curved box top

blue top

blue line



Wind:  0 mph S

Humidity:  49%

blue bottom

blue top

blue line

Lake Travis Water Level

   updated 2:00 AM

blue bottom

blue top

Lake Travis Webcam

blue bottom

blue top

blue bottom

Contact Go Lake Travis

For Memorial Day, cops step up patrols on Lake Travis

Posted: Wed, 24 May 2017 08:58 PM - 1,724 Readers

By: Nolan Hicks

For game warden James Michael, his 15th year patrolling the waters of Lake Travis over Memorial Day weekend offers just one guarantee: It will be different — different from 2016, which was different from the year before and the year before that.

It’s not the job that changes. Every year, revelers hit the lake as the sun rises in the east and remain out long after it sets in the west. And every year, the longtime Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employee spot-checks boats to ensure they have the requirements — the life jackets, fire extinguisher, running lights and registration papers — to legally operate, while keeping an eye out for drunks and boaters blasting through no-wake areas.

What’s different? It’s everything else.

“Any given Memorial Day is not like the others,” Michael said. “It just really depends on the volume of traffic, the lake levels and the folks — the clientele — that is actually coming out to the lake and what their goal is.”

Are they families looking for a day of picnicking and tubing? Or are they out there to drink and party? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Michael quickly added, provided they are being safe and have a designated driver.

“That’s the big focus of why we’re out here is to make sure that folks do this and do it in a safe manner and follow the rules,” he said.

It’s a line that law enforcement agencies around Lake Travis have teamed up to tout and enforce in the runup to the holiday weekend.

Officials warn that lake newbies might be unfamiliar with treacherous underwater threats, such as steep cliff drops and gnarled trees, left behind when the builders of Mansfield Dam drowned a canyon to create Lake Travis.

Last year, authorities responded to 95 calls for help on the 65-mile-long, serpentine lake, up from 75 in 2015 and 68 in 2014, figures from the Travis County sheriff’s office show. The number of accidents was up in 2016, too, jumping from 14 in 2015 to 21 in 2016.

The Travis County sheriff’s office said they will have all three of their boats on the lake this weekend. The deputies will be working alongside Michael and his partner, Ben Echelson, who joined the Parks and Wildlife Department just two years ago, as well as a phalanx of other agencies on and near the water — or on the roads leading to the lake.

“We always work at full capacity on holiday weekends,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kristen Dark said. “As the number of residents in our county continues to grow, we will continue to seek to upgrade and/or increase our watercraft to accommodate the needs out on Lake Travis.”

Authorities pinned the rising activity on the lake to rising lake levels.

Six years ago, a prolonged drought shriveled Lake Travis to its lowest level in more than half a century. But the Memorial Day weekend storms of 2015, which brought deadly and devastating floods to Central Texas, snapped that dry spell.

Heading into this year’s Memorial Day weekend, Lake Travis is 97 percent full, according to the agency that manages the reservoir, the Lower Colorado River Authority. As of Wednesday afternoon, the lake elevation at Mansfield Dam was 679 feet above mean sea level. That’s about 10 feet higher than the historical average elevation for this time of year, according to LCRA data.

*  Story Contributed by: Nolan Hicks


Lake Travis News

How Zebra Mussels Will Change Austin Lakes (And Maybe Barton Springs) Forever

Aug 17, 2017

1,473 Readers

Man seriously injured after 20 to 30 foot fall from cliff at Lake Travis

Aug 13, 2017

1,123 Readers

Lakeway City Park adds life jacket loaner station

Aug 11, 2017

873 Readers

Boater dies after hitting Lake Travis shoreline

Aug 1, 2017

1,274 Readers

No serious injuries after plane crashes into water at Lake Travis

Jul 22, 2017

1,254 Readers

Man injured in 30-foot fall over rocks at Hippie Hollow

Jul 15, 2017

963 Readers

Tow boat owner says plane wheels were down when it flipped into lake

Jul 13, 2017

1,112 Readers

Lady Bird Lake vegetation at risk after ‘mass migration’ of carp

Jul 11, 2017

912 Readers

Lake Travis ‘infested’ with invasive, damaging zebra mussels

Jun 27, 2017

1,005 Readers

Scuba divers scoop for lake trash after Memorial Day festivities

May 30, 2017

1,794 Readers

Here’s why you can’t swim in Lady Bird Lake. Wait — you can’t swim in Lady Bird Lake?

Aug 8, 2017

1,143 Readers

5 Ways to Try Paddleboarding in Austin

Aug 4, 2017

998 Readers

Why Is Hippie Hollow Clothing-Optional?

Jul 31, 2017

1,226 Readers

JAWS on the Water - Friday, June 30th

Jun 27, 2017

1,760 Readers

Memorial Day Weekend watercraft ban on Lake Austin

May 25, 2017

1,883 Readers

Travis County officials prep for Memorial Day weekend on Lake Travis

May 23, 2017

1,689 Readers

West Austin 4-H Offers Opportunities Beyond Just Raising Animals

Aug 9, 2016

7,459 Readers

Large Crowds Expected at Lake Travis For Holiday Weekend

Jul 1, 2016

9,303 Readers

Lady Bird Lake businesses back open for Father’s Day

Jun 19, 2016

6,890 Readers

Boats allowed back on Lady Bird Lake starting noon Thursday

Jun 16, 2016

7,641 Readers

Lake Buchanan rises nearly 8 inches due to rain

Aug 8, 2017

1,425 Readers

One floodgate open at Starcke Dam

Aug 7, 2017

1,258 Readers

Driving on RM 620, I see islands sticking out of the lake. Is the drought returning?

Jul 14, 2017

1,808 Readers

West Travis Co. residents clean up after heavy storms

Apr 3, 2017

2,335 Readers

WATCH | Possible tornado/water spout spotted on Lake Travis

Apr 3, 2017

2,937 Readers

Aerosols Strengthen Storm Clouds, According to New Study

Jun 14, 2016

7,353 Readers

National Weather Service : Why You Shouldn’t Drive During a Flood

Jun 10, 2016

7,463 Readers

LCRA will be in flood management mode for coming weeks

Jun 4, 2016

7,820 Readers

How high could Lake Travis rise near Austin?

Jun 3, 2016

7,792 Readers

LCRA stands ready as more rain is expected in Central Texas

Jun 2, 2016

8,299 Readers

City looking for help to curb storm drain pollution

Aug 5, 2017

1,223 Readers

Apache Shores features waterfront views, trails, park

Jul 14, 2017

1,019 Readers

10-year Mansfield Dam rehabilitation project will keep Austin safe

Apr 27, 2017

933 Readers

Overflowing Lake Travis isn't all bad news for businesses

Jun 8, 2016

7,210 Readers

Lake Travis High School Graduation cut short

Jun 8, 2016

7,799 Readers

A full Lake Travis boosts local businesses

May 26, 2016

7,219 Readers

Texas lake businesses booming again after long drought

May 12, 2016

9,096 Readers

Lakeway’s Schmidt Family Barbecue restaurant to shutter its doors by fall

May 11, 2016

7,352 Readers

Lake Travis Fire Rescue begins fleet overhaul

May 6, 2016

8,108 Readers

Gnarly Gar fighting to stay in new building on Lake Travis marina

Apr 19, 2016

4,811 Readers

Modern guesthouse tower adds space, views to lakeside cabin

Sep 28, 2017

735 Readers

A Striking Sanctuary in Texas Inspired by a Sand Dollar

Aug 8, 2017

1,059 Readers

Contemporary Architectural Masterpiece on Lake Austin

Jul 30, 2017

1,067 Readers

Lake Austin mansion with a Romeo and Juliet balcony, including dramatic backstory

Jul 28, 2017

845 Readers

Midcentury-modern home overlooks Lake Austin, Pennybacker Bridge

May 27, 2016

7,109 Readers

Lake Travis Waterfront Retreat Offered by Heritage Luxury Real Estate Auctions

May 18, 2016

7,395 Readers

In Lago Vista, big dreams for $68 million ranch property

May 14, 2016

7,445 Readers

This Texas Barn Mansion on Lake Travis is Out of This World

May 6, 2016

8,686 Readers

Rockmoor Estate $35 million Austin mansion up for sale

Apr 19, 2016

4,550 Readers

Windy Point is for sale!

Jan 13, 2016

5,768 Readers

News Archives 2017 - Select a Month

« December 2016  

January 2018 »