The Meskwaki Nation has become the first tribe in the Des Moines, Iowa, region to achieve U.S. EPA approval to develop water quality standards.
According to an EPA news release, Meskwaki Nation tribal leaders and EPA Region 7 officials held a signing Aug. 15, 2019, to declare the Tribe will now assume responsibilities to administer the Clean Water Act’s Water Quality Standards and Certification programs. EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford and Meskwaki Chairman Anthony Waseskuk signed the certificates at the Meskwaki Nation Settlement, according to the EPA.
“Today, we celebrate the Meskwaki Nation’s achievement as the first tribe in Region 7 to receive the authority to administer the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards and certification programs,” Gulliford said, according to the EPA. “The Meskwaki Nation’s leadership and commitment to water quality efforts light a path for others to follow.”
With this new authority, the Tribe can develop water quality standards for waterways within its reservation, according to Business Record. The process will be similar to the Clean Water Act. After the Tribe’s standards are approved, they will then administer surface water quality standards.
"The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa is honored to be joined by our friends, neighbors and partners in celebrating this historic moment of achieving Treatment as State (TAS) authority for development of Water Quality Standards (WQS),” said Jarrett Pfrimmer, director of Natural Resources, according to the EPA. “Many years of hard work from community members, staff, EPA, and multiple valued partners have made the passing of this milestone possible. We look forward to continuing this hard work in the company and counsel of these and many more partners as we begin developing Tribal WQS and an Iowa River Watershed Consortium. Through these collaborative ventures, we hope to improve the quality of not only our waters, but those of our neighbors throughout the watershed."