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Conservation Buffer Strips

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Conservation Buffer Strips

  1. 1. Protecting Riparian Areas on the Kerr Ranch 1998-present
  2. 2. •This shot from May 1973 is the earliest photo of the Nurse Cow area. The riparian area has been cleared of timber and seeded to grass. Typical riparian areas in Leflore County are timbered.
  3. 3. •March 1998: Fence is being installed. Power pole in upper right corner of image is used as a reference point. • Livestock cross on the upstream side of the low water crossing, causing bare slopes with little vegetation.
  4. 4. •April 2001: Lower low water crossing, looking upstream, after fencing. Forage growth increases rapidly in April.
  5. 5. •May 2001: Downstream crossing, looking upstream. Fencing has been in place for two years. Grasses have established on the slopes of the stream. •Trees were planted on the banks during the previous two years, but are not yet visible. Grass is laid over due to a recent high water event.
  6. 6. •March 2002: Four years after fencing. Compared to the 1998 picture, vegetation covers the stream banks.
  7. 7. •March 2003: Good vegetative cover protects the stream banks.
  8. 8. •July 2003: The trees planted in previous years are finally visible above the surrounding vegetation.
  9. 9. •April 2009: Eleven years after fencing.
  10. 10. 2013, summer: 15 years after fencing Note the telephone pole is dwarfed by trees.
  11. 11. •Since fencing, both planted and volunteer trees have become abundant, stabilizing the stream banks by holding soil in place.
  12. 12. •Thick grass covers the stream banks and protects them from erosion.
  13. 13. •Young trees and shrubs slow down water flow and catch leaves and twigs, enriching the soil with organic matter.
  14. 14. •Planted tree species include green ash and hackberry, both native to the area. Volunteer species include willow and winged elm.
  15. 15. Green Ash
  16. 16. Hackberry • Birds eat the berries • Host plant for many butterflies – Tawny Emperor – Hackberry Emperor – American Snout – Question Mark – Mourning Cloak
  17. 17. “Volunteer” native trees Winged elm Willow
  18. 18. •Since the cattle have been fenced out, the stream has become narrower and deeper, and meanders. These changes create a more hospitable environment for water insects and fish.
  19. 19. •The riparian area serves as a protective travel corridor for deer and other wildlife, and is home to many species of songbirds and insects.
  20. 20. •A single strand of electric fence is enough to keep cattle out of the riparian area.
  21. 21. •Lush grass and tree growth are also evident in the fenced areas looking downstream from the low water crossing.
  22. 22. Summer view, downstream
  23. 23. •Contrast this unfenced section of the stream with the fenced riparian area: many fewer trees, and a broader, shallower stream, less hospitable to aquatic life.
  24. 24. For more information contact: David Redhage, project manager dredhage@kerrcenter.com

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