Lake Marble Falls to be lowered for work on Starcke Dam

LCRA says Lake Marble Falls will be lowered several feet for about three months for important work on Starcke Dam.

The lake levels will be lowered seven feet from Oct. 1 through Dec. 29 to allow for upgrades to the dam's water intake structure so the hydroelectric generators can continue operating efficiently and reliably during the peak winter months. The hydroelectric generators at the dam can produce 41 megawatts of electricity, says LCRA.

During this time, lakeside property owners will be able to perform limited work on existing docks, retaining walls and other infrastructure under LCRA’s lakewide permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Property owners can click here for a list of projects allowed during the drawdown and to register projects with LCRA. Registration for dock repairs is not required, but all work must comply with the Safety Standards for Residential Docks on the Highland Lakes, says LCRA. Activities not allowed include burning in the lakebed, replacing or building new retaining walls, shoreline work of more than 500 feet, and dredging more than 2,000 cubic yards.

LCRA says that during the October 2018 floods, debris damaged the center portion of the water intake structure at the dam. LCRA performed emergency repairs in early 2019 to keep the hydroelectric generators operating, but the remaining intake screens and unrepaired structures still need work. The intake structure prevents large objects in the river from entering the hydroelectric generators and damaging the turbines.

The lake is scheduled to be lowered about a foot a day for seven days beginning Oct. 1 and is expected to be at its full lowered level by Oct. 7. The lake will be lowered by releasing water through the hydroelectric generators at Starcke Dam into Lake Travis. The water released from Lake Marble Falls will total about 3,000 acre-feet, which will cause Lake Travis to rise by a couple of inches.

The lake refill is scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 26, and the lake is expected to be raised about two feet a day until it is back in its normal operating range by Thursday, Dec. 29, says LCRA.

Lake Marble Falls will be refilled with a combination of water released from Lake Buchanan and sent downstream through Inks Lake and Lake LBJ, and water flowing into the Colorado River from tributaries into or upstream of Lake Marble Falls. The refill could cause Lake Buchanan to fall a maximum of a couple of inches, says LCRA.