LAWTON, OK (TNN) -Both the USDA and Lawton Public Works say they place emphasis on creating a more sustainable future for the people across southwest Oklahoma. Their work covers things like trash and recycling, reusing storm water and helping farmers practice better conservation methods.
The Public Works department heads up projects to help the environment often, but the one their director says is key for them is dealing with the storm water throughout Lawton.
“All our runoff here in town goes downstream to someone else, and all that water turns into drinking water eventually, so that’s one big reason why we want to do everything we can to improve that water quality,” said Public Works director Larry Wolcott.
Wolcott also said using rain barrels offers a way to save water when used for gardens and landscaping.
Wolcott said the environmental efforts of the city can always improve. He added that getting the recycling option back up is a good option, but its currently not in the city's budget to do so.
“It’s just expensive to operate and especially here in Oklahoma where we have so much land available for land filling operations, it’s more efficient and more economically feasible to landfill that trash rather than recycle it,” said Wolcott.
The landfill in Lawton does recycle, but it's for specific items like batteries, tires and motor oil. One landfill program works to offset this extra trash by eliminating the harmful gas it produces.
“We collect that methane from the landfill, pipe it over to the flare and burn that. We basically produce carbon dioxide which is about 25 times less harmful than the methane,” said Wolcott.
Outside of Lawton City Limits, one branch of the USDA offices focuses its attention towards land and soil conservation.
“We help producers in agriculture. We help them implement new practices such as no till. We help them plant grass, say they want to take a crop out of production to run cattle, we do that,” said Comanche County soil conservationist Seth McCool.
McCool says this group is all about helping the farmers become more efficient, all while adding land for more animals to live on.
“Farmers there are stewards of the land, we are helping the stewards keep the land the way it should be, and keep it there for more generations to come," said McCool.
McCool said being apart of the Monarch Butterfly conservation efforts has been the best part of the USDA’s programs.
In honor of Earth Day, The Cotton Electric Cooperative is giving out milkweed seeds, the plants butterflies need to survive, so now anyone can join McCool and help save the Monarchs in their own backyard.
They can be picked up at their offices in either Walters or Duncan.