Dry weather keeps several East Texas lakes at low levels

Dry weather keeps several East Texas lakes at low levels
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 3:50 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A number of East Texas lakes and waterways are still low after a hot August and September.

Lakes like Gladewater, Devernia and Tyler are still showing the effects of the summer heat and drought.

“Hopes that we would get that spring and summertime rains. Unfortunately they never came,” says Wood County game warden Lee Hall.

Though there was a brief respite of rain, which cancelled the East Texas burn bans, it hasn’t been enough.

“I’ve seen the water fluctuating. You can see the nature responding differently,” said one lake Gladewater visitor.

According to the Texas Water Development Board, lake Palestine remains down 2.56 feet. Lake Athens down 1.69 feet.

And lake Fork in Wood county, which actually drained the level for required maintenance, is the lowest in the area.

“Sabine River Authority had dropped the water levels to do some work on the dam. It’s come back up but we’re still a little over six and a half feet low,” Hall says.

The most obvious concerns for game wardens is safety. The low levels have brought underwater obstacles and stumps closer to the surface, and create a danger to watercraft.

“Messing up their motors, going over stumps,” said one Gladewater boater.

“Now there are obstacles that typically 2-3-4 foot underwater are now exposed. Boaters ask ‘can I travel in the area I normally boat in?’ We’ve got boat lanes that are clearly marked. We encourage people to learn those boat lanes, stay in those boat lanes,” Lee says.

Hall says there is one benefit of low lake levels. it promotes vegetation growth in areas that would normally be underwater, and that vegetation is good habitat for waterfowl.