theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

December 27, 2013

Chickasaws closely monitor water quality within boundary

Ada — Brent Shields is a physician of sorts. He checks the health of streams and rivers as they flow through the Chickasaw Nation. 

Shields is a Chickasaw Nation Environmental Services technician. He goes about his daily rounds and shares information he gathers with state and federal environmental agencies.

“We monitor streams year-round,” Shields said. “It’s hot during the summer and cold during the winter. We have to be careful of snakes, poison ivy and hypothermia.”

For the past 10 years, technicians have monitored creeks, streams and rivers within the Chickasaw Nation. Shields and his fellow technicians are not required by any state or federal agency to conduct water quality testing. They complete regular testing because the Chickasaw Nation desires its streams and rivers stay healthy and vibrant. The tribe utilizes grants provided through the federal Clean Water Act to assist it in being responsible stewards of its natural resources.

The tribal technicians closely monitor sites declared “impaired water systems” by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

“’Impaired’ does not always mean bad or polluted,” environmental specialist Ambrie Johnson said. “Many of the streams are classified as impaired simply because there has been little or no data collected on them.”

Current monitoring sites include locations around Ada, Tishomingo and Sulphur. The rivers, streams and creeks are contained within two primary watersheds - Little Sandy and Clear Boggy.

“People are familiar with our Pennington Creek and the Blue River locations,” Shields said. “The other sites are in rural and more remote locations.”

Advanced equipment is used to gather samples measuring stream flow, temperature, pH balance, chloride and other data.

The team also uses equipment you might recognize from your garage or tool shed. Machetes and weed-eaters come in pretty handy, particularly during the growing season. Thermal waders and protective clothes ward off hypothermia and stave off trench foot.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Stocks
Poll

Who do you blame more for the trouble in Gaza?

The Israelis
Hamas
     View Results