Development of Water Release Plans for Minimizing Fish Kills Below Tulsa District, Corps of Engineers Impoundments

Stephen L. Nolen
John H. Carroll
John N. Veenstra

DOI: 10.2190/HJNJ-H65D-EYPM-6WEC


Late summer fish kills comprised primarily of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and associated with high water temperatures, low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) and fish entrapment occasionally occur in the tailwaters of Tulsa District, Corps of Engineers impoundments. In response to these kills, studies were initiated to develop means of using minimal water releases to consistently maintain adequate temperature and dissolved oxygen conditions for fish survival below these projects. Activities included the use of the computer model, SELECT, for the prediction of minimum required releases, followed by field verification of predicted release characteristics. Results of studies at two lakes are presented here. At Eufaula Lake, Oklahoma, release plans were developed for preventing tailwaters anoxia resulting from leakage of low DO waters through power penstocks. At Ft. Gibson Lake, Oklahoma, releases were used to prevent fish mortality caused by elevated water temperatures. In both instances, the SELECT model adequately predicted release characteristics and low level (approximately 0.7 m3/sec), continuous sluice releases were successfully used to prevent fish kills.

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