updated 7:07 AM UTC, Sep 18, 2020

Dam repairs will close Steinhagen Lake

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By Chris Edwards
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DAM B – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a plan to make necessary repairs on the uncontrolled spillway/dam of B.A. Seinhagen Lake.

The repairs will likely close the Town Bluff Reservoir down for Labor Day weekend, according to officials, but will probably return the lake to “a usable elevation by mid-September, allowing for public access during the annual TPWD alligator hunt and teal season,” according to a news release from the Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the officials, contractors begin the pre-construction survey on-site this week.

The USACE Fort Worth District Water Management started drawing the lake down to 65 feet above mean sea level (msl), The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers said. Normally, the lake is at 82.5 feet above msl.  

“This action will eliminate lake access, as all boat ramps on the lake will be dry,” officials said in the news release. “Within a one to two-week timeframe, contractors will begin making repairs to the upstream face of the concrete-capped uncontrolled spillway (dam), which may require the lake to be lowered to the 60-65 feet elevation range for a short window of time, depending on the conditions found.”

The current schedule for the project is to have the lake trending back up by the end of August, however “the rate of rise will depend on the progress of work, inflow from the Neches River, Sam Rayburn releases through hydropower generation, and what the downstream flow requirements are at that time,” according to the news release.

The Lower Neches Valley Authority’s water requirements in late August will partially dictate the Town Bluff Reservoir’s release rate and will influence how quickly the lake can return to its normal levels.

“[E]very effort will be made to return the lake to a usable elevation as quickly as possible,” according to the officials.

Foot access to the exposed lake bottom is permitted, but discouraged, as mud flats can be unstable and present a safety hazard. Any vehicle and ATV/UTV traffic on the lakebed is prohibited.

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