Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission meeting, 6, 21, 05
OSRC Administrator Ed Fite reported the agency’s legislative appropriation is $323,000, about $10,000 less than last fiscal year’s appropriation.
User fees collected so far this season are down. Approximately $14,900 has been collected from outfitters along with approximately $600 in fees for private craft.
The Northeast Outing Club has donated $500 to STIR for purchase of a smaller boat for OSRC Rangers.
The road to the area know as Sequoyah Club is will be opened this summer from about 8:30 a.m. until dark to permit recreation activities. The area has been closed due to trashing and crime. The public will now be able to drive to the so-called “berm”, past the first gate. Let’s hope folks respect the area and take care of it.
The recent river cleanup collected about 500 lbs. of trash. Twenty-three people participated.
There has been a rash of break-ins of cars in areas along the river and OSRC rangers are on special alert.
Rangers have issued 120 citations so far this season and 10 written warnings.
The Oklahoma Legislature outlawed use of alcohol inhalation devices on the Illinois River. These include funnels used to pour beer down the gullet.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas is planning a very important wastewater treatment plant according to Fite. The plant will remove phosphorus to a level of .02 mg/L he said. Most cities along the river have a limit of 1 mg/L in their permits. The new plant will cost $20 million.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: REMEMBER HOWEVER THAT PHOSPHORUS LOADING, NOT MERELY CONCENTRATION, IS CRITICAL TO THE HEALTH OF THE RIVER AND LAKE TENKILLER. LEVELS CAN BE REDUCED BUT IF THE VOLUME CONTINUES TO INCREASE, SO DOES THE LOADING FACTOR.
The commission debated formal action against Arrowhead Resort for several infractions including name identification on rafts and canoes. It was discovered commission rules are not very clear on identification. Also unclear are rules on late payment of user fees. Arrowhead Resort agreed to make all future watercraft bear the name “Arrowhead”. Owner Jack Spears said payment of user fees would not be late again.
The commission still must resolve the issue of some $2,200 that the Oklahoma State Auditor said is owed to the OSRC by Spears. The funds are from an increase in the user fee and are disputed by Spears. The matter will be considered at the August OSRC meeting when Spears must show he does not owe the funds. At the meeting Tuesday, Spear’s attorney said the fees are not owed “and won’t be paid.”
Commissioner Jeannie Hale, in a motion approved by the board, put the commission on record as stating that deadlines imposed on outfitters are firm. “It would appear you are being uncooperative and this could affect you in the future,” Hale told Spears. “I will vote to assess the full penalty if this occurs again,” she said.
The commission discussed imposing restrictions on use of alcohol on the river. No action was taken. Commissioners seemed to agree that enforcement of current rules is the key to controlling alcohol abuse by a minority of visitors. Alcohol problems have been fewer so far this year OSRC Rangers said.
Tabled was a resolution opposing land application of effluent water from facilities processing poultry or other animal waste into commercial fertilizers in the scenic river jurisdiction. A majority of residents in an area near a proposed poultry litter to energy facility at Colcord expressed concern about disposal of water used by the plant in procession poultry litter. The commission said it supported the concept of the facility (funded by E.P.A.) but was concerned about possible contamination of the Illinois River and nearby Flint Creek. The matter will be reconsidered in August when more information about the facility is available.