Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reporting that the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is closed to public use until further notice after major localized flooding during recent rain storms in Anderson County resulted in major road damage. The WMA received 8 to 12 inches of rain and the main road that provides access to visitors and hunters is washed out in at least 7 places.
The department has also said that all side roads are also impassable to motor vehicles, but habitat should respond well. The Texas Department of Transportation is assessing damages and repair costs and WMA staff is trying to get a handle on side road damage. According to local accounts, the event marks the heaviest localized flooding since the early 1970s.
In addition to road damage, the WMA lost a five-acre fishing lake on the northern end of the 11,000-acre property when a dam failed, but reports no other structural damage. Surrounding WMAs were also temporarily closed to public access immediately following the event, but Richland Creek WMA has since reopened and Big Lake Bottom WMA is expected to reopen later this week.
Gus Engeling is a state-owned property that serves as a research and demonstration (wildlife management techniques) areas for the post oak savannah ecoregion of Texas. The WMA is open to visitors, birders, and provides public hunting opportunities for ducks, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer.