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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Tall grass and weeds

  • City has 121 active tall grass and weeds cases.
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    Community Development and Planning Director Justin Erickson, in the most recent staff activity report, says The Action Center is currently investigating the following complaints:
    • Dilapidated Buildings: 38 active cases
    • Derelict Vehicles: 6 active cases
    • Junk/Trash: 8 active cases
    • Tall Grass/Weeds: 121 active cases
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    Volunteers will stuff welcome bags for the IFYR contestants and their families beginning around 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 30, upstairs conference center, Mike Jackson, Operations Manager of the Expo Center reports.
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    The Marine Enforcement Section of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will participate in Operation Dry Water along with boating enforcement officers nationwide in an effort to educate the public on the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
     
    The mission of Operation Dry Water is to raise public awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and to reduce the number of deaths on the water related to alcohol consumption.
    Oklahoma ranks 13th in the nation for alcohol related vessel collisions. Approximately 500 people die each year.
     
    Every year local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and boating safety partners participate in Operation Dry Water a nationwide three-day heightened BUI enforcement weekend.
     
    This year Operation Dry Water weekend is June 27- 29. "Troopers will be out on the lakes and will be contacting boaters in an effort to keep the waterways safe in Oklahoma" said Capt. Victor Lee of the Marine Enforcement Section. The law in Oklahoma states that the operator of a vessel can be arrested for operating under the influence if their breath or blood alcohol concentration is at or above .08 percente. Passengers can also be arrested for public intoxication if they have been drinking and are causing problems or being belligerent.
     
    There is a 31 percent decrease from 2012 to 2013 in the number of deaths of recreational boaters where alcohol use was the known primary contributing factor. As the boating season gets underway Marine Enforcement officials will work on improving BUI statistics by educating boaters and instilling in them the dangers and consequences of boating under the influence.
     
    For questions regarding boating laws or boating education classes, contact the Marine Enforcement Section at 405-522-1880.
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    Wildlife Diversity biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently teamed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect samples of the federally threatened Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi). Biologists were able to sample seven of the 10 established sites along a 300-mile stretch of the South Canadian River from Cheyenne to Calvin over two days. Recent rains across the state created unsafe conditions along the lower portion of the river, suspending sampling efforts at several sites.
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    The Arkansas River shiner is a slim silver minnow with a small head and rounded snout. A v-shaped mark is usually present at the base of the tail. Maximum length for this shiner is 2 inches. First described in a 1926 survey of the Cimarron River, this fish species has since disappeared from over 80 percent of its historic range.
     
    Matt Fullerton, endangered species biologist for the Wildlife Department, said the species is now almost entirely restricted to the Canadian River in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. The Arkansas River shiner typically spawns in May, June and July, but can spawn into August if adequate flow exists. Spawning appears to coincide with rains providing increased river flow; however, spawning occurs throughout the summer with adequate flow. Eggs drift with the current and develop as they move downstream. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist Daniel Fenner said, "Eggs and larvae need approximately 130 miles of free-flowing river to complete their development process." Throughout the Arkansas River shiner's 18-month life span, individuals move upstream where they eventually spawn to complete the species' life cycle. Habitat destruction and modifications to river flow such as dam construction and water withdraws (ground and surface water) are the principle reasons for the shiner's decline. When eggs reach an impoundment, they will sink to the bottom of the water column, and fry development will cease.
    Without adequate flow upstream of these dams, the shiner may not be able to move upstream far enough to successfully reproduce.
     
    To survey Arkansas River shiners and other fish species, biologists used a 4-by-15-foot mesh net, or seine. The lower portions of seines are weighted with a lead line so that fish can't escape underneath the net as it is pushed through the water. When the team reaches the end of the sampling area, one biologist pivots at the water's edge while the other swings toward the bank. The seine is then lifted out of the water, and biologists identify their catch. Fifteen sampling areas were completed at each of the seven sample sites, for a total of 105 seine hauls.
     
    Curtis Tackett, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department, mentioned sampling for Arkansas River shiners was successful at sites with more desirable habitat. Tackett also commented, "In the absence of Arkansas River shiners, other species such as red shiners and sand shiners were abundant." Additional sampling for the Arkansas River shiner will occur in October.
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    If you have ideas or something of interest for this column, please call me at 214-3922 or email me at michael.mccormick@news-star.com. Please include your name and a phone number for contact purposes.
     
     
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