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Water Quality Division


Blue Thumb logoBlue Thumb Program

A water pollution education program of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Water Quality Division.
The goal of Oklahoma's Blue Thumb Program is to protect water resources against nonpoint source pollution by empowering citizens to protect water quality. This is accomplished through:

  • Educational workshops
  • Tours
  • Demonstrations and Presentations
  • Monitoring
20 students by stream
The Jay High School Blue Thumb stream team takes a closer look at Brush Creek in Delaware County.

Oklahoma's Blue Thumb Program originates from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Water Quality Division. It is a nonpoint source pollution education program that is at work throughout the state.

Nonpoint source pollution is the "pollution for which the specific point of origin is not well-defined." Both urban and rural lifestyles can contribute, and a few examples of nonpoint source pollution are:

  • Sediment from land clearing activities
  • Fertilizer and pesticide runoff
  • Animal waste runoff
  • Gasoline and oil which enters water bodies
  • Grass clippings placed in creeks or lakes

Blue Thumb helps citizens become aware of the power they have to make decisions that help keep our water resources clean.

An agricultural producer plowing the land, spreading chicken litter to fertilize pastures, or grazing 100 head of cattle faces a different set of issues than an urban homeowner who wants a bright green lawn that is completely free of ticks and grubs. Both types of citizens need to know that there are "best management practices" that can be employed to help them protect their local streams and lakes.

Best management practices, often simply called "BMPs" are practices that protect water against pollution, or more generally, protect resources against human activities.

The agricultural producer can engage in no-till farming, store chicken litter in an appropriate building, install grassed waterways, and use rotational grazing to keep the land productive and protect water quality.

The urban homeowner can use native vegetation that needs no additional fertilizer or watering and maintain the lawn at the proper height. These are practices that will reduce nutrient pollution to streams and discourage pests from making themselves too much at home.

So a BMP might be as simple as mowing more often or as complex as installing fencing to keep cattle away from sensitive creek banks.

Blue Thumb - Home

Volunteer Monitoring Effort

Blue Thumb Education Program

Blue Thumb Program - Phase 2

Love Your Stream?

Map of Blue Thumb Stream Monitoring Sites in Oklahoma

Contact Blue Thumb

Blue Thumb Calendar of Events

 

 

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