Less rain in July resulted in fewer incidences of flooding, however, Oklahoma’s 2,107 flood control dams prevented $14.2 million in damage this past month according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“Even though we’re seeing pockets of drought creep back into the state, it doesn’t mean Oklahoma is in the clear when it comes to flooding,” said April Burns, Acting State Conservationist for Water Resources. “In fact, as soils dry out, they can become more water resistant. The hot and dry summer months mean any rain we do get will take longer to soak in, and that could mean flooding.”
Oklahoma is historically a flood-prone state with many of the worst floods occurring during dry periods. This was most recently seen in 2015 when heavy rains broke several years of drought and resulted in widespread flooding across the state.
Repairs to dams and roads damaged by 2015 flood events continue and are rapidly nearing completion.
“We anticipate streambank stabilization along roads damaged during 2015 to be completed in the next month or so. The remaining flood control dam repairs will take longer,” said Burns.
The NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program provides funding to repair roads and dams affected by flooding. For flood events in May, June and December of 2015, EWP is funding $3.2 million in repairs in Oklahoma.
Streambank stabilization along roads has been completed in Caddo, Garfield, Harmon, Kay and Logan Counties. Projects in Comanche, Garvin, Grant and Muskogee Counties are ongoing.
A total of 24 flood control dams have been repaired, and 13 are in various stages of design or construction.
EWP pays 75 percent of the cost of repairs and allows states to match the remaining 25 percent with direct funding or in-kind contributions such as labor.