Water Quality Success Story in Oklahoma- Best in the USA- Clay Pope and Shannon Phillips Explore WhyTue, 04 Sep 2018 06:00:41 CDT
During the latest episode of the Southern Plains Podcast, a collaborative venture between the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub and Redlands Community College, host and USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub Coordinator Clay Pope visits with Shanon Phillips, the Director of the Water Quality Division of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. Through the work of her division in partnership with USDA NRCS, Region Six EPA, Local Conservation Districts, USDA FSA and others, Oklahoma has taken over 70 stream segments off of the EPA impaired list, the most of any state in the country.
They have achieved this success not with regulations or law suits, but with voluntary, incentive based locally-led conservation with a focus on those practices that improve soil health. Phillips also talks about how these practices save communities down stream money by reducing treatment costs while helping farmers and ranchers better prepare for drought and floods while reducing emissions and sequestering carbon dioxide.
Phillips tells Pope that the "magic potion" that has allowed Oklahoma to have the success in removing streams from the EPA impaired list is the long history of a working relationship that Conservation Districts and local USDA offices have with landowners across the state. She says "they have been applying the same formula since the Dust Bowl to address to those environmental concerns- and now with the money we are able to bring in to the program from EPA that we use to monitor the streams across the state- that's where we are really capturing the impact of those conservation programs and it really all comes down to the trust that landowners have in those local district offices."
She adds that water quality improves as local landowners buy into an overall conservation plan.
You can can listen to the full conversation that Clay Pope had with Shannon Phillips of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Source- USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub and Redlands Community College
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