The following letter was sent to the News by Tyson Broad. It was sent to the Junction City Council to state the group's opposition to the construction of a new truck stop facility on the North Llano River in Junction.
July 14, 2014
Mayor Raymond McDonald
Junction City Council
730 Main Street
Junction, Texas 76849
Dear Mayor McDonald and Council Members:
The South Llano Watershed Alliance (SLWA) is a non-profit organization of landowners and interested stakeholders whose mission is to preserve and enhance the South Llano River and adjoining watersheds by encouraging land and water stewardship through collaboration, education, and community participation. Since our inception in 2009, SLWA has partnered with other local, state, and federal agencies and organizations to develop and participate in programs that to date have brought in nearly $3 million in research and restoration efforts in the local community.
The SLWA has several concerns regarding the potential impact of a proposed Pilot Flying J truck stop to be constructed along Main Street, 300 feet from the North Llano River in Junction. As we understand the proposed design of the facility, there is to be eight acres of impermeable cover that drains into the North Llano either by overland flow or by way of a concrete drainage ditch located on east side of the property.
The Alliance has serious concerns that contaminants (including transported hazardous materials) could easily drain from the parking lot into the North Llano, impacting aquatic habitats and downstream water users, including the City of Junction. Anecdotal evidence from several long-time Junction residents notes that during the North Llano flood of September 8th, 1980, floodwaters from the North Llano crested the dam on the South Llano River. The recurrance of such a flood could potentially contaminate the drinking water supplies for the City of Junction if the proposed truck stop were in place.
In addition, we have concerns that the proposed truck stop location may also impact restoration, education, and recreation efforts that the SLWA is advancing with other local organizations and agencies. As part of our Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative with Texas Parks and Wildlife, we are working to restore the channel of the North Llano downstream of the Highway 377 bridge and create both a nature center and riverside trails to connect to downtown and the South Llano. Such a facility, we feel, could further promote Junction as the “Land of Living Waters”. We worry that presence of the proposed truck stop and runoff from the facility could undermine our efforts.
Concerned citizens throughout the community have turned to the Alliance for answers to questions about the proposed truck stop. Such questions include:
How will the impacts of construction in the floodway be considered and regulated?
How will the drinking water supply for the city be protected?
How will the proposed project impact the Watershed Protection Plan that is currently being implemented to protect one of the few Healthy Watersheds in the Nation?
Unfortunately, there has not been enough information provided to citizens for these types of questions to be answered.
In 2011, when TCEQ cut off water rights holders upstream of the City of Llano, the Alliance worked with other local organizations to convene a citizen workshop with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Lower Colorado River Authority. Nearly one hundred people attended this workshop to better understand the process and have their questions answered. We feel that this type of workshop related to the proposed truck stop would be of great value to the community and stand ready to assist the City with any necessary arrangements.
The Alliance feels that both the City and Pilot Flying J should take the time to fully exercise due diligence in this effort to ensure that the resouces of the community remain protected so that Junction and the surrounding area remain the “Land of Living Waters”.
South Llano Watershed Alliance
Cc: Junction Eagle
City of Junction City Council
Kimble County Commissioners Court
Commissioner Toby Baker, TCEQ