Myron Hess, National Wildilfe Federation, 512-576-3948
Jennifer Walker, Sierra Club, 512-627-9931
for immediate release
September 17, 2014

Proposed Revisions to LCRA Water Management Plan Mean Slight Improvements for Matagorda Bay

On Wednesday, September 17, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is expected to vote on proposed amendments to the Water Management Plan (WMP) that will govern how water in Lakes Travis and Buchanan is managed. Among other things, the WMP determines, in large part, how much water will flow in the lower Colorado River and into Matagorda Bay during dry periods. The following is a joint statement on the proposed plan by Myron Hess, Water Programs Manager/Counsel for National Wildlife Federation’s South Central Regional Center, and Jennifer Walker, Water Resources Coordinator for the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.

“The revisions to LCRA’s Water Management Plan are minor, but we support them because as compared to the previous LCRA staff version they provide slight improvements to the way water is managed for Matagorda Bay. The revisions would redistribute the limited water available for the bay to the times when it is most stressed, and reduce the lengths of period of extreme high salinity. We applaud the stakeholders who attended LCRA meetings over the last three weeks for finding ways to make better use of the limited amount of water available for agriculture and the environment under the limited framework previously adopted by the LCRA Board.

Although the latest proposed changes are positive, the picture for the lower river and for Matagorda Bay remains very troubling for the short-term and more so for the long-term. There are very real problems for water quality, for wildlife, for recreational and commercial fishing, tourism, and for the economies of the lower basin.

The total amount of water available to meet those needs continues to decrease with each iteration of the WMP. If we are going to protect the natural heritage of all Texans, particularly for future generations that will live in the lower Colorado River basin, we have to find a way to be more proactive about providing the water the river and the bay need to stay healthy. We are falling short of providing that needed flow. Without a concerted, proactive effort, that shortfall will only continue to worsen.”