1. We ADVOCATE
We apply generational knowledge of the watershed to facilitate policy change, needed research, and public education to promote the sustainability of the Blue River watershed for all stakeholders.
In a word, we advocate for the Blue River watershed and the karst-landscaped Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer with its many underground streams, fissures, above-ground springs, and wetlands that feed this 600+ square mile river basin.
It is estimated that the Blue River accounts for more than 50% of the discharge from the eastern portion of the aquifer, and this vital river in turn provides more than 95% of Durant’s drinking water, to name just one reliant user.
To the Blue River Foundation of Oklahoma, “advocacy” means supporting actions, world-class research, policies, uses, best practices, and educational opportunities that promote the conservation of this resource for its users: agriculture, municipal, manufacturing, tourism, and recreation.
2. We PROMOTE
We promote the economic viability of the entire Blue River watershed to position South Central Oklahoma for economic growth into the mid-21st century and beyond.
By the numbers, more than 150,000 people rely on the aquifer and the Blue River for municipal drinking water. Approximately 100,000 people visit the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation fishing area each year, most during the November-March trout season. The Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, with a combined population of 250,000, revere the cultural and economic value the river bestows.
All Oklahomans benefit from the $100-$144 million per year in quantifiable economic value recent studies have calculated for Blue River, and the river’s inherent value to heritage landowners and other stewards is immeasurable.
3. We support SCIENCE-BASED decisions
We are an agile, forward-thinking foundation that provides a nexus of understanding for policy makers, scientists, diverse industries, and deep-rooted cultures.
Economic, cultural, environmental, and drinking water benefits to the region are at risk, because in karst aquifers like the Arbuckle-Simpson, far-removed disruptive surface and subsurface activities can damage recharge features like sinkholes and fractures, interrupt the underground flow of groundwater through fissures and voids, or simply remove groundwater before it naturally replenishes springs, streams, and rivers.
Scientists and state regulators do not fully understand the complexity of the Arbuckle-Simpson permeable karst aquifer and that is precisely why the Blue River Foundation takes a science-based approach to our advocacy and public outreach.
We see our role as catalysts for multi-faceted strategies like promoting and funding proven agricultural best management practices such as prescribed burning, helping scientists with access to private lands to conduct surface and subsurface research, conducting our own research into river riparian health, and engaging with other stakeholders including the Tribal Nations, private landowners, non-government agencies, universities, state agencies, and municipalities to drive sustainability in the basin.