Lake O’ the Pines Holds Back Water to Ease Caddo Flooding

Jeremy Baird of Longview shows off two of the fish he caught Tuesday below Lake O’ the Pines dam. Baird was among about two dozen anglers trying their luck on the sun-lit day with mild temperatures.

Jimplecute News Editor

Thanks to Lake O’ the Pines raising its elevation by more than six feet, flooding in the Caddo Lake area caused by Black Cypress and Little Cypress has been reduced.

“The elevation in Caddo Lake continues to recede,” Walt Sears, executive director of Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, said. “The elevation in Lake O’ the Pines is leveling off. Late last week some structures along Black Cypress in Marion County were under water.

In Jefferson, the boat dock in the Turning Basin had floated upward to the limit of its piers and the parts of the gangway leading to the dock was under water.

Marion County Sheriff David McKnight reported a “few” culverts in rural areas had washed out and low-lying areas had flooded. “There were no road closures or major damage,” McKnight stated. Sears believes action by Lake O’ the Pines helped limit damage.

“Please note that as the water elevation in Caddo Lake began to rise, the flow out of Lake O’ the Pines was significantly reduced,” Sears said. “Today (Tuesday), the U.S. Army Corps’ release is reported to be 2,090 c.f.s. That volume is about 2/3 of the maximum authorized release. The flow out today is similar to the outflow prior to the onset of the rain episode.”

The plan is to continue releasing water, but to keep an eye on Caddo Lake. “It should be possible to continue to make significant releases from Lake O’ the Pines during the next few days without those releases causing Caddo Lake’s elevation to exceed 172.0,” Sears said. On Tuesday, Caddo was at 171.8. Lake O’ the Pines is about 6 feet higher than the top of the water supply pool.

“It would not be possible to temporarily store six feet in either Lake Bob Sandlin or Lake Cypress Springs beyond the water supply elevation without causing major impacts to structures near the shoreline of those lakes,” Sears said. Sears said this past weekend is an example of what Lake O’ the Pines is supposed to do.

“This latest rain episode is a classic example of how flood pools retain water to lessen the impacts from excessive rainfall,” Sears said. “This is a classic example of Lake O’ the Pines receiving large flows from Lake Bob Sandlin and waiting for a later time to release those volumes so as to not significantly increase the difficulties downstream of Lake O’ the Pines.”


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