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What's being done to stop Oklahoma river erosion

KOKH/FILE

Doug Gragert said he's concerned about the shifting flow of the N. Canadian River near his home. He said the river continues to move closer to his home on Triple X Rd. near NE 36th St.

"Through the last half of last year, the river has moved backed over here in this pocket to the northeast I was telling you about," Gragert said. "Let's say 20 feet to that effect. It moved closer and closer to my fence."

The erosion along the banks of the river has caused it to move closer to his property from the north. He said it's hard to predict how much more it will move.

"There's no telling how far it's going to go," Gragert said. "Mother nature's in charge. I really don't know. But I need something to happen pretty quick."

Oklahoma County is trying to come up with a solution to keep the river from taking more properties. It wants to relocate and rebuild Triple X Rd. and add measures to stop erosion on the river.

"It will require someone being displaced from their home but also from a livelihood because it will require taking up a crop they use for their income," Oklahoma County commissioner Brian Maughan said.

Maughan applied for a $1.5 million federal grant needed to do work on the river. But it hasn't heard back yet on if it will receive it.

"There's just going to be a question of when it hits that pivotal point," Maughan said. "It's been described to me by engineers that it's going to be like splitting a rick of wood and you're going to literally an entire faction of it just fall into the river."

Maughan said the county needs the federal money to be able to do the project. But he's not sure where it stands in the application process.

"I have made appeals to our Congressional delegation and now, of course, that has recently changed so we have a new Congresswoman for this area," Maughan said. "I'm going to need to meet with her soon once she gets settled into her office but the U.S. senators are aware."

He said he's not sure when they will know if they get the grant.

Gragert said it's hard to watch this continue and not know what the plan is.

"Me and my neighbors are just kind of hanging here," Gragert said. "We'd like to know some updates on what's going on. Give us some updates if something's happening, let us know what's going on. If nothing's happening, let us know that too."

Stacey Trumbo is the engineer for Oklahoma County. He said the county needs to work with many entities to make the repair.

"It's going to be an expensive project," Trumbo said. "Probably somewhere along the lines of $4 to 5 million. No one local government entity has that kind of money. It's just too much money at one location."

Gragert said he just wants to be better informed to plan for what could happen to his property.

"About every six months, we hear something different is happening and really nothing is happening," Gragert said. "They talk about a lot of things going to happen but we really haven't seen anything yet."

The Army Corps of Engineers controls the river, so it would need to approve any project.

Maughan said projects in other parts of the country could affect when and if the grant money comes to them.

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