Oklahoma congressman Frank Lucas took a recent tour of one of Oklahoma’s flood control rehabilitation projects in the western part of the state.
He and officials of the USDA and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission toured the Upper Elk Creek Site 23D project near Elk City. Rep. Lucas was joined by Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, State Representative Todd Russ, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Resources Conservation Service Oklahoma State Conservation Engineer Chris Stoner.
Oklahoma is home to 2,107 upstream flood control dams- the most of any state in the nation.
During the tour, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03), a longtime champion of the upstream flood control programs, said, “In conservation these are the good old days; all we have to do is continue to work together and there will be benefits for generations to come. Am I proud of what we have done together? You bet.”
Trey Lam, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, said, “The Watershed Program works best as a partnership of local, state and federal entities with a common goal of preventing devastating flooding while putting conservation on the ground in the watershed. The 2,107 flood control structures in Oklahoma would never have been built without such a strong partnership.”
Although Site 23D is functioning as originally planned and providing downstream flood damage prevention, this rehabilitation means that in the future, Site 23D will reduce the potential of a dam breach and subsequent potential damage to downstream properties and infrastructure and will reduce the risk of loss of life. Additionally, the rehabilitation of site 23D allows for the service life of the dam to be extended for at least a century.
Chris Stoner, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Oklahoma State Conservation Engineer, said, “It was great to see the support from all different levels today with city, county, state and federal officials all in attendance. It was good for everyone to see a job that is under construction to show the scale and complexities of these rehabilitation projects.”
In 2000, Lucas’ Small Watershed Rehabilitation Amendments were signed into law providing critical investments to help rehabilitate watershed dams in need of repair. Provided by the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Amendments, more than $900 million has been appropriated for rehabilitating aging dams.
Find out more about the rehabilitation project from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission here
Source: Rep. Lucas