There are about 500 named creeks and rivers in Oklahoma; many are short, intermittent streams. Most rivers flow across the state from northwest to southeast. Two major tributaries of the Mississippi River drain the state—the Arkansas and Red rivers. The principal tributaries of the Arkansas River are the Cimarron and Canadian rivers from the west, the Verdigris, Grand, and Illinois rivers from the north and northeast, and the Poteau River from the south. As with most rivers that rise on the western plains and flow east, rivers such as the Cimarron and Canadian are characterized by broad, shallow, and sandy channels. In dry season there will be little surface flow, although much subsurface water will flow through the rivers’ sandy beds. The chief tributaries of the Red River are the North Fork, Washita, Blue, Boggy, and Kiamichi rivers. Waterways originating in the more humid eastern regions are characterized by their steep banks, swift current, and depth.
All of the larger lakes in the state are artificial and more than three-fourths of them are in the eastern portion of the state, where the rainfall is greater. These reservoirs were created for flood control, navigation, water supply, power generation, and recreation. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Grand River Dam Authority created the major reservoirs of the state, including Altus, Arbuckle, Canton, Eufaula, Fort Supply, Keystone, Oologah, Texoma, Thunderbird, and Wister. Some of these reservoirs are part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System that connect Tulsa’s port of Catoosa to barge traffic on the Mississippi system. "Oklahoma" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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