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March 28, 2024

Emergency Drought Commission Extends Deadline for Select Practices

OKLAHOMA CITY —The Emergency Drought Commission met on Tuesday and voted on several motions regarding the Emergency Drought Cost-Share Program. The deadline for practices related to water well drilling, pipeline, pumping plant and water facilities has been extended to December 31, 2024.

In a separate motion, the Emergency Drought Commission voted to maintain the initial June 30 deadline for pond cleanout projects. Producers who are unable to complete a pond cleanout by the deadline will receive priority during the next application period for the emergency drought cost-share.

“While the deadline will remain in effect, districts will notify the producer,” said Director of Conservation Programs Tammy Sawatzky. “If they have not submitted receipts by the June 30 date, they will not be eligible for a reimbursement claim.”

State Climatologist Gary McManus provided a weather update and said El Niño provided drought relief for the state of Oklahoma.

“The combination of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation will lead to more drought conditions across the state of Oklahoma,” McManus said. “Drought is fading considerably, but I am hesitant to say that this drought is over.”

The Emergency Drought Commission also heard updates from Oklahoma Forestry Services regarding wildfire preparedness and response. OFS has been working with the National Weather Service and emergency management officials to streamline the fire warning process.

“Working with our integrated warning team, this can be a very fast process that allows us to get a fire warning out in a matter of minutes,” said Director/State Forester Mark Goeller. “In the past it would take an hour to sometimes an hour and a half to get those warnings.”