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Sand is Shrinking Lake LBJ, But Will Sand Mining Hurt the Hill Country?

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Collier investigated the opportunity to process the sand, which is generated from Sandy Creek and logjams in Lake LBJ. Before the 1950s, the sand would simply flow into the Colorado before being carried into the Gulf. However, the sand is now collected as a result of slower moving currents stemming from the development of Wirtz Dam in 1951 – the very project which created the lake in the first place. According to the Texas Water Development Board, the sand accumulates to the point of shrinking the lake steadily, year after year. Subsequently, at present, the Lower Colorado River Authority occasionally will release water from Wirtz Dam, which allows for the natural removal of sand from the creek. Collier decided he’d attempt to seek a method to obtain and market the sand. He sought a location upstream at which to capture the sand. He soon found ranch property owned by Steve Nash, who heads up Nash Builders, located in Horseshoe Bay. The plan would not only benefit Collier, but also Nash, who could use the sand for construction projects.

It appeared to be a win-win project. However, in order to get from planning to implementation, the men still have to acquire six permits from various local and state agencies. In the process, the Llano County Commissioners Court has passed a resolution in opposition of the plan, and a number of local residents formed the Save Sandy Creek group, protesting the proposal and the development they felt it would entail. Nash and Collier remain steadfast in the permitting process. They intend to construct the plant in a manner which is least obtrusive. Additionally, they feel that the frenzy of protest from project critics is unnecessary.  In reference to an area media story on the potential of the plant harming fish, Collier said this wasn’t a possibility, since all the plant’s water will undergo recycling and won’t be let out into the stream.

Sand is Shrinking Lake LBJ, But Will Sand Mining Hurt the Hill Country?
Photo: Facebook/SAVE SANDY CREEK