TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Army Corps of Engineers has started reducing its water release from Keystone Dam.

This is the first step in the direction of reducing the flooding downstream, but that's going to take some time. 

As of Thursday morning, Keystone Dam is releasing 245,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's down from the 275,000 CFS its been releasing since last week.

The Corps says it plans to make an even bigger reduction over the weekend--aiming to have it at 150,000 CFS by Saturday.

Then the plan is the scale it back and even more next week.               

This is good news because it will help bring the Arkansas River back within its banks.               

The Corps is monitoring the dam around the clock.               

Hydrologists are re-evaluating and gauging the decrease rate every 6 hours -- based on inflows into Keystone Lake.               

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum says it is important to note that just because the release is being scaled back, doesn't mean the dangers of the water go away.  He says with the projected release schedule, the threat to the levees won't go away until sometime over the weekend.

And he says it will take some time for folks downstream--in Tulsa, Jenks and Bixby--to see the effects of the reduction.               

But the hope is to have the river back in its banks by sometime next week.

And then the recovery process will begin- one the mayor says will take years.