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Press Release
May 13, 2016

Public Forum in Tahlequah to present Report on Illinois River Recreation and Fish Habitat Flows

On Thursday June 16, 2016 from 6:30-8:00 pm, officials and water planning specialists with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) are hosting a public forum at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center (100 N. Water St.) to report the results of the fish habitat modeling portion of the on-going Illinois River Instream Flow (ISF) Pilot Study. The meeting is the third in a series of public forums to share information and obtain feedback on the ISF Pilot Study being conducted on the Upper Illinois River (including Barron Fork and Flint Creeks) above Lake Tenkiller in eastern Oklahoma.

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 fish habitat modeling with a background summary of existing stream resource values and uses will inform decision making process in helping water planners gain a better understanding of how to balance the needs of multiple users in the watershed.

OWRB will also present an overview of how the technical study results will be used as a key part of the overall Upper Illinois River Pilot Study program, as the State continues their work to assess whether and how a more formal instream flow program should be implemented in Oklahoma.

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

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