YOU’RE INVITED!!  SAVE THE DATES!!

THE LAKE O’ THE CHEROKEES SUB-WATERSHED ASSOCIATION (LOTC) RESPECTFULLY INVITES YOU TO PARTICIPATE AS A STAKEHOLDER IN THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF A REGIONAL WATERSHED PLAN.

Our Goals:

  • To encourage participation in efforts to preserve and protect water quality, and thus, a safe and sustainable ecosystem that will protect and maintain health and safety, fish and wildlife habitats, affordable potable water systems, tourism and recreation, and economic growth; 
  • To restore mutual trust by establishing common goals;
  • To share and encourage the voluntary adoption of common-sense Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce sedimentation and nutrient overloads in the Watershed; 
  • To identify funding sources to pay for Best Management Practices; 
  • To protect your hard-earned investment in our communities and the Lake O’ The Cherokees Sub-Watershed region! 

THE FIRST ANNUAL MEETING OF STAKEHOLDERS WILL BE HELD SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 at 6:00 PM VIA ZOOM.

FOR ZOOM ACCESS, PLEASE EMAIL

[email protected]

THERE IS NO CHARGE TO PARTICIPATE IN ZOOM MEETINGS!

STAKEHOLDERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND EVERY MEETING!

LOTC MEMBERSHIP IS FREE!

YOUR PARTICIPATION IS PRICELESS!!

PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS IMPORTANT EFFORT TO PROTECT YOUR HARD WORK AND SACRIFICE, THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF YOUR FAMILY, AND THE WATERSHED’S IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE ECONOMIC ENGINE OF NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA!

LOTC Watershed Meeting

CALENDAR OF STAKEHOLDERS MEETINGS

  • Stakeholders First Annual Meeting (All Regions) September 10, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (SE Kansas, Spring River, Tar Creek and Shoal Creek, SW Missouri region) September 17, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Neosho River/Miami) September 24, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Afton-Ottawa County, Welch, Bluejacket, Fairland, Wyandotte, Twin Bridges) September 25, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (South Grand, Langley, Vinita, Eucha, Tia Juana, Disney) October 1, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Elk River/Sycamore Creek/Turkey Ford) October 8, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Grove/Honey Creek/Zena/Jay) October 15, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Monkey Island/Bernice/Afton-Delaware County) October 22, 2020 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Review of Non-Point Source Management Measures) Jan. 14, 2021 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Committee Representatives for Discussions of Criteria for Reduction of Pollution and Cost Share Funding Sources February 18, 2021) 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Committee Representatives for Review of Implementations of Best Management Practices March 18, 2021) 6:00 pm
  • Annual Meeting of Stakeholders Meeting (July 15, 2021 Time TBD) 
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Committee Representatives for Review of BMP Adoption, Pollution Reductions Measurements September 16, 2021) 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (Committee Representatives, Regulatory Agencies, Grant Resources to support BMP Adoption and Provide Funding Going Forward (October 14, 2021) 6:00 pm
  • Stakeholders Meeting (All Areas – Grant Wrap-Up and Final Report (December 16, 2021) 6:00 pm
  • Administrative Meetings (Finalize Final Report and Accounting of Funding (December 31, 2021) 2:00 pm

PLEASE SAVE THE DATES AND THE MEETING CALENDAR AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!

Due to the pandemic and the difficulty to conduct in-person meetings, newspaper ads were placed to recruit stakeholders to participate in safe, on-line Zoom meetings, beginning with the first Annual Meeting to be conducted Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 6:00 PM via Zoom.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PROJECT

HOW THIS EFFORT BEGAN:

In 2007, a nonprofit organization called the Grand Lake Watershed Alliance Foundation, LLC, was formed to preserve and protect the water quality of the Grand Lake Watershed Basin.  This was a monumental task, in that the full Watershed encompasses areas of four states (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas), the largest Superfund Site in the U.S. (Tar Creek and the Tri-State Mining Region), two EPA regions, nine Native American reservation areas, and multiple non-permitted sources of pollutants.

GLWAF faced multiple roadblocks, not the least of which was acquiring funding to provide incentives to stakeholders in the region to adopt Best Management Practices that would curb the pollutants and degradation of the Watershed.  

A decade later, in 2018, discussion began between the GLWAF, GRDA and the US Bureau of Reclamation Grants Division to facilitate the formation of a smaller, sub-watershed basin nonprofit group called the Lake O’ the Cherokees Sub-Watershed Association (LOTC).  LOTC’s purpose mirrors, though on a smaller scale, GLWAF’s earlier efforts to address the need to protect health and public safety, support affordable public water systems, and to protect the important economic investments of stakeholders in rural Northeastern Oklahoma.   

The State of Kansas, in which more than half of the full Grand Lake Watershed resides, has already begun the process of developing multiple subwatershed associations to deal with the environmental issues in manageable segments with similar geographic and use characteristics, including those that contribute to the nutrient and sedimentation loads in the LOTC Watershed.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment continues to work to provide coordination and funding resources to much of the upstream areas, including cost-share incentives to farming and ranching to encourage use of Best Management Practices (BMPs).  

Oklahoma has also benefitted widely from federal and state conservation programs.  Cost-share incentives are a proven mechanism to encourage adoption of BMPs.  Many Ottawa and Delaware County agricultural producers have participated in NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program cost-share programs; however, RCPP funding has expired and only active projects at date of expiration are continuing.  So, it will be a vitally important role of LOTC to identify public and private funding sources for incentives to producers to achieve nutrient load reductions.  

In January 2020, an agreement was formally signed between GRDA and the Grand Lake Watershed Alliance, providing that a Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart Grant would be implemented over a two-year period.  The objectives of the grant included the formation of a stakeholders group, the formation of the Lake O’ the Cherokees Sub-Watershed Association as a non-profit organization, to prioritize areas in need of remediation to stem the flow of pollutants, to develop educational materials about voluntary actions Stakeholders could use to reduce pollution, to provide information and cost estimates for Best Management Practices, and ultimately, to identify funding sources to incentivize the adoption of Best Management Practices that would lower the level of sedimentation and nutrients making their way into the Watershed Basin.   

Testing and scientific investigation identified by GLWAF, GRDA and other conservation and environmental agencies cite the following areas in need of remediation:

  • NEOSHO RIVER
  • GRAND LAKE O’ THE CHEROKEES (UPPER, MIDDLE, LOWER AND BELOW DAM)
  • DROWNING CREEK
  • HORSE CREEK
  • LITTLE HORSE CREEK
  • HONEY CREEK
  • CAVE SPRINGS BRANCH
  • SYCAMORE CREEK
  • TAR CREEK
  • COW CREEK
  • FOURMILE CREEK
  • RUSSELL CREEK

A local law firm was engaged to draft the organizational documents, and an interim Board of Directors was appointed to serve.  

The initial Board Members are:

CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Chris Beckwith, Vice President of Marketing, Falcon Rods, Tulsa, OK

Randy Bennett, NRCS Agent (Retired), Girard, Kansas

Deborah Dotson, Water Quality Officer, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma 

Rick Littlefield, former State Legislator and rancher, Afton, OK

Jeri Fleming, GRDA Consultant, Locust Grove, OK

Christen Lee, GLWAF Member, Wyandotte Nation Environmental Director, Joplin, Missouri

Carl Metcalf, Chairman GLWAF, Grove, OK

Dr. Gretchen Sassenrath, KSU Agronomist, Parsons, KS 

Jason Sheffield, Commercial and Residential Developer, Afton, OK

Dr. Jim Triplett, retired Dean of Marine Biology, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS 

Grant Victor, Ottawa County Conservation Board

Mike Williams, Vice President, Oklahoma State Marinas Association

Barry Willingham, CEO Shangri-La Resort and Golf Course, Monkey Island, OK

Janice Wilson, Environmental Technician, Wyandotte Nation, Wyandotte OK

The organizational By-Laws provide that the Board shall be comprised of a minimum of 11 members and a maximum of 27 members.  Interested stakeholders willing to serve on the Board are encouraged to contact Cari Williams, Project Consultant at:

[email protected].

Invitations to serve as Board Members have been extended to each of the ten Tribal leaders within the sub-watershed region, and to state and local conservation agencies.  Any stakeholder within the Watershed Region is encouraged to participate as a board member or member of a stakeholder committee.  

An overview of the duties of Stakeholders, Board Members and Officers will be presented in PowerPoint format at the Zoom Meeting to be held Thursday, September 10 at 6:00 PM.  Or if you would like to receive a printable copy, or receive more information about Board Members’ duties and meetings calendar and the project goals, please contact Cari Williams at [email protected].  

To date, multiple presentations have been made to area civic organizations.  The pandemic brought in-person meetings to a halt, but we hope to begin in-person presentations at the earliest opportunity. Any invitations to attend or provide materials to your organization will be greatly appreciated.  LOTC outreach efforts will continue to civic, religious and educational organizations, as well as conservation and environmental groups that already provide vital “boots on the ground” and which serve as the mainstay of meaningful change.  

The pandemic has created unforeseen delays in meeting the goals outlined in the original grant difficult.  The Association has sought an extension and revised the calendar of goals.  In any event, the work of the newly formed Lake O’ The Cherokees Sub-Watershed Association will continue but it may take longer.  Our hope is that 2021 will move us forward rapidly, with the opportunities to hold in-person meetings to achieve our mutual goals.

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