FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Many North Texans will be forced to change their Memorial Day weekend plans, thanks to high lake levels from all the recent rainfall.
At Benbrook Lake, the water is almost 15 feet above its normal elevation.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has essentially shut down all the parks and campgrounds on the lake because of the high water.
“It’s been crazy,” said Mike Deluca, who’s been camping with his family this past week on Benbrook Lake.
The waterfront site they started at is now underwater.
“You can’t even get near it now,” he said.
What used to be a road with a bunch of campsites and picnic areas is now a great spot to throw in a line.
“We’re fishing right on the road here,” DeLuca said. “He’s caught a couple of catfish over here already.”
Benbrook Lakes is one of several in the area run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and its main purpose is flood control.
“When we have a rain event, we hold water behind our dams, and we flood out our own parks and recreation facilities as a trade-off for reducing flood damages downstream,” said Terry Schmidt, a park ranger at Benbrook Lake with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Houses and businesses near Trinity Park or in the 7th Street corridor in downtown Fort Worth benefit from the deal, but people with Memorial Day weekend plans at Benbrook Lake may feel like they get the short end of the stick.
“It’s really high,” said Leonard Watson, who goes fishing on his boat on Benbrook Lake at least once a week. “Kind of treacherous. You have to know where you’re going, or you’re liable to run into a picnic table if you get too shallow.”
He says the high water makes for dangerous conditions out on the lake.
The water isn’t going down anytime soon.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can only drop the water in the lake by about a foot a week, so it’s a slow process.
Right now, the goal is to have all the parks and campgrounds on Benbrook Lake open by July 4th, but it all depends on the forecast.
“If we have more rain this weekend or in June, there’s really no telling,” Schmidt said.
Rising water levels on Lewisville Lake are also forcing the temporary closure of Lewisville Lake Park to vehicle traffic and the public boat ramps.
With more rain in the forecast, the lake level is expected to continue rising, so this closure might extend through the Memorial Day holiday.
Water is already covering some roads and trails making them impassable and posing a safety concern.
The campgrounds, fishing barge, and Lake Park Golf Course remain open for public use, and pedestrians are still allowed to walk around the park and fish off the shore.
The disc golf course is partially opened.