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Understanding the Issues

Learn more about the river's history, ecology, and the ongoing efforts to protect and restore it.

Image by David Lang

Engage and Learn

Fun for Young Environmentalists

Young minds can make a big difference too! Explore our educational resources tailored for kids. Download coloring sheets and learn about the importance of protecting our environment.

Free Flowing River & Wetlands

A free-flowing river is essential to our health. You can help us by protecting our prairie river home in Tulsa. Can you draw in your home on this map?

Shovelnose Sturgeons

Hi! We are three fish that live in the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our fancy name is Scaphirbynchus platorynchus but you can call us Greg, Violet, and Scaphir for short!

Yellow-Crowned Night Herons

We are Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Our fancy name is Nyctanassa violacea and we travel to Oklahoma during the summer to nest and raise our little ones.

Our Actions

Monitor HF Sinclair containment cap solution

Monitor for advancing oil seepage coming from the refinery area into the Arkansas River on the west bank south and north of the new bridge. The north site is 800 feet along the west bank.

Monitor the two RCRA permits

Monitor permits that the East and West refineries must have to continue to discharge refinery pollutants into the Arkansas River. One permit is already overdue to be reinstated for a year! There exists a lack of urgency on the part of ODEQ. The discharges have continued.

Monitor Tulsa Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, MS4 Permit.

This permit allows Tulsa to discharge stormwater runoff to Waters of the State. Here it is the Arkansas River. It is renewed every 5 years.

Know Where to Go

Untangling and understanding the many agencies who should be protecting the health of the public as a primary duty. This includes Oklahoma Dept of Environmental Quality, City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Corp of Engineers, Oklahoma Water Resource Board and the EPA. The Arkansas River has been graded an unswimmable stream by the Tulsa County Health Department in 1994 due to high bacteria content. This bacteria count is not improving.

Observing the enormous river development

Monitor the project for any egregious environmental destruction or oil seepages.

Promote Public Action

Encourage citizens to report the “sheen” on the surface of the Arkansas River. This means there is oil appearing where it should not and that is a huge violation of the Clean Water Act. “See The Sheen, Report The Sheen” sticker program.

River Responsibility

We have not been able to hold any one entity accountable for the quality of our Arkansas River.

Stop the Jenks Dam

Working to stop the addition of the Jenks Dam to our prairie river.

Increase Active Volunteers

We are doing endless hours of research to understand the players and reveal the truth. If interested, please contact us!

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Understanding Key Terms

Gain insights to better engage with our mission of restoration and preservation.

RCRA Permits

These are EPA permits that ensure the safe management of hazardous waste. HF Sinclair refineries have two of these permits, one for each refinery. These permits are authorized by states and the EPA. These are renewed every 10 years.

Point Source Pollution

A pollutant is being discharged from a waste water plant or industrial facility like the refineries.

Arkansas River

The river starts in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado flows eastward through eastern Colorado and then through western and central Kansas. Turning southeast it enters Oklahoma north of Ponca City and clows onto the Tulsa region and leaves the state at Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The Arkansas then flows into the mighty Mississippi River.

Oil Containment Boom

The most commonly used spill response. Booms are floating physical barriers to oil made of plastic, metal or other materials. HF Sinclair uses the orange cylindrical booms. You can sometimes see these stretched along the Arkansas River west shore to temporarily stop seepages entering the river.

MS4 Permits

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. The purpose is to prevent any discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts. This MS4 falls under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, NPDES. The Clean Water Act prohibits anybody from discharging Pollutants through a “point source into a water of the United States.

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Is transported by storm water or other surface water and flows to local streams.

Oil Sheen

An iridescent appearance on the surface of the water.

Lowhead dams

A manmade obstruction typically built within a river or stream channel and spanning from bank to bank. The purpose is to raise the level of the water upstream on a river.

NEPDES Permits

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Helps address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the US. It limits the concentration or volume of pollutants in discharge, called effluent. NPEDES is part of the Clean Water Act administered by the EPA or OK DEQ.

Braided Stream

Consists of a network of river channels separated by small, often temporary islands called braid bars.

Oil Seeps

Where natural liquid rises to the surface on land or on water. The seep can be sticky and thick like tar and also it can be a dark fluid like used motor oil. Another surface indicator is the appearance of an iridescent sheen. The seep is made up of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons.

Roller Effect

One of the most common and lethal hazards of low-head dams. Water flows over low-head dams and spillways and creates a back flow that can entrap those too near the dam.

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"If we pollute the air, water, and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us."

-David Suzuki

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