LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of April 26, 2018

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

as of April 26, 2018

We just completed attending the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) Board Meeting where topics included SJRA’s new Flood Management Division and lowering Lake Conroe’s lake level to assist in downstream flooding. We wanted to get this information to you as quickly as possible and solicit your feedback. We have requested to be placed on SJRA’s Board Meeting Agenda for their May, 2018 Meeting so as to be able to ask questions and present opinions.

With today’s feedback from SJRA’s Board, Jace Houston (SJRA General Manager) will be working with The City of Houston (who owns 2/3 of the water rights on Lake Conroe) to agree upon using lake levels on Lake Conroe and Lake Houston for flood control. Today’s proposal looks as follows:

LAKE CONROE:

· Start releasing ½” to 1” per day effective April 1 to reach a lake level of 200’ (1 foot down from “normal pool”) by April 15

· Maintain Lake Conroe at that 200’ level through May 31

· Resume collecting water in Lake Conroe as of June 1

· Start releasing ½” to 1” per day effective August 1 to reach a lake level of 200’ by August 15 and a lake level of 199’ (2 feet down from “normal pool”) by August 31

· Maintain Lake Conroe at that 199’ level through September 30

· Resume collecting water in Lake Conroe as of October 1

· During any period where SJRA is releasing water and rain enters the forecast, stop the release and allow the West Fork of the San Jacinto River to drain down in preparation of accepting rainfall runoff within the basin (watershed). Once rain leaves the forecast, resume releases.

· No “pre-releases” of water into the West Fork of the San Jacinto River before a storm

LAKE HOUSTON:

· No “seasonal lowering” of lake level

· When weather forecast predicts an average of greater than 3” of rain in the basin, start releasing water 24 hours prior to the rainfall event. Lower lake level by 1 foot to an elevation of 41.5’

Any proposed program would be “Reviewed” annually and “Renewable” annually in February of each year. These plans would be temporary in nature (starting out with a goal of 2 years) as flood control studies are completed and the results of remediation/dredging of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River are evaluated.

Regarding the proposed remediation/dredging of the lower West Fork of the San Jacinto River, the Corps of Engineers is spearheading this effort. A goal of removing 3 million cubic yards of sand could be achieved in 6 months minimum and could take up to 18 months. Work could proceed as soon as June 8, 2018.

An unresolved issue at this time relates to the “permitted yield” of Lake Conroe. Currently, the maximum yield (withdrawal) is 100,000 acre feet per year. SJRA owns 1/3 of that “yield” while The City of Houston owns 2/3. Will any releases of water for flood control be counted against the maximum annual amount of water allowed to be withdrawn? Under current interpretation, TCEQ would state it DOES count against “yield”. It is expected that SJRA and The City of Houston will attempt to modify their “permit” with TCEQ to remove such a stipulation so that water released for flood control does not count against the 100,000 acre feet annual “yield”.

Regarding SJRA’s new Flood Management Division, funding of this new division requested by Governor Abbott is unresolved at this time. SJRA hopes to be funded by the State. Initially, funding will be achieved by adding 1 ½ cents to the raw water rate SJRA charges its customers.

WE’RE WRITING TO REQUEST YOUR FEEDBACK. Help us represent what you think provides the best solution to this flood control issue and, specifically, the use of reducing lake levels as proposed above. Please e-mail us at lca@lakeconroe.com with your thoughts. Thank you for your attention.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

Important Zebra Mussel Message for Registered Boaters from TP&WD

Important Message for Registered Boaters

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This is an important message
for registered Texas boat owners

Dear Boat Owner,

Right now, our lakes and rivers are under attack by Zebra Mussels. In Texas, Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Texoma are already infested — and without your help, they will spread throughout the state.

What are Zebra Mussels?
Don't Be a CarrierZebra Mussels are a small, destructive invasive species that can spread by hitching a ride on boats and trailers. They grow to about 1 ½ inches and develop a distinctive zebra-striped shell. One Zebra Mussel can produce up to one million microscopic larvae. They can cause tremendous environmental and economic damage such as:

  • Encrusting and adding weight to boat hulls; clogging water systems used in boat motors, air conditioners and heads.
  • Threatening our water supply by colonizing inside pipelines, restricting the flow of water, and damaging water intake structures which results in higher water bills for homes and businesses.
  • Taking over habitats from native species, damaging lake ecology and impacting fish populations .

It’s Illegal to Transport Zebra Mussels
Unfortunately, you may be “in possession” of Zebra Mussels, and not even know it. That is because young Zebra Mussels in their larval stage can survive for days in water left in your boat and are invisible to the naked eye!

We wanted to make sure you are aware that it is ILLEGAL to possess or transport Zebra Mussels – knowingly OR unknowingly in the state of Texas. The law imposes fines of up to $500 for the first incident (a Class C misdemeanor), and steeper fines with possible jail time, for subsequent offenses.

Stop the spread and avoid breaking the law
Boaters can take a few simple precautions to help ensure they are in compliance with the law.

  • CLEAN. Clean off any vegetation, mud or foreign objects on the boat, trailer and gear before you leave the lake
  • DRAIN. The law requires that boaters drain all water from the boat, including the motor, bilge, livewells and bait buckets — before leaving an infested lake.
  • DRY. Dry the boat and trailer for a week or more before entering another water body. If unable to let it dry for at least a week, wash it with a high-pressure washer and hot (at least 140-degree), soapy water.

Watch this video to see how to effectively clean and/or decontaminate your boat.


Visit TexasInvasives.org/ZebraMussels to find more on:
  • How to identify adult Zebra Mussels
  • The damage they cause to boats and how to clean/decontaminate your boat
  • Reporting a Zebra Mussel sighting
  • How to request additional information

Thank you for doing your part to save Texas’ lakes and rivers.

Hello Zebra Mussels. Goodbye Texas Lakes.

Thanks to the following Texas Parks and Wildlife campaign partners: Tarrant Regional Water District, Trinity River Authority, City of Dallas, North Texas Municipal Water District, City of Waco, Sabine River Authority, Brazos River Authority, City of Grapevine, San Jacinto River Authority, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, City of Houston, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, and Canadian River Municipal Water Authority.

Sign up for free email updates and e-newsletters from Texas Parks and Wildlife to stay up to date on the latest fishing, hunting and state park information. You can unsubscribe or change your subscription selections at any time.

Impact of Lake-Level Reductions on Lake Conroe Area – Texas A&M Report

Here is the final report for Texas A&M estimating the impact of the lake level reductions: Lake-Conroe-Final-Report

Bottom Line Summary

  • The GRP scenarios are likely to impact lake-levels significantly. Lake-levels are expected to fall more than four feet below full pool 1.6 times more often in phase one than in prior periods, and increase to 8.5 times more often in phase four.
  • Direct economic impacts are most likely to occur geographically near the lake.
  • Residential properties in lakefront communities enjoy a 15% premium, which declines quickly with geographic distance.
  • Residents in lakefront communities expect a 28% decline in residential property values, in which case losses in real estate values would amount to $1.1 billion in the area.
  • For each foot of lake-level decline beyond the first two feet, retail trade revenue in the City of Montgomery decreases about $414,000 per quarter per foot, or about $1.6 million per year per foot.

Clearing Stumps From Lake Conroe

At the end of last year (12/13/11), local Fishing Organizations, The Lake Conroe Association, San Jacinto River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife, US Forestry Service, E-Z Boat Storage and the Palms Marina began working together in an effort to eliminate stump hazards located in the main parts of the lake (not creeks, tributaries, or dry lake beds). The approved area extended from the dam on the south to the southern point of Cape Malibu, being about 3 miles north of the FM 1097 bridge. The Lake Conroe Association, in conjunction with E-Z Boat Storage and Palms Marina began organizing and privately funding the stump removal part of the project at the beginning of the year. A GPS reading of the stump locations were taken in December while the lake was at it lowest level.

By the time the cutting began on 1/16/12, the lake had already risen 9″ to a 193.81 ft pool level. Local teams worked with the cutting contractors to locate and mark stumps for the contractors to cut. One member mentioned several times his worry that even a slight rise in water level might make some of the stumps unfindable. He praised the GPS program for directing the boats right over their targets. Fortunately, the weather held and the job was completed before anymore rains came. Four days later the lake rose to 194.2 ft , a level that would have made this project impossible to complete.

Encouraging for fishermen, about 95% of the cut-offs sank to the bottom in deep water, creating even better horizontal structure for fish habitat. Since these stumps are generally in the river and stream beds that fed the river, locating good fishing spots should prove easier than before.

FACTS ABOUT THIS PROJECT

  • Stumps were cut a minimum of 8 feet below the lake level.
  • Approximately 400 stumps were cleared.

Related Articles:

SJRA Weekly Lake Conroe Report: http://www.slideshare.net/sanjacriver/the-lake-report-012412

Lake Conroe Advisory Meeting: http://www.lakeconroe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LC-Advisory-Mtg-12.13.11.pdf

Dock Line Magazine: http://sjra.net/lakeconroe/stump-removal/TPW%20Stump%20removal%20article.pdf

SJRA Report: http://sjra.net/lakeconroe/stump-removal/index.html

Some Marinas and Boat Launch Facilites Getting Ready for Lower Lake Levels on Lake Conroe

Still Putting Boats in the Water

As more and more public and private boat launch locations become unusable, E-Z Boat began deepening its North Ramp by extending it another 4 feet into the lake. Although the channel to the lake has too many high spots for much continued use beyond today’s level (5.5 ft low), the ramp will provide an extremely protected and calm boat launching ramp on the main body of Lake Conroe. The opportunity to go 5 feet down may seem mundane at first, but add the 5 and a half feet the lake is already down and you are 10 feet below lake level.

Dredging and Launch Maintenance

E-Z’s South Ramp got a facelift last month with a new breakwater to block prevailing southerly winds of summer. Always a deep ramp, boats are still being
launched for tenants of the storage facility. In fact, new dredging has begun to add another 3 foot capablity to the channel extending a couple hundred feet plus to reach the lake. With the current rate of water level drop, this may keep the ramp open for a few more weeks.

Using the Lake Envronment to Improve Boat Launching Service

Still Putting Boats in the Water

As more and more public and private boat launch locations become unusable, E-Z Boat began deepening its North Ramp by extending it another 4 feet into the lake. Although the channel to the lake has too many high spots for much continued use beyond today’s level (5.5 ft low), the ramp will provide an extremely protected and calm boat launching ramp on the main body of Lake Conroe. The opportunity to go 5 feet down may seem mundane at first, but add the 5 and a half feet the lake is already down and you are 10 feet below lake level.

Dredging and Launch Maintenance

E-Z’s South Ramp got a facelift last month with a new breakwater to block prevailing southerly winds of summer. Always a deep ramp, boats are still being
launched for tenants of the storage facility. In fact, new dredging has begun to add another 3 foot capablity to the channel extending a couple hundred feet plus to reach the lake. With the current rate of water level drop, this may keep the ramp open for a few more weeks.

Journalists Seeking The Worst from Interviews

August 2011 Sunset

August 2011 Sunset

The lowering lake levels of Lake Conroe has become a story journalists are pursuing in earnest. In each story, the focus is to make the lake look really bad!

I know of three persons interviewed recently for stories that said the interviewer was only interested negative answers. Judging from the boat usage on the lake, the real story is about people still having fun on Lake Conroe. That’s not what makes a good story for journalists though.

Especially deceptive have been the Houston Television networks. Somewhere they find an area to film that looks nothing like 99% of the rest of the lake. Lake Conroe was never a constant level lake and properties in shallow coves have had these same conditions before. This isn’t good journalism, it is someone trying to make things fit the story they already wrote.

I can understand the local lakefront property owners in shallow coves being upset, but as this recent photo testifies, the main lake remains a source of boating and spiritual pleasure for most of us that notice. So when a journalist comes to interview you, remind them that you ‘love Lake Conroe’ and wouldn’t live where they live even if the lake were empty!

Grass Carp (White Amur)

Finding the most effective ballance between having enough grass carp in the Lake and not reducing the vegitation down to nothing is a real challenge for all of those wanting to find that perfect balance. The current situation is that we have to many large grass carp in the Lake for a proper balance of vegitation, oxygen, fish spawning areas, water quality, etc.

The size and number of grass carp currently in the Lake is starting to have an effect on the water clarity. We had a mud hole a few years back and there are signs we are starting to get a lot more stained water in all areas of the Lake. No one wants that to happen.

The effect the fish are having on fishing and spawning beds has been critical. Lake Conroe is know as one of the best catfish fishing lakes in Texas and now it is impossible to bait a specific area or chum when fishing for catfish. The grass carp move in and take over the area. Last year we had four “ShareLunker” bass caught on Lake Conroe, this past season we had NONE!

The grass carp on Lake Conroe are still protected and must be released immediately when caught when fishing for other fish; however, there is a realization on the part of all parties that the population of grass carp, the size of the fish and the fact that they are now eating anything is causing a problem for the Lake.

This fall there is going to be a ‘grass carp’ fishing tournament that will be monitored by the Texas Parks & Wildlife. There purpose of the tournament is to ‘thin the heard’ so to speak. The tournament will allow some of the large grass carp to be removed from the Lake in a systimatic manner with good record keeping concerning the number of fish removed and the size of the fish removed.

There will be more information posted on this site as well as on the Lake Conroe Guide Fishing Report as more information is available. We are very fortunate to have the JSRA, TP&W, Lake Conroe Association and others work together to find solutions to this problem and take the necessary action to both keep the hydrilla in check and provide the necessary vegitation in the Lake for proper water and fish management.

We will keep you posted! Papa John