Residents and visitors who venture to Lake McQueeney or Lake Placid will have to keep their distance from Lake McQueeney Dam for the time being.
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority said in a statement released Wednesday that it was expanding its restricted zones on Lake McQueeney Dam and at the hydro-electric dam on Lake Placid, known as Red Mill Dam.
“Access will be restricted on Lake McQueeney from the McQueeney Dam to approximately 900 feet upstream, and from below the dam downstream to Highway 78 on Lake Placid,” the statement read. “Similarly, access will be restricted upstream of TP-4 Dam, also known as Red Mill Dam, on Lake Placid in Seguin.”
The restricted areas will be marked by buoys, identifying where recreationalist and fisherman will be allowed.
“In the interest of safety, GBRA is further restricting access near McQueeney Dam and TP-4,” said GBRA General Manager Kevin Patteson. “We fully appreciate the significance of the lakes in the lives of the community and visiting recreationalists; however, with the aging infrastructure of the dams, we believe this is the best course of action to protect the public.”
Erik Sangerhausen, owner of the Dam Camp, located just below McQueeney Dam, said he is working with GBRA to section off a portion of his waterfront property to allow wading and water activities while working toward a long-term solution.
Kayakers will still be able to launch at the camp, however, they will have to immediately head downstream past the FM 78 bridge, Sangerhausen said.
“We are working with the county and GBRA so we can continue to have a local place where families can hang out and enjoy the river safely,” he said.
GBRA said law enforcement officers will enforce the restrictions, the release stated.
These restrictions come a little more than a week after a spill gate on Lake Dunlap failed.
It was the second one of the six hydro-electric dams managed by GBRA to fail in the past three years.
The first was the Lake Wood Dam. On March 10, 2016, a spill gate malfunctioned draining the lake.
Lake McQueeney Dam is about 91 years old with a pond area of 400 acres with a storage capacity of 5,050 acre-feet.
“Most of the lake is 10 feet deep with deeper sections along the center channel,” the release stated. “Lake Placid is on the south side of McQueeney Dam with a pond area of 248 acres and a storage capacity of 2,624 acre-feet. Most of the lake is shallow with maximum depths of 30 to 35 feet near the dam.”