With local lakes several feet deeper than usual because of floodwaters, some boat ramps, parks and docks remained underwater and unusable over the Memorial Day weekend.
Ray Roberts Lake is currently 4.6 feet higher than normal and Lewisville Lake is 6.25 feet higher, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lakes.
“All of our metroplex lakes are currently holding floodwater, so the lakes are operating as designed but it’s impacting recreational activities,” said Clay Church, a spokesman for the corps’ Fort Worth district. “With the flood pool that high at Lewisville, it definitely impacts the recreational activities at the lake.”
While some boaters were still on the lake on Memorial Day, it’s not clear if traffic was slower than normal. Several businesses along the lake, from boat rental businesses to marinas, did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Releases are under way at Ray Roberts Lake to help get lake levels back to normal in the coming weeks, Church said. That means a great opportunity for fishermen, he said.
Two boat ramps on Lewisville Lake are closed and two parks, Hickory Creek and Westlake, are closed because of flooding. Other sections of parks are flooded too, with some campsites and signs now underwater, Church said.
At the Isle du Bois Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park, the day use area is closed for flood repairs through the fall. The closure, set to start Tuesday, includes the picnic area, swimming area and pavilions. The list of closures on the state park’s website also notes that because of high water levels, swimming is prohibited in the Johnson Branch Unit’s day use area and flooded camping areas.
With the flooding, Church urges caution for lakegoers both on the water and off. With parts of recreation equipment underwater, boaters should be extra careful around the edges of the lake. High water levels also force wildlife onto trails, so even hikers and picnickers should err on the side of caution, he said.
“Fire ants, snakes and other things are moving because of floodwaters, so if people are around the shoreline, be extremely careful and watch out for Mother Nature because some of those critters are on the move as well,” Church said.
Following the holiday weekend, the Army engineers will continue releasing water for several weeks to prepare for the next big rain event.
“The levels won’t go away tomorrow — it’s going to take a while to discharge into the Trinity River Basin,” Church said. “People just need to be patient with us as we do discharge the waters as they come out to our lakes.”