Welcome to the Kaw Nation

Water Quality Program

The Kaw Nation Water Quality Monitoring Program was designed to provide continued support for the Tribe’s water pollution program. The objective of the program is to continue the monitoring and sampling of waters to assess surface water quality on the Arkansas River, Kaw Lake, and the Beavers, for the purpose of determining water quality impairments over time, and to develop Tribal Water Quality Standards. Currently, the Kaw Nation EPA monitors 17 sites along the Arkansas River, Kaw Lake, and the Beavers.

Why we monitor

Per U.S. EPA Guidelines, we monitor to:

  • characterize waters and identify changes or trends in water quality over time;
  • identify specific existing or emerging water quality problems;
  • gather information to design specific pollution prevention or remediation programs;

What we monitor

  • the four core fundamental parameters: dissolved oxygen, pH, water temperature, and turbidity;
  • plus four other fundamental parameters: specific conductance, chlorophyll a, total dissolves solids, and salinity;
  • the two core intermediate parameters: total nitrogen and total phosphorus;
  • fifteen other intermediate parameters: alkalinity, aluminum, ammonia, apparent color, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, nickel, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, total hardness, and true color.
  • along with E. coli bacteria level and blue-green algae tested by an outside lab

What we determine:

  • the need regarding the quality of the water occurring on the nations jurisdictional area are being met;
  • note any changes in the quality and /or conditions of the Nation’s water;
  • understand and define the function and health of the streams and lake’s ecosystem;

During the recreational peak (May through September), Kaw Nation EPA test for E. coli and other bacteria at four recreational sites on Kaw Lake to make sure the E. coli levels are within the Oklahoma and U.S. EPA standards for safe swimming and other recreational activities.

In addition to water quality monitoring, fish sampling is also included in our Water Quality Program.  We work closely with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in randomly monitoring Kaw Lake for mercury within fish. Fish monitoring and sampling helps to make sure mercury level are within the Oklahoma and U.S. EPA standards for safe fish consumption. It also provides an opportunity to monitor species population within Kaw Lake.

Besides water quality monitoring and fish sampling, benthic macroinvertebrate is integrated in our Water Quality Program.  Conducting benthic macroinvertebrate helps us to identify water quality trends, whether increasing or decreasing over several years. It also help to identify areas of concern within stream, that chemical monitoring might miss. We also perform habitat assessments in conjunction with macroinvertebrate, which helps us determine whether shifts in benthic community structure are caused by habitat limitations such as bank erosion, siltation or substrate embeddedness.

Little Beaver, macroinvertebrate sampling site

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801 Washunga Drive
Kaw City, OK 74641
Telephone: (580) 269-1203
Fax: (580) 269-2368: Attn ENVIRONMENTAL
Tribal Members: If you wish to request Tribal services (mold, water, radon, soil testing, etc.), please feel free to complete the Tribal Service Request Form. We'll be happy to discuss these requests with you to further educate ourselves with your problem in order to find the best solution.
Kaw Enterprises: If you wish to schedule an Environmental, Underground Storage Tank or Food Inspection please complete the Tribal Service Request form below and indicate which type of inspection you are requesting. The KNED will contact you with an appointment time.
Schools and other Educational Institutions: If you wish to schedule a study tour and/or are requesting educational supplies, please complete the Tribal Service Request form. The KNED will contact you at our earliest convenience.
Please feel free to complete our Environmental Questionnaire. Your feedback can improve the quality of services offered by the KNED and could increase the likelihood of federal funding for specific projects. If you are an enrolled Tribal member, your participation is strongly encouraged.
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