Keystone Dam Gates Open To Bring Lake Levels Down In December
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water are pouring from Keystone Lake as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tries to bring levels down to normal.
Keystone is unseasonably high because of recent rains, and with more rain on the way, the Arkansas River through Tulsa could be full for a while.
All 18 gates were open on Wednesday morning and have been pouring out tons of water since 10 a.m.
Keystone Lake is 6.5 feet above normal.
When all 18 gates are open, 150,000 gallons of water pour through the dam every second.
For the pelicans, it makes for good eating.
“There's some good fishing downstream now and of course through the City of Tulsa there will be some water in the river," Corps water manager Micah Buchholz said.
Aside from good fishing, this release provides much-needed relief to the lake.
“It has been raining pretty heavily since Thanksgiving, so the dam has opened up approximately 6.2 feet high into the flood pool," Buchholz said.
Buchholz says while the gates are open, the currents below the dam will be swift, and if you hear the sirens sounding, get out of the water.
“This is unusual, even for this time of the year, to receive this much rainfall so this is not a common event [to release now]," he said.
This weekend even more rain is in the forecast for eastern Oklahoma, but Buchholz says that doesn't change what they do right now.
“We only react to water that is coming into the system,” Buchholz said. “We don't react to predictions. So if we see a lot of water coming downstream of Keystone, then we'll shut Keystone down to allow what we call local runoff to get out of the system and then we'll look at how all the other reservoirs are in to the downstream system."
Even if they have to shut the gates because of heavy rain downstream, they don't expect any flooding.
The Corps said the gates will stay open until Monday.