The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 1, 2014

Green Invasion: Taking the fight to invasive plant species

LAWTON — Norman resident Randy Jones said he enjoys the annual invasive species roundup at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge because it allows volunteers to see a part of the refuge not normally open to the public.

“There’s something missing here — trash,” Jones said, after a trek on Cedar Mountain lasting several hours while volunteers dug up invasive, non-native plants.

While limiting direct human contact from the refuge may have protected it from trash, it has not protected it from invasive plants that would crowd out native species, however. Those aggressive plants must be removed to keep them from taking over and changing the natural ecosystem.

Jones fell in love with the Wichita Wildlife Refuge about three years ago and joined Friends of the Wichitas. Part of loving the refuge is helping to care for it. Each year, the Friends coordinates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and gathers groups of volunteers to remove invasive plants.

Several volunteers gathered at Backwoods in Norman on Saturday and journeyed to the Wichita Mountains to assist in removing the emerging plants. At this stage in the season, the plants can be pulled up or chopped down at soil level. Once seed heads are on the plants, the process is more difficult.

Though many of the volunteers are experienced hikers, Saturday’s roundup was not about hiking — it was about searching out and removing common mullein. Mullein is an invasive species that is not native to the area. One plant can grow to six feet tall and produce as many as 100,000 seeds. Those seeds can lie dormant for up to 40 years.

“Right now, we have 53 invasive plant specieis on the wildlife refuge,” said Wildlife Biologist, Scott Johnson.

Not all invasive species are equal, however, Johnson said.

“We have the dirty dozen,” he said. “Those are very invasive. Others (less invasive species) are dealt with, but they are not as much of a threat to native habitat.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo Slideshow: James Garner through the years

    Photos of James Garner...

    July 27, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014