Picking up the pieces on Lake Texoma

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LAKE TEXOMA -- Weeks after the crest, people are picking up the pieces around Lake Texoma. It's slow going, but progress is being made. Residents, business owners, and lake officials are all doing their part to get everything back to normal.

Lake Texoma peaked at 640.75 feet on Friday, July 13th. That's the day business owners around the lake say they see as the beginning of their recovery.

It’s a recovery which includes a lot more than cleaning up debris, but making sure the water is back down to a manageable level.

The waters are starting to recede, leaving behind water lines and plenty of junk

"We can watch it and cleaning up as it goes down trying to present it as clean as possible by picking up any debris that surfaces," says Scott Hayward, assistant manager at Highport Marina.

Officials at Highport Marina say the flooding has shown them changes to their layout need to be made as soon as things dry up.

Lake Manager Ron Jordan says that might not happen for another three to four weeks and says if it wasn't for the 60 year old structure, things could have been worse for many more people.

"The dollars that were spent to create Denison Dam and Lake Texoma were justified," Jordan said.

Crews at the dam say both generators, and each of the six flood gates are kept open around the clock.

"During normal water conditions, we're called upon during the time of the day when the load on the electrical system is the highest."

The water goes down the whirlpool and then out the other end through the flood gates. Right now the water is going out the spillway at 36,000 cubic feet per second and Army Corps of Engineers officials say they will try to keep it at that level in order to bring the lake back down to 619 feet.

"It may be adjusted depending on the stage of the river downstream. That’s the basis behind flood control. We catch the water here, hold it until it is released at safe rate to keep the Red River in its banks."

Officials with the corps urge those wanting to go on the lake to use caution.

"It’s such a different lake than it was before. I’ve heard some guys say they've been on the lake and they say it’s hard to tell where you're at because all the landmarks are under water."

Marina owners are just trying to make it through 2007 and say they’re looking forward to ’08.

The Corps says all boats ramps and marinas are still closed and encourage anyone that is planning on making a trip to contact their campground or marina first.

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