Oklahoma Water Resources Center

Rivers & Streams


Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation spends over $4 million cleaning up litter along state roads, but even more of this trash finds its way into our waters. In the Illinois River alone, the Oklahoma Scenic River Commission cleans up 9 tons of trash every summer. Rain and high water wash litter and chemicals from roadsides and gravel bars into our creeks, rivers, and lakes where pollutants spoil natural beauty, interfere with boat traffic, harm aquatic life, and potentially injure swimmers. To find out what you can do to help make our waters cleaner this summer, please read L-310 “Protect the Illinois River from the Threat of Trash.”



Protect Our Rivers from Trash (June 2015 article by Joshua Cross, Water Center staff writer)

Is Your Investment in Fertilizer Being Washed Away? (June 2015 article by Joshua Cross, Water Center staff writer)

OSU research team investigates streambank erosion and phosphorus sources (December 2014 article by Jonathan Anthony, Water Center staff writer)

OSU researchers earn $600,000 USDA grant to study sediment in Fort Cobb watershed (12/12/2013 news release by Leilana McKindra, Ag Communications Services)

Beetles enjoying a buffet of saltcedar in Oklahoma  (11/12/2013 news article by Sean Hubbard, Ag Comm. Services)

Awareness is key to curbing spread of aquatic nuisance species (June 3, 2011 Weekly Wildlife News, ODWC)




Conservation and management efforts are generally poor due to inadequate information on mussel distribution. This study looks at distribution and abundance of freshwater mussel species in the Muddy Boggy and Clear Boggy rivers. Read more...
(Dr. Shannon Brewer - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)


The goal of this study is to better understand the effects of land use and habitat factors on mussel populations.  Read more...
(Dr. Shannon Brewer - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)


Low-flow conditions can be stressful for fishes, but how do their populations respond to habitat changes resulting from flow reductions?  Read more...
(Dr. Shannon Brewer - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)

This study will determine how environmental factors interact to determine egg buoyancy, transport, developmental rate, and hatching success of the endangered Arkansas River shiner.  Resulting data will help identify areas that are likely to currently support successful Arkansas River shiner reproduction.  Read more...
(Dr. Shannon Brewer - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)

Brewer-mena crayfish

The objectives of this study are to determine the distribution and abundance of crayfish species in streams of southeast Oklahoma and to determine movement patterns and survival of crayfish in response to environmental parameters.  Read more...
(Dr. Shannon Brewer - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)


The native fishes of Lee Creek are unique, particularly the endangered longnose darter. Studies are looking at how a proposed upstream dam in Arkansas may alter their habitat. 
(Dr. Jim Long - OK Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Natural Resource Ecology and Management)


Techniques are being used to stabilize the streambanks of Cow Creek to protect the water quality, the "Oklahoma Gardening" Studio Garden, and infrastructure.
 - Read about the demonstration at the Botanic Garden at OSU here.
 - View a presentation or a video.


Stream stewardship to avoid bank erosion and other problems is taught using six stream trailers housed in different locations across the state... more
(Dr. Marley Beem - Natural Resource Ecology & Management)aaa

Document Actions
More Resources:



extension fact sheets






Associated Pages:

Illinois River Watershed Symposium


In-stream (environmental) Flows


Erosion Control


Nutrient Management


Water Law


Watersheds of OK


Related Sites:

Oklahoma Stream Depletion Factor worksheet


OSU Stream Trailer


External Resources:

Noxious Aquatic Plants (Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation)


Oklahoma Invasive Species


Oklahoma's Problem Species (Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council)