Our Watershed at Risk

What are the risks? The risks to the Grand Lake’s water are very real. Without immediate and ongoing action, the lake’s water quality may continue to deteriorate. High levels of nutrients – from phosphorus fertilizers, wastewater treatment, septic tank leaching and other forms of pollution – endanger the clean water we have enjoyed so long.

Algae blooms, caused in part by harmful concentrations of phosphorus, are not only unsightly — they can be toxic. Such blue-green algae blooms already have occurred within our watershed — resulting in interruptions of recreational uses and threats to economic growth.

Addressing these threats will require collective and coordinated action by a broad range of citizens, stakeholders, and state and federal agencies. With a watershed that traverses four states — Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma — interstate cooperation will be needed at all levels to protect the water quality.

Why does water quality matter? Our large and complex watershed has a major economic impact, especially on northeast Oklahoma. That makes water quality serious business. Many feel that Grand Lake is the single most important resource asset in our part of the state. Beyond economics, Grand Lake offers many intangible benefits. The area is nationally recognized as a popular retirement and vacation home destination, for its quality of life, and natural beauty. Indeed, all area property owners have a vested interest in the water quality of the lake and its tributaries.

In the end, Grand Lake is our lake. It bolsters our economy, it enriches our lives, and it enhances our lifestyles. We who depend so much on this regional treasure have a special responsibility to be careful stewards of its future.