Oologah Lake waits in line to release floodwaters

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 07:02:18-04

OOLOGAH, Okla. -- As Green Country begins to recover from this weekend's heavy rains, some lakes may have to stay flooded for weeks in an effort to keep downstream residents safe.

“This could very well be a private lake for our sliprenters on Memorial Day,” said Oologah Lake Redbud Marina's Ashley Buff.

The rains came and went...leaving camps and boat ramps underwater at Oologah Lake.

Redbud Marina wasn't immune.

“We did sustain a little bit of dock damage. The guys are down there working on it constantly,” said Buff.

But now the extra 15 feet of water in the lake may prove to be costly when it comes to business.

“We understand we are the holding pool and we'll get through it the best we can,” said Buff.

Floodwaters have impacted nearly all of Green Country's lakes that flow into the Arkansas River Basin.

But in order to prevent more flooding downstream, they can't release all of the excess water at once...which means Oologah Lake has to wait its turn.

“We have a decent amount of water to get rid of, but there are other lakes that have priority,” said U.S. Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Matthew Nolen.

Places like Grand, Hudson and Keystone Lakes will begin slowly releasing floodwater first in turns.

For Oologah Lake, it could be close to Memorial Day before its docks see daylight again.

“We'll have to do some maintenance there. We'll have to do cleanup, we'll have to make sure we get all our stuff turned back on,” said Nolen.

In the meantime, they're asking boaters to stay aware of underwater camps.

Meanwhile, Red Bud Marina says they'll help boaters out any way they keep Oologah Lake a home away from home.

“The lake can be their holiday, so we just want to make sure everyone still gets to experience making those memories that are treasured by so many people,” said Buff.