Voluntary actions by Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers and other landowners in partnership with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the local Conservation Districts to reduce non-point source pollution in water has led to the recommendation that eight additional streams be removed from the federal list of “impaired” water bodies, according to Shanon Phillips, Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission Water Quality Division.

“We are very excited to have eight more streams proposed for removal from the state impaired-waters list,” Phillips said. “By working with landowners to address non-point source pollution in a manner that respects private property rights, we are making real progress in improving water quality in Oklahoma.”

According to Phillips, approximately 500 streams statewide are monitored on a rotating basis by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC) to determine if they are attaining water quality standards, particularly those impaired by nonpoint or diffuse sources.  This information is then used to determine Oklahoma’s proposed impaired-waters list, which is then submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for final approval.  This final action by EPA determines what streams are determined to be impaired and placed on what is commonly referred to as the 303(d) list.

Last spring four Oklahoma streams had seen enough reduction in non-point source pollution to be removed from this 303(d) list.  In addition, another 170 streams were not placed on this list due largely to the work done by agriculture producers and other landowners to address non-point source issues in their watersheds.