Save the Illinois River, Inc.
24369 E 757 Rd.
Tahlequah, OK 74464-1949
(918) 284-9440

Second Webinar on Phosphorous is Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m.

| | September 21, 2020

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Illinois River at Fite Ranch-Ed Brocksmith

2020-2021 Illinois River Watershed Total Phosphorous Criterion Revision


The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) currently is revising the Illinois River Watershed Total Phosphorous Criterion.  The phosphorous limit for Oklahoma Scenic Rivers is 0.037 mg/L Total Phosphorous and will not be changed.

What is being changed is the way the nutrient phosphorous is measured in the Illinois River, Barren Fork Creek and Flint Creek.  The OWRB’s proposed criterion revision defines the term “critical condition” as recommended by a Joint Study Committee in 2016.  The OWRB’s definition of critical condition is a departure from the way phosphorus is currently measured.  According to the OWRB: “implementing the new data would limit the data used for assessment of the aesthetics beneficial use to those data values collected when the critical condition was satisfied. This is a transition away from the present inclusive use of data for beneficial use assessment.”

The OWRB’s proposed revision of the phosphorous criterion will not give additional protection to Lake Tenkiller.  This fact, coupled with the failure of Oklahoma and the EPA to perform a Federal Clean Water Act pollution study (Total Maximum Daily Load, TMDL), puts Lake Tenkiller at greater risk of water quality degradation...Stay Informed.Finally, a couple of facts about phosphorous pollution of the Illinois River watershed and Lake Tenkiller:

Ed Fite, vice president of scenic rivers for the Grand River Dam Authority, was quoted in the Muskogee Phoenix saying:  “…more than a year's worth of phosphorus can move through the Illinois River Basin during a single high-flow event than what might flow at base flow for a full year. He said the runoff from high-flow events carries into the river "legacy phosphorus" that remains in the soil due to past agricultural practices.”

Samples taken from the Illinois River during high flow events (storm water runoff events)  show that perhaps 90-percent of the phosphorus entering the river comes from nonpoint sources including runoff from urban and farm areas, primarily from poultry and animal manure.

Save the Illinois River (STIR) urge you to attend the upcoming webinars and to express your opinions to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board at

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24369 E 757 RD
TAHLEQUAH, OK 74454-1949
(918) 284-9440