2012 Water Quality Monitoring Strategy
Current Monitoring Projects
New funding revitalizes Oklahoma's monitoring programs: The State Legislature has added $1.5M to the OWRB's Beneficial Use Monitoring program, which will be renewed to its original 1998 funding level. [full story]
New groundwater monitoring & assessment program (GMAP): A crucial component of FY-13 legislative funding is development of a much-needed statewide program for monitoring both the quantity and quality of Oklahoma's invaluable aquifers. [full story]
National Lake Assessment: EPA's second snapshot
of the condition of the nation's lakes was completed this summer. Oklahoma has 32 of the over 900 included lakes nationwide. The OWRB was charged with collecting a specialized set of water quality parameters for the survey. [full story]
2010-2011 BUMP Report Released April 2012. The Beneficial Use Monitoring Program's latest report, including water quality analysis and results, is available here.
About the Program
The OWRB's Water Quality Monitoring section consists of multiple crews of biologists that sample lakes, streams and groundwater wells throughout the year and across the state to produce a scientific picture of both the current conditions and historcal trends of the State's waters. Informed decisions can then be made about this invaluable resource.
The various monitoring programs consists of five sampling teams: lakes, streams, biological streams, groundwater, and
ambient trend sampling.
The OWRB also runs probabilistic sample sites throughout the state that
are selected at random by computer. Thus, each
stream site has an equal probability or chance of being
selected for monitoring.
Numerous and varied efforts over the past few decades have generated multiple datasets and reports:
Other OWRB Monitoring Activities:
- Providing necessary data for developing, refining, or modifying numerical criteria listed in Oklahoma’s Water Quality Standards
- Providing background data for Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) studies, including both stream gauge and water quality data, much of which is related to confirming 303(d) listings and determining allocations
- Stream gauging for numerous grants and contracts and providing discharge measurements on BUMP stations not currently gauged by the United States Geological Survey
- Sampling approximately 850 wells to track movement of pollutants from Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) to support regulation by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
- Monitoring stream water for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting process for hydroelectric power generation activities
- Provided data as part of an ongoing study concerning groundwater quality for the Garber-Wellington Hydrology Study
- Collection of water and biological samples for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to find a continued presence or document the absence of pesticides in streams which have previously been listed on the state’s 303(d) list as being impaired for pesticides.
July 2012 - New funding revitalizes Oklahoma's monitoring programs: The State Legislature has added $1.5M to OWRB's BUMP program which, in part, will be used to bring the program back to its original level.
Lakes: The additional funding will allow some changes to be made to the Lakes program to both make it “whole” as well as move it forward. The proposed changes include modifying the suite of sampled constituents and their sampling frequency. Orthophosphorus will be added to the sampling regime, allowing for a better understanding of nutrient cycling within lakes. Bottom water samples will once again be collected during periods of stratification. This information will be useful in determining the chemistry of hypolimnetic waters (water near the lake bottom) and nutrient cycling (generally, how nitrogen and phosphorus interact with the lake’s water and sediment). Sampling frequency will be increased during the summer growing season to increase the understanding of lake nutrient dynamics and assist in developing and conducting nutrient impairment studies.
Rivers & Streams: Reconfiguration of the BUMP streams monitoring network will place fixed stations to provide water quality and quantity data near or at the terminal point of each of the 82 Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan (OCWP) planning basins, as well as meet other specific monitoring needs. The network will collect comprehensive water quality data, including chemical, physical, biological, and habitat data. As before, the primary data objectives will be to analyze data for trends, use assessment, condition, water quality standards development, loading, and water planning needs. Although the network will see about a 5% reduction in total stations, the number of site visits will increase by approximately 25%. For example, some stations will be discontinued because regular reviews of BUMP data indicate no statistically significant difference from another upstream or downstream network station on the same river. While spatially representative data will continue to be collected on the waterbody, the increased number of site visits will enhance characterization of stream water quality.
Collections will continue to characterize general water chemistry and biological condition as well as water quantity. In addition to increased site visits, new monitoring may include additional refinement to the BUMP’s toxics monitoring program, regular measurement of suspended solids, increased algal monitoring, and annual bacteria collections at all network sites. Also, the program will provide near real-time quantity information at all fixed stations, through a combination of OWRB and USGS operated stream gages. Development of stage-discharge ratings and collection of near real-time stage data are imperative to physical characterization as well as processing of chemistry and biological data for trends and assessment analyses. Lastly, the OWRB’s statewide probabilistic based monitoring network will continue to provide estimates of condition and stressor extent at a statewide scale for all perennial flowing waters. Small refinements to the network will allow for estimates to be made at other strata, including both wadeable and boatable waterbodies and smaller aggregated ecoregions, for example the Western Plains—Tablelands, Forested Plains—Flint Hills, and Temperate Forests—Arkansas Valley.
(more on BUMP)
MARCH 2013 - New groundwater monitoring & aSSESSMENT program (GMAP) to begin soon: Enabled through a recent $1.5 million legislative appropriation, the OWRB's new Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program (GMAP) is underway following stakeholder input and peer review. Representing Oklahoma’s first holistic groundwater network, GMAP will collect baseline groundwater level and quality data from wells in Oklahoma’s twenty-one major aquifers.
Initial planning led to the identification of approximately 750 wells that are prime candidates for the water quality component of the strategy, while up to about 1,200 potential well sites could make up the expanded groundwater level component of GMAP. Among many benefits, data will be used to track trends and identify both limitations and opportunities related to site-specific groundwater usage throughout Oklahoma.
Groundwater Monitoring & Assessment Program Brochure
october 2012 - National Lake Assessment Was completed: EPA's second snapshot
of the condition of our nation's lakes was completed this summer. Oklahoma had 32 of the over 900 lakes nationwide whereby the OWRB was charged with collecting a specialized set of water quality parameters for the survey (full story).