TULSA, Oklahoma – Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) dedicated the Cottonwood Creek Wetland Units on Keystone Wildlife Management Area in memory of Mr. Robert J. “Bob” Hawkins last week. Mr. Hawkins was a long-time DU supporter and funds raised in his honor were used towards this project.
After his passing in 2003, Sam Powell described Hawkins in a Tulsa World Article. “Hawkins was, truly, for almost 40 years, Ducks Unlimited in Oklahoma. He helped get DU started with the first ever fund raiser in Tulsa and went on to serve the organization he loved on almost every level. From a local chapter President to a national Vice-President, he was a tireless, enthusiastic worker. There is no telling how many thousands of people he convinced to get involved in DU over the years.”
The Hawkins family- (front lf.-rt.) Jaque-Hawkins Noble (widow), Teal (granddaughter) and Patti Williams (sister). (back lf.-rt.) Jeanne Sommer (daughter) and Bob Hawkins, III (son).
Bob Hawkins was represented at the dedication by his widow Jacque, son, daughter, granddaughter and sister. Jacque said Bob’s focus in his later years was the Greenwing program. “He believed that passing the love of conservation and waterfowling to the next generation was his duty,” Jacque said.
The Cottonwood Creek units were originally constructed in 1991 by ODWC with funding from several partners including DU. The current renovation was designed by DU and ODWC to decrease damage from frequent flood events and to install a pump station system. Construction of the renovation has been delayed due to major flooding within the past two years. The area is popular for local as well as out-of-state waterfowl hunters.
The project will renovate the existing levees and water control structures and put into place a more efficient system for flooding the nine wetland units. The work increases management options, reduces manpower requirements and maximizes shallow water depths to improve the quality of habitat for waterfowl and other migratory bird species. The 275-acre area receives excellent use by teal, gadwall, pintails, wigeon, mallard and ring-necked ducks.
Additional funding for the project was provided by the Harold C. Stuart Foundation, NatureWorks, Inc. and ODWC. Hawkins was a founding member of NatureWorks.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands – nature’s most productive ecosystem – and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.