Highland Lakes Dredge and Fill Ordinance

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An aerial photograph shows a dramatic view of a massive gravel mine rising out of the woods next to a neighborhood and natural scenery - like a tan-colored scar on the land.

Help the Highland Lakes

Aggregate mining, the extraction of sand, gravel, and limestone rock from where it naturally occurs, is a challenge facing communities across the Hill Country as the region grows and the need for infrastructure in Texas expands. When Aggregate Production Operations (APOs) move in, their impacts on nearby communities and natural resources are significant. The impacts of these around-the-clock operations include dangerous air pollution, water pollution and over-use, heavy truck traffic, increased flooding impacts, and nuisances like blasting, noise, odor, and light pollution.

In the summer of 2020 and in response to a proposed dredging operation, residents of the Highland Lakes area joined forces to prevent the industrialization of Lake LBJ. As a result, the Lower Colorado River Authority has developed and proposed a new Highland Lakes Dredge and Fill Ordinance, which creates three tiers of dredge and fill activities​. Tiers 1 and 2 allow for non-commercial dredging, the kinds of projects that have always been done, when necessary, for the purpose of maintaining the lakes and the infrastructure within them. Tier 3 of the proposed ordinance would allow for commercial dredging, which is unprecedented in the Highland Lakes. Commercial dredging would industrialize the Highland Lakes in ways we have never before seen, creating dangerous conditions for nearby communities and significantly reducing enjoyment of the lakes by people and wildlife.

Keep in mind this is not just about one company getting one permit, this ordinance is setting up the process for anyone on any of the Highland Lakes to operate an aggregate operation. – Save Lake LBJ

Vote Scheduled for November 17

On November 17th, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on a new Highland Lakes Dredge and Fill Ordinance. For the first time, if this ordinance is adopted as written, the LCRA will allow major aggregates producers like Vulcan or Martin Marietta to bring their industrial operations into the Highland Lakes. The portion allowing for commercial mining is known as Tier 3.

View the full Board Agenda and committee meeting materials on the LCRA’s website.

Follow steps below to let the LCRA know that Tier 3 is unnecessaryunwelcome, and must be removed from the ordinance.

Take Action for the Highland Lakes

For additional background on Aggregate Production Operations (APOs) in Texas, see this video from Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM).

1. Email the LCRA Board of Directors at board@lcra.org

Please email the LCRA expressing your concerns at board@lcra.org. Please feel free to pull from or add to the below template email:

Dear LCRA Board members,

I am writing to voice my concern regarding the proposed Highland Lakes Dredge and Fill ordinance. In particular, I am strongly opposed to Tier 3, which would facilitate commercial dredging in the Highland Lakes to commercial mining and dredging. Commercial dredging would industrialize the Highland Lakes in ways we have never seen, creating dangerous conditions for nearby communities, and significantly reducing enjoyment of the lakes by people and wildlife.

Here are some of the reasons why you should remove Tier 3 from the proposed ordinance and make the existing moratorium on commercial mining permanent:

  • Tier 3 does not support the LCRA’s mission to enhance the quality of life of Texans through water stewardship, energy, and community service.
  • Tier 3 is a solution in search of a problem: The Highland Lakes have never needed commercial aggregates activity before and don’t need it now.
  • The aggregates industry is notoriously damaging in Texas. It is well documented that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality already struggles to effectively manage the industry’s impacts on air and water quality. See here, and here.

For these reasons, Tier 3 should be removed from the ordinance. The LCRA should say no to commercial mining in the Highland Lakes.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Contact Info: Phone + Address]

For more information about the impacts of the aggregates industry across the state, visit our partner: Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM).

Email the LCRA at board@lrca.org

2. Attend the LCRA Board Meeting on Wednesday, 11/17

The LCRA Board Meeting will be held on November 17 at LCRA General Office Complex Board Room – Hancock Building 3700 Lake Austin Blvd. Austin, TX 78703. Please join us at 9:15am, wearing a white shirt. 

Save Lake LBJ has chartered a bus to take up to 56 people to the LCRA board meeting on November 17th. The bus has restrooms, wifi, outlets for charging devices, and is ADA compliant. We will be leaving from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Marble Falls at 7AM in order to arrive for the 9:15 AM meeting. We ask anyone attending to wear a solid white shirt to show unity. You can reserve your seat by texting or calling Taylor Delz at 325-423-4073. You can also email us at info@savelakelbj.org.

The cost per person with 56 would be $25. If you want to go but can’t cover the cost we have some flexibility. We would also like to know if you plan on attending but driving yourself.

Also, you do not have to speak, your presence alone will be enough but anyone can address the Board. Let’s show the LCRA Board how much we care about our Highland Lakes.

Learn more from Save Lake LBJ

3. Join our Partners

For more information about the impacts of the aggregates industry across the state, visit our partner: Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM). Both Save Lake LBJ and Save Sandy Creek are local efforts that have emerged surrounding aggregate industry growth in the Highland Lakes area.

Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) logo shows a star encircled in barbed wireTexans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) is a statewide coalition of member groups seeking to work with lawmakers, state agencies, and good-faith industry operators to create state standards for best management practices in the rapidly expanding Aggregate Production Operation (APO) industry, and adopt those standards into law. Our goal is to create a healthier, safer and more desirable community for Texans as well as a more efficient APO industry that is aligned with the concerns of the communities in which they operate.

Learn more about TRAM

Two paddlers kayak on blue water in the logo for Save Lake LBJSave Lake LBJ is an organization working to stop an industrial sand plant and dredging operation from setting up shop on the Shores of Lake LBJ. Save Lake LBJ is a group of concerned citizens who have banded together to stop the industrialization of Lake LBJ. This site was created to provide information regarding Collier Materials proposed sand plant in Kingsland, TX. It will be located on the Llano Arm of Lake LBJ on the Miles/Moss Ranch off of CR 309.

Learn more about Save Lake LBJ

A creek flows through a sandy hills on the logo for Save Sandy CreekSave Sandy Creek is a community of concerned citizens who organized to fight against the industrialization of Sandy Creek, when a sand mine was proposed in 2018 near the Hwy 71 and FM2233 intersection. In June 2020, the group celebrated a huge success when Collier Materials officially withdrew their application for a permit from TCEQ to develop a sand mine on Sandy Creek.

Learn more about Save Sandy Creek

Additional Information and Coverage

Highland Lakes residents speak at recent LCRA board meeting as agency continues work on new commercial dredging ordinance

Highland Lakes residents who spoke during a recent Lower Colorado River Authority board meeting urged directors to be cautious while creating a new commercial dredging ordinance. At its Nov. 17 meeting, the LCRA Board of Directors will consider whether to adopt the proposed Highland Lakes Dredge and Fill Ordinance (HLDO). The 15 directors also will decide on proposed changes to the existing Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance (HLWO).

Action Alert Email – Take Action for the Highland Lakes

Click here to read and share the Hill Country Alliance’s action alert regarding the upcoming LCRA Board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021.

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