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Water Quality Division


Oklahoma's Wetlands Strategy

In May of 1990, the Oklahoma Legislature directed the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to develop a wetland management strategy for the state. A draft plan was set forth then reviewed and enhanced by private landowners; interest groups; and local, state, and federal entities. The strategy entitled Oklahoma's Comprehensive Wetland Conservation Plan was completed in July 1996.

Plan development, coordinated by the Conservation Commission, led to a framework in which an interagency working group could work to conserve, enhance, and restore the quantity and biological diversity of Oklahoma's wetland resources. This interagency working group is comprised of tribal, state, and federal entities which have an interest and/or regulatory responsibility toward wetlands.

Oklahoma is the first state in U.S. EPA's Region 6 to have completed a comprehensive wetlands plan. As a result of the plan's completion, Governor Frank Keating named May 1997 as Wetland Month. The Governor's proclamation listed a few of the many benefits Oklahoma received from wetlands including natural flood control, wildlife habitat, water purification, and ground water recharge.

Oklahoma's Comprehensive Wetlands Conservation Plan promotes private and public cooperation in managing wetlands. This is a voluntary approach using education, technical assistance, and incentives to bring the private and public sectors into wetland management as willing partners. Project funding is a combination of federal and state dollars in conjunction with the commitment of private landowners.

 

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