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Refill time at Steinhagen

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By Chris Edwards
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DAM B – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced on Monday that the process to refill B.A. Steinhagen Lake has begun, as of last Wednesday, July 19.

The drawdown of the lake was first announced at the end of June, as repairs were needed to the Robert D. Willis Powerhouse. The USACE Fort Worth District Water Management stated in a news release that the maintenance work on the powerhouse has been successfully completed ahead of schedule.

According to the USACE, the current schedule is to have the lake returned to its full pool, which is 82.5’ above mean sea level (msl) by the date of August 15, at the latest.

The rise, however, is contingent on several key factors, including inflow from the Neches River; Sam Rayburn Dam releases on the Angelina River through hydropower generation as well as downstream flow requirements.

Originally, the target goal was to begin filling the lake back up by Wednesday, July 26, and the estimated time of the repair work was 10 days.

The public access to the East End Day Use area, the Town Bluff Dam spillway and the fishing piers at the powerhouse all opened on Monday, July 24, according to the USACE.

Potential rainfall is also a factor in refilling the lake more quickly, according to the news release. The region has seen minimal rainfall throughout the month of July, but according to the news release, if any substantial rainfall is received over the next few weeks, or if the generation from Sam Rayburn is increased, the full lake level elevation might be achieved more quickly.

The USACE stated that “every effort will be made to return the lake to a usable elevation as quickly as possible.”  

Additionally, the USACE noted that foot access to the exposed lake bottom is permitted but discouraged, as mud flats can be unstable and present a safety hazard, and all vehicle and ATV/UTV traffic on the lakebed is prohibited.

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