Texas Parks & Wildlife halts planned Sandy Creek dredging operation



Save Sandy Creek Chairman Fermin Ortiz, right, and volunteer Richard Shilling placed native plants in an area of Sandy Creek in March to try to mitigate sand deposits and help restore the eco-system. SSC opposed a planned dredging operation on the waterway which was eventually halted by Texas Parks and Wildlife.





By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

Landowners Steve Nash and Fermin Ortiz agree on one thing. There is a sand and silt issue in Sandy Creek and Lake LBJ; however they disagree adamantly on what to do about it.

The problem is in the lake. Get it out of the lake,” said Ortiz, whose family owns thousands of acres adjacent to Sandy Creek upstream of Lake LBJ in Llano County.

Nash, a developer also owns land about two-and-a-half miles upstream of the confluence of where the creek feeds into the lake.

Representatives for Collier Materials had consulted with the Lower Colorado River Authority in 2018 and eventually secured an air quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with the aim to launch a Sandy Creek dredging operation on Nash's property, just off Texas 71.

The proposed project would have removed tons of sand from the creek bed with the plan to transform the raw sand utilizing sifting equipment and recycled water into road, concrete and other construction materials.

Nash' property would serve as a site to treat the sand and truck the material, which faced resistance from anti-mining groups who expressed concerns about truck traffic, noise, water and the impact on the creek bed.

Ultimately, the dredging planners failed to meet the criteria set by Texas Parks and Wildlife to dredge in the waterway, essentially halting the operation as it was proposed, Nash said. . . .

Find more on this story in the Friday, March 22 issue of The Highlander, the newspaper of record for the Highland Lakes. To make a comment or offer a news tip, email connie@highlandernews.com.

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