LCRA tells Collier Materials other permits required for dredging operation
The Lower Colorado River Authority is raising many of the same questions as opponents of a proposed sand and gravel dredging operation on Lake LBJ and has cleared up the question of whether or not additional permits from other entities are required. Short answer: They are.
Collier Materials Inc. has until June 12 to provide the requested permits and information or ask for an extension for the Kingsland II Zone C Dredging Plan on the confluence of the Llano and Colorado rivers. That dredging plan is one of four Tier III permit applications from Collier Materials: two for dredging operations and two for sand and gravel plants to process dredged materials for commercial sale.
An extension may be granted, but the cumulative amount of time to provide additional information cannot exceed six months from the date the application was filed, which in this case was Jan. 20, 2023.
The LCRA deemed all four applications administratively complete. They are now in the technical review phase of the process outlined in the authority’s Dredge and Fill Ordinance and Watershed Ordinance. Only the dredge and fill applications remain open for public comment: Kingsland I Sand and Gravel on the Llano River arm of Lake LBJ and Kingsland II Sand and Gravel at the confluence of the Llano and Colorado rivers. The comment period will remain open until the technical review process is done.
The LCRA sent plan review comments to Collier Materials’ engineering firm for three of the applications: the Kingsland I and Kingsland II sand and gravel processing plants and the Kingsland II Sand and Gravel Dredge Plan.
Still to come are review comments for the Kingsland I Sand and Gravel Dredge Plan on the Llano River arm of Lake LBJ.
The Kingsland II dredging plan received the most extensive inquiries from the LCRA, which sent an eight-page letter with 44 comments.
Several of the observations echo concerns brought up by Save Lake LBJ, an ad hoc organization of people opposed to the proposed dredging operation, most of whom live close to where the mining will occur. Proof that property owners agree with the dredging operations and processing plants is integral to the application process as are permits from other government entities, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Westward Environmental, the Boerne-based engineering company that put together the Collier Materials applications, submitted an email dated 2020 from David Land at the Texas General Land Office as proof of landowner approval to dredge in the area. Land sent an email to one of the Save Lake LBJ members stating that his 3-year-old email was not meant as proof of anything. LCRA staff agreed.
“The 2020 email from the General Land Office that you provided is not sufficient documentation demonstrating the requisite property control for the proposed dredging operations and of approved access,” the LCRA wrote as part of the 24th of 44 clarifications requested from Collier Materials.
Also required are a Sand and Marl Permit and an Invasive Species Permit from the TPWD, which the applications all claimed were not necessary. Permits from the TCEQ and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also will be required, the LCRA informed Collier Materials.
Other specifications requested from the LCRA include detailed plans for:
- contaminant response
- turbidity control
- shoreline stabilization
- dredging timeline
- hours of operation
- clearing and grubbing the sandbar formed during the 2018 flood
- disposing of submerged trees, trash, and debris
- handling dredge water backflow
If needed, Collier Materials will request a deadline extension, said Curt G. Campbell, senior vice president of Engineering and Natural Resources for Westward Environmental.
“We will be able to provide information that indicates compliance with the TCEQ, TPWD, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requirements,” he said in an email response to questions from DailyTrib.com. “We will continue to work with LCRA on the process.”