The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority won’t drain its four remaining lakes on the Guadalupe River, but all recreation on the water will soon be banned, at least temporarily.

Those are the major terms of a legal settlement approved Monday by a judge and announced in a Guadalupe County courtroom teeming with property owners. The accord stipulates that lakes McQueeney, Placid, Meadow and Gonzales will stay full for at least the next year. But starting Thursday, no one will be allowed to use them for any reason.

The prohibited area — stretching from the dam at Dunlap to Gonzales County Road 143, a spot downriver from the Gonzales dam — will be monitored by law enforcement officers from the county and the state.

The ban will stay in effect until a three-member panel of experts determines whether it’s safe to reopen sections of the lakes. The panel will be formed soon, with the GBRA picking one expert and the property owners who sued the agency choosing another. Those two experts will pick the third member.

The panel will have 30 days to render its determination, though it may extend that to 60 days if necessary.

Read more from Josh Baugh with San Antonio Express-News here.