Categorized | Government, LCRA

LCRA open house discussing Highland Lakes’ health

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

BUCHANAN DAM — Though the Highland Lakes recently rebounded from the most recent drought, Lower Colorado River Authority officials are stilling keeping an eye on lake levels.

The Vanishing Texas River Cruise headed back up the Colorado River above Lake Buchanan last fall and this spring, thanks to rainfall raising lake levels after drought that lasted almost seven years. Despite the current lake levels at Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis being near full, Lower Colorado River Authority officials are still keeping an eye on the levels. They are hosting an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Lake View Hall in Black Rock Park, 3400 RR 261 in Buchanan Dam. During the event the staff will answer questions from people about the current health of the area lakes. Go to lcra.org for more information. File photo by Daniel Clifton

The Vanishing Texas River Cruise headed back up the Colorado River above Lake Buchanan last fall and this spring, thanks to rainfall raising lake levels after drought that lasted almost seven years. Despite the current lake levels at Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis being near full, Lower Colorado River Authority officials are still keeping an eye on the levels. They are hosting an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Lake View Hall in Black Rock Park, 3400 RR 261 in Buchanan Dam. During the event the staff will answer questions from people about the current health of the area lakes. Go to lcra.org for more information. File photo by Daniel Clifton

That’s one reason why they are hosting an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Lake View Hall at Black Rock Park, 3400 RR 261 in Buchanan Dam.

The event is for anyone who wants more information about the Highland Lakes water system and its role in the area.

“We want to give people an opportunity to get their questions answered,” said John Hofmann, LCRA’s executive vice president of water, who added he and his team believe being available is important for honest conversations.

He anticipates meeting with residents, part-time residents and perhaps people who make it a point to visit the area as often as possible.

Various staff members in multiple departments will be on hand at different tables to have one-on-one conversations with attendees. Hofmann said staff members believe this kind of setting creates comfortable, open dialogue for all.

And he believes most of the attendees will be fishermen, owners of lake homes, and those with water quantity concerns.

“They’ll walk around and see the displays and have an opportunity to engage the staff members,” Hofmann said. “One of the big drivers of interest are the local fishermen who ask questions about the fish population.”

One reason the LCRA chose to host the open house at Lake Buchanan is because of its role in the Highland Lakes system as a reservoir lake that encompasses water support and water recreation, he said.

While the length of the most recent drought may have surprised residents, Hofmann said the LCRA had been bracing for it for a long time thanks to the amount of studying and communication among staff.

History showed that droughts have happened before, but because of the creation of the dam system, the area is better able to withstand very little rainfall with recording-setting heat on multiple days, the vice president said.

“In the 1930s, we’d gone through feast or famine cycles,” he said. “This cycle keeps repeating itself.”

So his team’s role is to train for the inevitable such as flood training in the middle of a drought because LCRA knew flooding would occur, which happened last year.

“We’re prepared for that,” he said.

And though the event is scheduled to end at 7 p.m., Hofmann said no LCRA member will be packing up to leave by that time if there’s an attendee who is willing to stay later.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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