Thursday, May 21, 2015

And the Rains Came….

The rain that has been looked for, hoped for, and  prayed for has come and stayed and stayed  and now Lake Texoma is approaching a level of 637 feet above sea level,  At 640’ water will go over the spillway.  This week the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to begin releasing some water as downstream flooding lessened, but water is coming into the lake faster than it is going out.

Meadow Pond Trail, taken this week by Courtney Anderson
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is flooded, as are many areas around the lake.  Refuge Manager Kathy Whaley says that prolonged high water will result in not only loss of wildlife but long-term habitat loss and change.  For example, many trees already stressed by drought will die from standing in water and invasive seeds will be spread by water.  In the past the big Mineral Picnic Area was a shady spot with many large trees, see Refuge file photo below, which were later lost due to flooding and prolonged standing in water.

Damage assessment, clean-up and repair cannot begin until the water recedes to normal levels.

The Visitor Center closed to the public on May 15, and will not re-open until access is clear.  The Refuge Office is open regular hours this week, for phone calls and mail only.

Trail Closed, photo from Refuge files, taken 5 - 15 - 2015
The Butterfly Symposium with Dale Clark, sponsored by the Bluestem Master Naturalists, has a new location, the Grayson County Courthouse.  There is no change in the meeting date or time; the program is still set for 9 am – 3:30 pm, Saturday, May 30. 

Youth FIRST is canceled for the  June 6  program, “Ants In Your Pants”, and will not meet again until August 1.  Reservations for that program, “Clean Green Algae Machine” will open July 6.

At this time, there is no plan to cancel Second Saturday, June 13, “Prairie Restoration”.

The Grand Opening for the Butterfly Garden at HNWR has been postponed until October.

We want to say "Thank You" to visitors for their patience and to all the Refuge volunteers who are standing by during the Great Flood of  '15.

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