GRDA Loses Bid To Delay Grand Lake Level Draw Down

Friday, July 29th 2011, 11:24 am
By: News On 6

Staff Reports

VINITA, Oklahoma -- The Grand River Dam Authority says its request to avoid lowering the level of Grand Lake this August has been denied.

GRDA made the request in April.  It asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a temporary release from the requirements it has to meet as part of its license to operate Pensacola Dam and Grand Lake.

Since 1996, the license has required GRDA to lower the lake's elevation in mid-August to facilitate a millet seeding project on exposed mudflat areas of the lake.

GRDA wanted to delay the draw down until after the 2011 Labor Day weekend.  It also wanted to permanently change the requirement until further modeling and studies could be completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

According to a news release from GRDA, the draw down was originally implemented for wildlife habitat reasons, and not flooding concerns.  But GRDA says FERC indicated a study on the upstream flooding potential would need to be completed before it would consider granting the request, even on a temporary basis.

According to GRDA, such a study would need to be completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. GRDA had requested that assistance from the Corps earlier in the year. However, in mid July, the Corps said its current work load and lack of available staff forced it to deny the request.

Due to the FERC dismissal of the temporary relief request, GRDA will proceed with the draw down next month.