Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Twin Buttes to Take Brunt of July 4th

Twin Buttes Reservoir will remain open over the July 4th weekend as all Lake Nasworthy parks close Friday, July 3rd at midnight to contain our current coronavirus outbreak.

July 4th weekend brought the worst behavior to Twin Buttes the last few decades.  City of San Angelo Parks Director Carl White once referred to Twin Buttes as "the Wild West."

In years past citizens left mounds of fireworks and other trash, aimed fireworks at other people and set a dumpster on fire.  The City of San Angelo stopped the fireworks several years ago by having an officer screen cars entering the area from Highway 67.  That chore now belongs to Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.  TPWD's Facebook page stated.

As expected, we've been receiving a lot of questions concerning access to Twin Buttes over the 4th of July weekend.
As of today (June 30th), our intentions are to keep the site open to all activities, to include boating and camping. Given the fact that TBR does not have any common areas, such as restrooms, we've determined that visiting TBR to recreate with your family remains relatively safe with plenty of room to spread out. Please note, that this could change should we receive directives from the Governor or TPWD executive staff. 

Due to the expected visitor increase, we have planned for additional law enforcement personnel to conduct highly visible patrols throughout the holiday weekend. 

We also encourage you to use good judgment and always recommend you follow CDC guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

As a reminder the following rules are in effect at Twin Buttes and will continue to be enforced by our Game Wardens: 

 • Limited Public Use Permits are required for each person (17 years of age and older) to access the property. Permits may be purchased anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold or may be purchased online here: Permits are $12 per person and will expire August 31st, 2020. 
• Off Highway Vehicle permits are required for all ATVs, UTVs, Off Road Vehicles and Motorcycles. Helmets and protective eyewear must also be worn if applicable. Check OHV Rules for more information: .. 
Fireworks are prohibited and appropriate citations will be issued to violators 
• Trash receptacles are limited, so please be prepared to pack out what you and your family pack in. 
• As always, we encourage you to leave it cleaner than you found it. Take a few minutes to pick up any trash you see. For those of you with kiddos, this is an opportunity to model community investment. Incremental improvement becomes exponential over time. 
• If you witness anyone dumping illegally, please provide us with the most accurate description of people and vehicles (with license plate if possible) involved so we can initiate an investigation. 
• Water Safety - we encourage you to review the following boating safety tips located here
Area fireworks stands are fully stocked and sales are likely to be brisk.  An officer needs to screen cars entering the park area for fireworks and give people a choice of entering without fireworks or not entering the park.

I'm not sure any number of officers could've contained the bad behavior exhibited during Twin Buttes wildest July 4th weekends.  I trust Officer Huebner and his team to do his best.  I'll hope and pray area citizens offer their best behavior while safely recreating at Twin Buttes this July 4th weekend.  It's the only game in town.

Update 7-3-20:  The City of San Angelo announced it would open some Lake Nasworthy parks for fireworks viewing until the Nasworthy Homeowners' Association canceled the fireworks show.  Twin Buttes remains the only July 4th spot in the area, as county parks are also closed.  

Update 7-7-20:  I went through the park at the north side of the North Pool Monday morning and was surprised to find a clean park area with no fireworks trash.  This development is most appreciated!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Twin Buttes Closed for Easter Weekend?

City of San Angelo officials announced the closure of all parks, walking areas and lakes for the Easter weekend to battle COVID-19.  San Angelo Live reported:

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community the following will be closed or prohibited beginning on Thursday, April 9th at 5 p.m. through Monday, April 13th at 8 a.m.
All lakes (Nasworthy, Fisher and Twin Buttes) will be closed to all public access and activity, no exceptions
  • This includes all public boat ramps and docks
  • Private docks are still allowed to be used by the owner
Later the city issued the following correction:

Correction: Today's closure list does not apply to Twin Buttes Reservoir. Any questions need to be directed to Texas Parks & Wildlife at 512-385-4595 or TPWD Twin Buttes website.
Clear as mud.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Twin Buttes Over 40 ft. Rise

Twin Buttes Reservoir is up over 40 feet since September 2018.  City Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson produced a number of videos showing the massive increase and encouraging people to recreate at the lake.

The City is responsible for managing Twin Buttes Reservoir and its federal lands.  It contracted recreation management to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Their agreement calls for an Annual Management Plan.

When asked City staff replied they do not have a copy of the plan mentioned in their May 13, 2016 agreement with TPWD. 

The City did provide a Fire Management Plan for Twin Buttes Land.  That document stated:

Nearly three years after delegating its responsibilities to TPWD the city remains "hands off" at Twin Buttes. We'll see what happens this summer.  Will the "Wild West" return?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

City Promotes Twin Buttes with No Plans for Expected Summer Onslaught

 On January 19, 2019 I wrote:

"For decades the City's excuse for poorly maintaining Twin Buttes has been:  "There's no water."  That's changed dramatically.  We'll see if the city does any better now that Twin Buttes holds a huge inventory of untreated water to sell.  I'll check with city officials and post their response." 
On February 27, 2019 I asked the city:

“When asked about maintaining the public areas at Twin Buttes Reservoir city leaders in the past have used the excuse of low water for failing to provide basic standard of cleanliness/safety for lake users. Now that Twin Buttes holds roughly 120,000 acre feet of water what are the city's plans to provide a positive experience for lake users. In the past Mr. White referred to the city's effort at Twin Buttes as "hand's off" and called the area "a No Man's Land or the Wild West." I request documents regarding the city's plans to maintain Twin Buttes now that there is ample water for citizens for recreation.” 
The City of San Angelo provided one document in response to my request, a copy of the contract between the City and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

City Public Information Officer asked TPWD Officers about expected lake use this summer:

"And do you anticipate this summer, not just only local boaters, but an onslaught of boating and fishing here at this lake from the Permian Basin for instance?"  
The officer answered yes, so one might expect the city to make plans to handle this expected onslaught of lake users.   That was not evidenced by the city's response to my Public Information Request. 

The city is expending money on slick videos about Twin Buttes Reservoir, having produced two in the last week.

We'll see if that translates into a safe and clean park area on the North Shore of the North Pool, an area the city is obligated to maintain under its arrangement with the Department of Reclamation.

Update 6-8-19:  The Standard Times ran a story on recreating at area lakes.  Only two of the three are mostly full.  O.C. Fisher awaits its turn. 

Update 6-11-19:  City Recreation Manager Brent Casey wrote a guest column encouraging citizens to utilize Twin Buttes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

City Informs Council of Bountiful Water Supplies

City staff presented several slides showing San Angelo's rainfall blessing which began in September of last year.  As a result the city has 5.5 years of water supply and that's with very conservative assumptions.

Water Utilities Director Allison Strube informed Council that tributaries for Twin Buttes and O.H. Ivie continue adding water to those lakes.  Twin Buttes holds 37.3 billion gallons.  Water is priced in 1,000 gallon increments.  The City has 37.3 million saleable units in Twin Buttes as of January 1.  That's significant inventory. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cage at North Pool Nearly Underwater

In 2013 the City of San Angelo had to pump water to the cage at Twin Buttes Reservoir's North Pool.  The picture below shows a dry lake bed in front of the structure.
That changed with Fall 2018's massive runoff.  The top of the cage can be seen below.  Look for the thin white horizontal rectangle slightly above the water's surface.  It's below the gatehouse at the top of the dam.

For decades the City's excuse for poorly maintaining Twin Buttes has been:  "There's no water."  That's changed dramatically.  We'll see if the city does any better now that Twin Buttes holds a huge inventory of untreated water to sell.  I'll check with city officials and post their response.