The Durant Economic Development Council met on Tuesday. The topic of discussion during the meeting was water preservation and also the resignation of Durant Main Street Program Manager Beverly Hemphill.
First, Mike Fuhr, Oklahoma State Director for The Nature Conservancy, gave a presentation on the effort being made to protect Blue River.
According to Fuhr, the conservancy is the leading conservation organization in the world. In Oklahoma, the conservancy protects several areas in Oklahoma and has added the Oka’ Yanahli Preserve.
This preserve is located on Blue River and is meant to preserve the watershed. Blue River will be a showcase of how water quality can be maintained, according to Fuhr.
This is going to be a proactive plan to protect the water instead of having to restore water quality after it has been damaged.
Amy Ford presented a legislative update on the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer and Blue River at the meeting as well.
Ford is the president of Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer (CPASA). CPASA is a group working to create legislation that protects the aquifer.
Ford said the group is meeting with the Oklahoma Water Resource Board to declare the aquifer a Class 1 Special Source Groundwater.
Though the group is seeing some resistance, Ford said, “we are trying our best.”
She said the best way to get the message to the State Chamber to support the group’s cause is to write letters to the chamber.
The meeting had a bitter-sweet ending as the council bid farewell to Beverly Hemphill, program manager for Durant Main Street.
Hemphill will be going to Stillwater to continue her career. She is currently engaged to an OSU assistant coach.
Hemphill has been with Durant Main Street and the Economic Development Council for two years.