What is in this article?:
- Water quality monitoring shows reduced non-point source pollution.
- Voluntary, locally-led conservation works.
- Producers installed practices ranging from improved pasture management and poultry litter handling to fencing off riparian areas next to streams and establishing alternative watering systems to keep livestock out of the water.
“We are very pleased with these numbers, not just because of what they show today, but what they promise to show in the future,” Parker said. “We are only in the second year of post-implementation monitoring on these practices, but if you look at these numbers and compare them with the results we have seen in other areas of the state, they are right where they should be.
“An example would be the Beaty Creek sub-watershed of the Eucha-Spavinaw Watershed. In the second year of post-implementation monitoring on that project we saw numbers similar to these and as time went on we began to see reductions as high as 80 percent in nitrogen and 66 percent in phosphorus. Based on what these numbers in Honey Creek are showing, we feel pretty good that similar high levels of reduction of non-point source pollution in this area will happen as the effects of the work the farmers and ranchers have done on their land matures.”
Parker said he is hopeful more work can be done in the Grand Lake watershed. Funding, however, is a limiting factor.
“Every time the Conservation partnership in Oklahoma has undertaken a 319 project like the one we’re working on in the Grand Lake Watershed we have run out of money before we ran out of landowners who were willing to help address the problem and this project is no exception,” Parker said. “We are hopeful that additional funds will be available to cost-share with even more agriculture producers and other landowners to help address water quality issues in this important watershed.
“The results we’ve seen in other parts of Oklahoma and that we’re now seeing in this part of the Grand Lake Watershed show that you can address water quality just like we addressed the dust bowl—through voluntary, locally-led, cooperative efforts. We are proud of the work that is being done to protect our water and we hope we can keep these efforts moving forward.”