USACE plans for proposed drawdown of B.A. Steinhagen Lake/Town Bluff

Fort Worth District, USACE
Published July 21, 2023
Updated: July 21, 2023
Lake bed

Lake bed

FORT WORTH, Texas – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at Town Bluff Dam/B.A. Steinhagen Lake, Woodville, Texas, (locally known as Dam B) announced today a plan for necessary repairs on the Robert D. Willis Powerhouse, which will require a near complete drawdown of B.A. Steinhagen Lake.

To facilitate this repair work, USACE Fort Worth District Water Management will begin drawing the lake down on July 3, to a target elevation of 58 feet above mean sea level (msl), by 17 July; normal lake elevation is 82.5 feet above msl. This action will eliminate lake access, as all boat ramps on the lake will be dry. Once the target elevation is reached on 17 July, it will be safe for crews to begin the assessment and repairs on the powerhouse intake gates. This repair work is anticipated to take from three to 10 days, depending on site conditions and weather.

The current schedule is to have the lake trending back up by 26 July, but the rate of rise will depend on inflow from the Neches River, Sam Rayburn Dam releases on the Angelina River through hydropower generation, and what the downstream flow requirements are at that time. The Sam Rayburn hydropower generation schedule will create pulses of water causing peak and valley water-level fluctuations to occur throughout the day while B.A. Steinhagen remains low.

Lower Neches Valley Authority water requirements in late July will partially dictate Town Bluff’s release rate and influence how quickly B. A. Steinhagen returns to normal lake levels. The proposed work schedule should return the lake to a usable elevation by early August, allowing for public access for the Labor Day weekend, the annual Texas Parks and Wildlife Division alligator hunt and early teal season.

During repair work, all public access to east end day use area, the Town Bluff Dam spillway, the fishing platforms at the Robert D. Willis Powerhouse and the east side of the floodgates structure will be closed.

Be advised that weather or other unforeseen events may prolong the drawdown of B. A. Steinhagen Lake, but every effort will be made to return the lake to a usable elevation as quickly as possible. 

Foot access to the exposed lake bottom is permitted but discouraged, as mud flats can be unstable and present a safety hazard.  All vehicle and ATV/UTV traffic on the lakebed is prohibited.

For additional information, please reach out to the Town Bluff Lake Office at (409) 429-3491.

Brittany Scruggs

Release no. 23-023