Environmental stewardship is important to the Chickasaw Nation. Ongoing community endeavors like environmental camps, planting trees and sponsoring Earth Day celebrations are important. The actual testing of the resources and collection and interpretation of the data is vital.
It’s hard work. For environmental technicians working for Chickasaw Nation Environmental Services, stewardship means getting wet, breaking a sweat and braving extreme conditions.
Water monitoring is made possible by the federal Clean Water Act Section 106. Section 106 provides regulatory context and mandates for water quality monitoring and assessment programs conducted by the Chickasaw Nation Environmental Services Department.
“The Chickasaw Nation was one of the first tribal governments to conduct a watershed monitoring project within its lands,” Johnson said. “Our water monitoring grant allows the protection of public health and gives us an idea about water quality trends within the Nation. The information collected can now be used to compare samples if emerging ecological damage begins to occur or if we have a sudden emergency pollution event.”
The water monitoring program conducted by the Chickasaw Nation has specific goals. These include continued monitoring within EPA guidelines, reporting and regular training of personnel. In the future, community outreach will include water quality education for members of the community who reside within the 13-county territory of the Chickasaw Nation.
“The overall goal is to have high water quality within the Chickasaw Nation,” Johnson said. “We monitor so that water pollution can be controlled, or eliminated, within our jurisdictional boundaries.”