Conservation Programs Division
The Conservation Programs Division provides management and technical assistance to Oklahoma's 88 conservation districts in three major program areas:
The division assists conservation districts in the new construction of upstream flood control dams, the operation and maintenance of existing dams and with the rehabilitation of aging dams.
Operation and maintenance of almost 2,105 flood control dams is a major job for conservation districts, local sponsors for most of the projects. The Conservation Programs Division provides equipment, financial assistance and technicians to help districts carry out this responsibility.
Many of the early-constructed flood control dams in the state were built with a designed life span of 50 years. Oklahoma has 59 dams that were 50 years old by 2003. By 2005, that number was 132; by 2010 it will reach 463; and by 2015, 1,090 or more than one half of the dams will have reached or exceeded their design life. Some dams need rehabilitation to ensure they continue to function as they were designed and remain safe.
The division administers the Oklahoma Cost-Share Program. This program, authorized by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1998, provides funds to conservation districts to help landowners install conservation practices on the land to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.
The division works with conservation districts to provide assistance with outdoor classroom development, natural resource days and other educational activities. The division also provides assistance to districts with training of district employees, teachers and youth leaders in conservation education curricula.
The division coordinates the Conservation Commission's role as cosponsors of three education curricula - Project Wet, Project Wild, and Project Learning Tree.
The division carries out the Commission's statutory responsibility to coordinate environmental and natural resources education for the state. This is accomplished through the Oklahoma Environmental Education Coordinating Committee, which is chaired by the Commission