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Press Release
August 11, 2015

OWRB's Derek Smithee Awarded National Water Administrators Association's "Highest Honor"

Derek Smithee, the OWRB's Chief of Water Quality Division, has been selected by the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) as the recipient of the organization's 2015 Environmental Statesman Award. The Environmental Statesman Award, presented to Smithee at ACWA's Mid-Year Meeting in Minneapolis this week, is the "Associationís highest honor, presented to Association Members and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to ACWA over a multi-year period."

"I am deeply honored to be chosen by my colleagues and peers at ACWA for this prestigious award," said Smithee. "My membership and service in the association has played an important role in helping me to better guide water quality and monitoring programs in the state of Oklahoma."

With 31 total years of public service, Smithee has lead the OWRB's Water Quality Programs Division since 1995. In that role, he has managed the promulgation of Oklahoma's Water Quality Standards (WQS) and Standards Implementation rules, lake monitoring work including diagnostic and feasibility studies as well as restorations, and much of Oklahoma's surface and groundwater monitoring programs.

"Derek is an exemplary public servant for the citizens of Oklahoma," said OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong. "His steady leadership of the OWRB's Water Quality Programs Division, and his professional commitment to water resource management, have made him instrumental in the development of numerous state and federal water regulations."

In addition to ACWA, Smithee serves on numerous other state and federal water policy workgroups including the National USDA/EPA Nutrient Criteria Advisory Committee, EPA's National Large Rivers Workgroup, Bacteria/Recreation Workgroup, Oklahomaís Water Quality Monitoring Council, Oklahoma's 303(d)/305(b) Workgroup, the Oklahoma Department Environmental Quality's Water Rules Committee, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture's CAFO Rules Committee, the WQS Implementation Advisory Committee, and others.

Smithee received his B.S. from Oklahoma State University in Zoology in 1983 while playing football for Coach Jimmy Johnson and working at the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. He received his M.S. from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 in Environmental Science. He began work for the Oklahoma State Department of Health in 1984, transferred to the OWRB in 1987 as WQS Coordinator and has been Water Quality Programs Division Chief since 1995.

Founded in 1961, ACWA is a national, nonpartisan professional organization that consists of State, Interstate, and Territorial officials who are responsible for the implementation of surface water protection programs throughout the nation.


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