NPS Working Group
2006 NPS Management Program Plan Update
Nonpoint Source Management Program
Led by the OCC Water Quality Division, the Oklahoma 319 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Program is responsible for identifying, prioritizing, and managing waters in Oklahoma impacted by nonpoint source pollution, such as sediment, nutrients, and animal waste. The Program is an interagency collaborative effort guided by the Nonpoint Source Working Group.
Chaired by the OCC, the NPS Working Group is made up of federal, state and local agencies,environmental and landowner groups, and Indian tribes. The Nonpoint Source Working Group identifies priorities where funds and technical assistance will be directed, often in the form of water quality restoration projects in priority watersheds. Water quality projects are also collaborative efforts often involving federal, state, and local agencies, conservation districts, tribes, and private citizens. The OCC uses education, assessment, planning, and cost-share programs to implement water quality restoration projects under the NPS Program.
Funding for the NPS Program comes from Section 319 Clean Water Act grants through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and from State funds allocated yearly by the Oklahoma Legislature. Private landowners also contribute to the program through conservation cost-share programs. Under these incentive programs, State monies and contributions from landowners are matched by federal funds set aside for soil and water conservation. These funds are used to plan and develop projects.
Planning and developing projects requires a multifaceted approach essential to an effective Nonpoint Source Pollution Program. A fundamental component of the program is the NPS Management Program Plan. The Plan organizes current and future efforts while providing guidance to participating agencies.
For each project, numerous reports are also written to fulfill EPA guidelines and track project planning and implementation. In general this is how project planning progresses:
- The NPS Working Group selects a priority watershed for a restoration project.
- The OCC works with local groups and peer agencies to draft a Watershed Based Plan according to EPA guidance that details all aspects of the project, including goals, partners, staff, budget, and timelines. As a portion of the watershed based plan, OCC uses a water quality model such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to estimate areas in the watershed contributing most significantly to water quality problems.
- The OCC Water Quality Division then drafts a Work Plan, which details what actions will be carried out specifically by the Water Quality Division. The plan is sent to the EPA for review and approval.
- Upon approval of the Work Plan by EPA, OCC contracts with a university to perform Source Water Assessment Targeting (SWAT) to gather detailed information such as land use, land cover, and population in the watershed. SWAT data are included in the final Watershed Based Plan.
- The OCC submits a Quality Assurance Project Plan to EPA that details how each component of the project, such as monitoring and education, will be implemented.
- Monitoring begins or continues in the watershed to assess the effects of the implementation.
- Project planning begins at the local level with Conservation Districts and other stakeholders forming a Watershed Advisory Group and Educational Watershed Advisory Group. The groups determine how the project and education program will be implemented at the local level.
- As landowners in the watershed express interest in the project, plans for the implementation of specific practices–such as farm plans or engineering designs–are written. Farm plans detail each property and the type and location of best management practices to be installed and maintained for the duration of the contract. Engineering designs are drafted for activities such as streambank stabilization or nonconventional agricultural best management practices.
- Landowners and land managers in the watershed begin to implement best management practices.