Army Corps Keeping Close Eye On Oklahoma Lake Levels

Thursday, June 18th 2015, 11:15 pm
By: News On 6

Lakes and rivers across eastern Oklahoma are rising and the Corps of Engineers is monitoring the levels around the clock, releasing water when needed.

At this point, Keystone Dam is handling the water just fine with a small amount of water being released, but more rain fell to the southeast and put the most stress on Eufaula Dam.

High water is covering picnic tables and campsites in low-lying areas at Keystone Lake.

Even though it's an inconvenience to some, Keystone Dam is doing exactly what it's designed to do, according to Chief of Recreation Kent Dunlap.

“It will rise some more but the little bit I've seen on inflows, and what we are releasing, I think Keystone will be in good shape," he said.

Right now the dam is releasing 17,500 cubic feet of water per second and can hold much more.

For weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has opened up the gates to release water with the goal of getting lakes to a similar water level.

However, Tropical Depression Bill arrived before they were fully ready.

6/18/2015 Related Story: Tropical Depression Bill Makes Presence Felt In Oklahoma

"Fortunately, we were about to get some of the water off of our structures in our dams and lakes, but we didn't get all of it, so that is why we are still in the midst of a major flood fight,” Dunlap said.

He said Bill is putting the most stress on Eufaula Dam and water levels will continue to rise.

"We know there is water coming, all the rainfall they had last night, a lot of that is going to fall in the Canadian River Basin,” said Dunlap.

Water is expected to take a few days to move from the Oklahoma City area to Lake Eufaula.

It's a double-whammy for the lake, which was more than 100 percent full a couple weeks ago.

It means recreation areas - which were already closed due to flooding - won't reopen anytime soon.

"We'd like to be dealing with things related to the recreation business and having parks open and having a lot of people out there," Dunlap said.

The Army Corp of Engineers has a website where you can track campsite closures all across the state as well as lake levels.