Petition Closed
Petitioning Chairman, Office of the Commissioners, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Dr. Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D. and 5 others

Deny the LCRA's request to suspend the flow of Water to Matagorda Bay

With its request to cut off water flows from the Highland Lakes to Matagorda Bay for four months, the Lower Colorado River Authority is threatening a vital ecological system and the wellbeing of a $2 billion dollar a year state fishing industry. It’s also needlessly pitting Central Texans against their coastal neighbors.

The state of Texas needs to act as a whole to preserve our ecological heritage and to protect our $2 billion dollar a year fishing industry. The Matagorda Bay system is the second largest estuary on the Texas Gulf Coast. It covers roughly 352 square miles and produces a seemingly endless supply of oysters, shrimp and fin fish. The bay is at the heart of the state's fishing industry.

October is a significant month for spawning in the estuary. Cutting off water flow for four months, especially during spawning season, has the potential to do irreparable damage. Matagorda Bay is already at the ecological tipping point. In normal years, Matagorda Bay receives about 1.8 million-acre feet of freshwater inflows from the Colorado. So far, this year, it has received about 150,000 acre-feet. Salt levels in the water have grown to a dangerous level as a result of cuts the LCRA has already made to freshwater releases from the Highland Lakes.

A better option whole would be to consider increasing water restrictions in cities and towns that depend on Highland Lakes reservoirs for their water supply. The city of Austin has been under Stage 2 watering restrictions since September 2012, meaning that businesses and residents can water their lawns once a week in the early morning or nighttime hours. Austin and other communities should consider increasing restrictions for the good of the state.

We are under historic drought conditions that may extend another five to ten years. And we are not alone. By 2030, global demand for water could outstrip supply by as much as 40 percent. A four-month cutoff will not do anything to resolve this situation, and has the potential to do long term harm that will take many generations to undo.

We ask that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality deny the LCRA’s request to withhold water from flowing into Matagorda Bay for four months, and that it take all possible measures to encourage all Texans to step up and do the right thing, including but not limited to adopting additional restrictions on Central Texas water usage, for the good of the entire Lone Star State.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Chairman, Office of the Commissioners, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    Dr. Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D.
  • Executive Director
    Zak Covar, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Commissioner, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    Toby Baker
  • General Counsel, Office of the Commissioners, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    Les Trobman
  • Public Interest Counsel
    Blas J. Coy, Jr.
  • Blackburn Carter
    cc James B. Blackburn, Jr.


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