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Aquatic Aliens Invading Oklahoma
Oklahoma is facing an invasion. Unwanted immigrants are invading our
state, but these aliens are not coming by land, but by water. They are
aquatic aliens of sorts that pose a danger to the state's diverse native
We took a trip to the Kiamichi River near Hugo
with the Aquatic Nuisance Species Biologist with the Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation. Curtis Tackett is responsible for keeping an
eye on those species that face a threat to Oklahoma's ecosystem.
newest threat is the Asian carp, specifically bighead and silver carp.
The silver carp are a species that are known to jump high into the air
around boat motors. The large fish have injured boaters and knocked
people off boats.
Silver carp sightings were first reported
last year. This summer the Department of Wildlife Conservation sent a
survey crew to see how big the population was and if it could be
stopped. The crew found several large fish in the Kiamichi River.
fish showed evidence the species is spawning. Each female can carry
thousands of eggs. Biologists are concerned that baby silver carp look
very similar to shad, a bait fish, which fishermen catch and then carry
to other bodies of water.
The silver carp and bighead carp are
filter feeders, which mean they eat microscopic plankton that lives in
the rivers. They also reproduce quickly and grow fast. That is a
problem because Oklahoma's rivers are full of other filter-feeding
species including the paddlefish.
Another aquatic invader is
knocking on Oklahoma's door. The snakehead fish is a predatory fish
with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth. They are known to attack just
about anything they can fit in their mouth. That includes attacks on
people. The snakehead has been spotted in Arkansas. That state has an
eradication program in effect, but biologists say once a population is
established it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.
snakehead fish also has an adaptive lung, which allows it to survive out
of water. The fish can 'walk' using its fins to wiggle its way from
one body of water to another.
The Oklahoma Department of
Wildlife Conservation wants fishermen to be on the lookout for any of
these invasive species. If someone sees one they are asked not to
release it live back into the water, instead biologist would like it
turned into conservation offices so the fish can be studied.
Posted: Monday, November 12 2012, 12:50 AM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Oklahoma schools hit by tornado had no safe rooms
May 21, 2013 21:14 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- An emergency official says Oklahoma has reinforced tornado shelters in more than 100 schools across the state, but the two that were hit by this week's storms in suburban Oklahoma City did not have them.
Albert Ashwood is director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. He told reporters Tuesday it's up to each jurisdiction to set priorities for which schools get limited funding for safe rooms.
Ashwood says a shelter would not necessarily have saved more lives at the Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children sheltering in above-ground classrooms were killed. He says no disaster mitigation measure is absolute.
He says authorities are going to review which schools have safe rooms and try to get them in more schools across the state.
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