continue our vision

Arkansas River Development

 

PACKAGE DETAILS

  • Strategic development of the Arkansas River is a key component of this package, projected to add $122 million to the local economy each year, along with $85 million in salaries for 1,850 new jobs (Based on economic impact study conducted by renowned economist at the University of Oklahoma).
  • The river development is not for strip malls, big box retail, or other unsightly projects. It will preserve areas for parkland, trails and recreational areas like Turkey Mountain.
  • The river development will further enhance the Gathering Place and allow the full vision of this public-private partnership to come to fruition and be something Tulsa can really be proud of.
  • This project will protect 12 miles of park areas along the river’s shoreline.

 

Extensive Planning Efforts

Since December 2013, the Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force has:

  • Conducted 45 fact-finding meetings and site tours.
  • Recruited a working group of professional engineers and business leaders who developed a comprehensive schematic design and corresponding cost estimates.
  • Hosted 14 town hall meetings across the community.
  • Made revisions and refinements to the plan based on design planning and community feedback (reduced from four lakes to two; reduced budget from $298 million to $145 million).

 

RIVER PROJECT OVERVIEW

The proposed lakes and public access improvements will enhance portions of the Arkansas River corridor for the enjoyment of citizens and the public at large by creating new ways to experience the river.

This goal has been the focus of many studies conducted since the 2005 Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan was adopted and is the subject of numerous community discussions. The proposed dam and public access improvements involve the modification of the existing Zink Dam and construction of a new low-water dam in South Tulsa/Jenks. These improvements will result in two individual lakes, a combined length of nearly seven miles running through the heart of Tulsa and Jenks. The remaining river channel will remain similar to its current “braided river” state with water levels fluctuating in response to water releases from Keystone Dam.

It is important to understand that Arkansas River flow depends on the release schedule from Keystone Dam and that proposed low-water dams will serve to create a series of two lakes; they do not store or create flow in the river.

 

TULSA ZINK LAKE

Improvements to Zink Dam, built in the early 1980s, will increase the height of the lake and include the installation of additional gates.

The project also includes the construction of a narrow island within the river resulting in a channel along the east bank to create a recreational flume for kayaks. The existing Zink dam was initially constructed in 1982 and is seven feet in height and 1,030 feet in length. The proposed modifications include raising its height by three feet to a total of 10 feet and modifying the existing gate structures and including additional new gate.

A complete replacement of the Zink pedestrian bridge is funded in the plan. The existing bridged is rotted and needs to be replaced.

Public Access/Recreational Improvements

The project includes modifications within the river channel itself involving construction of an island area adjacent and parallel to the east bank. The space between the east bank and island will be approximately 900 feet in length and will form a channel through which water can be diverted for recreational kayaking. Additionally, two of the dam gates will be specially designed to create hydraulic conditions to provide additional kayaking recreational opportunities.

Bank Stabilization

Stabilization of the bank toe is proposed in several areas to arrest existing erosion and to protect against potential future erosion. Bank areas that will be affected by development of the dam and associated facilities will be stabilized as part of the project.

Compensatory Mitigation/Preservation

To meet the Clean Water Act Section 404 Compensatory Mitigation Requirements, possible mitigation alternatives include planting areas along the banks to create riparian habitat, planting wetland habitats in the upper reaches of the lake pool and constructing fish habitat within Zink Lake. In addition, islands will be created downstream of Zink Dam to provide nesting habitat for the least tern, federally listed as an endangered species.

 

SOUTH TULSA/JENKS LAKE

The South Tulsa/Jenks lake location is downstream of the Creek Turnpike bridges and will have a crest elevation of 597.5 feet, resulting in a lake level at the dam of seven feet. The dam is 1,850 feet in length. In addition, the dam will provide support for the pedestrian bridge structure and aid in the performance of some maintenance functions. The Pedestrian Bridge will include several seating, fishing and overlook areas to enhance recreational opportunities.

Public Access/Recreational Improvements

Riverside Parkway will provide vehicle access to the dam and bridge on the east bank. Vehicles will access the west bank area from a new access road planned on the south side of the Creek Turnpike that connects to Aquarium Drive in Jenks by passing underneath the Creek Turnpike Bridge. Areas on each bank of the river at the dam will provide parking, access to the bridge, future connections to the River Parks trail system and park and overlook areas for the public.

A boat ramp on the west bank will provide emergency access to the river downstream of the dam. A boat launch dock area is planned on the east bank at Vensel Creek for public access, as well as a boat ramp between the dam and the Creek Turnpike. The Vensel Creek boat landing area could serve as a rental area for kayaks or other non-motorized vehicles, as well as provide an off-channel protected area for the overnight docking of water taxis, should the need occur.

Bank Stabilization

Stabilization of the bank toe is proposed in several areas to arrest existing erosion and to protect against potential future erosion. Bank areas that will be affected by development of the dam and associated facilities will be stabilized as part of the project.

Compensatory Mitigation/Preservation

To meet the Clean Water Act Section 404 Compensatory Mitigation Requirements, several areas along the banks will be planted to create riparian habitat as well as wetland habitats in the upper reaches of the lake pool. In addition, an island will be created to provide permanent nesting habitat for the least tern, federally listed as an endangered species.

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