Tri-State Mining District - Tar Creek

State TrusteeAO Bureau

Also Known As

Tri-State Mining District Ottawa County

Incident Type




Case Status



Tar Creek


Contaminants of Concern Include

Affected DOI Resources Include

Migratory Birds, Threatened and Endangered Species

Financial Summary

Restoration Funds Collected:


*Restoration Funds Allocated:


*Restoration Funds Remaining:


* Restoration Funds can contain multiple settlements/projects. All collections are placed in interest bearing accounts. For detailed information on individual settlements/ projects please visit: NRDAR Status Report

Case Description

The Northeastern Oklahoma Mining Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Site (NOMNRDAR Site) is a result of mining in the Tri-State Mining Region, located in southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri, and northeast Oklahoma. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in accordance with the CERCLA, included the Tar Creek Superfund site in Oklahoma on its National Priorities List in 1981. Three other associated Superfund sites, located in Kansas and Missouri, are also listed on the National Priorities List. The NOMNRDAR Site was mined for lead and zinc from the early 1900s to the mid 1970s. The metallic sulfide minerals in the mines lowered the pH of the ground water that filled the abandoned mine excavations, and in 1979 the ground water surfaced through old air shafts and other openings. The acidic effluent then entered the Tar Creek drainage and spread downstream along the creek and into its associated wetlands and bottomland hardwoods and eventually into Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. This water generally contains elevated concentrations of dissolved metals, including lead, zinc, and cadmium. Tailings piles known as “chat piles” are laced with heavy metals and are a source of contamination to surrounding soils, surface water, sediments, and ground water. Water-filled depressions caused by mine collapses, are also scattered around the NOMNRDAR Site and contain contaminated water. Trust natural resources potentially affected by contaminants at the NOMNRDAR Site include federally-listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds and their habitat, and State and Tribal resources, including, but not limited to, soils, sediment, surface water, ground water, drinking water, plants, animals, and cultural resources.

Credit: USFWS

Case Documents

 Document TypeDocument NameDocument Date
Data pager
Data pager
Page size:
 22 items in 2 pages

Assessment;Case Funding

 Assessment Plan Assessment Plan 04/14/2009
 Assessment Report Effects of Mining-Derived Metals on Riffle-Dwelling Crayfish 08/11/2011
 Assessment Plan Evaluating Injury to Mussels by Metals 07/01/2016
 RCDP Grand Lake RCDP 04/01/2004
 Assessment Report Heavy Metals in the Clay Fraction of Sediments Downstream of the Tar Creek 04/02/2012
 Assessment Report Ozark Cavefish Distribution Related to Mining and Water Quality 07/01/2012
 Assessment Report Potential Neosho Madtom Habitat in Tributaries of the Spring River 03/12/2016
 PAS Preassessment Screen 09/01/2004


 Settlement Agreement Settlement Agreement-ASARCO 10/17/2007


 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Restoration Plan 07/11/2000
 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Tar Creek Programmatic Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment 08/30/2017

Assessment;Case Funding (Showing 9 of 11 items. Group continues on the next page.)

 Study Plan 2008 Sampling and Analysis Plan Grand Lake Sediment Quality Evaluation 10/01/2008
 Study Plan 2009/2010 Sampling and Analysis Plan or Concentrations of Heavy Metals by Six Treaty Tribes 11/04/2009
 Study Report Adverse Effects of Mine Waste on Canada Geese  
 Study Report Analysis of Heavy Metals on Culturally Significant Plants  
 Study Plan Migratory Bird Injury Assessment Plan 11/21/2008
 Study Plan Mine Waste Pilot Study- Field Sampling Plan 06/01/2011
 Study Report Occurrence and Trends of Selected Chemical Constituents in Bottom Sediment, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees 01/01/2009
 Study Plan Sediment and Pore-Water Toxicity Thresholds to Support Sediment Quality Assessments, Volume 1 02/01/2009
 Study Plan Sediment and Pore-Water Toxicity Thresholds to Support Sediment Quality Assessments, Volume 2 02/01/2009

Map View

Case Contact

Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office

Tulsa, OK | (918) 581-7458 |

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