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Beaver Creek Wetland

Definitions of a wetland vary, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency use this official definition:

“Wetlands are areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include bogs, marshes, and swamps”

Wetlands house much more than just weeds and water. They provide:

  • Balance for nature’s ecosystems.
  • Shelter and protection for aquatic animals.
  • Recreation such as bird watching, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating, photography, and nature studying.
  • Natural protection from flooding and droughts. During wet weather, wetlands act as a huge sponge. They catch and hold water to keep it from flooding homes, roads, and fields.
  • Erosion prevention by holding on to the earth with their roots and absorbing the wave action of ponds and lakes.
  • Water purification. Wetlands help make dirty water pure, fresh, and sparkling. It’s like attaching a water filter to your kitchen faucet. The roots and stems of wetland plants act as filters catching dirt and pollutants from rain or runoff water. The clean water seeps down into the ground where it supplies our wells with pure drinking water.

Kaw Nation Wetland at Beaver Creek

In 2003, an inter-agency idea was proposed to enhance a small wetland site located within the Kaw Wildlife Management Area. The 40 acre site was named the Beaver Creek Wetland and the US Natural Resources Conservation Commission (NRCS) was asked to assist with the design of the enhancement. The Beaver Creek Wetland is located near the site of the historic Beaver Creek Nightclub in eastern Kay County. The legal description of the site is E ¼ Sec. 3 T24N R5E.

The construction of the wetland started in 2005, with this phase, two lowland ponds and the wetland dike along the previous county road area were constructed.

Once the construction was completed we had 20 acres of seasonal water coverage compared to the 1 3/4 acre previously there. In 2006 we also installed a lookout tower and birdhouses throughout the wetland.

Since the completion of the wetland, we are able to track the changes in water level, and see how the wetland functions.


As can be seen by the above pictures, the wetland goes through different stages.. The picture on the left shows the wetland when it is dry. To be a wetland, it just needs to have water on it for 14 days straight in a 12 month period. The middle picture shows the wetland with a normal amount of water on it. The Nation’s wetland stays at this level most of the year. The picture to the right shows the wetland when there has either been a flood or heavy rainfall. The Nation’s wetland can be influenced by Kaw Lake and when the lake is up it will flood back into the wetland.

IMG_3024 IMG_2995

The wetland has become an outdoor classroom where the KNED takes students to teach them about wetland habitat and the wetland’s part in supporting the ecosystem. Each May since 2011, the KNED has taught middle-school students form area schools at the wetland. Students learn about each role of the wetland—water storage and filtration, sediment trapping, nutrient cycling and flood control. KNED teaches students about water quality monitoring, soil study, and plant and animal identification. Also, during their trip, students visit the Kanza Museum to learn about tribal history and culture and understand the relationship between Kanza culture and environmental preservation.

Recycling Center

Kaw Nation Environmental Department purchased a commercial compactor in 2013 for its recycling center in Braman, Okla. Since June 2013, KNED has served north central Oklahoma in recycling collection. We have more than 32 customers in eight cities: Braman, Blackwell, Kaw City, Kildare, Shidler, Newkirk, Ponca City and Tonkawa. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful recognized the community involvement at the recycling center by giving Kaw Nation, the town of Braman and American Legion Post 259 the 2013 Team Builder award.

What can we recycle at the Braman Recycling Center?

The compactor is designed to efficiently and safely compact all recyclable materials small volumes of aluminum and plastic on an ongoing basis, as well as cardboard into bales the size of refrigerator boxes.

Let’s all pitch in and keep recycling. Contact us at 580-269-1203 with any questions about what to recycle or what can be recycled. We are looking for new and exciting projects to help the environment and tribal members every day.



KNED Keep Oklahoma Beautiful finalist

The Kaw Nation Environmental Department was named a finalist for a Keep Oklahoma Beautiful award for its Beaver Creek Wetland outreach program on Tuesday.

KNED was nominated under the tribal government category for its educational outreach. Since 2011, the department has brought classes of middle school age children from area schools to the wetland east of Kaw City to teach them about its role in the ecosystem.

This May, KNED brought classes from Blackwell Middle School, Braman School, Shidler Middle School and Newkirk Middle School to the wetland. Students participated in plant identification, water sampling and soil study activities.

Beaver Creek Wetland is the only wetland in the north central Oklahoma. KNED maintains the wetland throughout the year by performing prescribed burns, mowing grass and monitoring water quality in Beaver Creek.

KNED was a finalist last year for the wetland program, but did not win.

The Keep Oklahoma Beautiful awards will be presented on Nov. 20 at the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Beaver Creek Wetland

Newkirk Shidler

The KNED brought Newkirk Middle School, Blackwell Middle School, Braman School and Shidler Middle School to the Beaver Creek Wetland between May 1 and 7. The KNED taught them about the wetland’s role in water filtration and storage, flood control, sediment trapping and nutrient cycling. Students participated in water quality, plant identification and soil study activities.

Kanokla Networks donated $100 to Kaw Nation for its recycling center.


Rusty Partee (left) presents Kaw Nation Environmental Director Dejene Alemayehu (right) with the donation.

Kaw Nation wins Keep Oklahoma Beautiful award.


Kaw Nation received the Team Builder award at the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful awards for its partnership with the town of Braman and American Legion Post 259 on the Kaw Nation Recycling Center. Legionnaires volunteer to help operate the recycling center and painted the front of the building.

Kaw Nation Environmental Director Dr. Dejene Alemayehu receives honorary tribal membership

Kaw Nation Environmental Director Dr. Dejene Alemayehu

During the 2013 Kaw Powwow, the tribe awarded Kaw Nation Environmental Director Dr. Dejene Alemayehu with an honorary tribal membership. Kaw Nation praised him for his service protecting the natural resources of tribal land since he began with KNED in 2000. Honorary tribal membership does grant the person the rights or privileges of ordinary tribal members.”

2011 Alumni Award Presented to Dejene Alemayehu Ph.D.

Dejene Alemayehu Ph.D., Director of the EPA Department for the Kaw Nation, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Alumni Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement.

This award was presented to Dejene on March 24th, 2011 at the Ninth Annual Environmental Awards Reception.

This annual event is hosted by Oklahoma State University’s Environmental Science Graduate Program, and sponsored by the Public Service Company of Oklahoma.


Pictured L-R: Dr.Will Focht, Director of Oklahoma State University Environmental Science Graduate Program and Dejene Alemayehu Ph.D., Director of the EPA Department for the Kaw Nation

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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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