Tar Creek Restoration Project

Published 08/21 2014 06:46PM

Updated 08/21 2014 07:53PM

MIAMI, OK.--- The Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and the Environmental Protection Agency have partnered to lower the levels of waste materials in Tar Creek.

"All of us need to play a role in cleaning up Tar Creek," said Jim Dixon, Peoria Tribe Environmental Director.

Ottawa County was heavily mined for lead and zinc from 1908 to 1950, and it left Tar Creek polluted. N.E.O received a grant funding from the EPA and the tribe to develop a wetlands project on the college property bordering the creek. 

"The goal of the wetlands is to pump water out of Tar Creek, run it through the wet lands to see if there are any plants, we will have different species of plants in the water and around the edges to see if they'll take up any of the metals," said Mark Grigsby, NEO Department of Math and Science. 

The water will eventually run back into Tar Creek in an effort to restore it to its original state before the mining operations.

"A lot of the fish are sensitive species and so we don't find those. A lot of animals can't handle the heavy metals," said Grigsby. 

This is important for the Peoria Tribe because of its connections to water and the environment. 

"They're interested in fishing, they're interested in the aquatic species, they're interested in those species around streams. It's a Native American heritage," said Dixon. 

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