LCRA lakes drawdown begins Jan. 2 for dock repairs, maintenance

The Lower Colorado River Authority will begin the drawdown of Lake LBJ (shown) and Lake Austin on Jan. 2 for dock repairs and maintenance. Photo by Keith Bedard of Down to Earth Aerial Photography

The Lower Colorado River Authority will begin the drawdown of Lake LBJ (shown) and Lake Austin on Jan. 2 for dock repairs and maintenance. Photo by Keith Bedard of Down to Earth Aerial Photography

SPECIAL TO DAILYTRIB.COM

AUSTIN – The Lower Colorado River Authority will lower lakes Austin and LBJ for six weeks beginning Jan. 2.

The drawdowns will give lakeside property owners an opportunity to repair and maintain docks, retaining walls, and other shoreline property. The lake lowerings also aid in curbing the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla and Eurasian watermilfoil.

Lake LBJ will be lowered four feet. The drawdown will take three to four days.

A permit is not needed for dock repairs performed on Lake LBJ during the drawdown, but all work must comply with LCRA’s Safety Standards for Residential Docks on the Highland Lakes. Maintenance dredging, debris removal, and repair work on existing retaining walls during the drawdown can be done under LCRA’s permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the work must be registered with LCRA.

Registration forms are available:

  • online at lcra.org/lakelowerings;
  • by calling LCRA Water Quality Protection at (512) 578-2324;
  • or in person at the LCRA Western Maintenance Facility, 2643 Wirtz Dam Road in Marble Falls, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The refill of Lake LBJ will begin Feb. 10 and be completed by Feb. 13.

Lake Austin, which is being lowered at the request of the city of Austin, will be lowered 10 feet.

Property owners must secure authorization from the city of Austin to perform work on structures in or along Lake Austin during the drawdown.

  • For minor repairs of existing docks, removing sediment beneath the footprint of existing docks, or repairing up to 25 percent of an existing bulkhead, contact the City of Austin Development Assistance Center at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road in Austin, or at (512) 974-6370.
  • For new dock construction, or to add, change, or replace structural components such as load-bearing beams, piers, or pilings, an approved site plan signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer is required. For more information, including the application requirements, contact the City of Austin Development Assistance Center at the information above or Liz Johnston, Watershed Protection Department, at (512) 974-2619.

The drawdown is expected to take two to three weeks, depending on conditions.

The refill of Lake Austin will begin about Feb. 9 and be completed by Feb. 13.

Unforeseen circumstances such as floods or power emergencies could prompt the LCRA to change or cancel the scheduled drawdowns to pass water through the Highland Lakes and protect public safety.

The LCRA will continue to move water through the lakes to meet routine daily needs. Water levels could rise quickly and currents might be swift because of shallow lake levels. Equipment and tools should not be left in the lakebed when not in use and be removed from the shoreline overnight.

The LCRA last lowered Lake LBJ in 2008, Lake Marble Falls in 2009, and Inks Lake and Lake Austin in 2011. No drawdowns occurred from 2012-16 because of the drought.

For more details on the drawdowns, visit lcra.org/lakelowerings.

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