We will work with developers, property owners, and neighborhoods to increase the amount of biodiversity-rich green space in urban and suburban areas. While protecting high-priority environmental features is critical to preserving Oklahoma City’s ecological heritage, there is also much that can be done in areas that have already been highly modified by human activity and development. Urban and suburban areas can support biodiversity, bringing nature closer to people and spreading its benefits throughout the city. In urban and suburban areas, natural areas can be integrated in the form of parks, gardens, trails, and green roofs. Each of these features can be enriched when planted with native plants to create urban forests and “micro prairie” environments that not only offer low maintenance green space but also create stepping stones for biodiversity by providing food and habitat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Individuals and neighborhoods can engage in activities to support nature on their own properties by planting native trees and vegetation, especially those that serve as sources of food and shelter for indigenous fauna.

We will enrich natural biodiversity in agricultural areas by promoting practices that provide food, water, and habitat for wildlife and minimize negative impacts. We will convene farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and other stakeholders to develop a plan to conserve nature in farming and ranching landscapes. Some techniques are simple, such as implementing optimal mowing strategies, increasing nesting habitat, and adopting best practices for fertilizer and pesticide application. Intermediate strategies include developing landscape conservation cooperatives; promoting safe, controlled use of fire to mimic natural burn cycles; encouraging grassland ranching as an ecologically beneficial alternative to cultivation, particularly practices such as “mob grazing” that mimic natural grazing patterns; and promoting ranching of bison, which benefit conservation efforts by dispersing seeds, increasing plant biodiversity, and enhancing groundwater recharge. More challenging strategies with significant impacts on biodiversity include grassland restoration on previously cultivated landscapes, development of agricultural parks that combine recreation and food production, and sustainable intensification, which increases production and profitability while providing rich sources of habitat for biodiversity.