LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
as of December 12, 2017
As I wrote my first draft of this LCA President’s Update, the day provided a cloudy, rainy, 46 degree day. And, as 5:20PM approached, it would soon be dark outside. A few days later, while I was out of town, I’m told we experienced a snowfall that made our landscape look magic! While Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, I think IT’S HERE! Put away the swim suits and wake boards, and slide on some thermals and rain gear. For Winter lovers, enjoy your time of year. For the rest of us, fear not as flowers will grow, bass will spawn and sunshine will abound in less than 100 days.
LAKE VEGETATION: Texas Parks & Wildlife has completed its survey of Lake Conroe lake conditions and will officially release their findings shortly. Preliminary results tell the story of a healthy Lake Conroe. “Native vegetation” continues to expand naturally and from approved “plantings” coordinated by Texas Parks & Wildlife and local fishing organizations. It is expected that the number of acres of “native vegetation” will be equal to or greater than the 334 acres reported in Fall, 2016. As it relates to “invasive vegetation”, Lake Conroe contains some of the lowest quantities of “invasives” ever. While tubers of Hydrilla may still lie dormant in the floor of Lake Conroe and the plant will undoubtedly return someday, we have no reportable quantities of Hydrilla currently. Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth are still found in “pockets” around the lake, but the quantities are minimal and being controlled, in large part, by the aquatic herbicide spraying program of the San Jacinto River Authority. When Texas Parks & Wildlife releases its official results, we will post that information to our web site at www.lakeconroeassociation.com.
ZEBRA MUSSELS: While Texas has spent millions of dollars in a “war of containment” against invasive aquatic species, we continue to lose ground across the State in the battle against Zebra Mussels. Last month, Texas Parks & Wildlife reported that Lake Livingston on the Trinity River and Lake Georgetown on the Brazos River watershed have been colonized by Zebra Mussels. These were the fifth and sixth Texas reservoirs this year to be documented as “holding established, reproducing populations of the non-native mollusks”. Earlier in the year, Zebra Mussels were documented in Canyon Lake on the Guadalupe River, Lakes Travis and Austin on the Colorado River, and the Richland-Chambers Reservoir on the Trinity River. Zebra Mussels were first documented in Texas in 2009 in Lake Texoma and are now reported in at least 13 Texas lakes. Fortunately, Zebra Mussels have not been documented in Lake Conroe yet; and all boaters are urged to follow precautionary steps outlined under Texas Parks & Wildlife’s “Clean, Drain & Dry Program”. For more information about the “Clean, Drain & Dry Program”, you may visit our web site at www.lakeconroeassociation.com or Texas Parks & Wildlife’s web site at www.tpwd.com.
HURRICANE HARVEY and LAKE CONROE: August, 2017 brought record amounts of rainfall into and water releases out of Lake Conroe. Our prayers continue for those affected by this terrible storm. Lake Conroe reached a peak lake level of 206.2 feet above msl (mean sea level) surpassing its previous high of 205.5 feet msl in October, 1994. With a normal lake level (often called “full pool”) of 201 feet msl , Lake Conroe and its lake front property owners found themselves battling waters in excess of 5 feet over normal lake conditions. Bulk heads were breached, boat docks were damaged, watercraft floated unsecured across the lake, and unfortunate homes and businesses became flooded inside. Our immediate area reportedly saw over 22 inches of rainfall during the event – 13 inches of which fell on that Sunday alone. The previous record for our area was 15 inches of rainfall in October, 1994. As a result of this onslaught of water, the San Jacinto River Authority released water from its dam site on the South side of Lake Conroe at an amazing peak rate of 79,141 cubic feet per second (surpassing the previous record release rate of 33,300 cubic feet per second in October, 1994). Many people have a difficult time “quantifying in their head” what a cubic foot really looks like. For something to relate to, I like to use a bowling ball as an example of a “cubic foot” (something 12” by 12” by 12”). Can you imagine standing at the water release gates of SJRA’s dam site and witnessing 79,141 bowling balls going by EVERY SECOND? For specific details of the rainfall event and actions taken by the San Jacinto River Authority, you may visit their website at www.sjra.net.
RAINFALL: Through today, the lake community has received 63.2 inches of rain (compared to an annual average of 48.0 inches) in 2017. The San Jacinto River Authority has released a total of 410,367 acre feet of water at the dam site – equating to 19.5 feet of water over the 21,000 surface acres of Lake Conroe (compared to an average annual release of 7.0 feet).
LCA RESPONSE TO GROUP’S REQUEST TO DROP LAKE CONROE LAKE LEVEL BY 3 FEET: Sunday, December 10th’s Conroe Courier reported that a group organized as the Lake Houston Area Long Term Recovery Task Force has launched a program named “Recover Lake Houston”. In response to the flooding devastation created during Hurricane Harvey in their community, this group requests 1) Remediation (dredging the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston to remove silt), 2) Representation (meaning placing representatives from their community on the Board of the San Jacinto River Authority), and 3) REDUCTION (MEANING PERMANENTLY REDUCE LAKE CONROE’S LAKE LEVEL BY 3 FEET). Obviously, residents and businesses on and around Lake Conroe would not desire to see our lake level reduced permanently by 3 feet. This is a very short summary of a very big request reported only 2 days ago. The LCA has requested a meeting with this group and will immediately be preparing a response. We will report back to you via e-mail and solicit your help shortly. This topic will be discussed at our LCA Annual Meeting on January 18, 2018 and listed below.
LCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS BALLOT: For Members of the LCA, you will be receiving your voting proxy via. U.S. Mail in late December to elect your Board of Directors for another year. Please take the time to complete and mail your proxy back to us so that we may utilize your feedback. As requested by some LCA Members last year, the voting package will include a biography of individuals on the LCA Board. For any individuals desiring to join the Board of the LCA, we are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who can join us for LCA Board Meetings once a quarter.
LCA ANNUAL MEETING: The Annual Meeting of the LCA will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10AM at the 3rd Floor Conference Room of the San Jacinto River Authority (off Highway 105). Ballots for the LCA Board will be counted and a brief summary of the LCA and its 2017 happenings will be provided.
On behalf of the Lake Conroe Association, may we wish you a blessed and safe Holiday Season, and thank you for your support of our non-profit volunteer organization. Should you have any questions, thoughts you’d like to share, or make a donation to the LCA, you may reach us at www.lakeconroeassociation.com or e-mail me directly at [email protected]. We appreciate your interest and support.
Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association