Potential Spring Break revenue loss prompts earlier LBJ refill

STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS

The Lower Colorado River Authority announced an amended schedule for the drawdown of Lake LBJ after consultation with Highland Lakes officials. Refilling of Lake LBJ is scheduled to begin starting Feb. 24. Refilling of Lake Marble Falls remains scheduled beginning March 18. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The Lower Colorado River Authority announced an amended schedule for the drawdown of Lake LBJ after consultation with Highland Lakes officials. Refilling of Lake LBJ is scheduled to begin starting Feb. 24. Refilling of Lake Marble Falls remains scheduled beginning March 18. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The prospect of lakes LBJ and Marble Falls remaining lowered through March 18 — after Spring Break — caused concern among businesses over lost revenue from visitors.

On one hand, businesses and property owners needed the extra time for repairs and maintenance. On the other, potential lost revenue during Spring Break had some business owners reaching out to local leaders and the Lower Colorado River Authority to request the lakes be refilled before Spring Break.

On Feb. 7, the LCRA announced it will refill Lake LBJ beginning Feb. 24. LCRA announced a three-week extension on Feb. 1 for the lakes to remain lowered.

Lake Marble Falls remains scheduled to be refilled beginning March 18.

City and county officials had requested the three-week extension, and, in the week since, requested a shorter lowering timeframe for Lake LBJ, according to the LCRA.

“After further evaluating the timetable for the drawdown, elected officials on Lake LBJ have now informed us that shortening the drawdown to February 24 works better for their constituents,” LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said in a statement. “LCRA is pleased to be responsive to our local elected officials, and at their request, we’ll begin refilling Lake LBJ on February 24.”

The Horseshoe Bay Business Alliance on Feb. 6 sent a survey to members to gauge their concerns.

“We heard back from maybe a handful of members; most had contacted (Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan) or LCRA,” association Executive Director Francie Dix said.

Jordan said that after hearing from residents, “I believe beginning the refill of Lake LBJ on February 24 is the right thing to do.”

Dix said the board wanted to gather input and data to present to the LCRA to consider refilling Lake LBJ before Spring Break. After the Feb. 7 announcement, Dix said flood repair efforts along the lake will continue.

“But to at least get back to normal, that would be nice,” she said.

Burnet and Llano county judges spoke of their appreciation for the revised refill date of Lake LBJ.

“We are appreciative of LCRA collaborating with the 2018 flood-affected counties and cities to meet the needs of our citizens and businesses,” Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham said in a statement. “There is no single schedule for lowering the rivers and lakes to meet everyone’s needs; however, the revised schedule for refilling Lake LBJ will allow our communities and businesses to restore operations, which will better serve our citizens and visitors to our communities.”

Burnet County Judge James Oakley said he applauded the revised Lake LBJ schedule.

“As always, Phil Wilson and his LCRA team have proven themselves to be responsive to the input of local elected officials and deliberate in their action,” Oakley said in a statement.

The sentiment along Lake Marble Falls was not the same as for Lake LBJ.

“My constituents who own properties on the river appreciate that their work to repair their docks and remove debris will be allowed to continue to March 18,” Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said. “We need this additional time and thank LCRA for being responsive to our request.”

Lake LBJ is expected to be filled by Feb. 27. Refilling of Lake Marble Falls is scheduled to begin March 18 and conclude by March 21.

jared@thepicayune.com

5 Responses to “Potential Spring Break revenue loss prompts earlier LBJ refill”

  1. Doug says:

    This is a big mistake, there is still much to do on Lake LBJ and the debris issue in the lake has not been resolved. People are going to get seriously injured boating and swimming in the lake if the debris issue is not addressed.

  2. LBJ Resident says:

    Of course the people that do not have any clean up work to do want this. Wait until they or people that are renting their vacation homes get injured on the lake. This is a big mistake as there is still a lot of debris in the lake to be cleaned up! Where is the bridge at? Guess their short-term gain of spring break revenue is more than their long-term revenue stream of people renting their houses. Once all the accidents happen (and the will happen with the amount of debris in the lake) people will stop using the lake and renting places along the lake. Maybe than they will realize their mistake in not allowing the lake to be cleaned up.

    There are a lot more houses along LBJ than Horseshoe Bay…why do they get to make all the decisions for the whole lake?

  3. Lakewood Forest 1 land owner Kingsland says:

    My family totally agrees with the two comments above. As this article states, a handful of people responded to the survey that was sent to Horseshoe Bay land owners ONLY. No other land owners along Lake LBJ were asked for their input. The debri that is still under the water consists of concrete, tin, steel, posts, fence, parts from boats and sea doos, tree limbs and usual river flood trash. Some of this debri Is sticking up, partially covered by sand. There is still a lot to be done to make Lake LBJ safe for swimming and boating. We would never rent our lake house or boat to anyone for use on Lake LBJ until the dangers had been removed. LCRA is responding to the desires of Horseshoe Bay. We want the schedule that Marble Falls got.

  4. Bill says:

    HSB Mayor contacting a few HSB members & wanting to move it tor March & now wanting to move it back to Feb 24th is hardly the way LCRA should make decisions!!! Many other people besides HSB residents are affected by cleanup of debris & need more time.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I totally agree that revenue is less important than lives and people’s limbs. That lake if not properly cleaned up is a danger to those out on it and this will more than likely will come back and bite you,especially with the possibility of ruining some very expensive boats but the most important is lives. Are all those that have called for filling it up earlier willing to just say “oh well”?
    Because there will be a sue happy person lined up to point fingers.

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