Shifting Currents at Twin Buttes?
SAN ANGELO, TX — No mudding. No fireworks. Permits required. No exceptions.
While the voices were many and varied at Tuesday evening’s public meeting on the status of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s management of the lands surrounding Twin Buttes Reservoir, one thing was crystal clear: It’s complicated.
On September 1, 2016 the City of San Angelo contracted with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to take over law enforcement operations at Twin Buttes Reservoir. The agreement includes a $12 limited use annual permit or a $48 public hunting permit for citizens. Tuesday evening, representatives of many groups who frequent reservoir property met to challenge and hone the new agreement.
Lt. Game Warden Jason Huebner led the meeting last night in city council chambers at the San Angelo Convention center. Huebner said, “The 13,000 acre property is not in compliance with federal law when it comes to off highway vehicle use.” As the feds with the Bureau of Reclamation looked on, Huebner said a study is required to develop a plan to bring Twin Buttes into compliance.
“We need to complete a Transportation Management Plan for off road use.” According to officials, the Transportation Management Plan will take at least two years and cost about $400,000 which will be paid by the Bureau of Reclamation when funding is available.
The Memorandum Of Understanding stems from decades of abuse of the remote property which was not controlled at all and not adequately patrolled by law enforcement. Plagued by illegal dumping, fireworks and other activities, the federally owned property became a costly liability for the City of San Angelo which manages it for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Huebner told the crowd that fireworks are permanently banned, mudding is against the law, and permits will be required for access to the property. Attendees included David Duffy with the Texas Off Road Coalition, representatives of the San Angelo Road Lizards running club, the San Angelo Bike Association, and anglers concerned land owners.
Many who spoke questioned who they needed to call when they saw illegal activity. Huebner said, “Call the (Tom Green County) Sheriff’s office. They have jurisdiction.” There were no representatives from the Sheriff’s office in attendance at the meeting. Huebner said the Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens frequently patrol the area, but there are only two wardens assigned to Tom Green County.
Twin Buttes is federal property owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Reservoir and adjoining irrigation canal system was constructed in the early 1960’s to provide water for San Angelo residents and irrigation water for farmers around Veribest.