KGOU

Arkansas River

Sue Ogrocki/AP

May was one of the wettest months ever in Oklahoma, with parts of the state receiving record rainfall. Many communities are still dealing with the aftermath, and those efforts could be complicated by more heavy rain this month.

Floaters navigate their homemade raft down the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Okla., during the annual Great Raft Race on Labor Day 2016.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The section of the Arkansas River that runs through Tulsa is changing. For much of the city’s history, business owners constructed buildings facing away from what has been considered a polluted eyesore. But now Tulsa is embracing its most prominent physical feature.

Downtown Tulsa from the banks of the Arkansas River.
Mike Davis / Flickr

It’s been decades since Tulsa decided the portion of the Arkansas River that runs through the city was too dirty and dangerous to swim in. The river is much cleaner now, but convincing the public it’s OK to hop in won’t be easy.

The Arkansas River is an iconic feature of Tulsa, cutting across downtown and winding through the west side of the city. But it has a bad reputation.

Used Syringes And Vials Found In Arkansas River

Mar 16, 2015
Biggishben / Wikimedia Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says medical waste including used vials and syringes has been found in the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma.

Agency spokeswoman Erin Hatfield says the department was notified Monday of the discovery in Pawnee County and will send investigators to the scene about 60 miles west of Tulsa "in the next few days."

She said the river does not supply drinking water in Oklahoma. She also said there appears to be no immediate danger, other than to river users who might encounter any vials or syringes.

Three Forks Harbor Marina
Three Forks Harbor, Port of Muskogee / Wikipedia Commons

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the Environmental Protection Agency has been notified of a large fuel spill in the Arkansas Kerr-McClellan Navigation Channel in Muskogee County.

The patrol says the spill in the Three Forks area of the channel and appeared to be on the surface of the water. The U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center was notified of the spill about 2:10 p.m. Saturday and the EPA was to be alerted for possible cleanup action.

Oklahoma marine enforcement units unsuccessfully attempted to locate the source of the spill with the state's air boat. The patrol says the state Department of Environment Quality is now in control of the scene.

Newt Graham Lock and Dam on the Verdigris River in Wagoner County, Oklahoma
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library / Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma's entire congressional delegation has announced support for the so-called "Three Rivers Study" of the area at the confluence of the Arkansas, Mississippi, and White Rivers.

The area is the starting point of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which runs through both states.

The study would investigate ongoing threats to navigation and bottomland hardwoods at the confluence of the rivers in southeastern Arkansas.

A view of the Tulsa skyline from the Arkansas River.
TexasExplorer98 / Flickr Creative Commons

Authorities say the body of a third fisherman has been recovered after they all accidentally fell into the Arkansas River early Thursday.

Tulsa Fire Department Capt. Stan May says the third man was pulled out of the river late Thursday afternoon after an all-day recovery effort in and along the river.

Authorities say one of the men went into rushing water near a low-water dam in midtown to go noodling — or attempt to catch a fish with his hands.

May says the first man started to struggle in the water, so two others went in to help him.