State Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton, a former member of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, released the following statement regarding the success of the 2,107 watershed structures throughout Oklahoma.
“This past week, many areas of Oklahoma have received record rainfall,” Grego said. “While widespread flooding is happening, we must not lose sight of how much flooding is being prevented by our watershed structures. These silent sentinels have done their duty. Many miles of highways are still passable. Many bridges are still in place. We’ll never know how many homes and businesses did not get water damage rendering them useless because of the protections afforded by these structures.
“We realize many of these structures are utilizing their auxiliary spillways. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact these structures are working as designed. To date, we have had no failures. This in itself is amazing considering many of them are 50 years old, which is their useful life expectancy.
“Early estimates indicate in excess of $16 million of property damage has been avoided. Avoiding these costly losses benefits every Oklahoman.
“In the state budget the Legislature just approved for Fiscal Year 2020, we were able to secure $1.5 million to help perform maintenance on these important structures. We must never lose sight of how important they are.
“I can’t praise our local conservation boards enough as well as the Oklahoma Conservation Commission for their continued work in maintaining these silent sentinels.”