DELAWARES considering development plans along Copan Lake

Saturday, July 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) _ A power plant or a marina could realize the untapped development of a northeastern Oklahoma lake, officials with an Oklahoma Indian tribe say.

For the second year in a row, the Delaware Tribe has received a $25,000 water resources grant from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribal spokesman Gary Roulston said the Bartlesville-based tribe thinks that Copan Lake, about 15 miles north of Bartlesville along U.S. 75, is underdeveloped.

``We're talking about a variety of energy projects, perhaps gas turbine driven,'' Roulston said. ``We're also interested in recreation.''

Copan Lake was completed in 1983 and has 4,850 surface acres when the water level is normal. It is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has a memorandum of agreement with several tribes to oversee programs that use federal money.

Any development plan must be approved by the corps, spokesman Ed Engelke said.

``The city of Bartlesville, you or I could come up with a plan and it would be looked at the same way,'' Engelke said.

There are similar arrangements between the corps and marina owners at several lakes.

The Delawares are in the midst of a federal lawsuit over whether they are a federally recognized tribe.

The tribe was incorporated into the Cherokee Nation in 1867, and the Cherokee Nation's 14-county jurisdictional area includes Washington County, where the 10,500-member Delaware Tribe is based.

The federal Interior Department gave the Delaware Tribe federal recognition in 1996. The Cherokee Nation is challenging the decision in Tulsa federal court, saying it imposes upon their sovereignty.