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LCRA issues moratorium on commercial dredging of Highland Lakes

Lake LBJ

The Lower Colorado River Authority issued a one-year moratorium on commercial dredging on the Highland Lakes, including a proposed operation by Collier Materials Inc. on Lake LBJ, to give the authority time to update its watershed ordinance regarding such projects. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Lower Colorado River Authority board of directors issued a one-year moratorium on commercial dredging on the Highland Lakes, including a proposed operation on Lake LBJ by Collier Materials Inc.

The board took the action during its Wednesday, Feb. 24, meeting.

According to the LCRA, its Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance, which is designed to protect water quality, doesn’t address large-scale, commercial dredging activities that take sand and gravel from a lake for processing and sale. The ordinance only addresses non-commercial dredging activities related to projects such as retaining walls, shore stabilization, boat docks and marinas.

LCRA staff will take the next year to study potential impacts of commercial dredging and work with other entities on the project. Officials also plan to hold “a robust public and stakeholder input process.”

In January, Collier Materials filed permits with the LCRA to operate a sand-dredging operation just west of the RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland and near the Comanche Rancheria subdivision. Collier Materials was leasing about 60 acres on private property for the operation. The sand, once removed from the lake, would be refined and hauled off by trucks on County Road 309 to Texas 71. 

The sand would be used for concrete, golf courses, and mortar. As one of the fastest growing states in the country, Texas has a strong demand for these products.

In early February, LCRA set a March 10 public meeting regarding the Collier Materials permit application. Officials said that meeting has been canceled due to the moratorium. 

During the moratorium, the LCRA will not accept new applications, review pending applications, or issue permits for commercial dredging. 

The action doesn’t apply to non-commercial dredging projects.

The complete resolution adopted by the LCRA board is available online

editor@thepicayune.com

2 thoughts on “LCRA issues moratorium on commercial dredging of Highland Lakes

  1. LCRA is responsible for the mismanagement of the lakes. The silting reduces the capacity of the lakes which reduces the degree of flood control LCRA is charged with. Cleaning clearing and dredging are basic maintenance they should have been providing all along.

  2. Collier Materials should be allowed to mine sand and gravel from LBJ lake. The water front land owners and LCRA should pay Colliers a royality for removing sand and gravel from the lake. This lake is fast becoming a sand pit. The lake acts like a giant settling pond, and suspended solids settle when flooding occurs. The water depth at the 2900 bridge is 20′ less today than it was in 1980. If LCRA had installed the proper dams, they could lower the lake when flooding occurs, allowing water to wash sand and gravel from lake bottom thru the dam. Sand and gravel has been going down the Colorado river for millions of years, the only thing different is man dammed up this natural process.

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