I want to thank everyone that attended our July 27 Town Hall and the seven Sunset Review Staff from Austin that listened to our views on the SJRA Sunset Review, the results of the 2022 Seasonal Lake Lowering Program (SLLP), and plans for the annual review of the 2023 SLLP. The review of the 2023 SLLP compromise program is expected to start in late September.
Before I address the emerging Hydrilla problemI want to give a brief update on lake levels. No further intentional releases have been made in August even though the CoH could have called for 6” to be released after Aug 1. Although there have been no intentional releases, normal seasonal evaporation and water use has reduced today’s lake level to 199.26’msl.This is consistent with lake level history for a very dry summer period. As the lake is now below the seasonal lowering target of 18” below normal pool our view is that no further lowering is likely. Further SLLP lowering would only occur if a named storm enters the area during September.
Hydrilla-if you moved into the Lake Conroe area after 2007 you may have heard of Hydrilla but not experienced the problems firsthand when Hydrilla takes over large parts of the lake.We have collected articles and pictures (see second page) from the early to mid-2000’s and posted them on our website for those not familiar with Hydrilla.Hydrilla, when left unchecked in its early stages of rapid growth, can make widespread nearshore areas unusable for recreation within a year to eighteen months. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) monthly survey of plant species recently reported we have gone from 0.75 acres of Hydrilla to 200 acres in six months. One month after their report we estimate that we are now “doubling in the acres affected” every 3-4 months. At this pace if the Hydrilla is not aggressively addressed it will be a major problem by this time next year. TPWD has already added two 500 grass carp stockings over the last two years with 2000 more scheduled for this Fall.TPWD hopes that an immediate herbicide treatment will give the limited stocking of grass carp more time to control the hydrilla on its own.Given the magnitude of the threat and urgent action required the LCA Board has authorized a major fund drive and partnering with the SJRA for the purchase and spraying of Procella COR which is specially designed to eliminate Hydrilla but not impact other native plant species. The expected costs will be a minimum of $150,000 and the LCA has committed to the SJRA that if the SJRA starts spraying now using $75,000 of their reserve funds, LCA will raise an equal amount for the second phase of spraying. Please see how to donate on the next page.
The LCA is sponsoring our first annual event to recognize all the partnerships and efforts to protect the lake and its resources. We plan activities on the Lake andbased at Walden to provide entertainment, food, and activities for all ages. The theme “Band Together”is a great way to reinforce how the LCA represents the area residents via the all-day theme of music for everyone by some of your favorite local and regional bands. We plan several fund-raising activities –all voluntary –to provide funding for the Hydrilla campaign. A more detailed brochure will be coming out August 30th.
Please donate to the LCA as we lead the effort to get Hydrilla under control.Donate via our website at lcatx.com or send your tax-deductible donations to P.O. Box 376 Willis TX 77378
Three painful reminders of the last Hydrilla infestation –we could be less than a year away.
Kevin Lacy – Lake Conroe Association President