The Oklahoma Office of the Secretary of the Environment has been awarded a federal grant amounting to more than $2.8 million by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 20, 2011.
According to EPA Spokesman Dave Bary, the grant funding has been given to carry out best management practices and improve water quality in the three priority watersheds identified by the state’s Clean Water Action Plan. These include the Illinois River; the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed, which stretches from northwestern Arkansas into Delaware and Mayes counties; and the Honey Creek, a sub-watershed that flows from the east into the Grand Lake.
Apart from land treatments that will prevent runoff of non-point source pollutants, funding will also be used to establish wetlands projects in Eucha Lake to minimize the impact of non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollutants are those that come from multiple sources such as pesticides, fertilizers, sediment, and animal waste.
Ed Fite, administrator of the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission, justifies the significance of the EPA grant in the improvement of Oklahoma’s streams, rivers, and lakes. According to Fite, large proportion of the money expected to flow into the Illinois River watershed will be used to continue the sampling networks and monitoring stations established within the watershed. With previous sampling and monitoring projects producing great results, Fite sees Oklahoma’s edge and advantage in putting federal funds into good use.
Source: Smoot, D.E. MuskogeePhoenix.com