Buffalo Springs Reservoir scheduled for habitat improvements

By Darlene McCormick Sanchez

Lone Star Outdoor News

Inland Fisheries Panhandle District of TPWD and the board of Buffalo Springs Reservoir Board are pitching in to improve Buffalo Springs Reservoir.

John Clayton, assistant district supervisor, met with Buffalo Springs Reservoir Board of Directors this month in hopes of starting a joint project.

“They told me they were committed to improving conditions out there,” Clayton said. “The lake is old. The whole lake really is house docks all the way around. There’s no habitat left.”

But the lake has one great thing going for it — the lake level remains consistent because of a steady supplied of water runoff from the surrounding Lubbock area.

Right now there are some cattails that provide limited habitat on the deep end of the lake, but little else, Clayton said.

Clayton said the fisheries district doesn’t have the money to rehabilitate the lake on its own. So he approached the board to see if they would be interested in helping fund the project.

The board approved $5,000 to improve some of the 225-acre lake. TPWD’s part will be the planning, habitat installation labor, the aquatic vegetation, planting labor, and possibly more habitat if the funds are available. He intends on applying for funding — which is highly competitive at TPWD.

The money provided by the board is being used to purchase artificial fish habitat and needed materials for installation.  The plan is to place the artificial habitat in 14 different locations (public access) all of which are located on the West end of the lake, Clayton said.

Artificial structures placed around the lake would be best for Buffalo Springs due to the level of nitrates that enter the water. Adding native aquatic vegetation would further improve the fish habitat, Clayton said.

The project should start in May and be completed by the end of June.

Penny Jones, promotion director, for the Buffalo Springs Reservoir board, said the board had been reviewing the idea.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jones said, adding fishing at the lake has been great for the past year. The lake is also home to fishing tournaments, with one planned for April.

Once placed on the district’s Facebook, the idea drew comments from several anglers who were happy at the prospect.

“Yes!!!!!!!! Best news ever! I volunteer my boat and myself to help place it and do whatever is needed!” wrote one.

Another angler said he remembered when the lake had 3 different kinds of aquatic vegetation 20 years ago. Freshwater shrimp were plentiful in the lake making it an excellent bluegill fishery.

“The lake is devoid of any aquatic vegetation now,” he wrote. The lack of vegetation along the shoreline has hurt the fishing and contributed to erosion, much to the displeasure of bank fishermen.

“My fingers are crossed, but the proof will be in the pudding,” he penned.