SALLISAW, Oklahoma - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the floodgates at the Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam south of Sallisaw because rain over the weekend raised the lake level so high.

“We opened them once the rain started,” said Preston Chasteen, Deputy Chief for Public Affairs for the Tulsa District.

Speaking to KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Chasteen said transferring water from the lake to the Arkansas River will help everything function the way it's supposed to.

"The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation system has a series of locks and dams. Eighteen total, five of which are in the Tulsa District,” he said, “and they help facilitate the flow of smooth navigation up and down to get goods and services from the Mississippi River to as far as the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.”

Chasteen said the gates are releasing 750,000 gallons of water per second.

He said the amount of water being released now is "vastly different" from this spring when the area experienced historic rainfall and said there is no need to be concerned about flooding downstream.

He added the water will continue to be released into the Arkansas River until the lake level returns to normal.