Monitoring in the Poteau River Watershed

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Funding Agency: Poteau Valley Improvement Authority

Project Period: July 2016 to present

Purpose: The Poteau Valley Improvement Authority (PVIA) is interested in water quality at many sites in the Upper Poteau River Watershed (UPRW), which drains into Lake Wister in Oklahoma. Lake Wister is the drinking water supply for most of LeFlore County, and parts of Latimer and Haskell Counties. It's also well known for its good crappie and catfishing, summer camping, and water skiing. PVIA wants to know how nutrients and sediments are related to land use in sub-watersheds.

Objective: The Center is collecting water samples at 26 sites throughout the UPRW, which represents 23 HUC 12 watersheds. Samples are collected 1 time per month during baseflow conditions and analyzed for nutrients, sediments, turbidity, chlorophyll a, chloride and sulfate.

Goal: The goal of this project is to identify "hot spots" in the watershed where high concentrations of nutrients, sediments and salts occur. This will allow the PVIA to focus activities for best management practices (BMPs) where they could be the most effective to reduce inputs into Lake Wister.

Benefit: It can cost a lot of money to ensure a clean water supply. But, we can make the best use of available resources to improve water quality when we know the specific areas that contribute to degraded water quality. This project will allow PVIA to make more informed decisions about how to manage the watershed to improve the water quality of Lake Wister.