Lake B. A. Steinhagen (Neches River Basin)

Lake B. A. Steinhagen and Town Bluff Dam (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)B. A. Steinhagen Lake (also known as Town Bluff Dam) is located about a half mile north of Town Bluff in Tyler and Jasper counties on the Neches River.  The dam and lake are owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The dam, originally identified as "Dam B", was authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1945 (Public Law 14, 79th Congress, 1st Session).  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 of the 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.

Construction of the Dam was started in March, 1947 and deliberate impoundment began April, 1951 with completion of the dam in June, 1953.  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 for flood control. The earth fill dam has a top elevation of 95 feet above mean sea level, while maximum design water surface may reach to 93.31 feet above mean sea level. The crest of uncontrolled emergency spillway and top of the gate is at the elevation of 85 feet above mean sea level. According to 2011 TWDB volumetric survey, the Lake has a capacity of 69,259 acre feet and a surface area of 10,235 acres at the top elevation of conservation pool, 83 feet above mean sea level.

Named in memory of Willis who served as executive director of Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency from May 1980 to May 1988, the Robert D. Willis Hydropower Project construction started in March, 1987 and the hydropower facilities became available for commercial operation on November 17, 1989.  The Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA) is also authorized to draw from the lake a maximum of 2,000 cubic feet per second for water supply purposes.  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.

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