As floodwater releases take place across many Oklahoma reservoirs…GRDA lakes will have a slow return to normal elevations.
Despite the high lake levels, the Grand River Dam Authority is reminding boaters that lake-area businesses around the shores of Grand and Hudson are open and GRDA does expect the lake to be busy over the weekend and the days ahead.
“We simply want to stress common sense and caution as boaters visit the lakes during this time,” said GRDA Corporate Communications Director Justin Alberty.
Alberty added that the heavy inflows into the Grand River Watershed have slowed in the last few days, but a return to normal water levels may take a weeks for both Grand and Hudson lakes.
“Because this flooding episode was so widespread, across several reservoirs in the region, it’s just going to take a while to get all the water downstream safely,” he said. “The good news is, lake levels are headed in the right direction, but it will take some time before they return to normal.”
Alberty said the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which controls floodgate operations and GRDA’s Pensacola and Robert S. Kerr Dams, is managing releases not only from the Grand River Watershed but from several flood-swollen lakes in Oklahoma.
“Most river systems in Oklahoma have experienced flooding and that includes the systems south of GRDA’s lakes which are also trying to release water safely,” he said. “Right now, we are continuing to work under the direction of the Corps as floodgate operations are made and our lakes are brought down.”
The GRDA Police Department does offers the following tips boaters should keep in mind during if they plan to visit Grand or Hudson lakes during the next few weeks:
- Be mindful of your boat wake and proceed with caution in areas near structures. When lake levels are elevated boat wakes can cause damage to structures (like houses!) that are normally above the shoreline.
- Be aware of floating debris. Higher lake levels can mean more driftwood and debris floating in the water. Please be on the lookout as you are boating.
- Be mindful of the changing shoreline topography and the possibility of now-submerged structures. Things like stumps, picnic tables, retaining walls and other structures typically located along the shoreline may now be submerged due to the lake levels. Use extreme caution and avoid unfamiliar areas of the shoreline.
- Stay away from floodgates and spillways. There is a chance that floodgates could be open at both Pensacola Dam (Grand Lake) and Robert S. Kerr Dam (Lake Hudson) as you are boating. If that is the case, please observe the buoys designating the spillway areas and allow plenty of distance between those locations and your boat
- Do not go into spillway areas below the dam. Please use common sense and stay away from areas below floodgates where water is being released. The swift water can be very dangerous and it is against the law to enter into floodwater discharge.
- If you need immediate assistance, the GRDA Police recommends you call 911. However, if you are on the boat with no cell phone access, you can use Marine Band 16 to radio for help.
- Finally, a good reminder for boating in all conditions: always wear your life jacket.
You can also sign up to receive text messages from GRDA by clicking on the “News” drop down menu on grda.com, then clicking on the “Text alerts” tab. The service is free. You can also download the “Grand Lake app” to Apple or Android devices and receive the latest lake notifications.