Two deaths in separate accidents on Lake LBJ

Connie Swinney/The Highlander
One of two reported fatalities in three days on Lake LBJ occurred near a congested area of the waterway, just off FM 1431 in Kingsland. On July 11 a woman's body was found floating in the vicinity of a personal watercraft authorities believe may have been involved in an accident. On July 14, game warden recovered the body of a Sarita man a few miles upstream from that area in the Legends subdivision.






By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials recovered two bodies in three days and unveiled the possible cause of death in the unrelated boating incidents over the weekend along the Colorado River on Lake LBJ.


Lake drawdown - Dec. 30 to Feb. 2 - to launch lakeside maintenance

Shiloh Ribera/Special to The Highlander
Scott Ross of Boats, Batteries and Slips, began work Dec. 27 at a lakeside residence on Lake LBJ. A number of contractors in the shoreline structure construction and maintenance industry expect to see an uptick in business when the Lower Colorado River Authority lowers lakes LBJ and Marble Falls starting Sunday, Dec. 30. The drawdown is expected to last several weeks to allow for dredging and debris removal as well as accommodate work on retaining wal






By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

An upcoming lake drawdown will provide an economic boost for the construction industry, as crews and heavy equipment descend on lakes LBJ and Marble Falls.

The Lower Colorado River Authority is scheduled to lower the waterways for an eight-week period starting Sunday Dec. 30 and ending Saturday, Feb. 23. Lake LBJ will be lowered 4 feet; 1 foot per day for the first four days. The Lake Marble Falls drawdown involves a 7-foot drop in the waterway's normal level; 1 foot per day for the first seven days.

“Your lumber stores, they're going to have sales of people wanting to reinforce or build,” said Scott Ross of Boats, Batteries and Slips. Ross primarily does hydraulic power-pack installations and frequently works along-side other businesses in the lakeside structure construction industry.


LCRA opens Buchanan Dam flood gates

Contributed/Cory Evans, Inks Lake State Park
The Inks Lake State Park Store is quickly surrounded by water after eight flood gates at Buchanan Dam are opened Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Wednesday, Oct. 17. Waters quickly filled Inks Lake over its normal level after the opening of the gates, prompting the closure of the park and its entry road, Park Road 4 for the time being.





By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

The Highlander

After buckets of rain filled the Colorado and Llano Rivers on Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Lower Colorado River Authority made the decision to open eight flood gates at Buchanan Dam to release much of the floodwaters.

This in turn created a hazard for residents living along Lakes Buchanan, Inks, Wirtz, Starcke, Mansfield, and Tom Miller as waters began to rush through the Highland Lakes on Tuesday evening.

To ensure the safety of its campers and visitors, officials at Inks Lake State Park decided to close their trails on Tuesday, Oct. 16 when the first four gates were opened.

Upon the next four gates being opened on Wednesday, Oct. 17, park officials made the decision to close the park entirely, moving 34 campers out and discouraging other visitors as waters continued to rise.


Llano River crashes into the Highland Lakes, shuttering schools, collapsing a bridge, prompting evacuations

Judge James Oakley/Burnet County
Rising floodwaters traveling through the Llano River Oct. 16, into the Highland Lakes has caused damage to lakeside structures, closed area school districts and prompted evacuations.




From Staff Reports •


Floodwaters to prompt gate operations at Max Starcke and Wirtz dams

Lew K. Cohn/The Highlander
Several flood gates of Max Starcke Dam (pictured above in April 2016) are slated to be opened — along with gates at Wirtz Dam — to pass floodwaters rushing in from Junction into the Llano River through to Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls. While Lake Marble Falls is expected to be kept at a constant level, the pass through is expected to create fast-moving currents and residents are advised to use caution.






From staff reports •

The Lower Colorado River Authority was expected to open flood gates at Wirtz and Starcke Dams Tuesday, Oct. 9, and Wednesday, Oct. 10, due to a large inflow of water from flooding along the Llano River which will pass through Lake Marble Falls.

City of Marble Falls issued an alert Monday afternoon to remind residents that while Lake Marble Falls' level is expected to remian within its normal operating range as a constant-level lake, fast moving currents could carry away unsecured boats and other aquatic items. Residents were being asked to monitor weather conditions for the next several days as conditions could change.


Human skull found in Lake Buchanan

Llano County authorities are trying to identify a human skull found Aug. 8 by a jet skiier on the shoreline of Lake Buchanan.





Authorities have sent a human skull found in the receding Lake Buchanan shoreline Aug. 8 for forensic testing to determine identity and age of the bones, according to the Llano County Sheriff's Office.

The human skull was found by an individual on a personal watercraft that evening as the recreationist was attempting to dock the watercraft on the shoreline in an area of Poppy's Point on the west side of the lake just of Ranch Road 261 in Llano County.

On Aug. 9 the following day, the Department of Public Safety dive team members spent about three hours searching for other bones but found none, Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn said.


LCRA grant to replace BVFD air compressors


Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) representatives present a $24,000 Community Development Partnership grant to purchase a system to refill air tanks at the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department. Pictured on Monday, May 22, from left, are: Wade Williamson, Buchanan Fire Department lieutenant; Amanda Lehmann, department secretary; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; Tim Gardner, firefighter; Mike Butler, Fire Department captain; Fire Chief Mark Hutson; Assistant Chief Chad Mitchell; Raymond A. “Ray” Gill Jr., LCRA Board member; and Steve Dyer, LCRA governmental and regional affairs representative.


The Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) will purchase equipment to safely and quickly refill firefighter air tanks with the help of a $24,000 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).

Thieves broke into the fire station off Texas 29 in Llano County in January and damaged or destroyed a large amount of equipment, including the air compressor used to refill the air tanks firefighters use when responding to hazards.

The fire department will use the grant to buy a new compressor, a station that can fill two air cylinders at a time, and a system of six high-pressure cylinders that firefighters can take with them on calls to refill individual air tanks.

An additional $6,000 in local matching funds will help pay for the equipment.


Lake LBJ will begin drawdown Monday

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

On Christmas Eve, all was calm and all was quiet in Granite Shoals, but come Monday the drawdown of Lake LBJ will begin and residents will be scouting the nearest park depository for refuse from the clean up.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Waterfront property owners will begin a flurry of activity Jan. 2 when the drawdown of Lake LBJ promised by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) begins.

Until about Feb. 13, property owners will be able to work on docks and retaining walls, perform dredging, debris removal and other maintenance work. There are limitations on work, including a prohibition against burning debris in the lakebed or dumping dredged material in the lakebed or along the shoreline.

The problems were rife in the City of Granite Shoals during the last lowering of Lake LBJ, in 2008, when parks and, most egregiously, the Granite Shoals Airport became dumping grounds.

In response, Granite Shoals citizens will find dumpsters in a dozen city parks for refuse disposal.


August rains tie record


Tesha Tepper wraps up in rain gear at Marble Falls Mustang Stadium on Saturda, Aug. 26. The same storms that delayed the game's end to 2:10 a.m. the next morning added to totals that equal the last record for the month, set in 1914.

By Alexandria Randolph

Highland Lakes Newspapers

August was a wet month for the Highland Lakes, and State Climatologists said record-setting rainfall may not be over.

Preliminary totals indicate that August averaged about 5.69 inches of rain statewide, in a tie with 1914 for the wettest August on record, according to figures from the State Climatologist office at Texas A&M University.

John Nielsen-Gammon, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M who also serves as State Climatologist, said the wet month was due to an atmospheric wind pattern that pumped lots of deep, moist tropical air into Texas.

The wet months could continue for a while, he notes.

“September and October are historically among the wettest months of the year in Texas, so if normal conditions continue, we will see several more inches of rain,” he explained.


Lake closings specified

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) on Tuesday, May 31, issued temporary closings to recreational boating on Lake LBJ and Lake Marble Falls.

Specifically the ban refers to portions of each lake because of flooding rains and strong flow of the Colorado River. The partial lake closures will remain in effect until further notice.

The closures includes:


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