Thursday, March 27, 2008

New (& Free) Oklahoma Water Atlas

The New and Free Oklahoma Water Atlas is now available.
Whether your idea of fun is setting up in a duck blind at first light, an afternoon of water-skiing or catching a big bass as the sun sets, you need one thing – water, and lots of it. And thanks to the new Oklahoma Water Atlas, it is now easier than ever to decide where to go next to pursue your favorite hobby on the water.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), with support from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, has produced the most useful water-related publication to come off the presses in years. The new Oklahoma Water Atlas includes 146 detailed lake maps containing comprehensive recreational information, such as boat ramps, water depths, road maps and other important features.

“This free publication is certainly a book that every angler and boater will want to have,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “There is really a wealth of information in the book from groundwater maps to historical rainfall statistics to the history of fishing in Oklahoma.” The book’s 190 pages and 11” x 14” size is packed full of color maps and images.

Oklahoma is blessed with so many unique water resources,” said Brian Vance, director of information for the OWRB. “What’s special about the Water Atlas is that it showcases our many lakes and rivers all in one book.”

The book was created by the Water Board, and published in partnership with the Wildlife Department, which provided funds through the Sport Fish Restoration program grant number F-76-O. Fishing tackle as well as boat trolling motors and fishing-related equipment are subject to special federal excise taxes that help fund conservation efforts around the country. Additionally, federal fuel taxes attributed to motorboats are directed toward conservation.

The federal government collects these taxes from manufacturers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses the funds to state fish and wildlife agencies such as the Wildlife Department. Anglers and boaters ultimately pay these taxes through the purchase of products. These same groups benefit from the funds as states must spend the money on fishing and boating-related projects.

“The Oklahoma Water Atlas is a great example of a Sport Fish Restoration Program project,” Bolton said. “I’m confident this book will greatly improve the access to information anglers and boaters need to spend a weekend at the lake with their family.”

Sport Fish Restoration Funds are used by the Wildlife Department for a wide range of other important activities, including the construction of fish hatcheries, research laboratories, managing fish populations and educating young anglers.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board was created in 1957 and now directs staff in many areas, including the administration of permits for the beneficial use of stream and groundwater, studies of the quality and quantity of water resources, oversight of nonfederal dam safety, encouragement of responsible floodplain management, monitoring of stream flows and groundwater levels, administration of loans and grants to communities to assist in the construction of water and wastewater facilities, identification of pollution sources, and restoration of water quality. Late last year, the OWRB also initiated the update of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, which will be completed in 2011.

Individuals can pick up a free Water Atlas at the Wildlife Department headquarters located at 1801 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City or at the OWRB’s Oklahoma City office, 3800 N. Classen Blvd, 73118. Water Atlases may also be picked up any of the four OWRB branch offices: Lawton, 601 "C" Avenue, Suite 101, (580)248-7762; Tulsa, State Agencies Building, 440 S. Houston, Room 2, (918)581-2924; McAlester, 321 S. 3rd St. Suite 5, (918)426-5435; and Woodward, 2411 Williams Avenue, Suite 116, (580)256-1014

To have a book mailed to your home, send a $6 check or money order (for postage and handling) made payable to “OWRB” to Oklahoma Water Resources Board Main Office 3800 N. Classen Oklahoma City, OK 73118.

For more information about the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, log on to www.owrb.ok.gov. For more information about the fishing in Oklahoma, log on to the Wildlife Department’s Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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