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Carbon Sequestration Certification Program

Water QualityMuskogee CCD Nature Reserve land and water

Storing carbon dioxide in soil benefits more than air quality; it also benefits water quality. When soil blows in the wind or washes into waterways, it becomes a pollutant. Soil held in place by plants, trees, and their roots is much less likely to become airborne or to erode into waterways where it can disturb the aquatic food chain by burying fish eggs and the insects that fish eat. Soil particulates in water can also affect drinking water treatment processes resulting in more money needing to be spent to make the water suitable for drinking. When plant roots are left in the soil they filter substances such as herbicides and pesticides from the water as it flows across the land or other surfaces. This filtration prevents the pollutants from washing into a stream where it can adversely affect fish, wildlife, and drinking water quality.

Oklahoma saw evidence of the benefits of soil stability in the Fort Cobb watershed with tropical storm Erin in 2007. Thousands of acres of lands under traditional tillage with no plants or roots left in the ground lost 100% of their topsoil and became unfarmable, while lands under no-till suffered much less, or no damage by comparison. This is an example of why the Conservation Commission and its partners continue to work together to bring incentives, education, and program opportunities to Oklahomans who are willing to voluntarily commit to practices that protect Oklahoma's natural resources. 

Visit the Water Quality Division webpages for more information on water quality projects in Oklahoma. 

Last Modified on 01/27/2010