The Woodward News

Local News

January 13, 2013

OKC plans concern many in area

Water draw could have environmental, economic impact on Canton Lake

Woodward, Okla. — With drought conditions continuing to plague the state and lake water continuing to disappear, the appropriation of that water is coming under scrutiny as Oklahoma City is planning to draw 7.3 feet of water from Canton Lake to use in Lake Hefner.

Fisheries Supervisor John Stahl with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation explained that Oklahoma City owns water rights to Canton Lake's conservation pool.

Canton Lake Manager Kathy Carlson with the Corps of Engineers explained the conservation pool saying, "Basically its the usable space within any pool. It has various applications, it's your usable water. The conservation portion is what's utilized to meet your various operations, whether it be fish and wildlife, water supply storage, hydro electric power. It's your normal operating level between the flood pool, which is above normal operating levels, and the inactive pool, which is your lowest level."

The conservation pool consists of 19 ft of water from the lake if it's full, Stahl said.

However, he said the lake hasn't been full since 2 water releases were made in 2011, resulting in a water level drop of 9 feet.

"Canton Lake hasn't gained any water since May, so we're still down 9 feet. There was a meeting on Dec. 12, 2012 at the Water Resources Board where Oklahoma City requested another 7.3 feet of water to take place sometime in January which would result in a total of 16.3 feet of water out of Canton Lake," he said.


While Stahl admits its within Oklahoma City's legal power to do so, he said this draw could have devastating repercussions on Canton Lake.

"As the fisheries supervisor for Canton I told them I was very concerned about a massive fish kill next summer," he said.

Stahl went on to explain exactly what a fish kill was and how it worked.

"With the water that shallow and Canton being a wind swept lake, nutrients that would normally be trapped at the bottom will be stirred up and brought up to the sunlight and heat. The result will be a tremendous plankton bloom which will turn the water pea green and result in a massive loss of fish," he said.

Stahl said the lake has already dealt with other wildlife losses from the previous water draws.

"We had a large kill of freshwater drum fish last year from the water taken. A lot of people don't realize it, but drum are actually sensitive fish, so we expect that the environmental stress from the water taken to have brought on  the massive fish kill," he said.

In addition to the drum killed off, Stahl suspects the water draw to have severely affected the walleye and saugeye egg harvesting that takes place at Canton.

"Canton is where we get walleye and saugeye eggs for the whole state, and last year is the first year we couldn't net 10 million eggs. We ended up going to Fort Supply lake as well for eggs, but we were still only able to get 4 million. This year with lake levels so low if Fort Supply doesn't gain 2 feet of water between now and March we wont be able to get a boat out there and we'll have to get our fish from out of state," said Stahl.

Text Only
Local News
  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tangier Reunion set for Saturday, Sunday

    When Barbara (Allison) Merwin thinks back to the years she spent in the classrooms of Tangier High School, it takes a few moments for her to recall how school life was 60 years ago.

    July 23, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has educators worried

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With the Legislature's repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they're concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 state which have implemented the standards.

    July 22, 2014

  • web1.jpg Travelers win Connie Mack state championship

    Down 2-0 and down to their final three outs, the Traveler Majors delivered a championship rally in the seventh inning Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • Hearing set on rezoning

    City commissioners will tackle rezoning items and a licensing agreement amendment Monday evening at the regularly scheduled meeting of the City of Woodward and Woodward Municipal Authority.

    July 20, 2014