Lake Texoma Providing Excellent Recreational
Activities During Drought, SWPA Drawdown
Kingston, Okla. – Lake Texoma is open and continues to provide many recreational activities including fishing, boating, camping, swimming, golf and many others according to Lake Texoma Association Executive Director Shelly Morgan.
“There is a lot of false information about Lake Texoma being closed or out of water, this simply is not true” Morgan said. “Texoma is still one of the largest lakes in the country and very accessible to the public and visitors. Despite rumors to the contrary, boat ramps in many of the marinas and Corps areas are open. The fishing and boating opportunities are excellent right now.”
Lake Texoma has many miles of open water with sufficient depth for all sizes of boats, and the boat traffic is insignificant due to the size. Lake Texoma has 22 marinas/resorts, 2 state parks, 2 wildlife refuges and several Corps recreation areas which are open right now and provide natural resources with wildlife, outstanding fishing and diverse scenery all along the 580 miles of shoreline.
“The public needs to be informed of what is going on at Lake Texoma and what the Lake Texoma Association is doing to address the issues” Morgan said. She acknowledged that the continued drawdown of Lake Texoma water by the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) has reduced the lake level to historic lows, especially without significant inflows of water. The water demand for the cumulative hydroelectric power generation, water supply, and evaporation — combined with National Weather Service and other drought outlooks for several months during 2014 — indicate low lake elevations and severe regional economic impacts may be reached in the near future.
The Association, which is not opposed to electrical generation and water supply removals (as per the project purpose of Lake Texoma) during normal years, has proposed effective conservation techniques that should be utilized with lake level declines during drought conditions. Lake Texoma is currently at 608.7 msl, nine feet below normal pool elevation, and the SWPA is continuing to generate. At these lower levels, there is potential for some boat ramps to become unusable and boat docks in shallow waters could become dry. Also, as the water level changes, different boating hazards become exposed. Continued generation without significant rainfall in the Lake Texoma watershed, which is 39,719 square miles, generally north and west of the Red River, could result in a reduction of tourism in the upcoming 2014 summer season. “Naturally, the reduction of visitors in our region may put thousands of Texoma area jobs at risk and decrease tax revenues which are heavily dependent on the lake activity,” Morgan says. “Additionally, we have to be concerned with the possible reduction of spawning of Texoma’s nationally renowned striper population.”
“Amending current federal legislation is the only real long term solution to balance hydropower and water supply draw downs from Lake Texoma, especially during severe drought conditions,” Morgan says. The Lake Texoma Association has drafted proposed legislation that addresses lake levels and conservation measures that should be utilized for hydro power and water supply during drought conditions. The Association is working with federal as well as state legislators in both Texas and Oklahoma to gain support for turning the proposal into law.
“We want to protect our beautiful water resource while also providing long term accessibility for water supply and power generation” Morgan says. More than 6 million people from across the U.S. visit Lake Texoma annually, bringing millions of dollars spent on recreational activities, lodging and restaurants. Lake Texoma is a major destination for the Dallas/Fort Worth and Oklahoma City areas as well as nationwide. Because of its immense size, more than 85,000 surface acres, Lake Texoma offers a wide variety of recreational activities for everyone. Come and enjoy Lake Texoma for a weekend or a lifetime!
Shelly Morgan, Executive Director
Lake Texoma Association
The Lake Texoma Association is a nonprofit organization that has served the Oklahoma and Texas areas of Texoma for 60 years by promoting and protecting Lake Texoma and the interests of area businesses and attractions.