About Field Sites
Blue River (BLUE) is an aquatic NEON field site located in southeastern Oklahoma at the Oka' Yanahili Preserve. The preserve is managed by The Nature Conservancy and protects nearly 14.5 km2 (3600 acres) of native prairie. The river drains a 322 km2 (124 sq. mi.) watershed. It originates in the Arbuckle Plains, an area characterized by limestone geology and gentle riffles and low waterfalls along the Blue River. BLUE is a bedrock-controlled channel and is undammed or otherwise controlled. The stream is mostly wadeable, with a few deeper sections that may be unwadeable at high water, and is wide with relatively high flow volume compared to other NEON sites. BLUE is part of NEON's Southern Plains Domain (D11), which stretches over the central sections of Texas and Oklahoma and includes portions of southern Kansas and southern New Mexico. D11 has three other NEON field sites, including two terrestrial and one additional aquatic site, located in Texas and Oklahoma. 
BLUE lies in the south Central Plains, a region that straddles the transition from relatively abundant precipitation in the east to semi-arid conditions in the west. The site has a mean average annual temperature of 16.4°C (62°F) and a mean average annual precipitation of 1041.1 mm (41 in.). Because the region is located in the interior of the United States, it experiences a wide range of temperatures seasonally and annually. Additionally, precipitation is highly variable from year to year; however, the majority of precipitation falls during the spring and summer months. Severe thunderstorms are common in the area, while tornadoes and severe drought periods also occur, but are not as common.  
The Blue River Gneiss is one of four main players in the composition of the Proterozoic basement in the Arbuckle Mountains. There are three compositional phases that make up the Gneiss, however, the rock type found most abundantly within the triad is a metaluminous biotite granite gneiss containing quartz, perthitic microcline, and plagioclase as the essential minerals. The metamorphic rock formations in this area are known for having particularly high color index. The USGS Mineral Database classifies the geology of this stream as alluvium.  
Soil found at the site is considered to be a part of the Alfisoils category in the Western Cross Timbers region. It is typically loamy and humus-poor on gentle slopes (6%). 
BLUE is located on the Blue River, which flows for about 140 km (150 mi.) in a southern direction from its headwaters near Roff, OK to the Red River. More specifically, BLUE is situated on the perennial portion of Blue River near Connerville, OK. Perennial stream flow is sustained by discharge from the Arbuckle Simpson aquifer. BLUE has a relatively high flow, however, the stream does experience seasonal variability in flow, with higher stream flows during the spring and lower flows in summer.  
Cacti (Cataceae) can be found within this region, along with various species of oak (Quercus spp.) trees and bluestem (Andropogon spp.) grasses. 
Fish include smallmouth (Micropterus dolomieu), spotted (Micropterus punctulatus), and largemouth (Micropterus salmoides) bass; crappie (Pomoxis spp.); catfish (Ictalurid spp.); and a varied community of panfish (Lepomis spp.). Trout (Oncorhynchus and Salvelinus spp.) are stocked in the Blue River at the designated fishing area, making it a designated Oklahoma trout stream from November to March. The area is home to several game species including bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus), whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Rio Grande turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), rabbits (Oryctolagus spp.), coyotes (Canis spp.), and bobcats (*Lynx spp.). 
Current Land Management and Use
The Blue River is managed by The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The river is home to a popular fishing area which is stocked with trout once a year. NEON is the only organization performing research at this specific location. 
NEON Site Establishment
BLUE was first considered as a potential NEON site in June 2016. In January 2017, the site underwent a sampling readiness review (a form of audit to ensure the location was fit for NEON sampling). An initial operations review was performed at BLUE, and shortly thereafter sampling began. AOS sampling was the first form of NEON sampling to commence at BLUE in May 2017, followed by AIS sampling beginning November 2018.
 Aquatic Instrument System (AIS) Site Characterization Report: Domain 11. NEON.DOC.002416vB
 Lidiak E.G., Denison R.E. (1999) Geology of the Blue River Gneiss, Eastern Arbuckle Mountains, Oklahoma. In: Sinha A.K. (eds) Basement Tectonics 13. Proceedings of the International Conferences on Basement Tectonics, vol 7. Springer, Dordrecht.
 U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/
 PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, http://prism.oregonstate.edu, created 4 Feb 2004.
Remote sensing surveys of this field site collect lidar, spectrometer and high-resolution RGB camera data.
This site has a meteorological station located in the riparian area of the stream that is outfitted with the a subset of the same sensors used at terrestrial sites. Measurements include wind speed and direction, air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, shortwave radiation, and PAR.
Field Site Data
The Nature Conservancy
Site Access Allowed
Site Access Details
Reseachers should coordinate with the site manager.
NEON Field Operations Office
NEON Field Operations Address
1200 South Woodrow, Suite 100
Denton, TX 76205
NEON Field Operations Phone
Mean Annual Temperature
Mean Annual Precipitation
Dominant NLCD Classes
USGS Geology Unit
USGS Geology Name
USGS Lithologic Constituents
Unconsolidated clay, silt, sand and gravel
USGS Geology Age
Other Domain D11 Field Sites
Other Field Sites in OK