The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 5, 2011

Study time at the lake

Work at Salt Plains is continuing

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa district, completed an initial appraisal study on Great Salt Plains Lake last year.

This year, district officials are looking to complete a reconnaissance study to determine if another study, a feasibility study, is needed.

“Right now (Tulsa district) has been putting in recommendations for the budget to see if we can get monies in for the second part of the investigation that takes place,” said Ross Adkins, public affairs chief for the Tulsa district.

The reconnaissance study is 100 percent federally funded, so money must be in hand before the district proceeds.

Adkins said it might be a while before that happens.

The initial appraisal study gave different options for improving flood control, fish stock, wildlife and recreation at the lake. The possibility of no action was visited in each of the sections, but several solutions were put forth, as well.

Removing or redistributing sediments in the lake could help improve flood control, or the district could raise the height of the spillway or install retrofitted gates.

Removing sediments and raising the spillway also could help restore the fishery at the lake. The lake also needs oxygen levels elevated, and installing high performance aerating weirs would help that cause.

Right now, Great Salt Plains Lake is only a few feet deep in some areas, which means the lake is hardly conducive to fishing or any type of boating activity.

At the conclusion of the initial appraisal study, officials decided to seek the reconnaissance study, even though the earliest the money would be available is the 2012 fiscal year.

After the reconnaissance study is a feasibility study, which must be 50 percent funded by the government and 50 percent funded by private agencies.

“With tight budgets coming up, I don’t know how (we) will fare,” Adkins said.