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Press Release
January 8, 2016

Public Forum in Tahlequah to Present Updates on Illinois River Flow Pilot Study

On Thursday January 21, 2016 from 6:30-8:00 pm officials and water planning specialists with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) are hosting a public forum to present updates on the Illinois River Instream Flow Pilot Study. This is a follow-up to the meeting held in Tahlequah on January 22, 2015. The forum will take place at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center located at 100 North Water Street.

The meeting is the second of a series of public meetings to share information and obtain feedback on an Instream Flow (ISF) Pilot Study being conducted on the Upper Illinois River (including Barron Fork and Flint Creeks) above Lake Tenkiller in eastern Oklahoma. The purpose of the forum is to present preliminary findings of the study and to gather further input from stakeholders.

This pilot study on a state-designated Scenic River was initiated in 2014 in response to the recommendations of a 25-member Instream Flow Advisory Group and the 2012 Update of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan (OCWP). According to the OCWP, the concept of �instream flow� has evolved over the years but generally describes the amount of water in a stream or river necessary to ensure that environmental, social and economic benefits are met.

The study, made possible through a partnership between the OWRB and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District, is being performed by the environmental engineering firm CH2M. Recent field work in the study area has been conducted to characterize the relationships between stream flows and aquatic habitats. The results of the field study along with a background summary of existing stream resource values and uses will help water planners gain a better understanding of how to balance the needs of multiple users in the watershed.

The technical team will also present information characterizing the current consumptive uses of water in the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma, such as irrigation, industrial, municipal and domestic supply. However, this study does not include the operations of Lake Tenkiller or its dam.

For more information about the Illinois River Stakeholder Forum or the Instream Flow Advisory Group, please visit the Instream Flow Advisory Group web page or contact Derek Smithee at 405-530-8800 or derek.smithee@owrb.ok.gov.

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