The parking lot at Joe Pool Lake’s Lynn Creek Marina is now dry, but signs of flooding have been left behind.
A thin layer of dry dirt coats most everything touched by floodwaters, including signs and restrooms at Lynn Creek Park.
After a spring and summer of high water, the Walker family, which has operated the Lynn Creek Marina since the lake opened in 1989, is slowly trying to get back to normal.
“It’s been catastrophic,” said Ron Walker, the marina’s general manager. “If we didn't have insurance we wouldn’t have been able to stay open.”
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The 541-slip marina includes the popular Oasis Restaurant and Lakeview Bar, which have been closed since May 17.
It was our 100-year flood. It was the worst flooding we have seen at Joe Pool Lake since it opened 25 years ago.
Ron Walker, manager of Lynn Creek Marina
Joe Pool Lake is an Army Corps of Engineers reservoir designed to hold back water during periods of heavy rainfall to prevent flooding downstream. Because of record-setting rainfall earlier this year, the lake levels stayed high during what is typically the busy summer season.
Joe Pool was almost 13 feet above capacity three months ago, compared to about 3 feet high now.
Like Joe Pool Lake, Lake Grapevine is still recovering from the wet spring, but other lakes, including Eagle Mountain, Bridgeport and Granbury — all of which battled low lake levels in recent years — have had a summer of prosperity.
“It was very good,” said Rusty Walker, general manager of the North Side Marina and Resort on Lake Bridgeport. “A lot of people were surprised by the amount of water, and it does seem business is still increasing.”
But at Joe Pool Lake Lynn Creek Marina, crews are still making repairs, trying to get things back to normal.
Even with the water finally retreating from the parking lot, Walker said the Oasis won’t be ready in time for the Labor Day weekend. Electricity still needs to be restored, and health inspections will be required before it can reopen.
“The restaurant will be closed for at least another month,” Walker said. “We’re trying to get back as quickly as possible.”
Other parts of the lake are returning to normal activity.
Grand Prairie’s Lynn Creek Park reopened earlier this month. The park’s boat ramp reopened Saturday. Camp sites, the boat ramp and the swim beach at Loyd Park opened earlier this month, but Britton Park boat ramp will remain closed until spring.
Grand Prairie officials estimate they lost about $900,000 in revenue at city parks. Some of those costs will be recouped by insurance and FEMA disaster assistance.
“We’re getting back to normal,” said Duane Strawn, manager of Grand Prairie’s parks and lake parks. “We're dropping really nice. By Labor Day, we should be back at the normal pool level of 522 feet.”
‘Still assessing damage’
The popular Cedar Hill State Park, on the southeast side of Joe Pool, remains closed.
“We’re still assessing damage at Cedar Hill,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Stephanie Salinas. “Right now, we don’t have an estimate when the park will reopen.”
Other state parks still feeling the effects of flooding include Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Somerville and Lake Whitney.
Parks and Wildlife officials are still assessing damage at Lake Somerville but hope to reopen Lake Whitney later this fall. Three boat ramps have reopened at Lake Ray Roberts, but Salinas didn’t have a date for other facilities opening.
Many Corps parks and campsites around the Dallas-Fort Worth area will likely be closed for months.
A few may reopen this fall. The vast majority of our recreation facilities at DFW area lakes are not going to be accessible until next season.
Clay Church, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman
Grapevine still above capacity
At Lake Grapevine, the lake level is still slowly retreating, but the high water is still impacting all of Grapevine’s lakeside parks. The lake is more than 7 feet above capacity, which is down from 21 feet high three months ago.
Mona Burk, a Grapevine spokeswoman, said it may be mid-September — or later — until the water fully retreats.
“All of the city’s lake parks and boat ramps remain closed,” Burk said.
Grapevine has scheduled a community cleanup in its lake parks on Sept. 12 to help remove trash and debris that the high water has left behind. Grapevine will host the last Friday Night Fireworks of the season on Sept. 4 at Oak Grove Park.
Burk said Grapevine officials won’t have a firm estimate on the damage until the water recedes. In June, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley signed a local disaster declaration estimating $14.3 million in damage, with most of the damage expected to be at Lake Grapevine.
At Eagle Mountain Lake, businesses are looking forward to one more busy weekend. All of the lakeside restaurants have been booming this summer, said Denny Steward at Augie’s Sunset Cafe.
“It’s tailed off now that the kids are back in school,” Steward said. “I think Labor Day will be the last hurrah.”
North Texas lake levels
Percent full, percent full six months ago
Lake Arlington: 77 percent, 81 percent
Benbrook Lake: 86, 72
Lake Bridgeport: 95, 38
Cedar Creek Lake: 94, 81
Eagle Mountain Lake: 94, 55
Lake Granbury: 100, 56
Lake Grapevine: 100, 62
Hubbard Creek: 35, 13
Joe Pool Lake: 100, 96
Lewisville Lake: 100, 72
Lake Palo Pinto: 92, 8
Pat Cleburne Lake: 89, 68
Possum Kingdom Lake: 99, 65
Ray Roberts Lake: 100, 75
Richland-Chambers: 99, 64
Lake Weatherford: 88, 60
Lake Worth: 88, 67