Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Stumpy Stumps of Lake Dunlap

If it seems like I have a lot of stump stories on my new blog, it is not by coincidence. In Texas we have a lot of lakes which have been hit hard by the drought leaving lakes low and the timber which is normally well under water in plain view. I have received reports from all over Texas reporting incidence of trees and habitat being removed by lake front property owners. Currently river authorities and resource managers across Texas have different policies regarding tree removal, and we are working with TPWD to implement a more reasonable and uniform policy across the state to protect habitat.
Lake Dunlap's story started not as the result of drought, but rather a scheduled draw down to make repairs to the dam. Lake Dunlap is a 410 acre river lake located between New Braunfels and Seguin on the Guadalupe River. (MAP). Carl Adkins who serves as the Water Policy Coordinator for the Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation was tipped off by a friend that a group of  Preserve Lake Dunlap Association members were pushing to have large areas of timber cut in the lakes lower end to improve the area for skiing. Carl reached out to TPWD district biologist John Findeisen and director of research and management Dave Terre making them aware of the plans. TPWD contacted the river authority GBRA and a meeting was established which allowed all parties to discuss the project. A series of trips to the lake were made by boat with anglers and lake association members on board along with TPWD and GBRA to identify areas which would be left alone and marked. Stumps which posed navigational hazards were also identified for removal. The project was shaping up to be a textbook example of how anglers can get involved with resource managers and other lake users and work together to meet the needs of each group. Unfortunately things did not turn out quite as planned.
On a rainy day in December just days after work had been completed by GBRA cutting and marking the identified areas, individual property owners took it upon themselves to modify the plan, and with 3 boats they managed to cut 80 or more stumps at the water level which at the time was 3 1/2' below normal pool.  The brazen actions of these individuals created a public safety issue and once GBRA became aware of the work of these individuals they took immediate action to close the lake to all boats and prevented more habitat destruction. (GBRA emergency directive)
The Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation has since been working with TPWD and GBRA pushing for mitigation by these individuals for the habitat loss as well as developing a plan which will limit skiing in this area given the newly cut stumps which are now at an unsafe depth below the surface for skiing. I will keep you posted as to how this develops.


  1. Tim, what are the chances that the illegal stump cutting will result in arrests? Criminal trespass charges with damage to the trespassed area could get the type of media attention that will discourage this type of behavior in the future.

  2. Mark,
    We are working on that. Also trying to get the GBRA to establish a policy.

  3. Looks like a lot of good structure to fish!