Boerne's Cibolo Creek drained by mistake

A misunderstanding results in a muddy creek

Author: Justin Horne, Meteorologist/Reporter,
Published On: Jan 23 2013 05:58:00 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 23 2013 06:35:52 PM CST
BOERNE, Texas -

When Nick Pantuso visited Cibolo Creek on Saturday, it was full of water.

"Now, it’s gone,” said a surprised Pantuso on Wednesday.

"It’s a bit of shock,” added Keith Moore.

Boerne residents like Moore were shocked Wednesday that their famed creek had mysteriously stopped flowing.

"It’s funny; you could almost see the expressions on the ducks' faces. They couldn’t figure out where the water went,” said Moore, who also owns the Dodging Duck restaurant across from the creek.

The mud left behind has also been unpleasant for residents.

"I think it kind of smells,” said Jim Bond, who lives along the creek.

As it turns out, the empty creek was all part of a misunderstanding. 

The Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Boerne has been working together to expand the Main Street Bridge over Cibolo Creek.

In an agreement, both parties decided to lower the level of the creek, so a Texas Department of Transportation contractor could work on constructing the bridge, and the city could do some cleaning.

The city had been using a pump and a siphon to slowly drain some the water out of Cibolo creek. 

On Monday, a city holiday, a TxDOT contractor, in an effort to speed up the process, opened a gate on the nearby dam without authorization from the city.

"That gate hasn’t been opened up for two decades, maybe a little more,” said Boerne city spokesperson Pamela Bransford.

As a result, the creek was drained extensively.  

According to the city, the intention was never to remove all of the water.

Bransford said it may take weeks for Cibolo Creek to rebound to its previous level. As for the wildlife, the city believed they were coping with the change.

"They're all going to be just fine,” said Bransford.

The city also said it will assess if the dam sustained any damage in the incident.

“We’re all working together with TxDOT and the contractor and the city crews and we’ll get it all sorted out,” said Bransford.

TxDOT is looking into what happened and in a statement said they are working closely with the City of Boerne and the contractor to address this situation.

As for the contractor, RELMCO, they told KSAT that it was an honest mistake and should there be any damages, they plan to “make it right."