The Oka’ Yanahli Preserve stretches across 3,600 acres of native prairie which protects the valuable resources of the iconic Blue River and Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.
The Blue River and the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, which sustains the river, are globally significant for the wide assortment of endemic life they support. The Blue River basin encompasses a variety of freshwater ecosystems from rolling prairies, limestone outcrops, oak forests in granite canyons to bottomland hardwood forests.
An astonishing array of plant and animal species depend on a healthy, sustainable basin, including the subspecies of orangebelly darter, orangethroat darter and least darter, ringed crayfish, rabbitsfoot mussel, chatterbox orchid, bald eagle, prothotary warbler and dozens of migrating birds. Seaside alder, found only in three widely disjunct parts of the United States—and arguably the rarest tree in North America—is more abundant on this river than anywhere else.
This Blue River is also a critical source of water for human needs. In addition to providing for agriculture, the river sustains the City of Durant which is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation and is ranked the fastest growing rural city in Oklahoma.