Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

TULSA – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations recently entered into an agreement to develop the first phase of Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations Regional Water Plan.

This science-based regional water plan will assess the water resources of the Nations’ treaty territory, an area that roughly covers the 22 counties of southeastern and south central Oklahoma.

The plan is designed to develop strategies for the sustainable management of the region’s water resources by considering current and future water needs as well as the condition and adequacy of infrastructure throughout the region.

The $180,000 cost of the study is federally authorized through the Planning Assistance to States and Tribes program and will be shared equally between the Corps of Engineers and the two Nations.

“We are proud to partner for the first time with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations,” said Col. Michael Teague, Tulsa District commander. “Our goals of environmental stewardship and sustainability are very closely aligned and we look forward to a continued partnership.”

The first phase of the study will focus on developing methods to evaluate in-stream flows and infrastructure.

A panel of scientists selected by the Nations natural resources committee from federal agencies, academia and other highly qualified individuals will conduct the study of in-stream flow.

“It is envisioned that the recommended methodology will be used to establish minimum stream flow levels necessary for highly valued water supply and hydropower,” said Cynthia Kitchens, tribal liaison and project manager for the Corps of Engineers. “But just as important, these flows will help sustain natural resources, cultural, and recreational needs that are also extremely important to the Nations and the region for economic as well as other reasons.”

The infrastructure assessment methodology will be developed to determine data gathering procedures that will help regionalize and prioritize improvements to aging infrastructures.

“This can be challenging when you consider gathering data from tribes, municipalities, counties, rural water districts, and others who employ a multitude of consultants,” Kitchens said. “This phase of the study will identify how to gather data and what data should be obtained. The results will have broad reaching impacts within the region and the Nations.”

The first phase of the study is expected to be completed in summer 2012.