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Environment

Spillgate Remains Stuck, Lake Gonzales Down 12 Feet

LakeGonzales_BollichAndBishopFamiliesProvided.jpg
Bollich and Bishop families
/
Provided
A gate on Lake Gonzales was lowered to release flood waters and became stuck in the down position possibly due to debris on Tuesday, dropping the lake level 12 feet.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority is trying to determine if a spillgate on Lake Gonzales can become operational again.

A gate was lowered to release flood waters and became stuck in the down position possibly due to debris on Tuesday, dropping the lake level 12 feet.

Lake resident Kent Bollich said it may be a while before the GBRA finds a fix.

"They're waiting for the waters to clear and the flow of water to kind of dissipate somewhat before the actual necessary repairs can be established," he said.

Bollich said the nearest docks are many feet from the water's edge.

"There is no docks or pier systems that are near the water," he said. "The water edge is about roughly 50 feet from any exposed docks right now."

He said boats are sitting in mud, and wildlife, like clams and fish, are threatened.

Cagle's map turtle.jfif
Texas Parks & Wildlife
A Cagle's map turtle, native to the Guadalupe, San Antonio, and San Marcos rivers.

The threatened species also include the tiny Cagle's map turtle, native to the Guadalupe, San Antonio, and San Marcos rivers.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports the lake, 12 miles west of Gonzales on Highway 90A, covers 696 acres.

It’s home to largemouth bass, white crappie, blue, channel, and flathead catfish, and sun fish.

The dam has impounded water on the Guadalupe River since 1931, but the GBRA did not take over management of the lake until the 1960s.

Aging spillgates on two other GBRA lake dams on the Guadalupe River, at Dunlap and Wood, collapsed in recent years, draining those lakes too.

It also prompted the GBRA to lower water levels on its other lakes out of fears old spillgates on them would collapse too, threatening downstream property and lives.

Construction has begun on a new dam at Lake Dunlap.

The aging dams have been the subject of litigation by lake property owners, but the courts have sided with the GBRA so far. Voters approved the creation of water control improvement districts on some of the lakes for future dams and maintenance and the GBRA provided some financial assistance.

Previous reporting on Aug. 3:

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority reported their hydroelectric operations team is working on a non-responsive spillgate at Lake Gonzales.

"Following rain events, spillgates are lowered in height to spill water and allow for flows to continue downstream," a statement on their website said. "The non-responsive spillgate is not returning to normal operational height, causing a decrease in lake level. We will continue to provide updates as they become available."

Spillgates on two other GBRA lakes, at Lakes Wood and Dunlap, have collapsed in recent years and left drained lake beds. Work is underway to replace the dam on Lake Dunlap.

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