Q:My family has a favorite spot that’s accessible from a public road for swimming and fishing on Lake Travis. This summer, access to the lake from this road is blocked by a local resident who is using the lake for his own enjoyment. Is this legal?
A: Private citizens cannot block a public roadway — but they can block access to their own property. With Lake Travis at a six year low due to the drought, folks may be trespassing on his land to get to the lake. Check your local city or county tax records to determine who owns the access point. If it’s the resident, you will need his permission to cross his property to use the lake -- at least until the lake elevation returns to a level (and it will, eventually) where you can access it from the public road.
Q: Is bow fishing legal on the Colorado River below Town Lake to the coast? A: Bow fishing is allowed as long as you follow Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulations. The sport is prohibited on lakes Bastrop and Fayette; no weapons are allowed on these lakes, which provide cooling water for the electric generating units at the Lost Pines Power Park and Fayette Power Project.
Q: I would like to pan for gold in the Llano River. Do I need some type of permit to do this?
A: You will need a permit from the Texas General Land Office. Call the GLO in Austin at (512) 463-5001. Also be careful not to trespass on private property to get to your panning site (while the riverbed is public property, most property fronting the river is not). If you cannot access your site from a public area, be sure to get the landowner’s permission.
Q: When Lake Travis gets low, you can see the original river channel below the Oasis restaurant and Mansfield Dam. Do you know who lived there before Mansfield Dam was built? Looks like the foundations of some old houses or barns are still there. A: That may be the old Haydon farm, one of several farmsteads that date as far back as the 1850s in the area. Remains include a cement-covered brick cistern and foundation stones from the main house or an outbuilding. An appraisal at the time LCRA bought the property states the farm consisted of 110 acres of bottom and cultivated land, orchards, two houses, several sheds, a barn, and chicken houses. You also may see several concrete foundations for towers that hoisted sand, gravel and cement during construction of Mansfield Dam in the late 1930s and early 1940s. All historic sites and prehistoric Indian campsites on LCRA lands are protected by the State Antiquities Code, and it is illegal to remove artifacts from such sites.
Q: I have a ranch on the Colorado River at Winchell south of Brownwood, upstream of Lake Buchanan. The river has stopped running here - you can walk in the river bed and not get wet. The ranchers upstream are pumping all the water. What can I do in a severe drought like this? A: There may not be much you can do if the ranchers have permits to the river water and are making diversions within the amounts allowed by their permits. Because this section of the river is outside of LCRA’s jurisdiction, you may want to contact the Office of Public Assistance at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at (512) 239-1000 and ask it to investigate.
Q: We have a home on Lake Buchanan and would like to learn more about its history.
A: Stop by LCRA’s Buchanan Dam Museum next to Buchanan Dam west of Burnet on Highway 29. LCRA recently redesigned the display, and admission is free. At the museum you can pick up a free copy of an LCRA publication, “Buchanan Dam: The birthplace of LCRA.” Or write us for a copy at P.O. Box 220, Austin, Texas 78767.
Have a question about LCRA or about its various operations, facilities or programs? Write us at ASK LCRA, Attn: John Williams, LCRA Corporate Communications, P.O. Box 220 (L 123), Austin, Texas 78767. Or e-mail us your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.