Conservation Partners open New Year with signed agreement with Chickasaw Nation

Conservation Partners open New Year with signed agreement with Chickasaw Nation to promote conservation practices

The Chickasaw Nation, the Oka’ Institute, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service begin 2021 with a signed Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together to provide quality resources, education, and research toward the continuous development and improvement to the local communities and watersheds contained within the Chickasaw Nation’s territory.

Tribal landowners and land users play an important role in the management of agricultural land, and these partners looks forward to supporting conservation efforts through this agreement.

“The Chickasaw Nation, working with our dedicated conservation partners, acknowledges our intent and commitment to work cooperatively and effectively to provide quality resources, education, and research toward watershed health within the Chickasaw Nation,” said Kristopher Patton, Chickasaw Nation Director of Natural Resources. “This ‘cornerstone agreement’ symbolizes a commitment to watershed sustainability focused on engagement and action by local stakeholders to successfully accomplish land stewardship best management practices. This effort is a key process towards overall environmental health and economic prosperity within our local communities.”

“We at Oka’ the Water Institute at ECU are excited to be a part of this historic collaboration between Chickasaw Nation, OCC, and NRCS,” said Susan Paddack, Executive Director of The Oka’ Institute. “Through our work together, we will be able to help landowners implement best management practices that will improve the quality of their land and will ultimately improve their economic prosperity. The resulting benefit to the watershed will be healthier soil and improved water quality and quantity—truly a win-win situation for all.”

Trey Lam, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, said, “What an honor to work with great partners like the Chickasaw Nation and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve soil health and water quality in south central Oklahoma.  I predict you will see great accomplishments produced from sharing resources among these three long-time stewards of our water and soil.”

Gary O’Neill, Natural Resources Conservation Service Oklahoma State Conservationist, said, “Enhancing the conservation partnership to include tribes like the Chickasaw Nation allows for the expansion of private lands conservation which will lead to more soil health systems being installed and water quality improvements across south central Oklahoma.”

Through this five-year agreement, the partners will educate and share resources with the goal of improving water quality and soil health. This will involve regular communication regarding conservation practices and programs.