Water Resources:

Corps of Engineers Management of 1986 Flooding in Northeastern Oklahoma

RCED-87-173BR: Published: Jul 17, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1987.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Corps of Engineers' efforts to deal with the flooding that occurred in September and October of 1986 in northeastern Oklahoma to determine: (1) whether the Corps released water from its reservoirs in accordance with its operating procedures; (2) whether a modification to the Arkansas River Basin Operating Plan adversely affected the flooding; (3) the Corps' weather and flooding forecasting responsibilities; (4) problems with river gauges; (5) how the Corps communicated water release information to state and local entities; and (6) how the Corps conducted post-flood evaluations.

GAO found that: (1) the Corps followed its operating procedures for releasing floodwaters from the reservoirs; (2) a modification to the operating plan did not adversely affect the flooding, since it was not in effect; (3) the Corps' prediction of inflow to Keystone Reservoir was 53 percent below the actual amount; (4) the Corps based its decision to release water from the reservoir on the National Weather Service's forecast, which was close to the actual amount; (5) many river gauges malfunctioned or were damaged during the flooding, but this had a minimal effect, since the Corps took manual measurements; (6) the flooding forecast for Tulsa did not materialize because the released water deepened the channel, which was then able to hold more water than usual; (7) flooding in one town occurred later than predicted because the released water spilled over the river banks and spread out over the land instead of flowing directly to the town; (8) the Corps revised its procedures for notifying state and local governments of impending floods; and (9) the Corps' post-flood evaluation report identified needed corrective actions in engineering, coordination, and personnel matters.

Nov 20, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 6, 2020

Sep 23, 2020

Aug 6, 2020

Aug 5, 2020

Jul 23, 2020

Jul 14, 2020

Jun 25, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here