U.S. Army Corps: Lake Tenkiller Dam Not In Danger Of Failing

Wednesday, April 27th 2011, 3:05 pm
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & Tara Vreeland, News On 6

LAKE TENKILLER, Oklahoma -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 13,700 cubic feet of water per second through the main spillway gates at Lake Tenkiller's dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stressed the dam is not in any danger of failing.  According to a news release sent Wednesday afternoon by Nate Herring from the Tulsa District Public Affairs Office, "Tenkiller Lake is functioning just as it was designed to do."

Herring says the lake is holding a great deal of water in its flood pool.  He says the rate of water being released does not exceed channel capacity and that there is still storage space left in the flood pool.

The amount of water rushing downstream is almost 100,000 gallons per second.

Downstream from the gushing dam sits the Marval Resort. The lure of the water is what brings people here.

"That's a swing. There's a swing that sits out there. This is where we tie up all the seasonal's boats. And you go down and it's nice and smooth and calm water," John Call, with the Marval Resort, said.

The Resort says the river ebbs and flows, but it hasn't been this high since 1982.  The raging river is lapping close enough to campers that the Resort suggested people move to higher ground.

"We've seen the river and it is way high. I don't recall ever seeing it this high," Shirley Brook, a camper, said.

Shirley Brook and her sister Pat aren't taking any chances with their new RV.

"It's Oklahoma. You never know. It could be snowing tomorrow or it could be hot," Shirley said.

Engineers expect the lake will reach 33 feet above normal which will fill 93 percent of its flood pool, according to Herring.

Herring says if additional water releases are needed which would exceed downstream channel capacity, emergency management officials would be notified and any evacuation notices would come from them.

The roadway over the dam is still open to traffic as you can see in video shot by SkyNews6, which flew over the lake on Wednesday, April 27, 2011.

The Corps says the all the water from the upper Illinois River is now flowing into the lake.

All U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated recreational parks and boat ramps at Lake Tenkiller are closed until further notice.

Herring said the Army Corps of Engineers will hold a meeting Thursday morning to update government officials and emergency management officials and dispel any rumors that the dam is in danger of failing.  The meeting is not open to the public.

It will be held at the Marval Family Resort at 11 a.m. Thursday.