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Oka’ Institute, EPA Kerr Lab, Chickasaw Nation, and ECU Join Forces for Water Sustainability Initiative

Updated: May 8

ADA, Okla. – The Oka’ Institute participated in the recent tour with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Kerr Lab of the hydrogeology within the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer region.


The tour included experts from across the EPA, focused on geology, geochemistry and hydrology of the area. The tour showcased collaborative efforts within the EPA and Chickasaw Nation to advance understanding of this vital water resource.  


The EPA Robert S. Kerr Lab, located in Ada, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1965. Originally known as the Kerr Hydrogeology Lab, it was founded to conduct research on the geology and hydrogeology of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer and surrounding areas. Over the years, the lab has been instrumental in advancing our understanding of groundwater resources in Oklahoma and beyond. The lab’s research has contributed to the development of sustainable water management practices, and environmental conservation strategies to protect groundwater resources. Today, the EPA Kerr Lab continues to be a leading center for hydrogeological research, providing valuable insights and data to support informed decision-making and sustainable water management practices in the region.


“Kerr Lab is looking forward to its continued collaboration with Oka’, ECU, the Chickasaw Nation, and the City of Ada. It is through these strong relationships that we can together address the quantity and quality needs for our citizens for generations to come,” said Saba Tahmassebi, Director of EPA’s Kerr Lab.


As part of the tour, the Oka’ Institute shared insights and experiences from its work in the region, highlighting successful partnerships with the EPA Kerr Lab, Chickasaw Nation, East Central University and other stakeholders.


“Our community continues to leverage our combined interests to ensure lasting natural resources,” said ECU President, Wendell Godwin. “The Ada community is blessed to have strong partnerships with city government, EPA Kerr Lab, Chickasaw Nation, Ada Jobs Foundation, and ECU. We are proud to be a partner and support our long-term vision for water sustainability.  Water is the currency of future generations.”

These collaborations have been instrumental in advancing research, education, and policy initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable water management practices and environmental conservation.  


“We are honored to have been a part of this important tour and to contribute to the ongoing efforts to understand and protect the Arbuckle- Simpson aquifer region within the Chickasaw Nation,” said Duane Smith, Executive Director of Oka’ Institute. “By working together, we can ensure that this vital water resource remains sustainable for future generations.”


The Oka’ Institute remains committed to fostering collaborative and innovation water resources management and environmental conservation. For more information about the Oka’ Institute and our initiatives, visit



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