OKLAHOMA CITY - Thanks to ongoing, successful efforts to control non-point source water pollution, the state is getting extra funding from the EPA.
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) gave praise to the federal agency for its recent decision to provide more than $2 million in additional dollars for cooperative programs in which landowners volunteer to participate non-point water quality improvement efforts.
WHERE POINT, NON-POINT POLLUTED WATER ORIGINATES
Officials said non-point water pollution includes runoff from fields, large parking lots, yard watering and car washes. "Point" pollution comes from pipes, ditches or wells, for example.
The cooperative steps were made in concert with the USDA, said OACD Executive Director Clay Pope.
"The work included improved pasture management, development of alternative water sources and monitoring of fertilizer runoff," Pope said.
OKLAHOMA GAINS OFF OTHER STATES
The money came from states in EPA's Region 6 which haven't been as successful with non-point source water pollution control efforts, OACD said.
Pope noted that over recent years there's been a slight reduction in EPA funding. In the current budget, there was $2.5 million allocated for the control plans.
"So this $2 million is a chunk of money" to apply to non-point control measures, Pope said.
None of the funds are directly targeted at Northwest Oklahoma, he said.
However, some funds are going to a study by Oklahoma State University about reductions of phosphorus and other material loads from established riparian areas. "Riparian" sites are where land and streams or rivers meet, according to conservation personnel. More than $176,000 is designated for this OSU study, which could potentially impact parts of this region.
"There could be additional monitoring in Northwest Oklahoma," he said.
ADDITIONAL OKLAHOMA PLANS BENEFITTING
Other projects to be funded through the added money include:
• almost $432,000 to the Oklahoma Conservation Comm-ission for continuation of proper land use practices and water quality monitoring in Northeast Okla-homa's Eucha/Spavinaw, Honey Creek and Illinois River watersheds;
• another nearly $641,000 for the Oklahoma Land Legacy Program, to be used for development of permanent easements along the waterways in the Eucha/Spavinaw Watershed, said OACD; and
• about $812,000 to OSU to study existing bio-retention cells in the Grand Lake Watershed of Northeast Oklahoma, with installation of new bio-retention cells in Central Oklahoma's Thunderbird Watershed. Experts explained that bio-retention cells are like water gardens and are designed to treat polluted runoff water.