Expert panel makes final ruling on Guadalupe Valley Lakes restricted zones

An independent expert panel made its final ruling on restricted and prohibited zones on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. (Courtesy Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority)
An independent expert panel made its final ruling on restricted and prohibited zones on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. (Courtesy Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority)

An independent expert panel made its final ruling on restricted and prohibited zones on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. (Courtesy Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority)

After a 30-day extension was granted, an independent expert panel made its second and final ruling Nov. 15 regarding prohibited and restricted access zones on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes.

The panel’s final report reiterated its initial findings when looking at Lake Gonzales and an area stretching from Hwy. 80 to Gonzales County Road 143.

The second report designates areas at least 550 feet upstream of the H-4 Dam, 2.4 miles downstream of the H-4 Dam and 700 feet upstream of M.A. Wade Dam as “prohibited unsafe zones,” while the area between the downstream H-4 prohibited zone and the upstream Wade prohibited zone is designated as a “restricted unsafe zone.”

“The completed independent expert panel reports reinforce the safety concerns surrounding the aging dams by reaffirming and extending previously outlined restricted areas on the Guadalupe Valley Lakes,” the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority said in a public statement. “We appreciate the members of the independent expert panel 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 independent expert panel has since prescribed safety measures at all Guadalupe Valley Lakes, including signage and buoys. Additionally, all activities on or in the water, including boating and canoeing, are prohibited within designated prohibited unsafe zones, and water activities such as swimming, wading and tubing are prohibited in restricted unsafe zones.

In its initial report the panel concluded that a single gate failure resulting in a maximum flow of between 11,000 cubic feet per second and 13,000 cubic feet per second was the most likely scenario at each dam on Lakes Dunlap, McQueeny, Placid and Meadow Lake and that “cascading failures” of gates located at dams downstream are unlikely.

“It is the opinion of the independent expert panel that a ‘sunny day’ gate failure, i.e. a gate failure occurring during non-high-flow periods, is the critical scenario due to gates being in full upright position, elevated population at risk, and no advanced warning of the failure,” the panel said in the first report. “This is deemed the most likely failure scenario ... not multiple gates at one dam. The independent expert panel’s understanding ... further suggests that cascading failures of gates at downstream dams would not be expected in the event of single gate failure at an upstream dam.”

Looking at lakes and river segments between Dunlap Dam and FM 1117, the panel determined in its first report that an area 900 feet upstream of the TP-3 Dam at Lake McQueeney and an area 250 feet downstream should be declared a prohibited unsafe zone.

An area 800 feet upstream of the TP-4 dam near Lake Placid is considered a prohibited unsafe zone, and an area 300 feet upstream of Son’s Island and 300 feet downstream of Hwy. 78 is now considered a restricted unsafe zone.

Downstream of the TP-4 dam, a 1,050-foot area of the Guadalupe River and Meadow Lake and a 1,200-foot area upstream of Nolte Dam are now considered prohibited unsafe zones. A segment of the Guadalupe River downstream of Nolte Dam up to the FM 466 crossing is a prohibited unsafe zone, and a section of river from FM 466 to FM 1117 is a restricted unsafe zone.
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


New Braunfels had 62 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on June 1, up from 31 at the end of April, a 96.7% increase. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Comal County confirms 100th COVID-19 case

The new case is a resident of New Braunfels.

Businesses shuttering their doors due to coronavirus restrictions lowered the sales tax revenue collected by cities in May compared to May 2019. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas comptroller reports 13.2% year-over-year state sales tax revenue drop in May

Tax collection revenue fell significantly in several sectors from May 2019 to May 2020, according to the comptroller's office.

Demonstrators gathered at the Texas Capitol on May 31 to protest police brutality. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas officials respond to demonstrations, unrest in wake of George Floyd killing

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster in Texas on May 31, while various city officials and law enforcment responded to protests and violence over the weekend.

Additional New Braunfels facilities reopened June 1. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Additional New Braunfels facilities reopen June 1

The New Braunfels Public Library, some Landa Park facilities and the municipal court reopened June 1 with adjusted hours and additional restrictions.

New Postal Annex to open in June in Freiheit Village

The business will offer shipping, copy services, mailbox rentals, notary services and more.

The new materials will be used for English Language Arts and Advanced Academic classes for grades 6-12. (Courtesy Pexels)
New Braunfels ISD to adopt new English Language Arts materials

The materials will be used for ELA and Advanced Academics classes for grades 6-12.

New Braunfels had 61 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on May 30, up from 31 at the end of April, a 96.7% increase. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19 cases up 96% in New Braunfels this month, 75% between Comal and Guadalupe County

30% of Comal County's cases were community transmitted and 28% were from close contacts, such as household members that had previously tested positive.

The Gruenefield development is currently in the Hoffman Lane Elementary School attendance zone but could be moved to the Oak Run Elementary School zone. (Courtesy Comal ISD)
Comal ISD Board of Trustees to vote on attendance zone change

The development could bring approximately 80 additional elementary school students to Comal ISD.

(Courtesy Fotolia)
New school schedules and a road opening: Latest news from Central Texas

Read the latest news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Central Texas area.

Comal and New Braunfels ISDs will continue school lunch pickup options through the summer. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Comal, New Braunfels ISDs to continue curbside meal pickup through June

Summer meals will be provided at several campuses in each district to continue the ongoing curbside meal programs.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.