LEAD Agency, a non-profit environmental justice organization and area tribes announce the 13th National Tar Creek Conference will be held at the Miami Civic Center Thursday September 22 from 9 to 5. The public is invited to attend and there is no registration fee for Ottawa County residents. The conference revolves around the contaminants in the Tri-State Mining district, the current mercury study and phosphorus and bacteria loading of Grand Lake and its tributaries. Agency heads of EPA, DEQ and the Quapaw Tribe and Dr. Bob Nairn, Oklahoma University will give updates regarding Tar Creek and the Tri-State site and the future plans in the morning session.

Dr. Robert O. Wright is the principal investigator for the MATCH Project investigating the effects of multiple metal exposures on children and will provide an update for the community. Over 700 children have been enrolled at birth in this study over the last seven years.

The featured speaker, Gary Sherrer, Oklahoma Secretary of Environment will be speaking during the lunch.

This year we have several researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Jim Shine, Dr. Laurel Schaider and Zhao Dong speaking about metals and mercury conditions in the Grand Lake Watershed, the fish and the people who eat the fish. Dr. Darrell Townsend, Sam Grasso and Dr. Robert Lynch will discuss phosphorous, blue green algae and the miosystin and actions to be taken.

"This year's conference is diverse in range of issues regarding what plagues the Grand Lake Watershed," said Earl Hatley, the Grand Riverkeeper.

ThermoFisher representative Robert Miller will provide a demonstration on the latest XRF software, representatives will be accepting dust wipes and vacuum cleaner bags and other small items from the community for metal analysis during the conference. "Find out if you have lead or other metals in the dust in your home by bringing samples in for analysis," Rebecca Jim suggested, "It may encourage residents to ask EPA to sample their yards for lead if lead is in the dust within their homes."

The public is encouraged to attend the Tar Creek Science Exhibition that begins at 5:00 and stay for the Native American meal and pie auction. The evening's special guests are Chad Smith, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation with Dr. Jim Shine's presentation, Communities, Academic Science, and Health: Making the Connections. We will finish the evening with Seneca-Cayuga traditional dances lead by Jason Whitetree.

"We highly recommend residents to attend all or part of the day's events and become actively involved in the issues that surround us," Louis "Red" Mathia, LEAD board president said. ***