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Oklahoma’s Economically Vital Seaport Still Struggling After Rains Scuttle Shipping

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods pass through the Port of Catoosa each year.

But not in 2015. The nation’s most inland seaport, located near Tulsa, shut down after historic spring rains and is still struggling to rebound.

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Years After Earthquake, Oklahoma College Still Shaken by Cracked Budgets and Broken Buildings

Abbot Lawrence points out cracks in

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

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Record Rainfall Magnifies Problems For Oklahoma’s Aging Flood Control Dams

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure.

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As Communities Prepare for New State Fracking Rules, One City Will Wait and See

donkey-head

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

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Why Oklahoma Had the Nation’s Highest Percentage Of Bee Deaths Last Year

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Honeybees are dying at an alarming rate across the country, but no state lost a greater percentage of its bees than Oklahoma over the last year. When it comes to the general public, there’s a lot of mystery around this issue, but the reasons are becoming more clear.

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Drought-Breaking Rain Proving Too Much, Too Late for Oklahoma Wheat Farmers

A combine crew from South Dakota harvests wheat near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A combine crew from South Dakota harvests wheat near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.

May 2015 was Oklahoma’s wettest month on record. The historic rainfall washed away an economically draining drought that haunted parts of the state for five years. For many wheat farmers in southwestern Oklahoma, however, the record rainfall is too much, too late.

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Power Struggle: The Oil and Gas Boom and an Outbreak of Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Lawrence Stasyszen, abbott of St. Gregory's Abbey, stands inside the monastery's condemned workshop in Shawnee, Okla. The monastery and associated college are still reeling from millions in damage from a 5.7-magnitude quake that struck in 2011.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lawrence Stasyszen, abbot of St. Gregory's Abbey, stands inside the monastery's condemned workshop in Shawnee, Okla. The monastery and nearby college are still reeling from millions in damage from a 5.7-magnitude quake that struck in 2011.

In 2014, Oklahoma had more than three times as many earthquakes as California, and this year, the state is on track for even more. A lot of them are small, but some towns are seeing a quake almost every day, and seismologists warn that large and damaging earthquakes are becoming more likely.

The government in the Sooner State has only recently acknowledged the scope of the oil and gas industry’s role in the problem.

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State Parks in Danger After Tourism Department’s $16 Million Budget Cut

Justin Stratford and several of his nieces and nephews play in Lake Thunderbird on a road trip from Arizona.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Justin Stratford and several of his nieces and nephews play in Lake Thunderbird on a road trip from Arizona.

The $7.1 billion state budget Governor Mary Fallin signed in June 2015 included deep cuts to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation — the agency that runs the state park system. That could mean some parks will have to be closed or transferred to new operators, and some eastern Oklahoma lawmakers are fuming.

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Agency That Protects Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers Takes Another Big Budget Cut

James Gaylor plays in a tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

James Gaylor plays in a tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla.

When Governor Mary Fallin signed the $7.1 billion budget earlier this week, the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission took a big cut. It’s a small state agency with a big job: overseeing hundreds of miles of river and roads in northeast Oklahoma with dwindling resources.

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