Purpose: To restore the hydrologic conditions and wetland functions of the nearly 6,000 acre historic backwater slough of the Red River. Several phases of construction have built more than 25 miles of levees, 400 acres of reservoirs, and the installation of several water control structures.

Historically, bottomland hardwood, scrub/shrub, and emergent wetlands dominated the area. In an era of aggressive wetlands conversion, Red Slough was drained, cleared, and farmed beginning in the 1960's. Soybeans, milo, and corn were replaced in the late 1980's with a more water tolerant rice. However, even the practicality of growing rice in Red Slough reached its end by 1996.

Through protection, restoration, enhancement, and management, the USDA - NRCS, in partnership with conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, works to return these wetlands to their original state. The wetlands play a key role in forest regeneration, wildlife habitat, water filtering and storage, and flood control.

The Red Slough Wildlife Area now totals nearly 8,000 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats in southeast Oklahoma. Red Slough is truly unique in that it represents the northernmost extension of our tropical Gulf of Mexico. Species such as purple gallinule, white ibis, black-bellied whistling duck, wood storks, and American alligators further define the area. Herons and egrets forage on abundant crawfish, tens of thousands of ducks spend the winter, and bird watchers from across the nation make their way to visit. Overall, Red Slough will provide wetland habitat and recreation for many years to come.

Location: 20 miles southeast of Idabel, OK (McCurtain County).

Acres Impacted: 2,500 acres of moist soil management units, 2,900 acres of bottomland hardwood reforestation fields, and 400 acres of reservoirs.

Habitat Types: Emergent marshes, shallow water impoundments, deep-water reservoirs, and scrub/shrub.

North American Wetlands Conservation Council
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Forest Service
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
The Conservation Fund
Mr. Phillip Hogan and family
Ducks Unlimited with generous support from Maurice Campbell, Ronald Herman, Roy Oliver, and Harold Stuart.

DU Contact:

Scott Manley
Director of Conservation Programs