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Informational Meeting About Arkansas River Feasibility Study Held in Sand Springs

Posted on March 6, 2017

By Rachel Snyder, Tulsa World

Officials discussed a study about how to preserve the ecosystem in the Arkansas River in Sand Springs and beyond and sought public input during a meeting this week.

The study area includes the 42-mile long Arkansas River corridor ecosystem downstream of the Keystone Dam to the Tulsa/Wagoner County boundary. The Arkansas River Feasibility Report says the construction of the Keystone Dam in 1968 had a significant influence on the health and ultimate degradation of the ecosystem in the area of the study.

Flood pool releases from Keystone Dam maintain river flow between hydropower operations. Hydropower generation occurs on an on-demand basis. As a result, the flow within the study shows daily bouts of brief 6,000-12,000 cfs river flow followed by extended periods of near zero flow from Keystone Dam, according to the study.

Program Management Group owner/senior environmental program manager Gaylon Pinc said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discussed the feasibility study for the project, which would include a low-water dam that would provide enough flow of water, 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to improve the ecosystem.

“We have to find a way to recycle this water (throughout the day) and found no method more cost effective than building a low-water dam,” Pinc said. (1,000 cfs) of flow downstream would be adequate to improve the ecosystem.”

He said after the feasibility study has a positive outcome, the project can move on the question of funding.

Brandon Wadlington of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the primary problem at the river is the flow is not consistently where it needs to be throughout the day.

“We’re trying to promote ecosystem health,” Wadlington said.

Independent petroleum geologist Robert Jackman attended the meeting and expressed concern about the ability of levees to hold up to the larger floods caused by climate change.

“My opinion is levees must be built higher and wider to contain new, larger floods from climate change,” Jackman said.

Those who want to give input on the project can do so by contacting 918-669-7342.

Source: Tulsa World

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