Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 20, 2013

Shoring up the banks

TAHLEQUAH — A two-day riparian vegetation workshop began Tuesday at the Tahlequah Municipal Armory Center, focusing on plant selection and proper planting techniques as part of the Illinois River Stream Bank Stabilization Project.

The $2 million, nine-month project covered 12 sites in Cherokee and Adair counties that were selected for restoration due to extreme erosion. Sites like Felts Park, Kaufman Park, the Tahlequah History Trail, Todd Public Access and the Illinois River Ranch benefited from state-of-the-art environmental engineering techniques designed to restore and stabilize areas where land deterioration occurred.

Agencies involved with the project, which was funded through federal stimulus monies, include the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma State University, North State Environmental, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Stream banks were rebuilt, and areas where vegetation could be planted were established to improve the natural ecosystem and promote the flourishment of fish and other wildlife.

Temporary coconut fiber matting was laid to prevent soil loss and prepare for the planting of shrubs and trees, said Project Lead Engineer Greg Jennings of Jennings Environmental.

“We were in some areas that were really devastated, in terms of vegetation. [A] very limited [number of] plants were there, very few trees and also lots of invasive plants,” he said. “And so this aspect of the project, the overall Illinois River Watershed Project that was started last year, this aspect of planting is critical for success.”

Jennings noted the project will include follow-up repair and continued habitat evaluation. Some small repairs, or boulder placement, occurred Tuesday at the Kaufman Park site, while the job of planting 10,000-plus trees and shrubs began.

“That sounds like a lot, but every one of those [trees and shrubs] is critical for long-term stability. I expect a year from now we’ll come back and do an inspection, and we’ll find a few critical areas that will need some replanting,” said Jennings. “That’s just the reality of these kind of river restoration projects. They’re kind of a never-ending baby-sitting job, but that’s exciting. That’s what we do when we try to return the ecosystem to a healthier state. It takes a long-term investment of time and energy, and it’s going to be exciting to keep a watch over time.”

The two-day workshop featured morning presentations by Jennings, who provided an overview of the project. Cheryl Cheadle, with the OCC Blue Thumb Program, spoke about the makeup of good and bad streams; Eve Brantley, with Auburn University, discussed stream and floodplain vegetation.

John Mustain, of the Oklahoma Natural Resources Conservation Service, talked about tree planting, while Pat Gwin, of the Cherokee Nation, described plants that are culturally significant to the tribe.

Workshop participants spent Tuesday afternoon at nearby sites, planting trees and shrubs, while today’s schedule calls for work at the Illinois River Ranch.

Cheadle said Tuesday’s presentation offered a way to talk about some of the mistakes landowners make with streams or rivers that run through their property. It also helped point out to participants that there’s a way to let streams and rivers maintain their natural character, not necessarily in keeping with the Clean Water Act.

As an example, a member of the audience reported negative effects created by a landowner upstream who completely removed vegetation from the banks of the stream flowing through the property.


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.


    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage