While some fisherman are concerned as Toledo Bend Lake level continues to drop, others say the long term benefits are worth it. Property owners can take advantage of the situation and make needed repairs to docks, or even cut down stumps, other speculate the lower level could enhance the growth of foliage. Repairs are expected to continue through November.
Toledo Bend Reservoir - Spillway Repairs
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has directed the Sabine River Authority of Texas (SRA-TX) and Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana (SRA-LA) to expedite completion of the ongoing spillway repairs. These repairs are necessary to replace the large rip-rap (boulders) protecting the end of the spillway that were removed or destroyed during previous spilling operations. Although this repair project began in October 2018 with plans to hold the reservoir level at the 168' elevation by releasing water through hydrogeneration until the project was complete, the extremely wet winter resulted in inflows to Toledo Bend that could not be controlled through power generation, and on December 20, 2018, releases were initiated through the spillway. Spillway releases continued until February 1, 2019.
The long period of spillway releases caused delays in the repair project, requiring a drawdown of the reservoir to maximize the window of opportunity to complete the needed repair. On April 3, 2019, FERC authorized SRA-TX and SRA-LA to drawdown Toledo Bend to facilitate expeditious completion of the spillway repair project.
In compliance with FERC's directives, the Toledo Bend Project Joint Operating Board met on April 9, 2019 and approved a temporary lake level drawdown, through hydrogeneration. The timing of the temporary drawdown will be dependent on weather conditions and the contractor's ability to complete the work. The temporary drawdown will be discontinued as the spillway project nears completion, which is anticipated to be late summer.
Since it has been several years since a significant drawdown has occurred, this will be a good opportunity for residents along the shoreline to inspect and make necessary repairs to boathouses, piers, retaining walls, and related structures. Construction approval applications for this type of activity can be obtained from the SRA-TX Toledo Bend Division Office (409-565- 2273) for Texas residents or from the SRA-LA Pendleton Office (318-256-4112) for Louisiana residents.
Once all the necessary repairs are made to the spillway, the lake will be allowed to return to the regular operating guide as conditions allow.