Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oklahoma's Disappearing Water

Lakes are much more beautiful with water in them.

If paddling in Oklahoma wasn’t hard enough, even the potential destinations are disappearing. Grand Lake of the Cherokees, in Northeast Oklahoma, is the third-largest lake in Oklahoma, exceeded by Texoma and Eufaula Lakes. I wouldn’t expect such a huge body of water to experience such water quality problems, but the lack of rainfall and exceedingly hot weather has had a serious impact. The lake was closed over the Fourth of July holiday due to blue-green algae blooms and high toxin levels. Several other lakes are being tested for similar problems. Beaches on Arcadia lake have been closed due to e.coli levels in the swim areas. The rest of the lake is reported to be fine. I didn’t understand how high e.coli levels were a health risk on one side of the swim area ropes, but not if you were skiing or swimming off a boat on the other side of the ropes.

Water levels are becoming another problem. The best places to find wildlife and more interesting paddling are in the pools and feeder streams. Water levels are dropping enough to make such areas inaccessible. The conservation pool on Chouteau Lake, another being tested for high toxin levels, is only at 44% of its pool depth. Altus is down 73%, Kemp is down 54%, Canton 33%, and so on. I try not to even mess with one down more than 5%, so paddling options are also drying up.

No comments:

Post a Comment