Beginning in 1953 and continuing through the present, the SRA-TX has provided “environmental flows” out of its reservoir projects, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Fork, and Toledo Bend..
In the upper Sabine Basin, SRA-TX releases minimum continuous flows of 4 cfs from Lake Fork and 6 cfs from Lake Tawakoni as the prorated flows necessary to be maintained at “Stateline” under the Sabine River Compact (SRCC).
In the lower Sabine Basin, SRA-TX and the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana (SRA-LA, collectively “the Authorities”) are co-licensees for the Toledo Bend Project (FERC No. 2305). Under Article 402 of the license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014, the Authorities provide continuous releases from the Toledo Bend Reservoir spillway that vary seasonally from 150 cfs to 300 cfs (increased from 144 cfs in the original license issued in 1963). Under Article 402 of the new license, the Authorities make these increased releases from warmer, more oxygenated waters of the reservoir which provides benefits to downstream aquatic life including sensitive freshwater mussel species. Under Article 405 of the new license, the Authorities continuously monitor the temperature of hydropower releases during the warmer, environmentally sensitive months of July – September to ensure that the releases are well-oxygenated.
SRA-TX has also taken a leadership role in statewide environmental flow protection efforts including the Senate Bill 3 environmental flows process established by the 80th Texas Legislature in 2007. SRA-TX served on the SB3 Sabine and Neches Rivers and Sabine Lake Bay Stakeholder Committee and Expert Science Team. The stakeholder committee developed environmental flows recommendations based upon their associated science team’s recommendations and other factors, including present and future needs of water and other uses. The Sabine and Neches Rivers, and Sabine Lake Bay Environmental Flow Standards were adopted by TCEQ)on April 20, 2011, effective May 15, 2011 [30 Texas Administrative Code, 298(C)].