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Refuge sets Invasive Plant Round-Up

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge will have its fourth annual Invasive Plant Round-Up from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Participants will learn about the most damaging invasive plants in southwest Oklahoma and help refuge staff remove eastern red cedar, common mullein, musk thistle, prickly lettuce and other invasive plants.

The refuge protects a rare piece of the past — an island of habitat where the natural grasslands escaped destruction because rocks underfoot made it difficult to plow. Invasive species, however, are a growing threat to the refuge and surrounding lands. Invasive plants are those that did not evolve here and have no natural predators. Once their seeds are established they quickly grow and overtake large amounts of land, depriving native species of sunlight, water and important nutrients they need to grow. Removing invasive plants allows native vegetation to return and is especially important to wildlife that depends on this habitat.

Hand tools will be provided for volunteer use. Volunteers should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy boots and work gloves and bring water. Transportation will be provided to some work areas. While other groups will caravan/carpool in their own vehicles to designated sites. Lunch will be provided by the Friends of the Wichitas at the refuge’s main corrals, north of Refuge Headquarters.

The Lawton Constitution

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