Lake Texoma (Red River Basin)

Lake Texoma spillway at Denison Dam (Photo source: Texoma is formed by Denison Dam on the Red River in Bryan County, Oklahoma and Grayson County, Texas and is located on the border between the states of Oklahoma and Texas. The dam site is approximately five miles northwest of Denison, Texas, fifteen miles southwest of Durant, Oklahoma, and 726 miles upstream from the Red River mouth. The first recorded official report concerning Lake Texoma (then known as Denison Reservoir) was made on January 21, 1927, under the provisions of House Document 308, Sixty-ninth Congress, first session (USACE, 2008).

Denison Dam and Lake Texoma were authorized for construction by the Flood Control Act approved on June 28, 1938, (Public Law 75-791) for flood control, power generation, conservation and recreational purposes. Owned and funded by the Federal Government, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers designed, built and has being operating this reservoir since 1930's. The dam, spillway, and outlet works were started on August 22, 1939 and completed in February 1944. At that time, Denison Dam was the largest rolled, earth-filled dam in the United States.  The project was put into operation for flood control in January 1944. The first hydroelectric turbine was placed in operation in March 1945, while a second unit became operational in September 1949 (USACE, 2008).

Lake Texoma is currently the 12th largest reservoirs in the United States. It has filled up only three times in its history: June 1966, May 1990, and July 2007. The conservation pool elevation is variably defined throughout a year between 615 and 619 feet above mean sea level. According to TWDB 2002 Survey, The lake has 2,516,232 acre feet conservation capacity encompassing a surface area of 74,686 acres at an elevation of 617 feet above mean sea level. Designed total storage capacity is 5,393,000 acre feet at flood pool elevation 640 feet above mean sea level. The top of dam is at the elevation of 670 feet above mean sea level with an uncontrolled spillway at elevation of 640 feet above mean sea level. The maximum design water surface may reach to 666.4 feet above mean sea level. It is the largest lake in or shared with Texas by its total storage capacity. Lake Texoma also has the world record blue catfish (121.5 pounds) caught by Cody Mullennix on January 16, 2004, but is also known as the "Striper Capital of the World." This lake is one of a few reservoirs in United State where striped bass reproduce naturally. The rate of sedimentation filling the lake is estimated at approximately 3,650 acre-feet per year from 1985 and 2002. The dam controls a drainage area of approximately 39,719 square miles.

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