Permits Approved for Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid
GBRA received initial approval to move forward with the projects to replace the spillgates and enhance the dams at both Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued the initial approval. Additional approvals will be required from the Texas Water Development Board before construction can begin, but the approval from USACE will allow GBRA to take next steps.
Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of GBRA
The Texas Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for review in the Williams v. GBRA case, affirming the decision rendered by the Fourth Court of Appeals. This ruling made dismissal of all claims against GBRA final and immediate. The case will return to the 25th District Court to resolve the remaining items, including the dissolution of the temporary injunction and the determination of the award of attorneys’ fees and costs to GBRA.
Board of Directors Authorizes Development of MOU with Meadow Lake Nolte Dam Association (MLNDA)
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors authorized the negotiation and execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GBRA and the Meadow Lake Nolte Dam Association (MLNDA) on December 15, 2021. The purpose of the MOU is to indicate both parties intentions to continue discussions regarding the long-term sustainability of Meadow Lake. Continuing discussions may include additional engineering studies of Nolte Dam, the establishment of a Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) and the possible transfer of ownership.
Lake Placid Spillgates to Remain Lowered Until Construction Begins
A spillgate at Lake Placid became unresponsive during operations on October 14, 2021. Engineering evaluation of the non-responsive spillgate at Lake Placid has determined that further efforts to re-engage the spillgate would pose several additional risks, including the gate becoming permanently bound during operation.
Lake Gonzales Experiences Spillgate Failure
The hydroelectric dam at Lake Gonzales in Gonzales County experienced a spillgate failure during normal operation on August 3, 2021. Evaluation and inspection of the failed spillgate conducted by GBRA and third-party engineering consultants determined that there are no repair mechanisms available that can be safely accomplished to bring the gate back into operation.
Appellate Court Affirms GBRA’s Position
The Fourth Court of Appeals rendered a decision in the Williams v. GBRA case on July 7, 2021, affirming the 274th District Court decision to grant GBRA’s plea to the jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals furthered the ruling, finding the appellants lacked standing for the two takings claims.
Construction Begins on Lake Dunlap Dam
Construction to restore Lake Dunlap is underway, with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) providing Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) with authorization to issue the formal notice to proceed on Friday, May 14. The estimate timeline for completion of the project is 24 months, pending unforeseen weather delays.
Funding Secured for Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid
The Texas Water Development Board approved GBRA’s applications on, February 10, 2021 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program for both Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid of $40 million each.
Funding Secured for Lake Dunlap
GBRA secured $40 million in bond funding through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program on January 14, 2021. GBRA utilized its AA+ credit rating and Texas Water Development Board’s subsidized funding program to secure below market interest rates for the Lake Dunlap WCID. Interest rates on the bonds range from 0.03 to 0.29%, depending on the maturity date.
Voters Approve Creation of Water Control Improvement Districts (WCIDs)
Voters approved the creation of the Lake Dunlap WCID, Lake McQueeney WCID and Lake Placid WCID in the November 3 election. Each WCID will fund the replacement and future operations and maintenance costs for its respective lake.
Majority of Williams Plaintiffs’ Claims Dismissed
The 274th District Court granted GBRA’s plea to the jurisdiction in the case of Williams et al v. GBRA except for two takings claims. The Court acknowledged that the parties would appeal the decision to the San Antonio Court of Appeals. While this ruling is on appeal, all activity in the trial court will be stayed by statute and the previously scheduled October trial will not occur.
July 28, 2020
Settlement Agreement Reached
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) reached a settlement agreement with property owners from Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid in the case of Skonnard v. GBRA, represented by San Antonio attorneys Ricardo Cedillo and Les Strieber. The settlement anticipates the execution of comprehensive financing and operation contracts between GBRA and the newly created Water Control Improvement Districts (WCIDs) on each lake. These contracts will address the specifics of the spillgate replacement and dam repair. Per the settlement agreement, GBRA will continue maintaining the current operating levels on each lake until work begins on the spillgate replacement and repairs on that lake’s dam.
Financing and Operation Agreement Finalized for Lake Dunlap
Lake Dunlap WCID and GBRA finalize a financing and operation agreement for the proposed spillgate replacement. The agreement furthers the memorandum of understanding between GBRA and the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association (PLDA) signed in October 2019)
Lake McQueeney Forms WCID
Lake McQueeney forms preliminary Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) to appear on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020. Lake McQueeney WCID temporary board of directors is comprised of:
- President Robert (Bob) L. Worth
- VP Paul A Mueller
- Sec Lindsey Gillum
- Treas/Asst. Sec David Doughtie
Lake Placid Forms WCID
Lake Placid moves toward the creation of a Water Control and Improvement District through Guadalupe County. Having gained approval from the County Commissioner’s Court the WCID will appear on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020.
Lake Dunlap Forms WCID
Lake Dunlap forms preliminary Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) to appear on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020. Lake Dunlap WCID temporary board of directors is comprised of:
- Doug Harrison
- J Harmon
- Larry Johnson
- Harry Moeller
- Gary Schaub
November 15, 2019
The Independent Expert Panel has completed its full assessment.
With the report on Lake Gonzales, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has now completed its full assessment of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. The completed IEP reports reinforce the safety concerns surrounding the aging dams by reaffirming and extending previously outlined restricted areas on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. We appreciate the members of the IEP for their thorough effort to understand and define areas of each lake that can pose a hazard to those on and around the lakes in the event of a spillgate failure.
The prohibited and restricted areas as outlined by the IEP report will be marked by additional signage and buoys. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority continues to work in coordination with law enforcement authorities to monitor and enforce the recommended prohibited and restricted areas.
October 10, 2019
Preserve Lake Dunlap Association (PLDA) Agreement
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) is committed to being a good neighbor and serving as a collaborative partner in the effort to identify viable solutions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. To that end, GBRA is in strong support of Preserve Lake Dunlap Association’s (PLDA) proposal to create a water control improvement district to fund the necessary replacement of the spillgates at the hydroelectric dam at Lake Dunlap. GBRA is prepared to present its Board of Directors with a proposed memorandum of understanding with PLDA outlining these agreements at the Oct. 23, 2019 meeting for formal approval. Meanwhile, GBRA will continue working with the other lake associations to determine the long-term solutions for the remaining lakes.
September 26, 2019
GBRA Board Approves Ordinance
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) Board of Directors voted to approve an ordinance prohibiting any activity on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes, with the exception of Lake Dunlap. The ordinance further reinforces the no activity mandate that went into effect per the court order that was issued last week. Per the ordinance, individuals found in violation of the restrictions will be subject to criminal prosecution and fines of up to $500.
“This ordinance serves as another measure to ensure the safety of those around the Guadalupe Valley Lakes,” said GBRA General Manager Kevin Patteson. “We appreciate the continued cooperation of the lake associations and county officials as we work to mitigate the risks associated with the aging dams and identify a long-term solution.”
The approved ordinance will begin circulating in newspapers immediately to ensure the public is fully aware of parameters and associated penalties, in accordance with state law. The ordinance will rely on county resources to implement and effectuate citations. GBRA continues to work collaboratively with the Guadalupe, and Gonzales county attorney offices on the monitoring and enforcement of restrictions.
As part of the settlement, three experts will be appointed to decide what, if any, areas of each lake would be safe for activity given the compromised nature of the dams. The panel will complete its investigation within the next 30 to 60 days. The ordinance will be updated once the panel of experts completes its investigation.
The next GBRA Board Meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 23. Visit https://gbra.org/board/meetings.aspx for more information.
September 16, 2019
The dams forming the Guadalupe Valley Lakes remain in dire need of replacement, having surpassed their useful life at more than 90 years old. The settlement in the Guadalupe Valley Lakes litigation helps the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority achieve its immediate priority of ensuring the safety of those on and around the lakes while simultaneously continuing to work collaboratively with key stakeholders to preserve their long-term sustainability. This temporary injunction will allow all parties to continue to work together to identify a solution and funding for the necessary replacement of the dams. While GBRA will work closely with law enforcement officials to enforce activity restrictions, it is of the utmost importance that the community adhere to the limitations and continue to respect all restrictions until a long-term solution can be reached.
- GBRA and the plaintiffs in the Guadalupe Valley Lakes litigation have agreed to a settlement of a temporary injunction that prevents the lakes from being dewatered for 12 months while creating additional assurances to prioritize the safety of those on and around the lakes
- As part of the settlement, a panel of three experts will be appointed to decide what, if any, areas of each lake would be safe for activity given the compromised nature of the dams
- GBRA and the plaintiffs will each appoint an expert to the panel – those two experts will then select a third-party expert to assist with the effort, creating the panel of three
- The panel will be appointed and have 30 days to determine what zones, if any, are safe for activity. The panel will have the opportunity to extend this window by an additional 30 days
- Lakes, with the exception of Lake Dunlap, will be closed to all activity beginning Thursday, Sept. 19, until the panel has reached a decision on what areas, if any, are safe for activity
- Professional law enforcement, acting as lake patrol, will be added to enforce the restrictions on each lake
- GBRA will partner with law enforcement officials to ensure the enforcement of the lake restrictions