Lewisville Lake

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Lewisville Lake
USACE Lewisville Lake and Dam.jpg
Aerial view of Lewisville Lake and Dam
Location Denton County, Texas
Coordinates 33°04′09″N 96°57′52″W / 33.06917°N 96.96444°W / 33.06917; -96.96444Coordinates: 33°04′09″N 96°57′52″W / 33.06917°N 96.96444°W / 33.06917; -96.96444
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Elm Fork of the Trinity River
Catchment area 325,700 acres (1,318 km2)
Basin countries United States
Managing agency United States Army Corps of Engineers
Built 1948 (1948)
First flooded 1955 (1955)
Max. length 32,888 ft (10.024 km)
Surface area 29,592 acres (11,975 ha)
Max. depth 67 ft (20 m)
Water volume 555,000 acre·ft (685,000,000 m3)
Surface elevation 522 ft (159 m)
Frozen never
Settlements Lewisville, Texas
Lewisville Lake, as seen from space in 2009.

Lewisville Lake is a reservoir located in North Texas (USA) on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Denton County near Lewisville. Originally engineered in 1927 as Lake Dallas, the reservoir was expanded in the 1940s and 50s and renamed Lewisville Lake. It was built for flood control purposes and to serve as a water source for Dallas and its suburbs, but residents also use it for recreational purposes.

History[edit]

Lewisville Lake is the second lake to impound the waters of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in this area. The W.E. Callahan Construction Company completed the Garza Dam in 1927 at a cost of $5 million, which created Lake Dallas. The dam was 10,890 feet (3,320 m) long with a 567-foot (173 m) long service spillway. The lake, with its 194,000-acre-foot (239,000,000 m3) capacity and forty-three miles of shoreline, served as the principal municipal water source for the city of Dallas for 31 years. In the 1940s, a need for increased water storage capacity and additional flood control became apparent. The United States Congress passed the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945, which called for additional construction in the Trinity River basin. The United States Army Corps of Engineers built the Garza-Little Elm Dam between 1948 and 1954 at cost of $23.4 million.[1] The structure combined Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, and Little Elm Creek. The 32,888-foot (10,024 m) long Lewisville Dam was completed in 1955, and the Garza Dam was breached in 1957 to create the new lake, known then as Garza-Little Elm Reservoir and renamed Lewisville Lake. This new lake had one hundred eighty-three miles of shoreline and a 436,000-acre-foot (538,000,000 m3) capacity.[2]

During construction, members of the Corps of Engineers stumbled upon an archaeological site.[3] In 1956, Wilson W. Crook, Jr. and R.K. Harris announced that Carbon-14(14C) testing on artifacts from the site, including a Paleo-Indian Clovis projectile point, indicated that humans had lived there c. 36,000 BP.[4][5] This led to much controversy in the archaeological community.[6][7] It was not until 1978 that the water levels of the lake would go down far enough to access the site once again. Between 1978 and 1980, Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution performed a more thorough analysis of the site. He concluded that the original dating was probably due to a rare form of cross-contamination and that a date of c. 12,000 B.P. was probably more correct.[8][9] Still, the site is considered one of the earliest inhabited by humans in the Southwestern United States and Mexico.[10]

The breaching of the Garza Dam and incorporation of Lake Dallas into the Garza-Little Elm reservoir led to confusion concerning the lake's legal name. This was compounded by the Village of Garza renaming itself Lake Dallas. The federal government attempted to rename the lake as Lewisville Reservoir in 1960, only to reverse itself in 1961. The confusion persisted until the mid-1970s when the lake was officially designated Lewisville Lake. In 1991, the city of Denton installed a hydropower facility at Lewisville Dam. The single horizontal S-Shaped Kaplan unit is capable of producing 2893 kilowatts, and is connected to the grid via the Brazos River Distribution Authority.

Recreation[edit]

The lake is in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, so during the summer months, it can become extremely crowded. There are six marinas and two restaurants on the lake. Recreation boating is popular, JT's Boat Rentals has public boat rides and private charters, JT's is a Family Own Business, Established on Lewisville Lake Spring 2002. Flying And Floating Toys provides boat and jet skis rentals at the lake. At the first large scale bass fishing tournament at Lewisville Lake in 2005, Kevin VanDam took home 1st place and a check for $100,000. He also caught, at the time, the lake record bass at 11 pounds 13 ounces (5.4 kg).[11] The Woman's Bassmaster Tour's inaugural event was held in October 2005. The Tour returned in May 2006 and again in April 2008, with angler Kim Bain winning, taking home $51,000 in cash and prizes.[12]

Transportation[edit]

Six bridges currently cross the lake:

  • The main bridge is on Interstate 35E, which crosses the lake on its western finger and is a notorious traffic bottleneck during rush hour.
  • Another regularly used bridge is on the eastern finger of the Lake through Little Elm, connecting two halves of Farm to Market Road 720, locally known as Eldorado Parkway. It is the only two-lane bridge crossing the lake (but as of 2014 is in the process of being widened, along with the road, to four lanes to accommodate increased traffic in the Little Elm area).
  • US 380 crosses the extreme northern end, requiring a short bridge.
  • The Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge, opened on August 1, 2009, is a NTTA toll bridge connecting Little Elm via Eldorado Parkway and Interstate 35E near Swisher Road. It is located to the north of the original Garza Dam.
  • Two bridges, part of a northern extension of Farm to Market Road 2499, opened in 2011 and cross the lake's extreme western ends.

Highland Village/Lewisville Lake Station is a commuter rail stop on the DCTA A-train. It connects downtown Denton with DART's Green Line in Carrollton.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]