What next?

 

Summary

Environmental studies and data collection have been completed for low-water dams in Sand Springs, South Tulsa/Jenks, and Bixby. Tulsa County is proceeding with Section 404 permit applications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for improvements to the existing Zink Dam and for the construction of the proposed South Tulsa/Jenks Low-Water Dam.

Preliminary design and Section 404/401 permitting is complete for Zink Dam improvements, and potential modifications to the design are being evaluated to be compatible with the design of the Gathering Place for Tulsa project.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) executed the final 404 permit in January 2014. Recent USACE activity has re-opened the 404 permitting for additional administrative review and mitigation consideration.  Responses to USACE comments have been submitted and final processing is being completed.  Funding for improvements to Zink Dam was approved by Tulsa votes in April, 2016, and this funding will begin in early 2017.  Final design will need to be completed when funding becomes available.

Environmental Studies and Permitting

In January 2015, the initial stages of preliminary engineering design began for the proposed low-water dams in Sand Springs, South Tulsa/Jenks and Bixby.  This initial preliminary design and cost estimating was completed April 30, 2015. Important features associated with the low-water dam construction, such as bank stabilization, public access and recreation, and environmental improvement and mitigation components, were the subject of this initial preliminary engineering design effort for the purpose of developing refined concepts and updated cost estimates.  This information was provided to local county and municipal leaders as they developed a funding strategy for the river projects contained in the Vision Tulsa vote in April 2016.  Field investigation work has been completed for all sites, and a geotechnical investigation at the Bixby Low-Water Dam site has been completed.

Tulsa County and its consultant team have also prepared and submitted the Section 404 permit application for the South Tulsa/Jenks LWD. Comments received during the public comment period are being addressed.  It is anticipated that either an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is expected to be required by USACE for this proposed low-water dam.  Processing of the permit application continues.

Feasibility of Funding

Tulsa County is coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to revise the Feasibility Cost Share Agreement for the Arkansas River Corridor that was originally approved in 2010.  Minimal appropriations have been received from Congress to initiate the actual Feasibility Study that is required by USACE to determine the feasibility of federal funding for any of the proposed river projects.  A formal Planning Charette was conducted by the USACE in partnership with Tulsa County in October of 2013.  Generally, the results of the Planning Charette indicated that there may be a federal interest in participating in the Sand Springs Low-Water Dam because of its potential benefits to ecosystem improvements.  However, all other proposed low-water dams may be technically feasible and may be permitted, but it was determined they would not be eligible for federal funding.  Therefore, only the proposed Sand Springs LWD and other local ecosystem improvement projects will be studied in the revised Feasibility Study, as proposed in the revised Feasibility Cost Share Agreement.   Local matching funds are still available to match federal funds needed for studies done by the USACE for all three dam sites.  These funds have been budgeted for the fiscal year 2015.