The Red River Boundary Commission held its first meeting on Monday as it attempts to reach a resolution with the state of Oklahoma over state boundaries in Lake Texoma. In December, Gov. Rick Perry antnounced appointments to the commission, which includes three representatives from the Texoma region.

The Red River Boundary Commission held its first meeting on Monday as it attempts to reach a resolution with the state of Oklahoma over state boundaries in Lake Texoma. In December, Gov. Rick Perry antnounced appointments to the commission, which includes three representatives from the Texoma region.


"Our goal here is to change as little as possible," said Martin Rochelle, representing the North Texas Municipal Water District, and the Greater Texoma Utility Authority.


The goal of the commission is to resolve a problem with the border, which was established in 2000 by the Red River Compact. The agreement set the state border using satellite coordinates of the Red River’s path before the creation of the lake in the 1930s. This created a state boundary that is not susceptible to change as the river changed course over time.


However, the coordinates that were given to the commission proved to be incorrect. This became an issue when it was discovered it put the majority of a pumping station, that was built in 1989 and used by the NTMWD and GTUA, in Oklahoma waters. At the time of its construction, the pumping station was confirmed to be in Texas waters by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey.


The dispute could be solved with a shift of less than one acre, said NTMWD General Manger Jim Parks. Parks said that the trouble with the boundary really only affects two survey points.


The location of the water pump became an issue in 2009 with the discovery of zebra mussels, an invasive species, in Lake Texoma. By pumping from the station, water authorities could inadvertently violate the Lacey Act, which outlaws the transportation of invasive species over state boundaries. The NTMWD has not pumped from the station since 2009. Late last year, Congress passed an exemption to the Lacey Act on zebra mussels that are pumped from the station.


However, this exemption does not pertain to other invasive species that may inhabit Lake Texoma in the future. The commission also brought up other wildlife laws that might become problematic for the pumping station, including the Migratory Bird Treaty and Endangered Species Acts.


Representatives from the General Land Office, Texas State Attorney General, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality pledged their support at Monday’s meeting, and offered their assistance to the Commission, as it is needed.


While focusing on the matter of the state boundaries, the commission also addressed the growing concern of the effect that zebra mussels may have on the pumping station. In the past, the NTMWD would pump water from Lake Texoma into tributaries that would feed into Lake Lavon. Since the discovery of the mussels, the District has built a 47-mile pipeline to its treatment facility in Wylie. The GTUA has always had a closed-water network, keeping it from contaminating other waterways.


In a memorandum of understanding issued and signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Perry, Oklahoma will allow the use of the pumping station until a permanent solution to the border dispute is found.


The Commission is currently preparing for future negotiations with its Oklahoma counterpart, which is expected to be established next spring. The Commission is expected to send a final report to Perry in July of 2015.