. Together they were named Oklahoma Scientist of the year in 1993. She is the author of several publications on Oklahoma flora.

Also on the calendar for July 14, early-birds can meet at 8 am at the FOH Center at the Refuge for a nature walk, led by Dr. Wayne Meyer and assisted by Vance Wolf. The walk will conclude in time for Dr. Taylor’s presentation.

Second Saturday for Youth at 10 a.m. will be about the Bald Eagle, with hands-on nature crafts and games for youngsters ages 4 -10. Reservations are required for the youth program, to insure adequate materials, and children aged 6 and under are to be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. To reserve a spot, call the Refuge, 903 786 2826.

The FOH Nature Photo Club will meet at 12:30pm in the audio/visual classroom of the FOH Center.  “Bugs” is the theme for sharing for July.  Sally Papin will present a program on creating art from photographs using layered textures.  There will also be a presentation of the Spring Photo Safari!

These programs, sponsored by Hagerman NWR and the Friends of Hagerman, are free and open to the public. The Refuge is located at 6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX, 75092. For more information, call the Refuge or see

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hagerman NWR to Serve as Test Site for Road Dust Control

According to a collaborative project report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 92% of the roads in the National Wildlife Refuge System are unpaved.   Visitors to Hagerman NWR who travel Wildlife Drive can imagine the dust problem, magnified among the more than  500 refuges in the U.S.  “Dust can impair visibility, creating driving hazards…and decrease the quality of public use such as wildlife observation and photography.”

Studies of various dust control methods to date have not included determination of environmental impact. The current collaborative project addresses environmental effects directly and is seeking to identify safe and effective dust control products for use on Refuge and other Federal lands; the goal - to reduce dust, improve driver safety, and reduce road degradation, at the same time protecting fish, wildlife and plants.

Testing at Hagerman NWR is the third and final phase of the project, evaluating “product performance and verifying environmental safety under real-world conditions.”  There will be a pre-application assessment, application of various products, and follow-up monitoring of environmental effects and effectiveness of the products applied.

Kathy Whaley, Refuge Manager states "Because of the importance of this study not only for Hagerman, but for the Refuge System, we will be closing the Wildlife Drive to ensure road preparation and product application is able to be completed without interference. The expected closure dates are July 8th through July 13th (two days per company)." 

The process will begin July 8 along Wildlife Drive, which will closed to traffic July 8 -13.  Whaley says," If the work is completed before Friday, we will re-open the road." 

The project report describes the three phases of the work at Hagerman:

a. Pre-application surveys—To accurately establish biological baselines prior to product application, roadside vegetation, vertebrates, and possibly invertebrates will be surveyed along each test section. Water quality conditions (e.g., dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity) will be measured when roadside aquatic habitats occur, and soil samples will be taken for analysis at several distances along transects perpendicular to the road.  Dust production will be quantified with mobile-mounted and/or stationary  real-time aerosol monitors. Baseline road condition (e.g., presence of washboarding/raveling) will also be assessed.

b. Product applications—Three dust control/soil stabilizer products  representing different product classes (organic, synthetic fluid, and  chloride-based; …) will be applied  to road sections in a  eplicated design that will allow comparisons among products and between treated and untreated sections. Prior to applications, road surfaces will be brought up to optimum moisture content (OMC), bladed and shaped. The application procedure for each product will follow vendor recommendations, including tank mix dilution, application rate, number of passes, and compaction.

c. Post-application monitoring—Roadside plants and animals will be monitored at intervals as described above, and product performance will be evaluated concurrently, using established metrics of road condition.  Soil samples from established transects will be analyzed periodically throughout the monitoring period to track any changes in soil chemistry associated with transport of dust or treated dust. Mobile-mounted and/or stationary aerosol monitors will be used to quantify airborne particulate matter throughout the monitoring period, and particulate sampling devices may deployed along the roadside transects described above. Samples of treated aggregate will be taken as products weather in the field for use in laboratory-based tests. In-situ tests with plant seedlings or caged aquatic organisms may be deployed in areas adjacent to treated sections during
and immediately following applications.

Visitors to the Refuge should be able in the future to look forward to less dust and more enjoyment of their visit, while  the environment is being protected, not only at Hagerman NWR, but throughout the Refuge  system and Federal lands, as a result of the project. 

Information provided by Kathy Whaley, Refuge Manager and USGS-USFWS, "Field Test of Dust Control Methods for USFWS Refuges"