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Water Quality Division > Programs > TMDLs & Water Quality Modeling > Lake Thunderbird

Lake Thunderbird TMDL Project

Lake Thunderbird is located east of Norman, Oklahoma, with a drainage area covering large parts of the Cities of Norman, Oklahoma City, and Moore. Lake Thunderbird is listed on Oklahoma’s 2008 303(d) list for impaired beneficial uses of public and private water supply and warm water aquatic community. The causes of the impairments are low dissolved oxygen (DO), high Chlorophyll-a, and high turbidity. Because there is no point source discharge in the lake watershed, nutrients and sediment loadings from nonpoint sources during runoff events through tributary streams are believed to be the major sources of the impairments. Internal processes in the lake may also contribute pollutant loadings.

Lake Thunderbird serves as a drinking water source for the cities of Norman, Midwest City, and Del City. It was designated as a Sensitive Water Supply (SWS) lake by the State of Oklahoma in 2002. It is also a major recreation destination providing boating, fishing and other water related opportunities. As of 2001, Lake Thunderbird watershed had about 41% of land used as pasture, 35% in forest, 15% developed land, and 9% in other minor uses.

map showing Lake Thunderbird, its watershed and tributaries, and monitoring stations

The federal Clean Water Act and related regulations require total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) be developed for impaired waterbodies on a state’s 303(d) list. TMDLs provide goals and guidelines to improve the water quality in these waterbodies. Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) is currently developing a TMDL or a watershed plan in lieu of TMDL for Lake Thunderbird. The first step of this TMDL effort is the modeling study for the lake and its watershed. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was formed to provide recommendations and guidance for the development of the watershed and lake models and the subsequent TMDL/watershed plan. DEQ established this website to make information related to the Lake Thunderbird project available to the public. This may include but is not limited to TAC meeting agendas, presentation slides, and summaries and other project related information.

Lake Thunderbird Nutrient, Turbidity, and Dissolved Oxygen TMDLs


Questions? Contact:

Mark Derichsweiler (DEQ)
phone: 405-702-8188

Historical Materials

Lake Thunderbird TMDL Public Meeting Presentation Slides from the May 24, 2012 public meeting

Notice of a Public Meeting Regarding The Lake Thunderbird TMDL Project - May 4, 2012

Public Notice and Notice of Public Meeting

Lake Thunderbird TMDL Public Meeting PowerPoint Presentation from July 23, 2013 (30MB pptx file)

Lake Thunderbird TMDL Technical Workshop PowerPoint Presentation from July 23, 2013 (70MB pptx file)

Draft Lake Thunderbird TMDL Report

Response to EPA Comments

Response to OWRB Comments


TAC Members

  • Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG)
  • City of Midwest City
  • City of Moore
  • City of Norman
  • City of Oklahoma City
  • Cleveland County Conservation District
  • Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC)
  • Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB)
  • US Bureau of Reclamation (US BOR)
  • University of Oklahoma (OU)

The following organizations were invited to join the TAC but either declined or did not respond to the invitation.

  • Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District (declined)
  • City of Del City (did not respond)

TAC Documents

Third TAC Meeting

Second TAC Meeting

First TAC Meeting

General Project Documents