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July, 2010 - While the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recognizes that fish is an important part of a healthy diet, the agency is issuing fish consumption advisories for mercury on some lakes. There are currently 16 Oklahoma lakes where some species of fish contain levels of mercury above what is considered safe for unlimited consumption. The lakes in Oklahoma with fish consumption advisories pertaining to the amount of mercury in the fish are:
|Atoka Lake||Lake Heyburn|
|Boomer Lake||McAlester City Lake|
|Broken Bow Reservoir||McGee Creek Reservoir|
|Coalgate City Lake||Pine Creek Reservoir|
|Draper Lake||Quanah Parker Lake|
|Elmer Thomas Lake||Rush Lake|
|Hugo Lake||Sardis Lake|
|Kaw Reservoir||Wister Lake|
Each of the above listed lakes has recommendations specific to that lake. For detailed information on the advisories and testing, please visit the DEQ fish consumption Web page at www.deq.state.ok.us\fish\.
The consumption advisories are the result of three years of testing done by DEQ with the cooperation of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). Many of Oklahoma’s lakes have been tested to determine mercury levels. Only the 16 lakes listed above have specific advisories for mercury. For lakes that do not have specific advisories and lakes that have not been tested, DEQ encourages following the general guidance for fish consumption.
DEQ’s general guidance recommends that the sensitive population (women of child bearing age and children up to the age of 15) should eat no more than one meal per week of predator fish, which includes largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, white, striped, or hybrid bass, walleye, saugeye, and flathead catfish. In an effort to reduce exposure to mercury, everyone should eat smaller fish and eat a variety of fish.
DEQ recognizes the importance of the sport of fishing in Oklahoma. Fish provide many benefits that are essential for a healthy diet. Some fish do pose a higher risk for mercury contamination; therefore, DEQ encourages people to be mindful of the amount of fish they eat. DEQ actively promotes fishing and urges Oklahomans to enjoy the sport while following the suggested guidelines for fish consumption.
The levels of mercury in a lake do not affect the lake’s safety as a source of drinking water or for lake recreation such as swimming and boating.
DEQ will continue to test lakes throughout Oklahoma. Updates as well as additional advisories will be posted on the Web site listed above as soon as the data is available.
A series of public meetings to address mercury in fish will be held starting July 13. More information on these meetings will be made available in the coming days.
Detailed information on the lake specific fish consumption advisory can be found on the DEQ Web site at www.deq.state.ok.us\fish\ or by contacting Jay Wright or Pam Baldwin at (800) 869-1400.
Wildlife Department Offers Tool for Developers to Protect Critical Prairie Chicken Habitat
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) has released its new tool designed to protect and conserve imperiled lesser prairie chickens affected by land development in western Oklahoma.
″The tool, known as the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie Chicken Spatial Planning Tool, is a habitat-based model that quantifies the value of every acre within lesser prairie chicken range,″ said Russ Horton, research supervisor for the Wildlife Department. ″This tool should prove invaluable to responsible developers and planners as they search for sites where development would least impact Oklahoma′s dwindling population of lesser prairie chickens.″
The lesser prairie chicken is identified as a species of greatest conservation need in Oklahoma and is a candidate for federal listing as threatened, range-wide. The sand shinnery and sand sagebrush native rangelands of northwest Oklahoma are crucial for survival of this species. The same area also provides some of Oklahoma′s most abundant sources of energy including wind, oil and natural gas. Efforts to harvest this energy are projected to rapidly intensify over the next few years.
″Oklahoma′s wind industry will provide a clean source of domestically produced energy that will contribute to our state′s future economic growth,″ noted Secretary of Energy Robert Wegener. ″It is critical for this industry and others impacting the prairies of western Oklahoma to utilize tools such as this.″ continued...
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I buy my hunting/fishing license?
There are over 700 license dealers spread across the state- from sporting goods stores to bait shops, from convenience stores to large discount centers or you can buy them online here… State fishing licenses do not cover other fees that may be applicable in some city lakes or special fishing areas such as trout stocked streams.
Where are the State's Wildlife Management Areas?
All lands owned, licensed, leased, or under the management of the Wildlife Department are designated WMAs to accurately reflect the overall objectives for these lands and the results of management activities conducted thereon. Click here for the Digital Wildlife Management Areas Atlas of over 80 WMAs.
What are Oklahoma's endangered/threatened species?
There are 14 endangered species and 7 threatened species in Oklahoma as well as numerous species of special concern. Click here to learn more…
How do I report illegal hunting or find my local game warden?
Click here to find your county game warden or district chief’s contact information.
I want to know more about Oklahoma's wildlife diversity, where do I look? See the Wildlife Department’s species spotlight page that will tell you more about Oklahoma’s diverse wildlife.