JASPER COUNTY, Texas — The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced a plan earlier in July to make repairs to an uncontrolled dam south of Lake Sam Rayburn, and the sight of the nearly empty B.A. Steinhagen Lake is a surprising one for some locals.
Officials at Sam Rayburn Reservoir and at the B.A. Steinhagen/Town Bluff Reservoir in Jasper announced a plan Friday, July 19 to repair the dam.
The Town Bluff Reservoir in Jasper will be closed for Labor Day weekend, officials said, but hopefully reopen for the annual TPWD alligator hunt and teal season.
"My first thought is that I had gone to Death Valley," Christy Spurlock said.
It was her first time seeing the lake nearly empty.
"There was just dirt and stumps and the beautiful cypress trees."
The lake has been lowered from 82 feet above main sea level to about 60 feet.
The reason for draining the water is for repairs to be made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the uncontrolled dam south of Sam Rayburn.
Workers began lowering the water level on July 24.
Jesse Bittick and his mom were curious and decided to explore the unusual sight.
"Well we are really in shock that it's all gone," Bittick said. "It's much shallower than I was expecting it to be. I always thought it was a little bit deeper than that."
It may be the end of August before the repairs are complete.
As for Spurlock, she said it's a view everyone should see for themselves.
"It's really beautiful in the state it's in right now. You get a totally different perspective," Spurlock said.
The Lower Neches Valley Authority's water requirements during late August will affect Town Bluff's release rate and how quickly B.A. Steinhagen Lake will return to normal water levels, officials said.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers said they hope to have the lake re-opened to the public by mid-September for the annual Texas Parks and Wildlife alligator hunt and teal season.