In Western Oklahoma, Drought Threatens Trees Planted to Prevent a New Dust Bowl

State forester Tom Murray stands near the nation's first shelterbelt near Willow, Okla., which has fared well after 80 years. Murray says trees in other sections of the windbreaks are dying from drought and lack of maintenance.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

State forester Tom Murray stands near the nation's first shelterbelt near Willow, Okla., which has fared well after 80 years. Murray says trees in other sections of the windbreaks are dying from drought and lack of maintenance.

The dirty 1930s left a permanent mark on the Great Plains. To help prevent another Dust Bowl, federal foresters planted more than a hundred million trees and built a giant windbreak that stretched from Texas to Canada.

This massive planting effort was born in western Oklahoma, but many of the trees that helped save the state from its own harsh environment are dying off.


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Comments

  • Curtis Ensler

    Thank you. What an excellent piece of reporting. You’d think it would make it harder for people in twenty years to say “How could we have known ?” (Well, someone might.)

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