B A Steinhagen Reservoir is located near the town of Jasper, Texas in the east Texas Piney Woods at 30.85 North Latitude and 94.19 West Longitude. The borders of Tyler County and Jasper County are defined by the bed of the Neches River, and therefore bisect the lake on a North/South line. The lake was created as part of a project that focused on creating lakes for recreation, power generation, and water conservation on the Neches River and the Angelina River. For many years, locals have referred to both the lake and dam as "Dam B".
The lake is bisected by U.S. Highway 190 very near its center-most point. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is located on this lake.
Town Bluff Dam and B.A. Steinhagen Lake, originally identified as "Dam B", was authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1945 (Public Law 14, 79th Congress, 1st Session). Construction was started in March, 1947; deliberate impoundment began April, 1951; with completion of the dam in June, 1953. Cost was $8,000,000 with $2,000,000 contributed by the Lower Neches Valley Authority. The Robert D. Willis Hydropower Project construction started in March, 1987 and the hydropower facilities became available for commercial operation on 17 November 1989. The hydropower project is a first-of-its-kind partnership between private enterprise and the U. S. Government in that the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency (SRMPA) paid for the entire project in advance, rather than reimbursing the Federal Government over the life of the project. The generating capacity is 8 MW.
The project is one of four reservoirs authorized in the Angelina-Neches Rivers basin. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, formerly known as McGee Bend Reservoir, was completed in 1965. The other two projects, "Dam A" and "Rockland" are classified as deferred. In July, 1967, "Dam B" was renamed Town Bluff Dam and B. A. Steinhagen Lake. Town Bluff Dam is derived from being in the close proximity to the community in Tyler County of that name. B. A. Steinhagen was a prominent citizen of Beaumont, Texas who was active in initial planning, authorization, and other water conservation activities. The Robert D. Willis Hydropower Project is named in memory of Willis who served as executive director of SRMPA from May 1980 to May 1988.
The purposes of B. A. Steinhagen Lake are to reregulate the intermittent power releases of Sam Rayburn Dam, provide head for hydroelectric power and diversion into a water supply canal, and provide some water storage. The Southwestern Power Administration, U. S. Department of Energy, markets the power and energy generated by the hydropower plant to the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency for distribution to its customers in Jasper, Liberty, and Livingston, Texas and Vinton, Louisiana. Water releases are utilized by the Lower Neches Valley Authority in Beaumont, Texas, for rice culture, salinity control, pollution abatement, municipal, and industrial uses.
The Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA), an agency of the State of Texas, contributed $2,000,000 toward the construction of the Town Bluff Project. In return, LNVA is authorized to draw from the lake a maximum of 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). This water allotment is available to the agency whenever needed, and in the instances of demand, the water is taken directly through the Town Bluff Dam tainter gates. However, if the lake's normal pool capacity is not adequate to satisfy the requirements over an extended period of time, Sam Rayburn Dam can release conservation water into B. A. Steinhagen Lake, which will in turn release the water to meet downstream demands.
In 2006 - 2007, in a cooperative effort with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the Lower Neches Valley Authority, and the Southwestern Power Administration, a summer drawdown was implemented in an attempt to control the noxious aquatic vegetation that was impacting most of the lake. As the lake waters receded in June 2006, the vegetation was exposed to summer temperatures and drying winds. The Texas Department of Transportation contacted the Town Bluff Office and requested that the drawdown continue through October, giving them the opportunity to make repairs to pilings on the US Hwy 190 bridge where it crossed the lake. Also during the drawdown, surface cracks and minor voids were detected in the Town Bluff embankment and spillway, as well as a retaining wall at the floodgates that had cracked and shifted, and the opportunity was taken to address these issues. This work, plus contract and weather delays, extended the drawdown into the late spring of 2007. By now, aquatic vegetation had been exposed to summer heat and winter frost, and it is expected that vegetation growth in the lake will be greatly reduced for several years. There are also plans to apply herbicide via airboat throughout the 2008 growing season, thanks to funding from LNVA.
The Sabine River is a river, 510 miles (820 km) long, in the Southern U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana. From the 32nd parallel north and downstream, it serves as the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the first half of the 19th century, the river formed part of the Spanish–American, Mexican–American, and Texan–American international boundaries. The upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through the pine forests along the Texas–Louisiana border, and the bayou country near the Gulf Coast.
The Neches River begins in Van Zandt County west of Rhine Lake and flows for 416 miles (669 km) through east Texas to its mouth on Sabine Lake near the Rainbow Bridge. Two major reservoirs, Lake Palestine and B. A. Steinhagen Reservoir are located on the Neches. Several cities are located along the Neches River Basin, including Tyler, Lufkin, Silsbee, Evadale, Beaumont, Vidor, Port Neches, Nederland, Groves, and Port Arthur.
Jasper is a city in and the county seat of Jasper County, Texas, in the United States. The population was 7,590 at the 2010 census, down from 8,247 at the 2000 census. Jasper is situated in the Deep East Texas subregion, about 130 miles (210 km) northeast of Houston. Jasper holds an annual Butterfly Festival the first Saturday in October to celebrate the migration of the monarch butterflies.
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The Lower Neches Valley Authority was established in 1933 by the state legislature as a district to store, control, conserve, and utilize the water of the lower Neches River valley in Texas. The LNVA, the second river district created by the state of Texas, is currently one of 23 river districts in the state. It includes all of Jefferson, Hardin, and Tyler counties and parts of Jasper, Liberty, and Chambers counties.
The Angelina River is formed by the junction of Barnhardt and Shawnee creeks 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Laneville in southwest central Rusk County, Texas.
Lake Allatoona is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir on the Etowah River in northwestern part of the State of Georgia, in the countryside. This reservoir is mostly in southeastern Bartow County and southwestern Cherokee County. A small portion is located in Cobb County near Acworth. Cartersville is the nearest city to Allatoona Dam. Also, Red Top Mountain State Park is located on its shores, on the peninsula between the two arms of the lake. Most of the north side of the lake remains protected from land development because of its isolated location, mostly blocked by the lake.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is a reservoir in the United States in Deep East Texas, 70 mi (110 km) north of Beaumont. The reservoir is fed by the Angelina River, the major tributary of the Neches River. The Reservoir is upstream of the Big Thicket National Preserve.
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Water Resources Development Act of 1976,, Pub.L. 94–587 is a public law enacted on October 22, 1976 by the Congress of the United States of America concerning various water resources and projects.
Martin Dies Jr. State Park is a 705-acre recreation area located along U.S. Route 190 on the banks of the Steinhagen Reservoir in Jasper and Tyler counties in Texas. The park is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department which leased the park's land from the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1964, and officially opened it as Dam B State Park in 1965, renaming it to honor Martin Dies Jr. the same year. The park consists of three units; Hen House Ridge Unit, Walnut Ridge Unit and Cherokee Unit. Cherokee Unit is a day use area only, whereas the other two units allow camping.
Recreational Road 255 (RE 255) is a Recreational Road located in Tyler, Jasper, and Newton counties, in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Texas. The highway is approximately 56.6 miles (91.1 km) long, and travels through mainly rural areas in the northern portion of the three counties. RE 255 begins at an intersection with U.S. Route 69, in Tyler County, near the city of Colmesneil. The route travels through rural farmland in northern Tyler County, and crosses the Neches River into Jasper County. The roadway intersects State Highway 63 and US 96, and helps form part of the Sam Rayburn Dam. The route continues into Newton County, intersecting TX 87, before terminating at an intersection with Farm to Market Road 692, near the Louisiana border. RE 255 helps provide access to Angelina National Forest, the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and the Toledo Bend Reservoir, which give the highway its Recreational Road designation.