Each summer, endangered birds nest along the Arkansas River. They are called Interior Least Terns and some of the nests are in danger because of careless people. Least terns come to Oklahoma in May and leave in August. Since they are here it's part of the reason that the Arkansas River is low during the summer months.
"It's because this endangered species comes here to nest every single year," says U.S. Corps of Engineers Biologist, Tonya Dunn.
The dry weather also plays into the low river level but these biologist are under federal law to keep them safe. But the good news is these birds don't go far from the river.
"They very rarely get out of the river channel. They nest and their whole lives are right here on the river," says U.S. Corps of Engineers Biologist, Stacy Dunkin.
But because of the dry weather and people able to get out on the rivers and lakes in Oklahoma, these birds are becoming more endangered.
"We have lost a few colonies do to human disturbance through ATVs and just people walking," says Dunkin.
People disturbing the sand areas is a little frustrating for these biologists. But they do admit the unique things about these birds may make it difficult to see them.
"Their parents tell them to lay flat when something comes on the island. They lay flat and if you don't know what you are looking for you can miss them and step on them," says Dunn.
The biologists say these birds are going to come here each year and they have to deal. But it does make it harder in the summer when it's hot and we need the water from the river.
"There are higher demands for water. Higher demands for recreation. Higher demands for hydro power. So, sometimes it can be difficult to balance those competing interests," says Dunkin.
Everyone does need the water but the biologists say you have to think about the animals.
"We are the ones that can conserve all the other animals they are here for a reason you can't just move in and wipe everything out," says Dunn.
Another thing to remember, if you are caught hurting the least terns in anyway the fine is $100,000.
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