The Highland Lakes — encompassing lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls, Travis and Austin — have become one of the most popular areas in Texas for boating and other recreational activities.
The increasing popularity of these lakes challenges the balance between the needs of residents, business owners and other lake users.
LCRA manages recreational activities on the Highland Lakes located northwest of Austin: Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Travis. Lake Austin is within the Austin city limits and is managed by the City of Austin. For recreation information about Lake Austin, visit the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department's Web site.
In 2000, LCRA approved a list of measures to manage recreational activities on lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Travis to ensure the lakes continue to provide safe and enjoyable boating experiences for residents and visitors.
- Watercraft noise may not exceed 92 decibels, as measured using the Society of Automotive Engineers' standard J2005 for pleasure boats.
- No person may operate a vessel within 50 feet of the shoreline, structures, or swimmers at a speed greater than the minimum speed necessary to maintain steerageway and headway (a no wake speed).
- More law enforcement personnel and purchase of adequate equipment for lake patrol and public education.
- Watercraft may not operate faster than 20 miles per hour or the minimum planing speed at night on the Highland Lakes.
LCRA adopted these measures after a yearlong stakeholder and study process that began with surveys of more than 700 Lake Travis users and residents to help identify their top problems and concerns.
LCRA then drafted recommendations to address these concerns and formed a 22-member stakeholder committee representing property owners, boat and marina businesses, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, local governments, recreational users and environmental organizations.
Neutral facilitators assisted the committee in reviewing LCRA´s preliminary recommendations and developing alternatives to address major issues.
The stakeholder committee unanimously adopted 33 proposals for Lake Travis. LCRA's Board of Directors adopted the Lake Travis plan in January 2000 and later extended the Highland Lakes Recreational Management Plan to lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ and Marble Falls.
LCRA received a Peacemaker Award from the Dispute Resolution Center of Travis County in October 2001 for this successful collaborative process.
LCRA continues to monitor safety, congestion and noise problems on the lakes, and the LCRA Board of Directors has emphasized that further actions may be needed if the measures do not relieve these problems.
For more information, contact LCRA's Water Surface Management team.