Welcome Oklahoma's Newest Preserve:
One of the most biologically rich natural systems in Oklahoma and home to rare plants and wildlife
September 27, 2016
The Nature Conservancy and a group of partners have teamed up to protect 980 acres of forested wetlands on the Antlers Aquifer in the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain ecoregion, which spans portions of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Habitats in this ecoregion may contain more than 30 plant species per square meter – a density on par with tropical forests – making it one of the most biologically rich natural systems on Earth.
“Some places are so important, we need to protect and manage them for their biodiversity. This is one of those places,” said Mike Fuhr, State Director for The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. “Thanks to the support of our partners, we can preserve this fully intact native landscape and it’s thriving population of rare plants and animals.”
The preserve’s name Hottonia Bottoms comes from its ecologically-rich bottomland hardwood forest community and Hottonia inflata, the American featherfoil, a biologically interesting and attractive native aquatic plant found on the property. Hottonia inflata is one of many rare plant species found on wetlands in the immediate area. Rare animal species include goldstripe darter, western chicken turtle, and the American Burying Beetle, a federally-listed endangered species. The property also provides high-quality habitat for migratory birds in the central flyway.
This land acquisition was made possible with financial support from The Conservation Fund, Dolese Bros. Co., Kirkpatrick Foundation, and E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation. These lands are being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available as mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the Enbridge Pipelines, LLC, Enbridge Flanagan South Pipeline in partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Dolese Bros. Co. is once again proud to partner with The Nature Conservancy and other conservation leaders to protect important Oklahoma lands and natural resources,” said Mark Helm, President of Dolese Bros. Co. “We have a very simple philosophy at Dolese, to be faithful stewards of all land we encounter. This principle has guided our company for more than 100 years."
The Nature Conservancy’s overarching conservation objectives for Hottonia Bottoms are to maintain and manage for habitat and biological diversity through land protection. Land stewardship activities will focus on maintaining the existing assemblage of habitat types through the use of conservation tools such as prescribed fire, invasive species management, species surveys and ecological monitoring.
Clear Boggy Creek, a tributary to the Muddy Boggy River, flows along the preserve’s boundary. Rivers and streams are the lifeblood of these forested bottoms, flowing across the floodplain during spring floods and leaving behind soil, seeds from upstream forests, and sediments that become natural fertilizer for plants. These rich, moist soils nourish an explosion of biological diversity.
The value of this property includes flood control, erosion control, protection of water quality, and habitat for many bird and aquatic species.
No public use is envisioned at this time for the preserve. However, guided use for the purpose of education, outreach, monitoring, and management will be permitted.
Learn more about this new preserve and the unique aquatic wildflower, Hottonia inflata.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.