When the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and hundreds of citizens suing them came to an agreement last week to delay draining of the authority’s area lakes, another casualty of the shutdown was Lake Seguin in the city.
Lake Seguin created by the Saffold Dam on the Guadalupe River also is closed for recreational uses like the other four remaining reservoirs in the GBRA Guadalupe Valley lakes system. It’s important for Seguin residents and guests to the city and its Starcke Park to know, said Jack Jones, Seguin’s parks and recreation director.
“Lake Seguin, basically we fall under that directive that came out of the GBRA litigation,” he said. “It’s my understanding that we fall under that directive that the lakes are closed for water recreation whether it’s swimming, boating, paddle boarding, canoing, kayaking tubing. The only thing that’s allowed really is fishing from the banks.”
Bill Bender, a Seguin resident and real estate agent, said he practices paddle board yoga about once a week on Lake Seguin. The order to stay off the waters is not a welcome one, Bender said.
“It’s shut down and I’m very disappointed not to be able to be able to go down and enjoy the river,” he said. “It’s a major disappointment.”
On Thursday, a 30-to-60-day moratorium on river activities went into effect as a result of negotiations the GBRA attorneys conducted with attorneys for concerned citizens who sued the authority to stop it from carrying out plans to empty the lakes.
For months, GBRA has said the spill gates on the dams are aged and crumbling, producing safety hazards. The authority announced a decision last month to drawdown each of its remaining lakes to avoid casualties when spill gates fail like they did on Lake Wood in 2016 and Lake Dunlap in May.
Under the agreement, three experts — one selected by GBRA, one by the property owners and one selected by those hired experts — will conduct the study. Once the study is complete, authorities will determine which areas of the lakes are safe for recreation and then allow people to return to the waters, if there are safe areas.
As a real estate broker specializing in waterfront property, the recent developments on the lakes worries him for different reasons as well, Bender said.
“A lot of my clients are asking what does this mean,” he said. “I’ve consulted with local appraisers and it’s a big questions mark for everybody because we just don’t know. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the dams and the condition of the lakes, which we’ve been able to enjoy because of the spill gates and dams.”
The directive to stay off the lakes must be enforced in Seguin on Lake Seguin. Seguin Police Department officers, if they see someone violating the directive, will take steps to rectify the situation, SPD Public Information Officer Tanya Brown said.
“We will continue to patrol the area and the boat ramps outside the water,” she said.
The police department doesn’t patrol the actual waters but can call game wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department if necessary, Brown said.
Jones said his department is involved in providing information to those curious about Lake Seguin’s status. Enforcement isn’t his area of expertise.
“I don’t know what that enforcement is going to entail yet, but for me and my department, we’re just informing people that Lake Seguin is closed,” Brown said. “We have it on our website, press releases, social media. The waterways are closed basically from Lake Gonzales to the east and Lake McQueeney to the north and west. All of that stretch in between is all closed to water recreation.”