(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project(s):

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission (“OCC”) is required to “[a]dminister the Blue Thumb Program,” Okla. Stat. tit. 27a, § 3-2-106(A)(29), which is a “nonpoint source educational program emphasizing water quality education, including volunteer monitoring[,]” id. § 3-1-103(18). “The primary goal of this program is to educate Oklahoma citizens about [non-point source] pollution, pollution prevention, and stream health.”  Okla. Admin. Code 155:40-1-5(2).  “The program is designed to recruit, educate, train, and equip volunteer groups across the state to monitor streams of local interest.”  Id. 155:40-1-5(3).  Its activities include “volunteer monitor training sessions, data management analysis and presentation, maintenance and distribution of water quality monitoring kits and supplies, quality assurance sessions, provision of educational materials for loan, and distribution of curb-marking supplies.”  Id. 155:40-1-5(5). The Blue Thumb Program website includes information on current events and opportunities. See Blue Thumb – Stream Protection Through Education, Blue Thumb, http://www.bluethumbok.com/  (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).


The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Wildlife Diversity Program manages multiple wildlife observation citizen science projects, such as the Oklahoma Nest Box Trails Project, Report a Rare Wildlife Sighting, Report a Whooping Crane Sighting, Report Invasive Species, and Report Texas Horned Lizard Sightings. See Wildlife Diversity Citizen Science Programs, Okla. Dep’t of Wildlife Conservation, https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlife/wildlife-diversity/citizen-science-programs (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“A. No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner and with intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility. . .

2. Acquire or otherwise exercise control over an animal facility, an animal or other property from an animal facility, with the intent to deprive the owner of such facility, animal or property;

3. Enter an animal facility, not open to the public, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section;

4. Enter an animal facility and commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section;

5. Remain concealed in an animal facility, with intent to commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section;

6. Enter or remain on an animal facility when the person has notice that entry is forbidden by any of the following:

a. written or oral communication with the owner or a person with apparent authority to act for the owner,

b. fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or contain animals, or

c. a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building . . . .


B.  A violation of any of the provisions in paragraphs 1 through 7 of subsection A of this section shall be a misdemeanor, upon conviction, punishable by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), with full restitution to be paid for any damage to the property, for replacement of any animals released, and for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of any violation, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.” Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1680.2.

Scientific Purposes License:

“No person may kill or capture wildlife or take their nests or eggs for scientific purposes without having first procured a license[.]” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 29, § 4-118(a); see also Okla. Admin. Code 725:30-4-5.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  In order for entry upon property to constitute criminal trespass, such entry must have been “expressly forbidden[,]” or made “without permission by the owner or lawful occupant . . . when such property [was] posted” with signs forbidding entry.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1835(A). “Property that is fenced or not fenced must have such signs placed conspicuously and at all places where entry to the property is normally expected.”  Id.

Agricultural Trespass:

Trespass against “private land of another that is primarily devoted to farming, ranching, or forestry” carries a heightened penalty.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1835.2(A)(1).

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Drone Laws: 

Critical Infrastructure Law:

“[A] person shall not intentionally or knowingly:

1. Operate an unmanned aircraft over a critical infrastructure facility if the unmanned aircraft is less than four hundred (400) feet above ground level;

2. Allow an unmanned aircraft to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or

3. Allow an unmanned aircraft to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.” Okla. Stat. tit.3, § 322(B).


“Critical infrastructure facility” means a fenced or posted property, including, but not limited to: (1) a petroleum or alumina refinery; (2) an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station or electrical control center; (3) a chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility; (4) a water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station; (5) a natural gas compressor station; (6) a liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility; (7) a gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas or natural gas liquids; (8) a steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel; (9) a facility identified and regulated by the United States Department of Homeland Security Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program; (10) a dam that is regulated by the state or federal government; (11) a natural gas distribution utility facility, including, but not limited to, pipeline interconnections, a city gate or town border station, metering station, aboveground piping, a regulator station and a natural gas storage facility; or (12) any aboveground portion of an oil, gas, hazardous liquid or chemical pipeline. Id. § 322(A)(1).


Civil Penalty:

“Any person in violation of this section may be civilly liable for damages to the critical infrastructure facility to include, but not be limited to, damage to property, the environment or human health.” Id. § 322(D).


This section does not apply to “a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility” or “[a]n operator of an unmanned aircraft that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct operations over that airspace.” Okla. Stat. tit.3, § 322(C)(7) & (9).

Critical Infrastructure Laws:

Drone Law:

See supra “Drone Laws.”

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person in a manner that:

1. Would cause a reasonable person or a member of the immediate family of that person as defined in subsection F of this section to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and

2. Actually causes the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of the crime of stalking, which is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1173(A).

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:


“For the purpose of submitting compliance certifications or establishing whether or not a person has violated or is in violation of any provision of the Oklahoma [Clean Air Act] implementation plan, nothing shall preclude the use, including the exclusive use, of any credible evidence or information, relevant to whether a source would have been in compliance with applicable requirements[.]”  Okla. Admin. Code § 252:100-43-6.  “Credible evidence” is not defined.

OCC manages a volunteer program that monitors nonpoint source water pollution.  See supra “Ongoing Projects.”  Among other things, OCC uses the program to “provide[] support to cities to help meet the requirements of their Phase II stormwater permits[,]” Okla. Admin. Code § 155:40-1-5(7), and targets areas “where volunteer data indicate a need,” id. § 155:40-1-5(6).

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “[t]he allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 2011(B)(3).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims it to be.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 2901(A).

Expert Testimony:

Section 2702 and Daubert standard.  See Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 2702; Christian v. Gray, 65 P.3d 591, 596-600 (Okla. 2003) (“[W]e [] adopt Daubert and Kumho as appropriate standards for Oklahoma trial courts in deciding the admissibility of expert testimony in civil matters.”).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.