More Than $161 Million Needed for Arkansas River Low-Water Dams

City council members released a draft providing an estimated price tag for adding low-water dams along the Arkansas River in Tulsa County.

An estimated $161,700,000 is needed to place dams in Tulsa, Jenks and Springs Springs, according to the draft findings released by the Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force. The group has been meeting since December 2013 to look at the options and costs of putting water back in the river.

"We've been talking about this for 50 years," City Councilor G.T. Bynum previously told KTUL. "I'd like to see us quit looking for somebody else to do this and just take our destiny in our own hands and take care of it ourselves."

Eleven meetings were held to present the facts and issues associated with redeveloping the Arkansas River. City councilors believe that placing four low-water dams in Tulsa, Jenks, Sand Springs and Bixby will help accomplish their goals.

"Construction of low-water dams...would serve diverse needs, from attracting residential and retail development to supplying water to cooling towers for electricity generation," the draft describes. Each dams' individual price tag and associated costs was provided in the report, except for the one that has been proposed in the Bixby area.

In addition to providing costs and benefits of the dams, the task force outlined potential sources of funding for the river's redevelopment. Among them include:

- Sales tax renewal upon expiration of Vision 2025

- Looking over previously pledged or new state and federal grants

- Receiving funds from the Muscogee-Creek Nation and other tribal nations

- Private grants from various corporations and foundations

"The main concern was what's the best way to move this forward, who do we want at the table, who can contribute to that decision to help us create a proposal and a really responsible and conclusive way," Bynum stated in a previous interview with KTUL.

Sources of potential long-term maintenance funding also was provided in the draft findings, according to the report. Those options included annual appropriations from participating communities and endowments from sales tax funds and corporate or foundation grants.

The Creek Nation is already planning their development of the river with the Margaritaville project, but also want to be involved in these decisions.

"We are obviously very interested in developing the river. We are going to develop along the river. We are here to see is there is some place that we fit in," Local Government Affairs for the Creek Nation Vic Vreeland said.