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EPA-funded environmental justice projects coming to Chickasaw Nation, East OKC neighborhood

Rock Creek runs through part of the Chickasaw Nation
Graycen Wheeler
A creek in the Chickasaw Nation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients for $128 million worth of environmental justice grants.

Some of that funding, which comes from the Inflation Reduction Act, will promote cleaner air in a historically-Black Oklahoma City neighborhood and cleaner water in the Chickasaw Nation.

The Chickasaw Nation will receive an Environmental Justice Government-to-Government grant to develop a community science stream monitoring program on the tribe’s treaty land.

The Chickasaw Nation wants this long-term project to help people understand and engage with water issues where they live. The community-gathered data will also inform solutions for watershed improvement projects within the Nation.

Another grant will go to OKC-based non-profit Open Design Collaborative as part of the EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving program.

That project will rehabilitate a public outdoor space in OKC’s historically Black JFK neighborhood on the east side of town. The new space, Culture Park, will incorporate native plants and air monitoring to improve air quality for nearby residents.

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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