Abstract: May 29  10:10 AM (BACK)
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Partnerships for Restoration in the Illinois River Watershed

Presenter:
Shanon Phillips
Oklahoma Conservation Commission
Oklahoma City, OK

Author:  Phillips, S.J.

Like many states, Oklahoma struggles to protect riverine systems that have been damaged by hydromodification.  Protection and restoration of rivers and streams using natural channel design is a goal of the state’s Nonpoint Source Management Program, which aims to implement one to two such projects each year.  Unfortunately, like many programs, funding is always the limiting factor such that one to two such projects generally happen once every five years, rather than on an annual basis.

However, in 2009, a funding opportunity through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act using Clean Water State Revolving Fund monies opened up the possibility of completing a decade’s worth of projects in 3 short years.  In order to best utilize the funding, the project assembled a working group of numerous local, state, and federal partners.  However, significant losses of personnel at one of the key partnering agencies would cause the project to need every month of the three year time window plus tremendous support from remaining partners to see the project through.

This presentation will focus on the processes and partnerships that allowed the project to be completed on time and on budget, but also to open up new opportunities and partnerships to continue natural stream restoration work in a challenging economic environment.  The presentation will showcase project results, which demonstrated the benefits of natural channel design, but, perhaps equally importantly, demonstrated that local, state, tribal, and federal entities can work together successfully.