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Summer Rains Make It A Merry Fourth At Medina

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Boaters await thier turn to use the launching area at Red Cove Marina at Medina Lake

  There was plenty to celebrate at Lake Medina this holiday weekend, as the crowds returned in full force with the end of the drought that has plagued the area these past few years.

Three months ago, you wouldn’t have heard these sounds of laughter here, with the lake only three percent full. Thanks to the wettest May on record and a pretty rainy June, it’s now 73 percent full.

This year’s rain has been a game changer for Chris Heyen, the owner of Red Cove Marina. He said they had to close the marina two years ago. He reopened their restaurant and the dock this year, on Memorial Day Weekend. “We’ve gone from 90 foot low, to being only 12 foot from being full, as you can see, the business is fantastic.”

As he prepared for a big Fourth of July celebration Heyen reflected on how much has changed since this time last year. “There was no Fourth of July,” he said.  But this year, “it’s great, it’s going to be one of the best ones ever.”

By noon on Saturday, there was a long line cars and trucks, hauling boats or jet skis, people waiting their turn to use the dock. Marshall Riehm, who was about fourth in line, last brought his family’s boat to Lake Medina in 2011, before the water dried up. “It’s been four years, it was hurting businesses, it’s good to see this place open again, I’m sure he’s making up for lost time, he’s enjoying it,” Reihm said. “It’s just good for everyone around the community.”

Luis Muniz of San Antonio has traveled elsewhere for the past few years to get out on the water. “You can see my smile, I’m real happy, because I used to drive an hour just to go and throw my skis in Canyon Lake,” Muniz said.

Medina Lake is a man-made reservoir.  Its levels constantly fluctuate, as the San Antonio Water Systems draws from it to serve customers and the area’s farmers also draw from it for their crops.

Nancy Swan and her husband grew up around the lake, “and we’ve seen it go up and down, and when it’s down, it makes us very sad, and this is just beyond words,” she said, excited.

Medina Lake could maintain its current level for some time if expected weather patterns hold. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts above average rainfall to continue, at least through the winter, due to El Nino.