The Poteau River watershed is almost 2,000 square miles of hills and valleys, farms, National Forest, and towns in two states–Arkansas and Oklahoma. Lake Wister sits almost in the middle of the the watershed, right where the Poteau River turns north to the Arkansas River and the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.
On March 15, 2013 PVIA will sponsor the first watershed meeting that brings together current work in both states and the Choctaw Nation.
By our most recent estimate, Lake Wister is losing about 475 acre-feet of capacity each year as sediment slowly fills the lake. Since Wister’s capacity is roughly 50,000 acre-feet, this means the lake is losing almost 1% of its capacity each year. That adds up. If this trend continues, in 20 years, we will have lost 20% of the lake capacity. There are many sources of sediment entering the lake. One of those is erosion from unpaved roads and ditches in the watershed.
Best management practices that can help reduce soil erosion from unpaved roads have the added benefit that, even if they cost a little extra up front, in the long run they save money for cash-strapped road maintenance departments by reducing on-going maintenance costs.
To help jump start the implementation of these improved practices in southeastern Oklahoma, PVIA is partnering with the Choctaw Nation and The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma to sponsor a workshop on February 28, 2013 at Lake Wister. The workshop will consist of presentation and discussion in the morning and a visit to an installation demonstration of several of techniques in the afternoon.
For more information, check out the workshop agenda here.
October 3 was a beautiful morning for monitoring at Lake Wister. No wind all morning–an unusual event–so the lake was smooth and glassy, and the sky was clear and sunny. Joining us all morning were white pelicans, stopping off to spend some time at the lake on their way south. These amazing birds must be the largest that are regularly seen in this part of the world. With wingspans up to 9 feet, they can weigh up to 16 pounds. The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erthrorhynchos) summers on freshwater lakes in the northern US and southern Canada, and winters along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Spend their days fishing. Not a bad life. We certainly enjoyed their company as we performed our regular monthly lake sampling–making it anything but a regular day on Lake Wister.