Lake Waco Wetlands

Lake Waco Wetlands Closed Due to Flooding

The recent heavy rains are great for ducks and fish, but it can be dangerous for people to explore. Water levels at the Wetlands are too high for visitors. When the water recedes, the Wetlands will still be awesome, so wait until it's safe to visit.

photo of Lake Waco Wetlands after flooding

About Us

The vision of Waco's future is how the Lake Waco Wetlands came to be. In 2000, the Waco City Council voted to increase the level of Lake Waco by seven feet. This provided an additional 20,000 acre-feet of water.

The Lake Waco Wetlands mitigates the habitat loss due to the raised lake level. The Research and Education Center adds a valuable resource to the site. This living laboratory has opportunities for research, education and recreation.

If you need access to the Research and Education Center, call (254) 848-9654 to check availability.

Pedestrian gate access to the wetland grounds is available even when the Research and Education Center is not open.

Contact Us

For more information, field trips, programs and workshops, or to make suggestions, please contact:

Nora Schell, Lake Waco Wetlands Coordinator
Phone: (254) 848-9654
Fax: (254) 848-9217

The Lake Waco Wetlands is a division of the City of Waco Water Utility Services Department.
City of Waco Water Utilities
P.O. Box 2570
Waco, Texas 76702-2570

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Getting Here

From Interstate 35 take Highway 6 (Loop 340) West.
Continue for about ten miles to the intersection of Highway 6 & FM 185.
Turn right on FM 185 and continue for about one mile then turn left on Eichelberger Crossing Road.
The Lake Waco Wetlands Research and Education Center will be on your right.

Functions & Building of a Wetland

Functions of a Wetland
  • To provide habitat for native animals and plants in the central Texas region.
  • To show the environmental impact of how plants in a wetland help "clean" water.
  • To provide educational programs and science based activities for wetland visitors.
Building the Wetlands
  • Construction began in 2001 when the lake level was raised by seven feet
  • Intended for habitat mitigation as a result of the Lake Waco Pool Rise
  • Over 180 acres
  • Home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species--including plants, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles

Partners in construction, programs and research:

  • City of Waco
  • the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Baylor University

The Research and Education Center was completed in 2004. It provides a hub in educating visitors on aspects of a wetland environment. Baylor University is actively involved in research projects that enhance aquatic, geologic and forestry education.

Prescribed Burns

A prescribed burn in the Wetlands will remove thatch, control woody plants, and expose soil for native seeds. This will allow native plants and wildlife to thrive and restore a natural and diverse ecosystem.

Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring areas that were historically maintained by natural fires. They are also conducted to reduce the amount of available fire fuel, that accumulate naturally and from storm events. This reduces the chance for potentially destructive wildfires.

TFS staff have prepared for the upcoming burn by clearing vegetation. Fuels and vegetation are also cleared away from sensitive resources to protect them during the prescribed burns.

Prescribed burns are conducted by trained TFS personnel who meet National Wildland Firefighting certification standards. The conditions under which a prescribed burn may be conducted consider wind, temperature, humidity, and moisture levels. The plan also manages burns to avoid any damage to adjacent properties and minimize smoke in nearby residential areas.

The TFS Burn Boss advises that there may be smoke on neighboring roads. Travelers should reduce their speed and use their headlights when smoke is present.