In 2016, The Creek Nation boasted their excellence in avoiding the perils of the 1986 flooding when they built the newest additions to the River Spirit Casino.
KOTV's chief weather forecaster, Travis Meyer, wrote an excellent article for KOTV's News on 6 website, to talk about what dangers the Tulsa area may face (and is now suffering) because we build in so many risky low level properties which were very much underwater, in the 1986 flood, which was the result of massive emergency releases of Keystone Dam waters.
INCOG is the govt agency tasked with community planning and zoning research. Their maps clearly show that
River Spirit is now processing many refunds on reservations, according to their social media posts.
Flying over Bixby, Jenks and Tulsa, you can see how much has been built in some areas that were once flooded. Many of these areas lie in the floodplain. Some of these places have taken extra steps though to protect for the next flood disaster like Margartitaville Resort and Hotel.
River Spirit Project Manager Randy Hull and his crew engineered a widened concrete drainage channel funneling storm runoff underneath the resort. The tributary into the river is built to handle more water than the '86 flood.
"All of our decisions were based on what happened in '86," Hull said. "So, all of our decisions were based on 'what are we going to do in the event of.' or 'how are we going to plan this building for what could happen.'"
The entire building was built to withstand a flood that would rise one foot *above* the '86 flood. Advances in technology give Hull less concern for a catastrophic event.
"I'm more confident than what happened in '86 because the information is a lot better, the monitoring is a lot better," said River Spirit Project Manager Randy Hull.
"We have a lot more time to do something in the event of a major flood event, and our capacity is greater."
River Spirit Project Manager, Randy Hull, now with JCJ Architecture
So Randy Hull and his team were more worried about the storm water ditch which flows under & through the resort property, rather than the river volume, itself.
In 1986, we learned that our bigger concern is in the Arkansas River being the drainage trough for nearly the entire northern half of Oklahoma & southern half of Kansas If floodwaters hit Ponca City, Wichita, or Garden City, we'll be tasked with getting rid of what they send our way. But when additional flooding happens downstream in Muskogee or Sallisaw, we may have to wade through that water until the federal govt. grants us relief in the way of increased flow downstream.
When you have 2 "hundred Year" floods in 33 years, it's time to reassess our actual risks and act on real world experiences, rather than theories.
Read the entire report at News on 6 KOTV.