Flooding Continues at Amistad National Recreation Area

Some vault toilets at Amistad National Recreation Area have been flooded, as have picnic area. Some visitors are using the picnic shelter roofs as diving platforms. NPS photo.

While flood waters have receded a bit at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area in Texas, a surge is expected in the coming days, which is bad news for those hoping to camp at the NRA. Some folks, though, view the flooding as a sight to see.

When Hurricane Alex came through the area it inundated Lake Amistad. According to Chief Ranger Regina Klein Dissler, "despite a continuous Amistad Dam release since Monday of 35,000 cfs by the International Boundary and Water Commission, the lake level has only dropped just under two feet to a level of 1127.91 feet above sea level. Rains from Hurricane Alex have cleared, but the watershed is now being rained on by Tropical Depression 2. The effects of this added water are expected to again raise the lake level in coming days."

Currently, three of the NRA's four campgrounds are closed due to flooding, as are two day-use areas, according to the chief ranger. Maintenance crews are working long days making adjustments to park docks and buoys so that visitors can more safely launch/retrieve their boats and navigate the vastly enlarged lake, she added.

Rangers have had to increase patrols in order to warn visitors of activities that may be hazardous in and around the flood waters. Park visitation remains brisk, as anglers are taking advantage of the enhanced opportunity to catch catfish, Chief Dissler said, adding that "others are excited about the event and are bringing their families to view and play in the flood waters."

Areas with flooded vault toilets have been posted with warnings, but visitors continue to swim there and are using the metal picnic shelter roofs as diving platforms, the chief reported. It is expected that flood conditions will remain for at least two weeks.