Proposed Dams on the Arkansas River

PowerPlant Skywatch Edit

One of Tulsa’s best attractions is the Arkansas River that runs through it. It is beautiful and Tulsa and suburbs have enhanced it by putting in miles of trails and parks on both sides of the river.


The River also separates the urban east side and the industrial west side of town. The east side has downtown, museums, nice subdivisions and such. The west side has two refineries, a power plant, concrete plants and a bunch of other industries. I like both sides actually.


The only thing is that the river is most attractive where it has water in it dependably and that is only upstream of Zink Dam which was built in the last century and is showing its age plus the dam is beginning to build up silt behind it.  The city has an engineering report now and it describes a project to renovate the Zink Lake Dam and add three other dams to the river. The total cost is just over $300 million bucks. It is a lot of money but I think it may be a bargain.

The new dams will feature “Obermeyer Gates” which is a kind of hinged dam that raises and lowers by means of an air bladder. So when the gate is lowered, silt and sand can move downstream and fish can move upstream. I am not sure how often they would cycle the gates but it does sound like an interesting technology.

Check here to see a video of how the Obermeyer Gate works. I had the video embedded but it autostarted and drives everybody crazey.

All I know is that communities are either growing or dying, their isn’t too much room in between and if cities want to grow they have to invest in themselves. I’ll be watching this and seeing if we can pass a bond issue to address the river.

6 thoughts on “Proposed Dams on the Arkansas River

  1. DrillerAA

    When I was a kid the Arkansas River was the natural sewage treatment for Tulsa and it did not smell good on a summer evening. I was glad to see that the city recognized the recreational potential and began developing all of the ammenities that you see now. You are so right, there is no middle ground when it comes to a vital city. Tulsa must either continuously reinvent itself and grow or stagnate and die. It experienced stagnation once and it was not pleasant. I think the new dam projects sound like a great opportunity to reinvent the river,

  2. sylviakirk

    I do agree that the dam projects sound like a great opportunity to save/reinvent the river. Good to know that more and more people/cities are recognizing this these days. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  3. Gaelyn

    I’d vote for breaking out the old dam and let the river run free. What will the dams provide? Power that can be obtained another way? It is marvelous that parks run along the river and I like the idea of separating industry from life. Keep us posted.

  4. EG CameraGirl

    There’s so much to think about when creating dams, isn’t there? I think the river is beautiful and that this project, even though very expensive, is very important to Tulsa’s future.

  5. Indah Nuria Savitri

    the sceneries are wonderful… Hope I’ll be able to see the arkansas river myself one day. I guess the project should ideally bring more good things, particularly the preservation of the surrounding areas..

Comments are closed.