What is leading to rough waters on Lake LBJ?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three deaths out on Lake LBJ in 2019 has lake-goers wondering: what’s going on out there?

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials haven’t identified one specific reason tied to the tragedies yet, but there are several factors that may be leading to rougher waters. 

“My kids, grandkids love it. They come down here and go out on the boat, jet ski, enjoy being out on the water,” said Robert Miley, who has lake-front property in Kingsland. 

He and his extended family have lived on Lake LBJ for years. He said it has definitely changed, especially recently. 

“I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make that sandbar go back to the way it was,” Miley joked. 

The quarter-mile long sandbar only recently formed. By tightening the area boats can travel, officials say it adds to the turbulence in the water. But it doesn’t necessarily mean there are more hazards causing trouble. 

Captain Cody Hatfield with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said there have been no issues with floating debris so far out on the lake. But he said he is seeing a record number of lake-goers.

“There can be 60 to 100 boats and jet skis parked out there,” Miley said. 

Increased activity out on the water, including wakeboarding boats, a sport which requires creating a large wake to perform tricks, adds more and bigger waves for everyone. And when those waves bounce off retaining walls lining lake-front property, it only has one direction to go: Right back out. 

While the retaining walls add to the turbulence in the water, it also prevents the shoreline from eroding and keeps houses from going under during flash flooding. 

“If you are just swimming out in the sandbar, if you don’t watch what other people do when you bring that boat in, you can get in trouble,” Miley said. 

Captain Hatfield said there will always be choppy water at popular lakes across Texas. But if you know what’s contributing to the rough waves, it can save you and your family from added trouble. 

KXAN Investigates 

We’ve shown you how locals were complaining about debris still not cleaned up following flooding from last October. After KXAN investigators looked into the issue back in February, the LCRA installed added buoys in places to warn people of dangers like growing sandbars. 

They allowed the public to report unmarked hazards online. But the utility reminded people that debris on the shoreline and on private property is the responsibility of those who live there. 

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