Lakes LBJ and Marble Falls being temporarily lowered
On Feb. 14, LCRA announced a number of actions it is taking to enhance public safety on Lake LBJ. Read the news release.
On Feb. 21, LCRA and the Texas Department of Transportation announced they are partnering to improve river conditions near the RM 2900 bridge construction. Read the news release.
LCRA has temporarily lowered lakes LBJ and Marble Falls to assist lakeside property owners in recovering from recent historic flooding along the Colorado and Llano rivers. The drawdown makes it easier for residents to remove debris, dredge and maintain or repair docks, retaining walls and other infrastructure.
Lake LBJ has been lowered about 4 feet and Lake Marble Falls about 7 feet. The drawdown began Dec. 30. The refill of Lake LBJ is scheduled to begin on Feb. 24 and conclude by the end of the day on Feb. 27. The refill of Lake Marble Falls is scheduled to begin on March 18 and conclude by the end of the day on March 21.
LCRA lowered Lake LBJ from its normal operating range of 824.4 to 825 feet above mean sea level (feet msl) to about 820.8 feet msl. LCRA can only lower the lake about 4 feet without risking impacting operations at the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ. In addition, drawing the lake down lower than 820.8 feet msl would hinder TxDOT's work on the RM 2900 bridge that was destroyed during the October floods.
Lake Marble Falls was lowered from its normal operating range of 736.2 to 737 feet msl to a range of 729 to 730 feet msl.
The water released from lakes LBJ and Marble Falls totaled about 26,000 acre-feet and caused Lake Travis to rise a little more than a foot. The U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers has allowed LCRA to temporarily store up to 1.3 feet of water from the drawdown in the flood pool of Lake Travis, up to a lake level of about 682.3 feet msl, from Dec. 30 through April 1.
Water supply and hydroelectric operations are continuing during the drawdown. Lake levels are measured at the dam that forms each lake. Water levels may be higher and fluctuate more at the upper ends of the lakes when water is being passed through the lake.
Unforeseen circumstances such as floods or extended power emergencies could prompt LCRA to change or cancel the drawdowns. Equipment and tools should not be left in the lake unattended and should be removed from the lakebed when not in use.
Enhancing public safety
LCRA is taking action to further enhance public safety on Lake LBJ following historic flooding last October.
The actions LCRA is implementing include:
- Following the refill of the lake Feb. 24-27, LCRA crews will assess conditions and mark or, where possible, remove navigational hazards in the main body of the lake. Debris on the shoreline and on private property continues to be the responsibility of the property owner.
- LCRA will designate the entire lake a nighttime no-wake zone following the refill of the lake. By law, "nighttime" is defined as from 30 minutes after sundown to 30 minutes before sunrise. Violation of the no-wake requirement is a Class C misdemeanor. The nighttime no-wake speed limit will be in force until further notice.
- LCRA will mark the river channel through Lake LBJ with buoys from the confluence of the Llano and Colorado rivers downstream to Wirtz Dam, a distance of about 12 miles. The markers will include solar-powered lights to guide boaters at night.
- LCRA will post signs at public boat ramps alerting visitors to use extreme caution on the lake. LCRA also will offer free warning signs to marinas and local property owners associations with boat ramps.
- Effective immediately, the public may report unmarked hazards to
Ask.LCRA@lcra.org. The report should include a detailed description of the object and the location, and a photo, if possible. LCRA's Water Surface Management team will investigate all reports and take appropriate action to address corroborated hazards.
- LCRA will remove abandoned flood-damaged docks from the lake.
"We are taking these actions to further enhance public safety," said Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager. "Anyone on the lake should use caution and their best judgment. This flood fundamentally altered the look, feel and topography of the Colorado River through the Highland Lakes. This is the nature of life on the river and is part of the river's natural cycle."
Residents and property owners who want to perform dredging, remove debris or work on existing retaining walls during the drawdown must register their projects with LCRA.
Work may be done under LCRA's lakewide permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, if it meets the permit requirements. Download the lakewide permits and permit notices below. A permit notice must be posted at the worksite.
A permit is not needed for dock repairs, but all work must comply with the
Safety Standards for Residential Docks on the Highland Lakes.
Burning in the lakebed is not permitted.
If you have questions or need more information, please call LCRA Water Quality Protection at 512-578-2324.
Frequently asked questions
Fact sheet on performing maintenance during the drawdowns
Nov. 5, 2018, news release
Dec. 26, 2018, news release
Jan. 4, 2019, news release
Jan. 11, 2019, news release
Feb. 1, 2019, news release
Feb. 7, 2019, news release
Feb. 14, 2019, news release
Feb. 21, 2019, news release