Are lower lake levels spurring thoughts of upgrades?

Are lower lake levels spurring thoughts of upgrades?

As water levels have fallen across the Brazos River basin, lakeside property owners may have noticed stumps, silt and other debris making an appearance. Many also see lower lake levels as an opportune time to build or upgrade docks, walkways and seawalls. 

If you are interested in making changes to areas near your property, guidelines and permits are required before any changes are made. Here’s some information you might find helpful.

First, check out the BRA’s “Living Lakeside” web section for your reservoir. Check out the frequently asked questions to learn about permit requirements and the appropriate forms. You may find them here:

You’ll also find access to the full Regulations for Brazos River Authority Lakes and Associated Lands in this area. Please note private boat ramps are not allowed on BRA reservoirs. 

Docks and Walkways

Remember, all structures built over the water on a BRA reservoir, such as docks and walkways, must receive a permit from the local lake office before structures are built and permanently fixed in place. Please contact your local lake office for the list of permitted contractors for your lake or see the permitting page for your reservoir. 


Because of fish spawning seasons, dredging or any upset of the lakebed is not allowed from February 1 through May 31.

If you would like to dredge silt from the lake bottom during other months of the year, a permit from the BRA is required. Depending on the amount you’d like to remove, the method of removal, the location, or your planned means of disposal, a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may also be required. 

To begin dredging near your property, a BRA construction application, including drawings and plans of the proposed work and an application fee, should be submitted to the local lake office. BRA staff there will be happy to answer more specific dredging questions. State laws prohibit motorized vehicles in the lake or riverbed for any purpose, including dredging. 

Any dredged material must be removed from the lakebed. It can be stored on the owner’s property as long as it’s above the 100-yr (1%) flood plain and with appropriate erosion control measures in place. For larger amounts, the property owner may hire someone to haul the material to a site that will accept it.  

Stump and debris removal

Lakeside owners are welcome to remove stumps and other debris from the lake bottom immediately adjacent to their dock or property shoreline. 

Since there are a number of both safety and mitigation concerns, it is best to coordinate with the local lake office before removing stumps/trees in the lakebed. A construction application detailing the number and location of stumps to be removed, your suggested method of removal and disposal, and any measures planned to ensure no adverse impacts to water quality/aquatic species will occur is required.

Each request for stump/tree removal is considered on a case-by-case basis for potential impacts on water quality, aquatic species, and best management practices reviewed. Removal is generally limited to stumps/trees that are considered a navigational hazard or those that pose an imminent danger to health, safety, and welfare.  

Reviewing the permit details, the BRA will determine if additional approvals may be required from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 

Due to fish spawning, stump and debris removal is not allowed from February 1 through May 31 each year. Habitat restoration or replacement may be necessary to promote improved habitat for fishing measures.   

For additional information about lakeside permits, contact the local lake offices at the number below. 

  • Possum Kingdom Lake     940-779-2321
  • Lake Granbury            817-573-3212
  • Lake Limestone        903-529-2141