Introduction and Problem
With more than 167,000 miles of rivers/streams and 55,000 miles of shoreline, Oklahoma is known for its limitless water recreation and tourism opportunities. However, due to a variety of anthropogenic and wildlife impacts to water resources, pathogens can become a potential hindrance on water quality for the many beneficial uses of streams and rivers. Therefore, water-quality monitoring (specifically, for pathogen indicators) is important to identify water bodies that could are impaired, or experiencing water quality degradation. The State of Oklahoma currently has over 7,500 stream miles that are listed on 303(d) list for both E. coli and enterococci for impairment per the 2016 Integrated Report from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and Water Resources Board (OWRB). Recently, state resources needed to routinely monitor streams for bacteria have been limited, thus impairment status is unknown for many of the listed streams. The Oklahoma Water Survey is working in conjunction with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and Water Resources Board to routinely monitor impaired stream sites in selected regions.
The Oklahoma Water Survey (OWS) sampled 23 streams (data available on OWS data portal) in the 2018 recreational season that are listed on the 303(d) impaired list, as determined by the State of Oklahoma Primary Body Contact Recreation (PBCR) beneficial use, for both E. coli and enterococci ten times during the recreational season (May 1 – September 30). Impairment criteria for PBCR is determined by calculating a geometric mean of a minimum of ten (10) samples, and attained E. coli does not exceed 126 colonies/100mL, or enterococci does not exceed 33 colonies/100mL. The selected stream sampling locations coincide with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s (OCC) statewide rotating basin monitoring program for wadeable smaller-order streams (Figure 1). Monitoring work will provide necessary data to determine impairment status of 303(d)-listed streams, and potentially remove some streams from impaired status. The OWS plans to sample 25 streams in the 2019 recreation season in continuation and support of assessing impairment status in legacy stream sites.
Figure 1. Oklahoma Conservation Commission Rotating Basin Monitoring Program Map.
Stream Data and Quality Control Summary: