Categorized | Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lessons from the flood

A newly formed group Save Sandy Creek has rallied Llano County residents against a proposed mining operation on the waterway (pictured here on the group’s social media page), citing concerns about a dwindling water table and gravel truck traffic. Courtesy photo

A newly formed group Save Sandy Creek has rallied Llano County residents against a proposed mining operation on the waterway (pictured here on the group’s social media page), citing concerns about a dwindling water table and gravel truck traffic. Courtesy photo

As is publicly known, Collier Materials is seeking permits to place a large sand plant/rock crusher to harvest sand from Sandy Creek at the Sandy Creek bridge on (Texas) 71 in Llano County.  

Our organization of concerned citizens, Save Sandy Creek, has been searching for funding for engineers that could model the effects of the industrialization of Sandy Creek by Collier Materials on area communities. Modeling is not cheap and we are not wealthy.

We felt we needed such studies to help our neighbors at the mouth of Sandy Creek with their fears that unless Collier Materials was allowed to dredge Sandy Creek, their lives and property would be at risk in future floods.

Unfortunately, we no longer need those models. Nature has provided a real-time example. Collier Materials has had a fully operational sand plant in the city of Llano on the Llano River for a number of years. It has successfully extracted untold tons of sand at a significant profit. The Llano River plant is their best-case scenario for what they intend to do on Sandy Creek.

The recent floods negated the argument that a Collier sand plant on Sandy Creek would protect the downstream inhabitants from flooding. On October 16th the Llano River deposited historic levels of sand downstream from the Collier Materials plant — down the Llano River, throughout Kingsland, and into Lake LBJ and beyond.

Unfortunately, we now have real-time physical evidence the Collier Materials sand plant in Llano had no impact on reducing the flow of sand or water nor on the resulting damage.

We hope and pray that our friends and neighbors downstream will now see the Collier Materials’ attempt to industrialize Sandy Creek as exactly what it is – a cash grab by Collier Materials and their associates. It has nothing to do with the stated goal of protecting the inhabitants at the mouth of Lake LBJ because, as Mother Nature has shown us, it will not work.

On October 16th the USGA gauge recorded Sandy Creek flowing at over 40,000 cubic-feet per second. Frankly, nothing could withstand it. Not even the Kingsland bridge on 2900 could survive it on the Llano River. Mother Nature is undefeated. She does not lose.

At a presentation at the Trails Clubhouse on August 15, 2018, Mr. Kevin Collier, the vice president of Collier Materials, stated on video: “We will be here until there is no more money in it for us.” Mr. Steve Nash, on whose property the plant would be placed, also stated on video: “There is lots of money to be made and we intend to take advantage of it”.

Shouldn’t we take them at their word?

Finally, a word of thanks and appreciation to all the first responders that risked life and limb to help keep our Llano County communities safe. Also to all the volunteers that have stepped up to help all those negatively impacted by these devastating floods. A special word of heartfelt condolence to those that lost loved ones.

May God bless everyone involved.

Fermin Ortiz

Save Sandy Creek

5 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lessons from the flood”

  1. You make a great case... for the plant says:

    Your argument against could just as well be used as defense of allowing the sand plant. Per your own observations the effect of the plant would not negate or worsen the flood or sediment potential. I hope for the sake of commerce that Collier is granted the permit and for the sake of private property rights that Nash be allowed to profit also.

    God bless.

  2. NotJustHypocritical says:

    Such a liberal spin to a disaster and huge impact to so many people…then to finish the spin by invoking a last ditch ‘by the wat shout out to first responders’.

    Let’s see you answer this question…how much more devestating and how many more people and millions in damage would this flooding have been had the llano not been dredged. You have ZERO proof that dredging did nothing to help. And common sense and basic hydrology points to the positive effects of all of the work done to clear the channel.

    If clearing floodways was a bad or even neutral thing, why do lcra, FEMA, and every city spends millions obtaining and maintaining floodways, creeks, etc? Can’t answer that without spin can you?

    Best of luck to the project to dredge the creek and vastly improve this floodway.

  3. Steve says:

    Pretty sure that the sand and gravel permit has been granted. The only one they are waiting on is the rock crusher permit.
    I agree with you that mother nature is undefeated and does not lose.

  4. Tammy says:

    There is nothing that is going to prevent flooding. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to use a natural disaster to get what you want.

  5. FiftycalTX says:

    Thanks, you just cut the legs out from under your “environmentalist” pitch. How much WORSE would the flooding/silt/sand have been IF there had been no mining operation in Llano? Is your objection that a company makes more or just “not in my back yard”? And I seem to remember, oh, what was it? About THREE MONTHS AGO Llano was about to RUN OUT OF WATER? Maybe dredging out the Llano river for more storage capacity would be a GOOD IDEA?

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