Lake Conroe Native Plant Restoration Project

Lake Conroe Native Plant Restoration Project

Conroe, TX

July 27, 2009

27 volunteers converged on Lake Conroe July 25th, 2009 for a day of transplanting native aquatic plants into the lake. Four different species of the plants were placed along the northern shores of the Sam Houston National Forest. The volunteer group was able to get 120 pots of water willow, soft-stem bulrush, spike rush, and pickerel weed into the water during the workday. The group was both dedicated and experienced, and the work was completed in a very efficient manner. All of the plants were protected with wire mesh cages after being transplanted.

The project is a coordinated effort between the Seven Coves Bass Club (with the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the San Jacinto River Authority, and the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility. A major portion of the funding for the project has come via a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This group has been working to maintain a native plant base in Lake Conroe since the incorporation of white amur (also known as “grass carp”) into the lake’s hydrilla management program in 2006. Although the herbivorous fish have been able to eliminate all of the 2,000 acres of invasive hydrilla, the native base of aquatic plants in the lake has been reduced from over 1,000 acres to a sparse 150 acres to date.

The goals of the Native Plant Restoration Project is to assist in the renewal of habitat for juvenile fish, reduce excessive mineral levels that lead to invasive plant species growth, inhibit algal production, and improve the overall water quality in the lake. Although this program has placed nearly 1,500 native plants into Lake Conroe over the past two years, colonization, and expansion, has been retarded with the current numbers of grass carp that remain in the lake. It is hoped that the restocking efforts will become enhanced, with a future decline in the numbers of the amur.

Several more workdays are being scheduled for the remainder of the 2009 planting season. Anyone with questions, or a desire to assist in the restoration project, is invited to contact the project’s coordinator-Ron Gunter. Ron can be reached at 936-524-4413, or regunter@consolidated.net

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Welcome to 2009. On behalf of the LCA Board of Directors, we’d like to thank our membership for their support in 2008 and wish all of you a prosperous 2009.

The LCA held its Annual Meeting on Friday, January 16 at the offices of the San Jacinto River Authority to update our Members on topics of current interest and tally all proxies received from our Members to elect an LCA Board of Directors for 2009. From our 507 current LCA Members, 173 proxies were returned (which exceeds the minimum number necessary for a quorum). You elected the following individuals to represent you on the 2009 LCA Board of Directors: Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski, Ben Richardson, Stan Sproba, Colin Stead and Sue Wheatley. All eleven (11) of these individuals served on your 2007 and 2008 Boards as well. We look forward to serving you and our lake community in the year to come.

Subsequent to the LCA Annual Meeting, the LCA Board convened to nominate and elect its 2009 Officers. Accepting nomination for 2009 were Mike Bleier (LCA President), Ben Richardson (LCA Vice President) and Tom Butz (LCA Secretary/Treasurer), and all three were unanimously elected into their respective offices.

During the past year, we experienced a decrease in our Hydrilla infestation from 2,052 acres in January, 2008 to only 2 acres currently. A total of 123,765 White Amur grass carp have been added to Lake Conroe (27,441 in 2006, 48,750 in 2007, and 47,574 in 2008) and, based on an estimated mortality rate of 32% per year, approximately 87,000 remain alive at this time. These White Amur remain a protected species (meaning if caught, they must be released) as they will continue their job going forward of eating Hydrilla tubers as they grow out of the lake bottom this Spring and beyond. Unless unforeseen circumstances occur, we anticipate that these White Amur should control Hydrilla in 2009 and no additional White Amur will be added to the lake this year.

Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia (67.9 acres and 628.7 acres, respectively, in October, 2008) become primarily dormant in our Winter temperatures, and no herbicide treatments are currently being performed. We hope that our White Amur will develop an appetite for Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia as their Hydrilla food sources is depleted. Should this not occur, it is probable that Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia will be treated with herbicides by Spring/Summer, 2009.

Other points of interest include:

· Dam repairs from Hurricane Ike damage have commenced. The contract with Rebel Contractors, Inc. of Willis, TX allows 90 days for substantial completion of the project. It is anticipated that 75% of the $978,268 bid will be reimbursed by FEMA (with the balance paid by the San Jacinto River Authority and the City of Houston)

· The current lake level is 199.7 MSL (normal is 201.0 MSL).

· Lake Conroe will be the site for a very large Bass Tournament sponsored by Toyota in October, 2009. Festivities will be coordinated at Buffalo Springs.

· A new boat dock and launch area will be constructed this year at the San Jacinto River Authority damsite for use of the Montgomery County Constables’ lake patrol boats. A new building will also be erected for use of Constable lake personnel.

· The LCA joined the Conroe Chamber of Commerce to promote itself to local businesses and gain the support of this valuable, local organization.

· The next lake survey to quantify infestations of Hydrilla, Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia is expected in May, 2009. Another lakewide survey of all native and non-native invasive species will be conducted around September, 2009 by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

· During Winter, we lose approximately 40 million gallons of water per day to evaporation and transpiration. This compares to highs of approximately 200 million gallons per day in Summer.

While the LCA conducts a number of valuable functions for our lake community, a primary responsibility held by the LCA is that of fund raising for Aquatic Plant Management on Lake Conroe (with over $600,000 raised in the past three years). We’d like to thank the 70 individuals who sent in contributions along with their LCA proxies this month, and hope that our membership will show continued support throughout 2009. Our next official Fund Raising Campaign will be in May, 2009. With our current economic downturn affecting City, County, State and Federal budgets, we are greatly concerned that funding we count on for Aquatic Plant Management from these sources may be reduced or eliminated. We are working with Senator Robert Nichols and Representative Brandon Creighton to encourage the introduction and passing of bills in the 81st Legislative Session of the Texas Legislature which will guarantee funding for our Texas lakes. As always, we will also continue our communication with local businesses and Property Owner Associations (POA’s) to solicit their support.

During 2008, the LCA received $127, 602 in contributions. During that same period, we spent $115,775 ($112,506 on White Amur, $2,000 on our bi-annual audit, and $1,269 on other expenses); leaving a net positive cash flow of $11,827 for the year. We currently hold $11,013 in an interest-bearing checking account and $80,000 in CD’s. While we are very pleased to have $91,013 on deposit, these funds will not be sufficient to fund the treatment of significant aquatic plant infestations (should they occur). So, as always (and until new sources of City, County, State or Federal funding are received), we are sure to be counting on your support in 2009.

Thank you for listening and remaining committed to our lake community. The LCA Board looks forward to serving you for another year.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

The committee of Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD), San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), Lake Conroe Association (LCA), and angler organizations including Seven Coves Bass Club received wonderful news from TPWD regarding Lake Conroe’s Hydrilla infestation. Hydrilla was reported to have decreased from 2,033 acres in January, 2008 to 363 acres in March, 2008 – the lowest Hydrilla acreage since 2005. Finally, some good news !!

TPWD described “schools of White Amur” traveling throughout the Lake and ravaging our nuisance, invasive weed. With approximately 110,000 White Amur still alive at this time (based on an estimated 32% mortality factor) and only 363 infested acres, the White Amur now hold a distinct advantage over Hydrilla in that they are currently stocked at 302 fish/acre. If 110,000 White Amur can devour 1,670 Hydrilla infested acres in two months, just think what those 110,000 White Amur can do to the remaining 363 acres. Even though we are just entering Hydrilla growing season as Lake temperatures warm and sunshine intensifies, we are cautiously optimistic that the Summer of 2008 will be much improved for all Lake users.

Concerns exist over the possibility that once the White Amur eat the majority of our Hydrilla, they will turn to other Lake vegetation as their food source. TPWD reported that White Amur like to eat Bushy Pond Weed, a plant that has caused certain portions of our Lake to become unattractive and less navigable. TPWD also stated that White Amur are less inclined to eat Coontail or Vallisneria – both plants that provide excellent fish habitat and improve water quality. TPWD is actively monitoring the condition of our native plant community and has enlisted the services of two Texas A&M graduate students to study various Lake conditions documented by them in 2007 and comparing that data to new data being gathered in 2008. TPWD stated they were optimistic that our native plant community would survive.

TPWD and SJRA will develop a new, written Aquatic Plant Management Plan for Lake Conroe as the current Plan expired March, 2008. The new Plan will call for surveys of Hydrilla and Giant Salvinia every two months. Should Hydrilla unexpectedly show signs of a “spike” in growth, TPWD has agreed that supplemental stockings of White Amur will not be ruled out. Further, TPWD said any such “spikes” would be dealt with “immediately” rather than taking a slower, measured approach as used throughout the past two (2) years.

The news about another invasive weed, Giant Salvinia, was less encouraging. Giant Salvinia has been reported to cover between 300 – 500 acres currently, and the plant is already actively growing with our warmer temperatures. Giant Salvinia is particularly dangerous for our Lake as it can double in size every three (3) days. SJRA has already initiated herbicide applications to Giant Salvinia, and is negotiating with a helicopter operator for aerial sprayings in the less populated areas like the northern National Forest shoreline. TPWD and SJRA are committed to attacking the Giant Salvinia problem immediately.

After LCA Members donated over $500,000 in the past two years and the combined team of SJRA and LCA have spent well over $1 million to control invasive weeds on Lake Conroe, some good news is finally on the financial horizon. TPWD had secured a $150,000 grant from US Fish & Wildlife for Aquatic Plant Management (APM) on Lake Conroe. Working with LCA and SJRA, Montgomery County has agreed to increase their contribution from their $25,000 budget to $55,000. The US Forest Service has concurred that a significant portion of the Hydrilla infestation is located along the shores of the National Forest and, in response, has agreed to contribute $16,000. The Seven Coves Bass Club, in a somewhat unprecedented move for an angling organization, donated $5,000 for APM. Senator Robert Nichols continues to press Austin for financial assistance for our Texas lakes and reports that the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has given TPWD not greater than two months to draft a proposal on how funds appropriated to TPWD by the State of Texas can be allocated for APM in Texas lakes. These sources will certainly help ease the financial burden placed on the resources of Lake residents, businesses and SJRA, but will not eliminate the need for funds from the LCA.

The LCA will initiate its annual Fund Raising Campaign in May in an effort to replenish its depleted bank account and provide a fund for future, emergency needs should infestations of Hydrilla or Giant Salvinia need immediate attention. We do not desire to be in a position where funds are needed and the LCA cannot respond. The fund raising process takes about two months – much too long for any form of “immediate” response. We hope that you will consider to continue to support the LCA and its efforts to assist all Lake users. You will see fund raising correspondence in the mail shortly as we send letters to over 15,000 Lake residents and local businesses. I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank those 250+ contributors who responded to the LCA’s February, 2008 Emergency Fund Raising request which enabled the LCA to pay for this last batch of much-needed 32,000 White Amur added in March, 2008.

Again, thank you for your support of the LCA. The teamwork exhibited between residents, businesses, TPWD, SJRA, LCA, angling organizations, Montgomery County, State representatives and The Courier has enabled us to close in on reaching our goal of “40 acres or less of Hydrilla” and should serve as a guideline for other Texas lakes should they encounter infestations in the future. We hope you enjoy a beautiful Lake Conroe for years to come.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Just some quick information for those interested. Hoping you and your family made it through Hurricane Ike safely and with limited damage.

As you are probably aware, the dam on Lake Conroe suffered damage from Ike. Approximately 1,500 feet of the 12,000 foot length of the dam needs “spot repair” at an initial estimated cost of $1 million. Before any repair can commence, engineering design for the repair must be completed, bids must go out to qualified contractors and a final bid must be accepted by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) Board. The actual repairs will most likely commence by late-January and actual repair work is estimated to take 8 – 12 weeks. If the lake level must be lowered for repairs, SJRA does not see such an action occurring before late-January (with plenty of advance notification so that boat owners and lake area residents can prepare).

Based on the August, 2008 surveys performed by Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD), our weed and plant acreages are as follows:

· Hydrilla….1.3 acres (down from 2.5 acres in June)

· Water Hyacinth…..67.9 acres (down from 106.4 acres in June)

· Giant Salvinia…..628.7 acres (up from 283.5 acres in June)

· Combined native plants…..140.0 acres (down from 151.5 acres in June)

It appears that the White Amur purchased for Hydrilla reduction are now eating Water Hyacinth. Giant Salvinia is currently being treated with herbicides by SJRA and a contractor hired by SJRA.

An estimated 90,000 White Amur grass carp remain alive in Lake Conroe at this time. While certain organizations have suggested that the ban on removing White Amur from Lake Conroe be removed, the TPWD official in charge of Lake Conroe’s Aquatic Plant Management Program (Dr. Earl Chilton) has stated that this “ban” will not be removed at this time. Dr. Chilton sited that Lake Conroe is still infested with Hydrilla tubers from the 2,100 acre infestation we experienced in 2007 and that the White Amur will prove beneficial once these tubers start to grow again in Spring, 2009 and beyond. Hydrilla tubers can live dormant in the lake bottom for up to 5 – 7 years.

The Annual Meeting of the Lake Conroe Association (LCA) will be held at the offices of SJRA on Friday, January 16, 2009 from 10AM to Noon. Among other topics, the Board of Directors for the LCA for the upcoming year will be elected. More information on this meeting will follow as the date approaches.

Thank you for listening and let us know how we can help. We can be reached at

www.lakeconroeassociation.com.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Have you been enjoying the warm sun of Summer and open waters of Lake Conroe? I certainly hope so given the Lake conditions over the past two years. In a meeting last night of Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD), San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), anglers and the Lake Conroe Association (LCA), TPWD reported that Hydrilla has been reduced to a total of 2.5 acres based on its June, 2008 survey. What a change from the 2,033 acres reported as recently as January, 2008 !! The 103,883 White Amur grass carp estimated to be alive currently are certainly doing their job.

Regarding other “exotic, invasive plants” on our Lake, TPWD reported an increase of Giant Salvinia from 225 acres in July, 2007 to 283 acres in May, 2008. As Giant Salvinia grows so rapidly and White Amur do not particularly enjoy eating this plant, SJRA will continue to attack this plant through herbicide applications. TPWD also reported that Water Hyacinth decreased from 337 acres in July, 2007 to 106 acres in May, 2008. Given the reduction and that White Amur appear to be eating Water Hyacinth, herbicide treatments of Water Hyacinth will be ceased until an increasing trend is observed.

With July through September being the peak growing season for our various lake plants, TPWD will continue performing surveys to monitor and calculate the quantity of Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth in our Lake. Surveys will be performed in August and October, 2008. Should the current trend of “exotic, invasive plants” continue to decrease in 2008, TPWD estimates it will perform two (2) surveys in 2009. And while the survey results are very positive now, TPWD issued a “word of caution” that we need to continue to gather data to be sure Hydrilla doesn’t come back.

In the category of “not good news”, “native plants” have been reported to decrease from 1,077 acres in July, 2007 to 151 acres in May, 2008. As occurred in the early 1980’s, it appears that the White Amur are moving from the decimated Hydrilla population to our “native plants” as their source of nutrition (with Coontail, Joint Grass, Lilies and Lotus representing the “natives” currently left in the Lake). This is not good news for any lake. Learning from this specific Hydrilla infestation on Lake Conroe and the related treatment response, TPWD assured all that any future Hydrilla infestations on Lake Conroe warranting treatment would be “hit hard and hit early”. Utilizing a stocking rate of approximately 55 fish/acre early in the infestation, TPWD would hope to solve the infestation quickly, not infuse an excessive amount of White Amur and protect the “native” plants.

As a matter of definition, a significant distinction is made between plants referred to as “native” versus “exotic”. “Native” plants occur naturally in our ecosystem, and their expansion is kept in check by fish, insects, herbivores and invertebrates eating them as a food source in the overall food chain. “Exotic” plants have been brought in from elsewhere, and the ecosystem doesn’t reduce their expansion as they are not fed upon by these same fish, insects, herbivores and invertebrates. In effect, the growth and expansion of “exotic” plants goes unchecked until affected by outside forces (introduction of White Amur or herbicides).

It is important to understand the need for “native” plants in a lake. Most directly, “natives” help control erosion of shorelines, reduce silt flow from streams, filter and clarify water, provide excellent fish habitat, and provide for a healthy ecosystem to support water fowl and other wildlife. By providing these direct benefits, “native” plants indirectly contribute to a healthy local economy by encouraging tourism to our area for fishing, bird watching and the overall enjoyment of a healthy lake. The loss of “native” plants (as compared to the “exotic” plants we have fought so strongly) would be devastating to the Lake Conroe community.

As you may have already heard, TPWD, SJRA and anglers have initiated a program for re-vegetation and native plant restoration on Lake Conroe. Seven Coves Bass Club is an active leader in this program. “Native” plants are being grown in a controlled environment in our Lake with the objective of relocating them throughout the uninhabited shorelines of Lake Conroe when those nursery plants are mature enough to be moved. Three (3) primary categories of plants are being grown in this program as follows:

· Submergents (majority of plant is under the water) – Coontail, Water Primrose, Variable Leaf Milfoil and Wild Celery

· Emergents (majority of plant is out of the water) – Cattail, Bulrush, Sedge, Maiden Cane and Water Willow.

· Floating Leaved (leaves float on surface) – Spatterdock, Water Lily and American Lotus.

Only “native” plants are being used for this re-vegetation project, and only “natives” that are the most resistant to feeding by White Amur. In the approximate 800 Texas lakes over 75 surface acres each, TPWD reports that in no case did the “natives” create major problems. The LCA has requested contact information related to Property Owner Associations representing some of these 800 Texas lakes to ask about the success of these “native” plantings.

Specifics to this Lake Conroe 2008 re-vegetation project include:

· Not greater than 3 acres of “native” plants will be introduced over the next 5 – 10 years.

· TPWD hopes that these 3 acres will ultimately spread by seed production to approximately 10% of our Lake, or 2,000 acres.

· “Native” plants will be planted along uninhabited shoreline primarily North of the 1097 bridge. They will not plant in front of a residence.

· Should these “native” plants re-propagate in front of a residence, TPWD has agreed to issue permits to the lakefront owner so that the owner can hire a contractor to spray or otherwise eradicate the “natives” in front of the residence (at the expense of the resident). Should the problem be excessive or out-of-control, TPWD and SJRA have stated they may consider cost-sharing with the resident owner.

· It is unlikely that bulkheaded shoreline will re-propagate through seeds due to the excessive wave action and deeper water (“natives” like shallow water).

· The LCA has not been asked to share in the cost of this re-vegetation project.

The LCA has questioned TPWD’s goal of reaching 2,000 acres of “natives”. Lake Conroe is reported by anglers to have been an excellent fishing lake with the 1,077 acres of “natives” reported in July, 2007, so the LCA doesn’t understand a goal of 2,000 acres, or 10% of Lake Conroe’s surface acres. TPWD feels their goal is appropriate. As only 3 acres of “natives” are actually being planted and all further growth must occur over time by seed re-generation, the LCA feels it has stated its concern and will follow “native” growth throughout the future.

TPWD commits to continue the control of “exotic” plants on Lake Conroe (such as Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth…..or any new “exotic” which may appear in our future). TPWD has assured the LCA that the presence of these newly planted “natives” will not be used as an excuse to avoid the use of White Amur in the future. TPWD points out that the Lake Conroe Aquatic Plant Management Plan called for 1) the reduction of Hydrilla to 40 acres or less by March, 2008 (which it did achieve by June, 2008), and 2) the continued establishment of a healthy “native” plant community. TPWD has asked the LCA and its Members for the support of this “native” plant re-vegetation project.

Having evaluated the information presented and the benefits of a healthy “native” plant population on Lake Conroe, and knowing the LCA will closely monitor the activities of this re-vegetation plan, the LCA and its Board of Directors has determined it supports the concept of the re-vegetation program as outlined (while expressing concern over certain plan specifics as noted above). No monies contributed by our LCA Members for the purchase of White Amur or herbicide applications will be contributed to this re-vegetation project, but rather those monies will be held by the LCA for future treatments of “exotic” plants when the need arises.

We hope that you, too, can get behind this re-vegetation program and concur that “native” plants are an important part of our Lake ecosystem and economy. We thank TPWD, SJRA and the angling community for their efforts so far regarding re-vegetation, and the LCA looks forward to working with them in the future. As always, we welcome your questions and feedback at www: lakeconroeassociation.com.

Thank you for listening. Enjoy a beautiful Summer on the Lake.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Cool, rainy conditions have dominated the January, 2008 weather scene. A total of 3.09 inches of rain fell in Conroe in January (compared to the average January rainfall of 4.21). The Lake level has increased from 200.47 feet above sea level on January 1 to 201.02 feet today. Please find the following information for your review:

FEBRUARY 5 MEETING WITH TPWD, SJRA, LCA AND ANGLERS:

Today, very disturbing and disappointing news was released by TPWD. In Hydrilla’s slowest growing season (the winter) and with our largest quantity of White Amur (82,000 alive White Amur), Hydrilla infested acres grew from 1,940 in December, 2007 to 2,050 in January, 2008. Don’t be misled by Hydrilla’s lack of surface coverage….IT’S GROWING MORE THAN EVER AND MAY BE WORSE THIS SUMMER THAN LAST. TPWD stated that “We did not expect these results.” An independent consultant involved with Lake Conroe’s Hydrilla infestation for the past two years stated “An increase in Hydrilla during the winter with 82,000 White Amur eating Hydrilla at a rate of 42 fish/acre is an ominous sign.” TPWD’s next scheduled survey is March, 2008.

Specific to these surveys, Caney Creek increased by 146 acres while Little Lake Creek and Lewis Creek decreased by 19 and 17 acres, respectively. The northern Cagle/Stubblefield area remained the same. TPWD reported that Hydrilla is growing an average of 2 feet tall in waters less than 8 feet deep, and is growing an average of 4 to 5 feet tall in waters greater than 8 feet deep.

As its proposed plan to address this Hydrilla increase, TPWD agreed to permit the addition of 24,000 White Amur…..increasing the White Amur stocking rate from 42 fish/acre to 50 fish/acre. TPWD has taken a “measured approach” since the two-year Lake Conroe Aquatic Management Plan was initiated. This “measured approach” was adopted, in large part, to avoid overstocking the Lake with White Amur and damaging native vegetation in the Lake. Since Hydrilla has only continued to increase throughout TPWD’s “measured approach”, TPWD has increased their stocking rate of fish/acre from 9 to 14 to 22 to 29 to 36 to 40 to 42, and now, to 50. Where and when will this end?

The LCA listened to TPWD’s presentation as well as the opinions of SJRA, the independent consultant and angling organizations. Upon processing all of this new information, the LCA determined IT DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL. While the LCA does not hold a specific scientific basis for its proposal, the LCA requested that TPWD modify the stocking rate to 60 fish/acre….which would require TPWD to permit the addition of 40,000 White Amur. As no one truly knows the number of White Amur it will take to reduce Hydrilla to “40 acres or less” (I’ve removed the “by March, 2008” in TPWD and SJRA’s Management Plan as it won’t happen) while not significantly damaging native vegetation, the LCA believes a more aggressive approach is necessary NOW.

To summarize a few of the LCA’s opinions used in presenting our proposal of increasing the stocking rate to 60 fish/acre and disagreeing with TPWD’s proposal of 50 fish/acre, please find the following:

· Spring growing season will soon be upon us. This stocking represents the last opportunity to get the fish in the Lake before spring arrives. Fish stocked later in the year may not be large enough and appetite-aggressive enough to provide value in 2008.

· Given Hydrilla has increased from 470 acres to 2,050 acres as TPWD has added White Amur with a “measured approach” over the past 2 years, their approach hasn’t worked and a more aggressive approach is appropriate.

· TPWD has based their stocking permits based on the historic scientific data they have gathered from Texas lakes and other research. For some unknown reason, that science has not seemed to apply to Lake Conroe. A departure from that science seems appropriate.

· TPWD would be the first to tell you that they don’t know the correct number of White Amur it will take to control our Hydrilla infestation. Can we risk erring on the conservative side and having to add even more fish down the road?

· As stated by one attendee of today’s meeting, “Throw out science at this point and go with what we’ve experienced on Lake Conroe for two years.”

· As stated by the independent consultant today, “When old science doesn’t work, it becomes time to venture into the world of new science.”

· The potential of enduring a third consecutive year of serious Hydrilla infestation on Lake Conroe is unacceptable. If we thought having a 1,780 acre infestation in July, 2007 was bad, how will we feel about the hypothetical infestation of 3,000 acres this summer?

· And if we reach that hypothetical infestation of 3,000 acres, how many White Amur and herbicides will it take to solve the problem? And who will be expected to pay the enormous future cost of clean-up?

To this end, WE IMPLORE TPWD AND SJRA TO AGREE TO PERMIT THE STOCKING OF 40,000 WHITE AMUR AT THIS TIME AS REQUESTED BY THE LCA.

JANUARY WHITE AMUR RELEASE:

15,775 White Amur were released the week of January 21. This release represents a “mortality stocking” (meaning a replacement of the estimated number of fish which have died since the last mortality stocking) and not an increase in the number of White Amur per hydrilla infested acre. The White Amur were released as follows: 2,100 Little Lake Creek, 7,575 Lewis Creek, 2,100 Caney Creek and 4,000 Cagle/Stubblefield. The cost of these White Amur was $5.00/fish, and the cost was shared 50/50 between SJRA and the LCA.

WHITE AMUR CALCULATION:

Based on White Amur stockings to date and the estimated mortality rate of these fish of 32% per year, we would calculate that 102,000 have been placed in the Lake since 2006 and that 20,000 of these fish have died (through illness, predation by larger fish or predation by various species of birds on the Lake). This would leave 82,000 White Amur feeding upon 1,940 hydrilla infested acres, or 42 fish/acre, through December, 2007.

TPWD HYDRILLA SURVEY:

TPWD concluded its January, 2008 hydrilla survey and reported an estimated 2,052 acres of hydrilla infestation on the Lake. Previous surveys have been as follows:

· 1999….20 acres

· 2001…..80 acres

· 2004…..150 acres

· March, 2006…..470 acres

· July, 2006…..740 acres

· September, 2006…..1,200 acres

· March, 2007…..1,900 acres

· May, 2007…..1,380 acres

· July, 2007…..1,780 acres

· December, 2007…..1,940 acres

· January, 2008…..2,050 acres

NATIVE VEGETATION BEING PLANTED IN LAKE CONROE:

TPWD and SJRA have been establishing native vegetation (those plants native, but not invasive, to the Texas ecosystem) in Lake Conroe for over ten (10) years now. TPWD performs in-depth surveys to determine the quantity and type of native vegetation in the Lake to identify positive or negative trends. The Seven Coves Bass Club is a new partner in this program re-establishing native vegetation.

Most, if not all, of the plantings are done in the upper end of the Lake. The only exception to this policy would be where a homeowner group in the lower end of the Lake specifically requested plantings in their area. In questioning TPWD and SJRA about plantings in the lower end, I received this response: “Regarding planting vegetation in the lower areas of the reservoir, it would have to be a case where there is a substantial number of homeowners (or a substantial amount of shoreline owned by a few property owners) who want plants established in front of their property. In that case, we would work with the homeowners regarding establishment (species planted, cages, etc.). Otherwise, plantings will be conducted around the National Forest.”

The primary plant utilized for these plantings has been Vallisneria Americana (more commonly referred to as “tape grass”). TPWD, in conjunction with SJRA and the Corps of Engineers Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, have been planting Vallisneria in Lake Conroe for over ten (10) years. TPWD states that “Although Vallisneria is established in Lake Conroe, it has caused no problems.” TPWD also sites research performed by Dr. Richard Ott (and his Doctoral) which involved the ability of Vallisneria to aid in limiting Hydrilla establishment.

Further comments from TPWD include: “Native vegetation is good for aquatic ecosystems. Native plants help prevent erosion, stabilize banks, clear the water, improve water quality, and improve fish and wildlife habitat without creating major access problems like Hydrilla does.”

In questioning TPWD about the timing of working towards native vegetation plantings BEFORE the Hydrilla, Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia infestations are under control, TPWD responded: “The development of a healthy native plant community is not contingent on reaching our goals for Hydrilla. In fact, as we have talked about before, there is evidence that a healthy native plant community can help slow the spread of Hydrilla.” It would be correct that the Aquatic Management Plan for Lake Conroe for the two (2) years ending March, 2008 states goals of “reducing Hydrilla to 40 acres or less by March, 2008” AND establishing a healthy native plant community.

When asked who would pay for clean-up if native plantings got out-of-control and became invasive, TPWD responded “TPWD will not ask the LCA for any money to clean-up native vegetation. Except in very limited areas, it has been our experience that native vegetation simply does not create the same problems created by Hydrilla.”

What does the LCA think about all of this? Among our concerns are the introduction of plants which may become invasive. During previous attempts to establish native vegetation on Lake Conroe, both Musk Grass and Southern Naiad (bushy pondweed) were present as either plants and/or seeds in the transplant materials. These pioneer species benefited from the protected environment of cages and spread very rapidly. It is arguable that further native plantings may have similar unintended consequences. If you’ve had either Musk Grass or Bushy Pondweed around your lakefront, you can attest to the invasive nature of these plants and the detriment caused to navigation, aesthetics and lake use.

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SUMMARY OF LCA ANNUAL MEETING

Held January 18, 2008

LCA MEMBER VOTE ON 2008 LCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

We’d like to thank our Members for their active participation in returning proxies for 2008 LCA Board of Director elections. Of the 1,072 proxies mailed to our Members, 319 completed proxies were received (far more than last year and more than enough for a valid election per the LCA By-Laws). The LCA Board accepted your nominations and presents its 2008 LCA Board of Directors as follows: Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski, Ben Richardson, Stan Sproba, Colin Stead and Sue Wheatley.

LCA OFFICER ELECTIONS:

Subsequent to the LCA Annual Meeting and its Directors being elected, the LCA Board voted on its 2008 Officers. The following Directors accepted those nominations as follows: Mike Bleier (President), Ben Richardson (Vice President), Tom Butz (Treasurer) and Sue Wheatley (Secretary).

AUDIT OF LCA:

The LCA has selected a local accounting firm to prepare an audit of the records of the LCA for the period September 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007. The estimated cost of this audit is $2,000, and the LCA Board felt it was money well spent to assure its Members that their contributions of over $400,000 during this period were handled properly.

Unaudited, internally-prepared financial statements for CY2006 and CY2007 reflect Member Contributions of $404,000 less $355,000 in Expenses (producing a net increase in cash of $49,000 during these two years). Expenses consisted of $253,000 for White Amur, $71,000 for Herbicide Treatments, $26,000 for Fund Raising Printing/Postage and $5,000 for Administrative Expenses (legal fees, insurance, tax preparation). We are very pleased that Administrative Expenses totaled only 1.2% of all Member Contributions. No salaries are paid by the LCA as all Officers and Directors operate on a volunteer basis.

HERBICIDE TREATMENTS:

In its somewhat dormant state throughout Winter, Hydrilla is not treated with herbicides. While Water Hyacinth can still be seen around the Lake, it is not treated during Winter months because it’s green growth will die in cold conditions. And, since Water Hyacinth reproduces through seeds thrown off by those “pretty purple flowers”, herbicide applications will do nothing to harm those seeds on the Lake bottom which can live and produce new plants for up to the next seven (7) years. Since Giant Salvinia can survive the cold Winter temperatures and reproduces through exponential leaf regeneration and fragmentation, this invasive species will be treated with herbicides during the Winter; but effective treatment can only occur on sunny, calm days (not too many of those so far).

FUND RAISING FROM OTHER-THAN-YOU:

We have seen no funding from the State of Texas. TPWD stated that funding applications totaling $150,000 have been completed by TPWD and are “sitting on desks” waiting for approval and funding. We’ll see.

Montgomery County commits $25,000 per year for Aquatic Plant Management on Lake Conroe and increased that one-time to $100,000 last year. In talking to members of Commissioners Court, the LCA has been asked to continue to provide Commissioners Court with updates on the Lake condition and funding needs for 2008. Until Spring, 2008 surveys are concluded and the level of Hydrilla infestation is determined, the LCA does not see additional funding from Montgomery County as feasible. Should the worse scenario come true and Hydrilla infestation return aggressively in the Spring, I’m confident that Judge Sadler, Commissioner Meador and the other Commissioners will appropriate funds beyond their $25,000 commitment.

The LCA regularly communicates with Senator Nichols and Representative Creighton to apprise them of the situation and the need for State funding sources. I find them very attentive to the situation and determined to identify State funds to assist with our various invasive weed infestations.

No Federal funding has been obtained.

OTHER DISCUSSION TOPICS:

In addition to the above, the following topics were discussed at the LCA Annual Meeting (and are addressed above in this Update):

· Native grasses being planted in Lake Conroe

· White Amur stockings and mortality

· Angler organizations and their position in this issue

· Expectations for February 5 meeting between TPWD, SJRA, LCA and angling organizations

Thank you for your perseverance in following the significant quantity of information provided in this Update. I will report back with you shortly once a decision is made by TPWD and SJRA on the LCA’s proposal for 40,000 White Amur. We very much appreciate your support.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

This brief update summarizes the LCA’s efforts and findings in reviewing Texas Parks & Wildlife’s (TPWD) May, 2007 Hydrilla survey.

Since TPWD released its survey information on June 14, 2007 which estimated a total of 1,380 infested Hydrilla acres, the LCA has endeavored to better understand the survey results. LCA Board Member Ben Richardson and his Dad, Dana, toured Little Lake Creek (primarily covering the infestations of Bentwater, Laketree and Grand Harbor) in their personal boat on June 15. Ben and I, along with the SJRA, toured Caney Creek via SJRA airboat on June 22. On that same day, SJRA and I toured Little Lake Creek for a further view of this highly infested area. On June 23, I toured Lewis Creek (to the best of my ability without getting stuck) in my personal boat. A helicopter flyover of the Lake was delayed last week due to lightning and storm concerns over most available days, and this flyover is trying to be rescheduled for next week. Local residents have also provided numerous reports on what they observed this week from their watercraft and lakefront property.

TPWD provided detailed maps of the heavily infested acreage and the estimated number of infested acres for each location. We checked their math, and understand where they arrived at their total of 1,380 infested acres.

With all of the above being said, there is no way for the LCA to concur with or refute TPWD’s estimate of 1,380 acres. Once on the Lake, the ability to discern a 10 acre infestation from a 20 acre infestation by sight is virtually impossible. Obviously, the same difficulty applies to 100 acre infestations. TPWD makes its assessments utilizing GPS (Global Positioning System) and measures the area by establishing the four corners (or even more coordinates where appropriate) of the infestation. We did not have a GPS system with us in any of the LCA trips on the Lake this week.

So, what can the LCA say? We definitively observed Hydrilla infested acreage that has been reduced by White Amur (and where no herbicides have been applied in 2007). Most of this activity was observed at the deeper edges of the infestation and not in the shallow waters near shores or boat docks. We further observed significant Hydrilla reduction in certain deeper areas where a combination of White Amur and herbicides appear to be making a difference. And, where SJRA has performed Hydrilla herbicide applications in the past ten (10) days, we certainly saw signs of Hydrilla reduction (as would be expected for the monies being spent on herbicides). SJRA and TPWD will be continuing their herbicide applications to shallower waters this coming week.

There is not much more to say at this time. Trying to utilize GPS in the coming week would not prove too valuable because the measurable benefits of White Amur versus herbicides would be difficult, at best, to verify with accuracy (remember, the May, 2007 survey was done PRIOR TO Hydrilla herbicide applications). TPWD will be performing its next survey in July, 2007, and the LCA will have representatives on the boat to ask questions about each infestation. Since this survey commences in 2 – 3 weeks, we feel this is the best method to review the infestation going forward.

I’m pleased to see progress by the White Amur, and believe that the White Amur will be the solution to our problem for 2008. For our beautiful Summer months of 2007, I can also see that herbicide applications are a MUST if we are to enjoy the use of our Lake. As always, we are open to your feedback on the weed infestations of Lake Conroe; and we are greatly appreciative of your donations to the 2007 LCA Fund Raising Campaign which have totaled approximately $100,000 during the past six (6) weeks. Thank you for your time in reviewing this Update. Enjoy your week.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

This Update will cover two (2) significant topics; namely, LCA’s Annual Meeting for its Members held today and yesterday’s Advisory Committee Meeting held to provide input on the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

LCA ANNUAL MEETING:

Our Annual Meeting was held today at the offices of the San Jacinto River Authority. General information was provided to the attendees and questions were answered. A financial report was presented which summarized Income and Expense for the LCA for calendar year 2006. LCA Member voting was also completed (in conjunction with proxies submitted by Members through the mail) on the election of the 2007 LCA Board of Directors and proposed LCA By-Law revisions.

A brief summary of the LCA’s 2006 Cash Flow Statement (unaudited at this point) is listed as follows:

CASH, January 1, 2006 $24,989

Add 2006 Income:

Donations 205,634

Tee Shirt Sales and Interest Income 3,466

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Total Income 209,100 209,100

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Deduct 2006 Expenses:

White Amur Purchases 72,266

Fund Raising (Printing/Postage) 15,904

Administrative 2,372

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Total Expenses 90,542 (90,542)

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CASH, December 31, 2006 $143,547

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It should be noted that “Cash” at December 31, 2006 includes monies invested in Money Market Accounts earning interest at 4.7%. We are also pleased to report that our Administrative Expenses of $2,372 represent only 1% of our 2006 Total Income of $209,100 (primarily due to Directors working exclusively on a volunteer basis).

We would very much like to thank our 950+ Members for their generosity in our 2006 Fund Raising Campaign. And, while our $143,547 Cash Balance at December 31, 2006 is substantial, we must point out that the cost of successfully controlling hydrilla, giant salvinia and water hyacinth in 2007 may far outweigh our current funds. Accordingly, LCA Fund Raising diligently continues in 2007 from residents, businesses, and Federal, State and County sources.

With voting tabulated, we are pleased to announce your 2007 LCA Board of Directors as follows: Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski, Ben Richardson, Stan Sproba, Colin Stead, Bernie Walling, Conrad Weil and Sue Wheatley (13 in all). Further, the LCA proposed changes to the LCA By-Laws were passed. A total of 259 proxies were received from our Members, or approximately 27% of the LCA Membership.

Subsequent to LCA Annual Meeting, the LCA Board conducted its Meeting to elect its Officers for 2007. Your 2007 LCA Officers are Mike Bleier (President), Colin Stead (Vice President), Tom Butz (Treasurer) and Sue Wheatley (Secretary).

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING ON 2007 LAKE CONROE AQUATIC VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN:

Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) and the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) (the two “Cooperators” under the Plan) held a Meeting yesterday at the offices of SJRA to discuss the Preliminary 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan. Seventeen (17) individuals representing residents, businesses and anglers (collectively referred to as “Stakeholders”) were invited to join TPWD and SJRA in comprising the 2007 Advisory Committee. A “draft” of the 2007 Plan was submitted to the Stakeholders, and comments were solicited. Much feedback was shared amongst the attendees, and this feedback will be utilized by the Cooperators to develop the next Draft of the 2007 Plan. The 2007 Advisory Committee will meet again in approximately three (3) weeks to review all changes made to the Plan, and final comments will be shared prior to the Cooperators issuing the Final 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

To briefly summarize where we stood at the end of 2006, the October, 2006 hydrilla survey conducted by TPWD estimated a total of 1,167 hydrilla infested acres. Grass carp called “White Amur” which have a particular appetite for hydrilla were re-introduced into Lake Conroe during 2006 in three (3) stockings, and an estimated 27,046 White Amur were feeding in Lake Conroe by year’s end. These stockings approximate a rate of twenty-three (23) white amur per infested hydrilla acre.

A particular concern for 2007 has been the status of 2,600 acres of lakebed which was dry during the Summer of 2006. Some portion of these 2,600 acres were infested with hydrilla in 2005, and the likelihood that they become re-infested now that the Lake has risen to its normal level again is high.

Having provided this brief background, please find my notes on key points discussed in the Advisory Committee Meeting yesterday (in no order of significance):

TPWD conducted a survey in January, 2007 of the previously dry lakebed in an effort to quantify the number of acres infested with hydrilla since the Lake rose to its standard level of 201 feet above sea level. They estimated that 700 acres of this previously dry lakebed has initiated hydrilla re-growth through “tubers” that can survive dry conditions for reportedly up to seven (7) years.
TPWD proposed to permit the addition of 10,000 White Amur in February, 2007 to proactively address these newly infested acres and the ongoing mortality of the 27,046 White Amur introduced in 2006 (White Amur have an estimated mortality of 30% annually). The LCA applauds this proactive approach by the Cooperators. The cost of these White Amur will be shared equally by SJRA and the LCA, and TPWD has waived its $2/fish permitting fee for 2007 (and, hopefully, beyond).
TPWD proposes to conduct its next lake-wide aquatic vegetation survey in March, 2007. Should this survey conclude that hydrilla growth is not being reduced as expected by cool Winter water temperatures and the hydrilla-eating White Amur introduced during 2006, additional White Amur would be permitted and added during April, 2007 (always subject to availability from the hatcheries).
Similar aquatic vegetation surveys would be conducted in May, 2007, July, 2007 and September, 2007. If deemed necessary by the Cooperators, additional White Amur would be added in the month after each survey.
Should hydrilla growth exceed forecasts based on historic data, TPWD may consider raising the stocking rate of White Amur from 23 fish/acre to a higher number/acre.
As in the 2006 Plan, the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan calls for the reduction of hydrilla-infested acres to “40 acres or less by March, 2008”. The Cooperators and Stakeholders are all committed to achieving this goal, and are prepared to stock additional White Amur as needed to reach this goal. To supplement the budget available to SJRA for aquatic plant management, the LCA has committed to raise whatever monies are necessary to achieve the goal of “40 acres or less by March, 2008”. Once the goal of reducing hydrilla to “40 acres or less” is accomplished, the ongoing plan will be to keep hydrilla permanently below 40 acres. It should be further noted that “40 acres or less” of hydrilla is intended to remain primarily in the uninhabited, northern portion of the Lake and not in the highly populated used southern portion of the Lake.
The Cooperators are considering further herbicide treatments in March or April, 2007 to attack, in particular, the new hydrilla growing in the previously dry lakebed. Herbicides can be very effective at reducing hydrilla tuber regeneration. The use of herbicides on hydrilla is often criticized as a “waste of money” since they typically only “burn back” the growth and do not “kill” the hydrilla plant. Successful hydrilla treatment proposals typically present a dual approach of White Amur coupled with herbicides. Think of it this way…..if the herbicides can reduce the overall biomass of hydrilla in the Lake (even temporarily), then the White Amur have less hydrilla to consume and can reduce the total hydrilla to a more acceptable level more quickly. Herbicide treatments for hydrilla beyond April, 2007 are also a possibility.
Regarding the question “Are any of the 27,046 White Amur still alive?”, there is no evidence to the contrary. White Amur were not seen dying upon introduction into the Lake. There have not been reports of dead, floating White Amur on the surface or shores of our Lake. The 12 – 14 inch White Amur were large enough at introduction to the Lake to avoid significant predication by large bass or other fish. The real truth to this question will not be known until detailed surveys are completed in March and May, 2007, and results show the success or failure of the White Amur to reduce our hydrilla infestation.
TPWD estimates that Giant Salvinia covers between 150 – 300 acres of our Lake through a diverse spread of small infestations (and an estimated 40 acre infestation in Little Lake Creek). Giant Salvinia can double in size every 2 -3 days, and is a far more serious problem than hydrilla if not controlled. The Cooperators plan to continue the treatment of Giant Salvinia through their dual approach of herbicides and biological controls (weevils). The 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan calls for the reduction of Giant Salvinia to “40 acres or less by March, 2008”.
It was noted in our Meeting that many lake users may not know that White Amur are protected in our State. In the event that you inadvertently catch a White Amur, you are obligated by law to “catch and release”. Game Wardens on Lake Conroe are aware of this law and actively checking fishing boats for White Amur. Should you be found guilty of catching (and not releasing immediately) White Amur on Lake Conroe, you will be subject to significant fines and other penalties.
Are you seeing significant quantities of hydrilla washing up on your shore? It’s appearance may look like what many commonly refer to as “sea weed” (long, thin strands….not as bright green as in the Summer….and lacking the leaf quantity as in the Summer). Chances are that this IS hydrilla which has been damaged during our Winter storms. Hydrilla has a natural “die back” during the winter and becomes less healthy. Our rise in Lake level and fierce storm waves have damaged much hydrilla so far this Winter, and many shorelines are covered with this “mess”. Most likely, you’re seeing hydrilla stems that have broken loose from underwater hydrilla “mats”, and this debris will rot and disappear eventually. Some portion of this fragmented hydrilla can “root” later.
The rains have pounded us once again. As an FYI, the highest Lake level this week reached a level of 202.86 feet (above sea level). SJRA is actively letting water out of the dam to reach its mandated level of 201.0 feet. Today’s Lake level is 201.97 feet.
The LCA has recommended Public Meetings in 2007 to keep everyone abreast of the Lake infestation. We felt that our Public Meeting in 2006 was a necessary tool to keep you informed and give you a forum to voice your concerns. Dates have not yet been set for these Meetings.

That’s it for now. We’ll provide additional information as it comes to us. Thank you for supporting the LCA and taking an active interest in the health of our Lake Conroe.

Mike

BYLAWS OF

LAKE CONROE ASSOCIATION

A NON-PROFIT CORPORATION

Article I. Offices

Section One. Principal Office. The principal office of the corporation in the State of Texas shall be located in the County of Montgomery.

Section Two. Other Offices. The corporation may have such other offices, either within or without the County of Montgomery, State of Texas, as the Board of Directors may determine or as the affairs of the corporation may require from time to time.

Article II. Members

Section One. Classes of Members. The Corporation may have multiple classes of Members. The qualifications for membership shall be redefined or reaffirmed by the Board of Directors at each annual meeting.

Section Two. Election of Members. Members shall be elected by the Board of Directors. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Directors shall be required for election. New Members shall be elected at the Board meeting that follows qualification.

Section Three. Voting Rights. Each Member shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote of the Members.

Section Four. Termination of Membership. The Board of Directors, by affirmative vote of two-thirds of all of the members of the Board, may suspend or expel a Member for cause after an appropriate hearing, and by a majority vote of those present at any regularly constituted meeting, may terminate the membership of any Member who becomes ineligible for membership, or suspend or expel any Member who shall be in default in the payment of dues for the period fixed in Article IX of these bylaws.

Section Five. Resignation. A Member shall be considered to have resigned if that Member fails to pay the annual dues.

Section Six. Reinstatement. Membership in this corporation is not transferrable or assignable.

Article III. Meetings of Members

Section One. Annual Meeting. An annual meeting of the Members shall be held in Montgomery County, Texas, on the third Friday of January of each year, for the purpose of electing Directors and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the meeting. If the day fixed for the annual meeting shall be a legal holiday in the State of Texas, such meeting may be held on the next succeeding business day. If the election of Directors shall not be held on the day designated herein for any annual meeting, or at any adjournment thereof, the Board of Directors shall cause the election to be held at a special meeting of the Members as soon thereafter as conveniently may be scheduled.

Section Two. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Members may be called by the President, the Board of Directors, or not less than one-tenth of the Members having voting rights.

Section Three. Place of Meeting. The Board of Directors may designate any place, either within or without the State of Texas, as the place of meeting for any annual meeting for any special meeting called by the Board of Directors. If no designation is made or if a special meeting be otherwise called, the place of the meeting shall be the registered office of the corporation in the State of Texas; but if all of the Members shall meet at any time and place, either within or without the State of Texas, and consent to the holding of the meeting, such meeting shall be valid without call or notice, and at such meeting any corporate action may be taken.

Section Four. Notice of Meetings. Written or printed notice stating the place, day and hour of any meeting of Members shall be delivered, either personally or by postal or electronic mail (email), to each member entitled to vote at such meeting, not less than ten days or more than 50 days before the date of the meeting, by or at the direction of the president, or the secretary, or the officers or persons calling the meeting. In case of a special meeting or when required by statute or by these bylaws, the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called shall be stated in the notice. If mailed, the notice of a meeting shall be deemed delivered when deposited in the United States mail, addressed to the Member at his address as it appears on the records of the corporation, with postage thereon prepaid.

Section Five. Informal Action by Members. Any action required by law to be taken at a meeting of the members, or any action that may be taken at a meeting of Members, may be taken without a meeting if a consent, in writing, setting forth the action to be taken, shall be signed by all Members entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof.

Section Six. Quorum. The presence, either in person or by proxy, at any meeting of at least 10% (ten percent) of the total membership shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, a majority of those Members present in person or by proxy, or a majority of the Board of Directors, may adjourn or continue the meeting without further notice. A quorum of Directors shall be defined as 33% of the then approved Directors, or a minimum of 3, whichever is greater.

Section Seven. Proxies. At any meeting of Members, a Member entitled to vote may vote by proxy executed in writing by the Member or his duly authorized attorney in fact. No proxy shall be valid after eleven months from the date of execution, unless otherwise provided in the proxy.

Section Eight. Voting by Mail. Where Directors or Officers are to be elected by members, such election may be conducted by mail in such manner as the Board of Directors shall determine, regardless of the number of Members who vote.

Section Nine. Cumulative Voting. Cumulative voting is not permitted.

Article IV. Board of Directors

Section One. General Powers. The affairs of the corporation shall be managed by its Board of Directors. Directors need not be members of the Corporation.

Section Two. Number, Tenure, and Qualifications. The number of Directors shall be not less than three nor more than 14. Each Director shall hold office until the next annual meeting of Members and until his successor shall have been elected and qualified.

Section Three. Regular Meetings. A regular annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall be held without other notice than this bylaw, immediately after, and at the same place, as the annual meeting of Members. The Board of Directors may provide by resolution the time and place, either within or without the State of Texas, for the holding of additional regular meetings of the Board without other notice than such resolution.

Section Four. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by or at the request of the President or any two directors. The person or persons authorized to call special meetings of the Board may fix any place, either within or without the state, as the place for holding any special meeting of the board called by them.

Written, printed, or electronic mail (email) notice of any special meeting of the Board will be delivered to each Director not less than seven (7) nor more than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting. The notice will state the place, day, and time of the meeting; who called it; and the purpose or purposes for which it is called.

If the President of the Board of Directors so elects, voting on any one specific action can be done via email without convening a meeting of the Board. All members of the Board must receive the email initiating the proposal requiring a vote; a quorum must vote on the matter. A printed record of all votes shall be retained and the record of the votes shall be included in the minutes of the next regularly convened Board meeting.

Section Five. Nominating and Electing Directors. A Nominating Committee will be appointed by the President of the Board of Directors to prepare a slate of candidates for the next annual meeting. Directors will be elected during the annual meeting of Members except as provided in Article IV, Section Eight.

Section Six. Quorum. A quorum of Directors is defined in Article II, Section Six and is to be used for transacting business at any board meeting. The Directors present at a duly called or held meeting at which a quorum is present may continue to transact business even if enough directors leave the meeting so that less than a quorum remains. However, no action may be approved without the vote of at least the number of Directors required for a quorum. If a quorum is never present at any time during a meeting, a majority of the Directors present may adjourn and reconvene the meeting once without further notice.

Section Seven. Actions of Board of Directors; Proxies. The vote of a majority of Directors present and voting at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the board of directors, unless the act of a greater number is required by law or by these bylaws. At any meeting of directors, a Director entitled to vote may vote by proxy executed in writing by the director or by his duly authorized attorney in fact. No proxy is valid after two (2) months from the date of its execution, unless otherwise provided in the proxy.

Section Eight. Vacancies. Any vacancy occurring in the Board of Directors shall be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining Directors though less than a quorum of the Board of Directors. A Director elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his predecessor in office.

Any Directorship to be filled by reason of an increase in the number of Directors shall be filled by election at an annual meeting, or at a special meeting of Members called for that purpose. If no members have the right to vote thereon, the Directorship shall be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining Directors though less than a quorum of the Board of Directors.

Section Nine. Compensation. Directors as such shall not receive any stated salaries for their services, but by resolution of the Board of Directors, any Director may be indemnified for expenses and costs, including attorney’s fees, actually and necessarily incurred by him in connection with any claim asserted against him, by action in court or otherwise, by reason of his being or having been such Director, except in relation to matters as to which he shall have been guilty of negligence or misconduct in respect of the matter in which indemnity is sought. The corporation is required to carry a Directors’ “errors and omissions” liability policy which will cover such indemnification.

Article V. Officers

Section One. Officers. The Officers of the corporation shall be a President, one or more Vice-presidents, the number thereof to be determined by the Board of Directors, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and such other Officers as may be elected in accordance with the provisions of this article. The Board of Directors may elect or appoint such other Officers, including one or more Assistant Secretaries, and one or more Assistant Treasurers, as it shall deem desirable, such Officers to have the authority and perform the duties prescribed, from time to time, by the Board of Directors. Any two or more offices may be held by the same person, except the offices of President and Secretary.

Section Two. Election and Term of Office. The Officers of the Corporation shall be elected annually by the Board of Directors at the regular annual meeting of the Board of Directors. If the election of Officers shall not be held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon thereafter as conveniently may be. New Offices may be created and filled at any meeting of the Board of Directors. Each Officer shall hold office until his successor shall have been duly elected and shall have been qualified.

Section Three. Removal. Any Officer elected or appointed by the Board of Directors may be removed by the Board of Directors whenever in its judgment the best interests of the Corporation would be served thereby, but such removal shall be without prejudice to the contract rights, if any, of the Officer so removed.

Section Four. Vacancies. A vacancy in any office, because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or otherwise, may be filled by the Board of Directors for the unexpired portion of the term.

Section Five. President. The President shall be the principal executive officer of the Corporation and shall, in general, supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the Corporation. He shall preside at all meetings of the Members and of the Board of Directors. He may sign, with the Secretary or any other proper Officer of the Corporation authorized by the Board of Directors, any deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, or other instruments that the Board of Directors have authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board of Directors or by these bylaws or by statute to some other Officer or Agent of the Corporation; and, in general, he shall perform all duties incident to the office of President and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors from time to time.

Section Six. Vice-President. In the absence of the President or in the event of his inability or refusal to act, the Vice-presidents in the order of their election shall perform the duties of the President, and when so acting, shall have all the powers of and be subject to all the restrictions on the President. Any Vice-president shall perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the President or by the Board of Directors.

Section Seven. Treasurer. If required by the Board of Directors, the Treasurer shall give a bond for the faithful discharge of his duties in such sum and with such surety or sureties as the board of Directors shall determine. He shall have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the Corporation; receive and give receipts for moneys due and payable to the Corporation from any source whatsoever, and deposit all such moneys in the name of the Corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as shall be selected by the Board of Directors; and, in general, perform all the duties incident to the Office of Treasurer and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the President or by the Board of Directors.

Section Eight. Secretary. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the meetings of the Members and of the Board of Directors in one or more books provided for that purpose; see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws or as required by law; be custodian of the Corporate records and of the seal of the Corporation. and see that the seal of the Corporation is affixed to documents, the execution of which on behalf of the Corporation under its seal is duly authorized in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws; keep a register of the post-office address and electronic mail address of each member which shall be furnished to the secretary by such Member; and in general perform all duties incident to the Office of Secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the President or the Board of Directors.

Section Nine. Assistant Treasurers and Assistant Secretaries. If required by the Board of Directors, the Assistant Treasurers shall give bonds for the faithful discharge of their duties in such sums and with such sureties as the Board of Directors shall determine. The Assistant Treasurers and Assistant Secretaries, in general, shall perform such duties as shall be assigned to them by the Treasurer or the Secretary or by the President or by the Board of Directors.

Article VI. Committees

Section One. Committee of Directors. The Board of Directors, by resolution adopted by a majority of the Directors in office, may designate one or more Committees, each of which shall consist of two or more Directors, which Committees, to the extent provided in said resolution, shall have and exercise the authority of the Board of Directors in the management of the Corporation; but the designation of such Committees and the delegation thereto of authority shall not operate to relieve the Board of Directors, or any individual Director, or any responsibility imposed on it or him by law.

A Committee duly designated may perform the functions of any officer and the functions of any two or more Officers may be performed by a single Committee, including the functions of both President and Secretary.

Section Two. Other Committees. Other Committees not having and exercising the authority of the Board of Directors in the management of the corporation may be designated by a resolution adopted by a majority of the Directors present at a meeting at which a quorum is present. Except as otherwise provided in such resolution, members of each such Committee shall be Members of the Corporation, and the President of the Corporation shall appoint the Chairperson(s) thereof. The President of the Corporation or the Committee Chairperson(s) may appoint the Committee Members.

Section Three. Term of Office. Each Member of a Committee shall continue as such until the next annual meeting of the Members of the Corporation and until his successor is appointed, unless the Committee shall be sooner terminated, or unless such Member be removed from such Committee, or unless such Member shall cease to qualify as a Member thereof.

Section Four. Chairman. One Member of each Committee shall be appointed chairman by the person or persons authorized to appoint the Members thereof.

Section Five. Vacancies. Vacancies in the Membership of any Committee may be filled by appointments made in the same manner as provided in the case of the original appointments.

Section Six. Quorum. Unless otherwise provided in the resolution of the Board of Directors designating a committee, a majority of the whole committee shall constitute a quorum and the act of a majority of the Members present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Committee.

Section Seven. Rules. Each Committee may adopt rules for its own government not inconsistent with these bylaws or with rules adopted by the Board of Directors.

Article VII. Contracts, Checks, Deposits, and Funds.

Section One. Contracts. The Board of Directors may authorize any Officer or Officers, Agent or Agents of the Corporation, in addition to the Officers so authorized by these bylaws, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Corporation, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.

Section Two. Checks, Drafts, or Orders for Payment. All checks, drafts, or orders for the payment of money, notes, or other evidences in indebtedness issued in the name of the Corporation shall be signed by such Officer or Officers, Agent or Agents of the Corporation and in such manner as shall from time to time be determined by resolution of the Board of Directors. In the absence of such determination by the Board of Directors, such instruments shall be signed by the treasurer or an assistant treasurer and countersigned by the president or a vice-president of the Corporation.

Section Three. Deposits. All funds of the Corporation shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the Corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as the Board of Directors may select.

Section Four. Gifts. The Board of Directors may accept on behalf of the Corporation any contribution, gift, bequest, or devise for the general purposes, or for any special purpose of the Corporation.

Article VIII. Certificates of Membership

Section One. Certificate of Membership. The Board of Directors may provide for the issuance of certificates evidencing membership in the Corporation, which shall be in such form as may be determined by the Board. Such certificates shall be signed by the President or a Vice-president and by the Secretary or an Assistant Secretary. The name and address of each member and the date of issuance of the certificate shall be entered on the records of the corporation. If any certificate shall become lost, mutilated, or destroyed, a new certificate may be issued therefor on such terms and conditions as the Board of Directors may determine.

Section Two Deleted

Article IX. Dues

Section One. Annual Dues. The Board of Directors may determine from time to time the amount of initiation fee, if any, and amount of annual dues payable to the Corporation by Members of each class.

Section Two. Payment of Dues. Annual dues are required for a Member to remain in good standing. The date of collection of the annual dues will be determined by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has the right to waive the annual dues for all current Members for any year they so determine.

Section Three. Default and Termination of Membership. When any Member of any class shall be in default in the payment of dues for a period of six (6) months from the beginning of the fiscal year or period in which such dues become payable, his Membership may thereupon be terminated by the Board of Directors in the manner provided in Article II of these bylaws.

Article X Miscellaneous

Section One. Books and Records. The Corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account and shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of its Members, Board of Directors, and Committees having any of the authority of the Board of Directors, and shall keep at the registered or principal office a record giving the names and addresses of the Members entitled to vote. All books and records of the Corporation may be inspected by any Members, or his Agent or Attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time.

Section Two. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Corporation shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December in each year.

Section Three. Corporate Seal. The Board of Directors shall have the power to have a Corporate seal if they should determine it necessary.

Section Four. Waiver of Notice. Whenever any notice is required to be given under the provisions of the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act or under the provisions of the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the Corporation, a waiver thereof in writing signed by the person or persons entitled to such notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed equivalent to the giving of such notice.

Article XI. Amendments

Section One. Power of Members to Amend Bylaws. The bylaws of this Corporation may be amended, repealed, or added to, or new bylaws may be adopted by the vote of a majority of the Members entitled to vote or by the vote of a majority of a quorum at a meeting duly called for the purpose according to the articles or bylaws.

It is therefore resolved on this the 19th day of January, 2007 that the bylaws presented to this meeting become the bylaws of this Corporation effective forthwith.

It is further resolved that the bylaws be authenticated as such by the certificate of the Secretary of this Corporation and placed in its minute book, and that a full and true copy thereof, certified by the Secretary, be kept at the principal office of the Corporation for inspection by Shareholders at all reasonable times during business hours.

/s/ Mike Bleier

Colin Stead

Tom Butz

Sue Wheatly

Amendments seconded and passed on Jan 19, 2007. See minutes of meeting.

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Good day to all Lake Conroe residents and users. The LCA thought it time to provide you with an update on the Aquatic Plant Management status of the Lake.

2007 LAKE CONROE AQUATIC PLANT MANAGEMENT PLAN:

After numerous meetings between Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) and seventeen (17) representatives from residents, businesses and anglers, the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Plant Management Plan has been finalized. The LCA endorses the basic approach of the Plan and its goals. Should you desire to read the Plan, the Plan is being added to our LCA website at “www: lakeconroeassociation.com”.

A key element of this Plan is its approach to deal with not only Hydrilla but also Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth (whereas the prior year’s Plan only dealt with Hydrilla). All of these noxious weeds pose a threat to our Lake.

The two (2) primary elements of the Plan deal with treatment options and timelines for action. For the discussion of specific treatment options, please refer to the Plan and subsequent discussion in this Update. To provide you information on “timelines for action”, please see the following (which includes current timetables as of this morning):

· Monday, March 19…..TPWD initiates its first 2007 survey of infested acres (weather permitting). The survey will take about a week. Data gathered will determine if additional white amur are to be added at this time.

· Week of March 19……SJRA initiates herbicide applications for Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth (weather permitting). This herbicide application will be cost-shared 50/50 between SJRA and the LCA.

· May…….TPWD conducts its second survey of infested acres. Data gathered will determine if additional white amur are to be added in June.

· July……TPWD conducts its third survey of infested acres. Data gathered will determine if additional white amur are to be added in August.

· September……TPWD conducts its final 2007 survey of infested acres. Data gathered will determine if additional white amur are to be added in October.

· September, 2007……date at which the Plan commits to have Giant Salvinia reduced to 40 acres or less (with no more than 5 contiguous acres). The latest survey estimated 300 acres of Giant Salvinia (which, under ideal growing conditions, doubles in mass every four days).

· March, 2008……date at which the Plan commits to have Hydrilla reduced to 40 acres or less. The latest survey (Sept, 2006) estimated 1,167 infested acres plus TPWD estimates that 700 acres of previously dry lakebed (in Sept, 2006) are now infested.

TREATMENT OF HYDRILLA:

Hydrilla will be treated using both White Amur and herbicides. While many residents and lake users prefer a treatment program which utilizes “more white amur now and no herbicides”, the Plan does not call for this approach.

White Amur will be added based on future TPWD surveys of infested acres. As you are aware, there is grave concern over the introduction of too many White Amur which may, once all Hydrilla is eaten, eat other native vegetation in the Lake (similar to what happened 25 years ago). TPWD will remain environmentally conservative in this approach to protect the Lake’s native vegetation. Having said this, in order for TPWD and SJRA to achieve the Plan objective of “40 acres or less of Hydrilla infested acres by March, 2008”, one of two things must happen. First, the White Amur already in the Lake would have to be sufficient to reduce Hydrilla (as proven through surveys). Or second, more White Amur will need to be added. SJRA and the LCA will cost-share the purchase of these White Amur on a 50/50 basis.

Herbicides will also be used to combat Hydrilla. Use of a product called “Sonar” may be used in cove-type areas where the product will not dissipate easily into the main body of the Lake (only 100 to 200 of infested Hydrilla acres of the Lake fit this description). This product takes 45 to 60 days of “contact time” to be effective; but when effective, actually kills both Hydrilla and Giant Salvinia by eliminating their ability to conduct photosynthesis.

More common to our Lake, a product called “Aquathol” will be used to “burn back” Hydrilla. This product provides almost-immediate results in removing “topped-out Hydrilla”, but does not kill the plant. This product has been used historically to clear access to the main body of the Lake and around boat docks. “Aquathol” will be used to reduce the total mass of Hydrilla in the Lake so that the White Amur have less Hydrilla to eat and, theoretically, can control Hydrilla faster and more effectively. Again, TPWD and SJRA endorse an approach of White Amur plus herbicides rather than introducing too many White Amur (and the potential effects on native vegetation).

Historically, SJRA has paid for herbicides. While the LCA understands the use of herbicides in treating Hydrilla and their potential value, we continue to evaluate the high cost of herbicides versus the addition of more White Amur. SJRA has requested the LCA to become a 50/50 cost-share partner in the purchase of herbicides, and the LCA has requested that SJRA provide the LCA with a cost estimate based on monies spent on herbicides last year by SJRA and projected for this year. The LCA cannot agree to cost-share on herbicides for the treatment of Hydrilla until it can evaluate these projected costs and make its own decision on whether these are monies well spent on behalf of our LCA members. This information will be available in the next couple of weeks.

IF YOU CATCH A WHITE AMUR, YOU MUST “RELEASE”:

In the event that you inadvertently catch a White Amur, the law states that you must “release” that White Amur immediately. Anyone caught by Game Wardens with White Amur on board their boat is subject to significant fines and penalties. In an effort to raise awareness of this issue and protect the White Amur you have helped to purchase, a Signage Campaign has been initiated to state the law and assist anglers in identifying a White Amur. TPWD will prepare the signage, and such signage will be posted at boat launches and marinas. Costs for this signage will be shared by TPWD, SJRA, the LCA and Texas BASS Federation (largest angling organization in Texas).

TREATMENT OF GIANT SALVINIA:

Giant Salvinia has not received the same attention level on Lake Conroe as has Hydrilla. Most likely, individuals do not focus as much on things that they cannot see (or, at least, see easily). With Hydrilla encroaching on your boat dock or hindering your ability to navigate through and enjoy the Lake, it’s only natural that Hydrilla has received the majority of the public’s and LCA’s attention. The LCA’s objective would be the reduction of Giant Salvinia to less than one acre by the end of the year.

Under ideal growing conditions, Giant Salvinia can DOUBLE in mass EVERY FOUR DAYS. Giant Salvinia was estimated to cover 300 acres in the Fall of 2006. Imagine if you will, a plant (again, under ideal growing conditions) covering 300 acres on April 1 which becomes 600 acres on April 5… which becomes 1,200 acres on April 9…. which becomes 2,400 acres on April 13. In this example, it only took 8 days to produce more infested Giant Salvinia acres than the total infested Hydrilla acres we had last year (1,167 acres in September, 2006). Giant Salvinia is a terrible, invasive, exotic plant which could destroy our Lake much faster than Hydrilla.

Why haven’t all of us been focusing on Giant Salvinia? The answer lies in its location. Giant Salvinia has primarily resided in the northern-most, uninhabited waters of Lake Conroe where waters are extremely shallow. With no inhabitants to be bothered by the plant and almost zero access by boat (or air boat), Giant Salvinia did not appear to present a direct threat to most of us. Further, the plant was “trapped” in its shallow waters with very little room to expand and limited nutrients and sunlight to utilize in its small space. This is not to say that Giant Salvinia hasn’t caused problems for lakefront residents as well, but such problems were limited (unless, of course, “your” lakefront was infested).

Why are we so concerned about Giant Salvinia now? With the heavy rains at the end of 2006 which raised the Lake level by over four (4) feet, Giant Salvinia was “flushed out” of its habitat and into the main body of Lake Conroe (unlike Hydrilla which anchors itself to the Lake floor, Giant Salvinia floats on the Lake surface). Most likely, all of our Lake’s shoreline has become invaded by very small amounts of Giant Salvinia. I know I can find small pieces of Giant Salvinia just about anywhere I go on the Lake. TPWD and SJRA concur with these findings.

With Giant Salvinia spread throughout the Lake now, 2007 could prove disastrous with no physical restrictions on its growth and unlimited nutrients and sunlight available to it across the Lake. The time to act is now!!! Giant Salvinia is not going to go away on its own. We can treat the 300 or so acres immediately, or we can treat multiples of those acres next month. And, of course, we can spend money now or spend multiples of that money next month.

If there is a good thing about Giant Salvinia, it can be killed with herbicide applications. Since it floats on the surface, herbicides can be applied directly on the plant. This differs greatly from Hydrilla in that Hydrilla grows from the bottom and only leaves the “topped out” portion exposed for direct herbicide applications. While many people resist the use of herbicides, the use of herbicides on Giant Salvinia is a necessity (no other solution, such as White Amur for Hydrilla, is known).

Herbicide applications on Giant Salvinia (and Water Hyacinth…..a floating plant like Giant Salvinia and often found living harmoniously with Giant Salvinia) begin next week. The maximum projected cost for this application is $80,000, and the LCA will share the cost on a 50/50 basis with SJRA.

You will soon see and hear Fund Raising efforts by the LCA regarding monies needed for the treatment of Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth. It should be noted that the LCA has obtained preliminary endorsement of this Fund Raising campaign from angling organizations such a Texas BASS Federation (anglers have always recognized the devastating effects of Giant Salvinia). Meetings are being held next week with BASS to work out a joint Fund Raising effort where support is requested from residents, businesses AND anglers. These Fund Raising efforts have been endorsed by TPWD and SJRA.

LCA BANK BALANCE AND FUND RAISING EFFORTS:

The LCA currently holds approximately $152,000 from previous Fund Raising efforts. From this balance, $32,000 will be paid next week for the LCA’s 50% portion of the 10,000 White Amur placed in the Lake over the past three (3) weeks. An estimated $40,000 will be paid during the next month for the LCA’s 50% portion of Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth herbicide applications. Deducting these two payments, the LCA will have a remaining balance of $80,000. When further additions of White Amur are approved in 2007 and funds are needed for potential Giant Salvinia herbicide applications, the LCA could find itself without the monies needed to return Lake Conroe to its previously enjoyable and safe condition. Therefore, Fund Raising continues to be a priority for the LCA….and you.

Previously unprecedented, the LCA will work with angling organizations to raise awareness and monies. As an LCA member, you should have received our request to write two (2) US Senators and ten (10) US Representatives informing them that funding is needed at a Federal level for Aquatic Plant Management (and “Thank You” very much if you followed through on the letters). The LCA will next work on a similar letter to State Senators and State Representatives to request funding at a State level for Aquatic Plant Management. I will travel to Austin this Wednesday at Senator Nichols request to present Texas’ needs for Aquatic Plant Management funding to approximately 55 State Representatives and to request their support for Senator Nichols’ Bill (which would authorize TPWD monies to be used for Aquatic Plant Management). The LCA participates in the Conroe Chamber of Commerce and tries to inform local businesses why our “weed problem” is their problem too. We speak at POA Meetings, sell tee shirts, present the issue to Montgomery County Commissioners Court and try every avenue to raise money that is presented to us. The US Forest Service, who owns 30% of Lake Conroe’s shoreline, has obtained preliminary approval to provide funding to SJRA for Aquatic Plant Management on Lake Conroe. And, of course, we’ll be asking for your support.

Thank you for listening, and I will present another President’s Update next month with new information on our progress and concerns. Until then, enjoy our Lake.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

This Update will cover two (2) significant topics; namely, LCA’s Annual Meeting for its Members held today and yesterday’s Advisory Committee Meeting held to provide input on the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

LCA ANNUAL MEETING:

Our Annual Meeting was held today at the offices of the San Jacinto River Authority. General information was provided to the attendees and questions were answered. A financial report was presented which summarized Income and Expense for the LCA for calendar year 2006. LCA Member voting was also completed (in conjunction with proxies submitted by Members through the mail) on the election of the 2007 LCA Board of Directors and proposed LCA By-Law revisions.

A brief summary of the LCA’s 2006 Cash Flow Statement (unaudited at this point) is listed as follows:

CASH, January 1, 2006 $24,989

Add 2006 Income:

Donations 205,634

Tee Shirt Sales and Interest Income 3,466

———

Total Income 209,100 209,100

======

Deduct 2006 Expenses:

White Amur Purchases 72,266

Fund Raising (Printing/Postage) 15,904

Administrative 2,372

———

Total Expenses 90,542 (90,542)

====== ———-

CASH, December 31, 2006 $143,547

======

It should be noted that “Cash” at December 31, 2006 includes monies invested in Money Market Accounts earning interest at 4.7%. We are also pleased to report that our Administrative Expenses of $2,372 represent only 1% of our 2006 Total Income of $209,100 (primarily due to Directors working exclusively on a volunteer basis).

We would very much like to thank our 950+ Members for their generosity in our 2006 Fund Raising Campaign. And, while our $143,547 Cash Balance at December 31, 2006 is substantial, we must point out that the cost of successfully controlling hydrilla, giant salvinia and water hyacinth in 2007 may far outweigh our current funds. Accordingly, LCA Fund Raising diligently continues in 2007 from residents, businesses, and Federal, State and County sources.

With voting tabulated, we are pleased to announce your 2007 LCA Board of Directors as follows: Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski, Ben Richardson, Stan Sproba, Colin Stead, Bernie Walling, Conrad Weil and Sue Wheatley (13 in all). Further, the LCA proposed changes to the LCA By-Laws were passed. A total of 259 proxies were received from our Members, or approximately 27% of the LCA Membership.

Subsequent to LCA Annual Meeting, the LCA Board conducted its Meeting to elect its Officers for 2007. Your 2007 LCA Officers are Mike Bleier (President), Colin Stead (Vice President), Tom Butz (Treasurer) and Sue Wheatley (Secretary).

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING ON 2007 LAKE CONROE AQUATIC VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN:

Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) and the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) (the two “Cooperators” under the Plan) held a Meeting yesterday at the offices of SJRA to discuss the Preliminary 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan. Seventeen (17) individuals representing residents, businesses and anglers (collectively referred to as “Stakeholders”) were invited to join TPWD and SJRA in comprising the 2007 Advisory Committee. A “draft” of the 2007 Plan was submitted to the Stakeholders, and comments were solicited. Much feedback was shared amongst the attendees, and this feedback will be utilized by the Cooperators to develop the next Draft of the 2007 Plan. The 2007 Advisory Committee will meet again in approximately three (3) weeks to review all changes made to the Plan, and final comments will be shared prior to the Cooperators issuing the Final 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

To briefly summarize where we stood at the end of 2006, the October, 2006 hydrilla survey conducted by TPWD estimated a total of 1,167 hydrilla infested acres. Grass carp called “White Amur” which have a particular appetite for hydrilla were re-introduced into Lake Conroe during 2006 in three (3) stockings, and an estimated 27,046 White Amur were feeding in Lake Conroe by year’s end. These stockings approximate a rate of twenty-three (23) white amur per infested hydrilla acre.

A particular concern for 2007 has been the status of 2,600 acres of lakebed which was dry during the Summer of 2006. Some portion of these 2,600 acres were infested with hydrilla in 2005, and the likelihood that they become re-infested now that the Lake has risen to its normal level again is high.

This Update will cover two (2) significant topics; namely, LCA’s Annual Meeting for its Members held today and yesterday’s Advisory Committee Meeting held to provide input on the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

 

LCA ANNUAL MEETING:

Our Annual Meeting was held today at the offices of the San Jacinto River Authority.  General information was provided to the attendees and questions were answered.  A financial report was presented which summarized Income and Expense for the LCA for calendar year 2006.  LCA Member voting was also completed (in conjunction with proxies submitted by Members through the mail) on the election of the 2007 LCA Board of Directors and proposed LCA By-Law revisions.

 

A brief summary of the LCA’s 2006 Cash Flow Statement (unaudited at this point) is listed as follows:

 

CASH,January 1, 2006                                                       $24,989

 

Add 2006 Income:

Donations                                                  205,634

Tee Shirt Sales and Interest Income             3,466

———

Total Income                                     209,100         209,100

======

Deduct 2006 Expenses:

White Amur Purchases                               72,266

Fund Raising (Printing/Postage)                 15,904

Administrative                                              2,372

———

Total Expenses                                    90,542         (90,542)

======        ———-

 

CASH,December 31, 2006                                                $143,547

======

It should be noted that “Cash” atDecember 31, 2006includes monies invested in Money Market Accounts earning interest at 4.7%.  We are also pleased to report that our Administrative Expenses of $2,372 represent only 1% of our 2006 Total Income of $209,100 (primarily due to Directors working exclusively on a volunteer basis).

We would very much like to thank our 950+ Members for their generosity in our 2006 Fund Raising Campaign.  And, while our $143,547 Cash Balance atDecember 31, 2006is substantial, we must point out that the cost of successfully controlling hydrilla, giant salvinia and water hyacinth in 2007 may far outweigh our current funds.  Accordingly, LCA Fund Raising diligently continues in 2007 from residents, businesses, and Federal, State and County sources.

With voting tabulated, we are pleased to announce your 2007 LCA Board of Directors as follows:  Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski, Ben Richardson, Stan Sproba, Colin Stead, Bernie Walling, Conrad Weil and Sue Wheatley (13 in all).  Further, the LCA proposed changes to the LCA By-Laws were passed.  A total of 259 proxies were received from our Members, or approximately 27% of the LCA Membership.

Subsequent to LCA Annual Meeting, the LCA Board conducted its Meeting to elect its Officers for 2007.  Your 2007 LCA Officers are Mike Bleier (President), Colin Stead (Vice President), Tom Butz (Treasurer) and Sue Wheatley (Secretary).

ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING ON 2007LAKECONROEAQUATIC VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN:

Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) and the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) (the two “Cooperators” under the Plan) held a Meeting yesterday at the offices of SJRA to discuss the Preliminary 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.  Seventeen (17) individuals representing residents, businesses and anglers (collectively referred to as “Stakeholders”) were invited to join TPWD and SJRA in comprising the 2007 Advisory Committee.  A “draft” of the 2007 Plan was submitted to the Stakeholders, and comments were solicited.  Much feedback was shared amongst the attendees, and this feedback will be utilized by the Cooperators to develop the next Draft of the 2007 Plan.  The 2007 Advisory Committee will meet again in approximately three (3) weeks to review all changes made to the Plan, and final comments will be shared prior to the Cooperators issuing the Final 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

To briefly summarize where we stood at the end of 2006, the October, 2006 hydrilla survey conducted by TPWD estimated a total of 1,167 hydrilla infested acres.  Grass carp called “White Amur” which have a particular appetite for hydrilla were re-introduced intoLakeConroeduring 2006 in three (3) stockings, and an estimated 27,046 White Amur were feeding inLakeConroeby year’s end.  These stockings approximate a rate of twenty-three (23) white amur per infested hydrilla acre.

A particular concern for 2007 has been the status of 2,600 acres of lakebed which was dry during the Summer of 2006.  Some portion of these 2,600 acres were infested with hydrilla in 2005, and the likelihood that they become re-infested now that theLakehas risen to its normal level again is high.

Having provided this brief background, please find my notes on key points discussed in the Advisory Committee Meeting yesterday (in no order of significance):

  1. TPWD conducted a survey in January, 2007 of the previously dry lakebed in an effort to quantify the number of acres infested with hydrilla since theLakerose to its standard level of 201 feet above sea level.  They estimated that 700 acres of this previously dry lakebed has initiated hydrilla re-growth through “tubers” that can survive dry conditions for reportedly up to seven (7) years.
  2. TPWD proposed to permit the addition of 10,000 White Amur in February, 2007 to proactively address these newly infested acres and the ongoing mortality of the 27,046 White Amur introduced in 2006 (White Amur have an estimated mortality of 30% annually).   The LCA applauds this proactive approach by the Cooperators.  The cost of these White Amur will be shared equally by SJRA and the LCA, and TPWD has waived its $2/fish permitting fee for 2007 (and, hopefully, beyond).
  3. TPWD proposes to conduct its next lake-wide aquatic vegetation survey in March, 2007.  Should this survey conclude that hydrilla growth is not being reduced as expected by cool Winter water temperatures and the hydrilla-eating White Amur introduced during 2006, additional White Amur would be permitted and added during April, 2007 (always subject to availability from the hatcheries).
  4. Similar aquatic vegetation surveys would be conducted in May, 2007, July, 2007 and September, 2007.  If deemed necessary by the Cooperators, additional White Amur would be added in the month after each survey.
  5. Should hydrilla growth exceed forecasts based on historic data, TPWD may consider raising the stocking rate of White Amur from 23 fish/acre to a higher number/acre.
  6. As in the 2006 Plan, the 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan calls for the reduction of hydrilla-infested acres to “40 acres or less by March, 2008”.  The Cooperators and Stakeholders are all committed to achieving this goal, and are prepared to stock additional White Amur as needed to reach this goal.  To supplement the budget available to SJRA for aquatic plant management, the LCA has committed to raise whatever monies are necessary to achieve the goal of “40 acres or less by March, 2008”.  Once the goal of reducing hydrilla to “40 acres or less” is accomplished, the ongoing plan will be to keep hydrilla permanently below 40 acres.  It should be further noted that “40 acres or less” of hydrilla is intended to remain primarily in the uninhabited, northern portion of the Lake and not in the highly populated used southern portion of theLake.
  7. The Cooperators are considering further herbicide treatments in March or April, 2007 to attack, in particular, the new hydrilla growing in the previously dry lakebed.  Herbicides can be very effective at reducing hydrilla tuber regeneration.  The use of herbicides on hydrilla is often criticized as a “waste of money” since they typically only “burn back” the growth and do not “kill” the hydrilla plant.  Successful hydrilla treatment proposals typically present a dual approach of White Amur coupled with herbicides.  Think of it this way…..if the herbicides can reduce the overall biomass of hydrilla in theLake(even temporarily), then the White Amur have less hydrilla to consume and can reduce the total hydrilla to a more acceptable level more quickly.  Herbicide treatments for hydrilla beyond April, 2007 are also a possibility.
  8.  Regarding the question “Are any of the 27,046 White Amur still alive?”, there is no evidence to the contrary.  White Amur were not seen dying upon introduction into theLake.  There have not been reports of dead, floating White Amur on the surface or shores of ourLake.  The 12 – 14 inch White Amur were large enough at introduction to theLaketo avoid significant predication by large bass or other fish.  The real truth to this question will not be known until detailed surveys are completed in March and May, 2007, and results show the success or failure of the White Amur to reduce our hydrilla infestation.
  9. TPWD estimates that Giant Salvinia covers between 150 – 300 acres of ourLakethrough a diverse spread of small infestations (and an estimated 40 acre infestation in Little Lake Creek).  Giant Salvinia can double in size every 2 -3 days, and is a far more serious problem than hydrilla if not controlled.  The Cooperators plan to continue the treatment of Giant Salvinia through their dual approach of herbicides and biological controls (weevils).  The 2007 Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan calls for the reduction of Giant Salvinia to “40 acres or less by March, 2008”.
  10. It was noted in our Meeting that many lake users may not know that White Amur are protected in our State.  In the event that you inadvertently catch a White Amur, you are obligated by law to “catch and release”.  Game Wardens onLakeConroeare aware of this law and actively checking fishing boats for White Amur.  Should you be found guilty of catching (and not releasing immediately) White Amur onLakeConroe, you will be subject to significant fines and other penalties.
  11. Are you seeing significant quantities of hydrilla washing up on your shore?  It’s appearance may look like what many commonly refer to as “sea weed” (long, thin strands….not as bright green as in the Summer….and lacking the leaf quantity as in the Summer).  Chances are that this IS hydrilla which has been damaged during our Winter storms.  Hydrilla has a natural “die back” during the winter and becomes less healthy.  Our rise inLakelevel and fierce storm waves have damaged much hydrilla so far this Winter, and many shorelines are covered with this “mess”.  Most likely, you’re seeing hydrilla stems that have broken loose from underwater hydrilla “mats”, and this debris will rot and disappear eventually.  Some portion of this fragmented hydrilla can “root” later.
  12. The rains have pounded us once again.  As an FYI, the highestLakelevel this week reached a level of 202.86 feet (above sea level).  SJRA is actively letting water out of the dam to reach its mandated level of 201.0 feet.  Today’sLakelevel is 201.97 feet.
  13. The LCA has recommended Public Meetings in 2007 to keep everyone abreast of theLakeinfestation.  We felt that our Public Meeting in 2006 was a necessary tool to keep you informed and give you a forum to voice your concerns.  Dates have not yet been set for these Meetings.

That’s it for now.  We’ll provide additional information as it comes to us.  Thank you for supporting the LCA and taking an active interest in the health of ourLakeConroe.

Mike

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Good day to all. To use a common phrase, “I have good news and I have bad news. Which do you want first?”

HYDRILLA:

The September, 2006 hydrilla survey estimated 1,200 infested acres. With the rains and rise in Lake levels, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) estimated an additional 700 acres of previously dry lakebed would become infested. I, like most of you, had hoped that the combination of winter temperatures causing hydrilla die back plus our 27,000 White Amur eating away would dramatically decrease the amount of hydrilla in Lake Conroe. TPWD completed its March, 2007 hydrilla survey and estimated a total of 1,900 infested acres…..or no reduction in the number of surface acres at all. With this latest information, Lake users should be prepared for another summer of significant hydrilla infestation.

Acknowledging the new growth hydrilla in the previously dry lakebed, TPWD authorized the introduction of 10,000 new White Amur in March, 2007. Upon completing its hydrilla survey in later March and identifying insignificant hydrilla reduction during the past six months, TPWD authorized the release of an additional 23,424 White Amur which will be added in early to mid-May. This will raise the total of White Amur stocked to around 60,000, and place the approximate number of fish/acre at 30 (an increase from 23 fish/acre in October, 2006). We certainly hope they have BIG appetites over this summer!!

The next TPWD hydrilla survey will be in May, 2007, and I’d be prepared for a further increase in the number of infested acres and the reappearance of “topped-out” hydrilla where we saw it last summer. Further White Amur introductions are possible at that time, yet the concern remains over placing too many White Amur into the Lake which may revert to eating native vegetation once (or if) all of the hydrilla is gone.

The use of herbicides to reduce the quantity of hydrilla is once again being reviewed. Herbicides like Aquathol K do not kill hydrilla but rather “burn it back” for a period of two to four weeks. The benefits of the use of Aquathol K would include the immediate removal of “topped out” hydrilla to provide access to and from the shoreline. A second benefit would be that the less hydrilla there is in the Lake, the less hydrilla the White Amur need to eat and, theoretically, the faster the White Amur can get ahead of the hydrilla growth. Certainly, one negative of the use of herbicides would be the cost of those herbicides (and some would argue that the monies would be better spent on more White Amur that will live for five to seven years). The LCA has not funded herbicide applications for hydrilla in 2006 or 2007, but we will face this issue this Summer. No decision has yet been made by the LCA on this funding issue.

Sonar is a herbicide which does kill hydrilla, but its use is restricted to sheltered “cove-type” areas and its effectiveness is reduced or eliminated should heavy winds or rains wash the herbicide into the main body of the Lake. In the event that Sonar is used, a by-product of its use is that it also kills Giant Salvinia…..and Giant Salvinia likes to collect in these same “cove-type” areas. The use of Sonar is being considered in very limited applications.

Under its arrangement with the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), the LCA is to cost-share on a 50/50 basis with SJRA on all approved White Amur purchases and herbicide applications for Giant Salvinia.

GIANT SALVINIA:

Giant Salvinia doubles in size every four days under ideal growing conditions. TPWD estimated a total of 221 acres of Giant Salvinia on Lake Conroe in September, 2006. With the heavy rains which raised the Lake level back to 201 feet, Giant Salvinia was “washed out” of the northern, uninhabited, low-lying areas in which it thrives and into the main body of the Lake. Giant Salvinia can now be found most everywhere on our Lake’s shoreline in small quantities.

To combat the potential explosion of Giant Salvinia, herbicide applications which kill the plant were initiated three weeks ago. The estimated cost to cover the infestation in this first application was $80,000, and the LCA and SJRA will share in this cost under our 50/50 cost-share arrangement. It’s probable a second application will be needed in two months.

WHITE AMUR SIGNAGE:

White Amur are protected by law from removal from any Texas lake. Signs are currently being produced and will be posted at all marinas and boat launches to educate and remind anglers of the need to “catch and release” should a White Amur be inadvertently caught. These signs should also assist bow hunters in identifying White Amur before they shoot their arrows. And, finally, Game Wardens will not have to listen to the excuse “I didn’t know that was the law.”

WHITE AMUR STOCKINGS:

No, not socks for White Amur !! When White Amur have been introduced into the Lake (stockings), questions have arisen by some LCA Members whether the fish were healthy, of the proper size and handled properly. Historically, stockings have been coordinated between the supplier, SJRA and TPWD. During the May, 2007 stocking, a paid, trained consultant will observe the stocking and also train all LCA Board Members in what to look for in White Amur stockings. All future White Amur stockings in Lake Conroe will be observed by either the paid consultant or a trained LCA Board Member…..in addition to SJRA and TPWD representatives.

WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

Thanks to the generosity of our LCA Members, the LCA raised $240,000 in the last year for Aquatic Plant Management on Lake Conroe. To pay for the 27,000 White Amur introduced into the Lake in 2006, the LCA contributed $90,000 (I’m using big, round numbers for this Update). Our 10,000 White Amur introduced in March, 2007 cost $34,000. The LCA has agreed to pay $40,000 (its 50% share) for the Giant Salvinia herbicide applications in April and May, 2007. And this newest batch of 23,000 White Amur to be introduced in May, 2007 will cost the LCA $76,000. There goes the $240,000. The LCA’s financial records are audited every two years, so please rest assured that each penny is being properly accounted for on your behalf.

FUTURE FUND RAISING:

Based on the above, the LCA’s bank account balance will be less than $2,000 once we receive all of the invoices for payment. What happens when we need more White Amur or herbicide applications?

You guessed it. It’s Fund Raising time again. The LCA has initiated its next Fund Raising effort, and Fund Raising requests will be mailed in May, 2007. A personal contribution of $100 makes an individual a LCA Member for one year. A $250 business contribution makes a business a LCA Member for one year.

We had very limited success in securing funds from local businesses during the past year (and “Thank You” to each business that did contribute). In an effort to acknowledge businesses supporting Lake Conroe and the effort to control its weed infestation, the LCA will implement a couple of new concepts for 2007. All businesses contributing $250 or more will be publicly acknowledged through advertisements placed by the LCA in The Courier. Further, we will create a web page on the LCA website (LakeConroeAssociation.com) which summarizes all business contributors by business category. We hope that you will review the ads and website, and use this information to support the businesses which are also supporting you. Businesses will also be provided a framed certificate which they can display at their business which lets you know they are a financial supporter of Lake Conroe and the LCA.

FUNDS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS:

Senator Nichols presented Senate Bill 825 to the Senate Sub-Committee three weeks ago. Representative Brandon Creighton presented House Bill 825 to the House Sub-Committee (the House version of the Senate bill) two weeks ago. LCA representatives spoke in Austin to both of these Sub-Committees, and we are pleased to say that both Bills were forwarded by the Sub-Committees to their respective Senate and House floors for voting in future months. We very much appreciate the efforts of Senator Nichols and Representative Creighton for their efforts in initiating these Bills, and of a local resident for his efforts at these Sub-Committee hearings. While these Bills do not direct new monies for Aquatic Plant Management (APM) in the State of Texas, they authorize TPWD to utilize certain funds for APM which previously could not be used by TPWD for this purpose. Further, these Bills raise awareness of the need for APM in Austin, and provide a stepping-stone for future funding requests from the State.

FUNDS FROM COUNTY, CITY AND OTHER SOURCES:

The LCA will be hosting a Forum of State, County and City officials in four weeks to discuss the need for funding from sources other than local residents and businesses. This Forum has been favorably accepted by the invitees, and we hope that this event will initiate true dialogue among these various entities on the need for their immediate financial support. Included in the invitee list are Senator Nichols, Representative Creighton, County Judge Sadler, Precinct 1 Commissioner Meador, Precinct 2 Commissioner Doyal, Precinct 3 Commissioner Chance, Precinct 4 Commissioner Rinehart, Conroe Mayor Metcalf, Montgomery Mayor Moore, Willis Mayor Reed, Conroe Chamber of Commerce Director Darsey, US Forest Service representative, TPWD, SJRA, LCA Board Members and Howard Roden from The Courier. This event will not be open to the public as was our August, 2006 Public Meeting, but the LCA and Courier will be reporting on the outcome the following day. We share this information to demonstrate to you that we are “shaking every tree and leaving no stone unturned” in our efforts to secure adequate funding for the today and tomorrow of Lake Conroe; and that we agree that local residents should not be as responsible for the financial maintenance of Lake Conroe as they have been in the past. As Public Entities often cannot produce immediate funds and must obtain approval annually in the budget process, please do not anticipate monies to be received in time to solve our short-term, summer financial needs….and so, the LCA residential and business Fund Raising efforts will move forward and require your full support.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, AND I WILL REPORT TO YOU SOON WITH NEW INFORMATION.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) completed its May, 2007 Hydrilla Survey for Lake Conroe and reported its results (and proposed actions) today at a meeting between TPWD, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), the Lake Conroe Association (LCA) and several local residents and businessmen who round out the team who meet every two months to discuss TPWD surveys. TPWD reported its first decline in Hydrilla on Lake Conroe since 1996, and accounted for this success by the combined program of White Amur grass carp and herbicides over the past year. While the March, 2007 survey reported an estimated 1,870 infested Hydrilla acres, the May, 2007 survey reports an estimated 1,380 infested Hydrilla acres….a reduction of 490 acres, or 26%.

Based on this reported information, TPWD does not recommend the addition of further White Amur at this time. TPWD stated that should their July, 2007 survey indicate an increase in the number of Hydrilla infested acres from the May, 2007 total, they would then recommend an appropriate White Amur stocking to recognize the increase.

TPWD stated that they have applied consistent principles in calculating the number of Hydrilla infested acres throughout each survey, and that they have checked their GPS (Global Positioning System) data carefully to assure the accuracy of the data. They feel very confident in the accuracy of this and previous surveys. They are pleased to have directly observed reduction of specific Hydrilla “mats” by the feeding activity of White Amur, and such observations have been noted by SJRA personnel as well.

In an effort to present comparable data between the March, 2007 and May, 2007 surveys, SJRA did not apply Hydrilla herbicides during this period (which would have driven down the May, 2007 survey and tainted reported results). Any herbicide applications observed during this two (2) month period were being applied to Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth, and were herbicides which did not affect Hydrilla. Subsequent to the completion of the May, 2007 survey, Hydrilla herbicide applications have commenced.

“BUT THE HYDRILLA LOOKS MUCH WORSE NOW THAN IT DID IN MARCH.”

“HAVE YOU DRIVEN OVER THE BRIDGES AT LITTLE LAKE CREEK OR LEWIS CREEK? HOW CAN YOU TELL ME IT’S GETTING BETTER SINCE MARCH?”

“YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T DO YOUR SURVEYS AROUND ANY OF OUR BOAT DOCKS BECAUSE I CAN’T EVEN GET OUT OF MY BOAT SLIP, AND I COULD GET MY BOAT OUT IN MARCH.”

I was right there with you in ALL of these comments. I live on Lake Conroe, am very upset about the condition of our Lake. I would have guaranteed you that the survey results would show an increase in the number of Hydrilla infested acres. The LCA was thoroughly prepared to fight for more White Amur when those results were presented.

The explanation provided by TPWD and SJRA in response to “THEN WHY DOES IT STILL LOOK SO BAD?” focuses primarily on the fact that White Amur (and fish in general) prefer the cooler water during our warm months. TPWD and SJRA report that the White Amur are eating the Hydrilla from the deeper water and moving closer to the shoreline as each week passes. I’d have to say that the reasoning makes sense.

“SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO PROVIDE SOME RELIEF FOR ALL OF US ENDURING THE HYDRILLA AT OUR BOAT DOCKS AND IN THE SHALLOWER WATERS OF THE LAKE?”

The treatment proposal presented calls for significant Hydrilla herbicide applications throughout the Summer and Fall….to be applied from the infested shoreline outward. The approach would intend to provide immediate relief and decrease the overall amount of Hydrilla that the White Amur must ultimately consume. As cooler temperatures return to our shallower waters, the White Amur should continue their eating towards our shorelines and reduce the Hydrilla infestation to “40 acres or less by March, 2008” (the Lake Conroe Hydrilla Management Plan and Lake Conroe Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan objectives).

Obviously, this entire proposal hinges on the accuracy of the TPWD survey. The LCA has requested that TPWD provide its survey data for March, 2007 and May, 2007 to the LCA for verification, and TPWD has agreed (and, in fact, the first electronic data was received from TPWD this evening….with the balance to come tomorrow). With this data, we intend to identify the significant locations where Hydrilla reduction has been observed by TPWD. SJRA has agreed to provide us with an aerial flyover to review these specific locations and confirm the reduction of Hydrilla. Further, watercraft will be utilized by the LCA to verify similar data and get a view directly from the Lake. The LCA (to the best of its ability) hopes to report that the survey data does indeed support the conclusion that we are experiencing a reduction in Lake Conroe’s Hydrilla infestation….news that would be wonderful to all of us. We hope to provide that opinion to you within one week.

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SELECTED 2007 SURVEY DATA:

Little Lake Creek…..677 acres March, 592 acres May

Lewis Creek…..267 acres March, 274 acres May

Caney Creek…..657 acres March, 372 acres May

Atkins Creek…..101 acres March, 3 acres May

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HYDRILLA HERBICIDE APPLICATIONS:

Herbicides being used include Aquathol K spray, Aquathol K granular and Sonar, and have been applied for approximately two weeks now. SJRA has two sprayboat crews out currently. Now that the TPWD survey is completed and personnel have been freed up, TPWD has committed one sprayboat crew. An outside contractor with one sprayboat crew has now been hired to assist as well (although they are committed to spraying Lake Conroe’s Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth for the next four weeks….see below), and this contractor MAY become available to be hired by individual homeowners or businesses for herbicide treatment of their specific property at the homeowner’s or business’ cost. You should note that Hydrilla herbicide applications will typically occur on Monday through Wednesday….allowing a couple of days (as recommended by herbicide manufacturers) before high weekend Lake use by swimmers, anglers and watercraft users

The projected cost of Hydrilla herbicide treatment has not been established for 2007, but estimates will place that amount well over $300,000 in our opinion. Projections are being developed. Expenditures for Hydrilla herbicide treatments will be limited, ultimately, by the amount of available funds from SJRA, Montgomery County and LCA donations.

The LCA will not spend all of its resources on herbicides alone. LCA monies will be set aside as a contingency for future White Amur stockings which may be required should Hydrilla infestation once again increase, and which will be required to account for ongoing White Amur mortality.

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GIANT SALVINIA AND WATER HYACINTH HERBICIDE APPLICATIONS:

Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth often live together in the same areas. Giant Salvinia is being controlled reasonably well, but Water Hyacinth has aggressively returned this year. Overall, a combined 250 acres of the weeds has been estimated.

Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth have been treated earlier in the year by SJRA at the most highly infested locations. For the next four (4) weeks, an independent contractor has been hired by SJRA to exclusively treat all 250 acres of this infestation (thereby allowing the SJRA spray crews to dedicate their efforts on Hydrilla). This four (4) week treatment is estimated to cost $52,000, and the cost will be shared equally by SJRA and the LCA. Further treatments will occur throughout the year as needed.

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WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?

If I were a good Fund Raiser, I would probably open this LCA President’s Update with this section….but I thought the information needed to be presented first. SJRA has and will fund White Amur and herbicides up to its budget for Aquatic Plant Management for Lake Conroe. The LCA successfully requested an increase in funding from Montgomery County from $25,000 previously to $100,000 for the year ending August 31, 2007. Presently, ALL OTHER FUNDING MUST COME FROM THE LCA THROUGH THE GENEROUS DONATIONS OF ITS RESIDENT AND BUSINESS MEMBERS.

THE LCA 2007 FUND RAISING GOAL HAS BEEN SET AT $240,000. Residential Fund Raising Letters have been mailed to over 13,000 homes in the Lake Conroe area during the past four (4) weeks, and we are so appreciative to our Residential Members who have contributed in excess of $60,000 in these first four (4) weeks. A Business Fund Raising Program has been initiated to raise awareness within the Lake Conroe business community outlining the importance of a healthy Lake Conroe to the success of local businesses, and we thank the local businesses who have generously supported us through donations in excess of $20,000 during these past four (4) weeks. WILL YOU BE SENDING YOUR CHECK SOON TO FUND THE $160,000 OR MORE STILL NEEDED BY THE LCA THIS YEAR? WE SURELY NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW!!!

The LCA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and your Residential or Business contribution should be tax deductible (please consult with your financial advisor). Historically, ninety-six percent (96%) of all monies contributed to the LCA are utilized for the purchase of White Amur and herbicides and their related fund raising costs. The LCA is audited every two (2) years.

Contributions can be mailed to Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378-9998. To become a Residential or Business Member of the LCA for 2007, please make your minimum contribution of $100 or $300, respectively. Of course, contributions of any dollar amount will be graciously appreciated.

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GOT ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ?:

You can always reach us through our LCA Website at “lakeconroeassociation.com”.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND WE WILL UPDATE YOU NEXT WEEK WITH OUR REVIEW OF TPWD’S MAY, 2007 HYDRILLA SURVEY RESULTS. UNTIL THEN, ENJOY THE LAKE AND BE SAFE.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

The Lake Conroe Association (LCA) met with representatives of Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD), the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), bass fishing organizations and The Courier today. The primary discussion topic was the hydrilla infestation on Lake Conroe.

TPWD reported its July, 2007 hydrilla survey results of 1,776 hydrilla infested acres…..up from 1,380 acres in May, 2007. This represents an increase of 396 acres, or 28%. Previous surveys of hydrilla infested acres reported 470 acres in March, 2006, 740 acres in July, 2006, 1,200 acres in September, 2006, 1,900 acres in March, 2007, and 1,380 acres in May, 2007. While TPWD points out that the number of hydrilla infested acres today is less than in its March, 2007 survey, the LCA is very disappointed that the infestation increased during the past two months. With approximately 50,000 White Amur grass carp (estimated number alive after mortality) in the Lake and hydrilla herbicides being applied, we ALL hoped for a decrease in our hydrilla problem.

In response to their survey results, TPWD has agreed to permit the stocking of 25,364 additional White Amur at this time. Compared to the approximate 50,000 White Amur alive currently in Lake Conroe, this represents a 50% increase in White Amur. While contracts have not yet been signed, we expect the White Amur to be delivered from Arkansas fisheries via several truckloads beginning in 2 – 3 weeks. Special provisions will be made by the fishery and its delivery company to transport the White Amur during this very hot time of year.

25,364 White Amur (minimum 12 inches long) delivered in hot August will cost approximately $150,000. SJRA will fund 50% of this cost and, thanks to the generous donations of our LCA Members, the LCA will fund the remaining 50%, or $75,000. This payment will seriously diminish the LCA’s available funds and, accordingly, we will intensify our Residential and Business Fund Raising Campaigns. Without continued contributions, the LCA will be limited in its ability to fund future treatment proposals, if needed.

To become a Member of the LCA, an individual is asked to donate $100 or more and a business $300 or more. Of course, all contributions are welcomed and greatly appreciated. As the LCA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, donations should be tax deductible. Donations can be mailed to: Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378-9998.

As I will certainly be asked how I feel about TPWD’s proposal to add 25,364 White Amur at this time, I will have to answer this question in two statements. First, it is unfortunate that a more aggressive approach was not taken by TPWD initially. With only 470 hydrilla infested acres in March, 2006, we should not have had to stock in excess of 85,000 White Amur (number purchased before mortality) to solve this infestation (if, indeed, this number does “solve” the infestation). Time, energy and money was wasted; and I hope lessons are learned so that this does not happen to other Texas lakes in the future. Second, a 50% increase in the stocking of White Amur versus a 28% increase in the hydrilla infestation demonstrates that TPWD acknowledges the problem and desires to solve it. As no one knows the exact number of White Amur it will take to solve the infestation, I feel that a 50% increase represents an appropriately-aggressive approach today.

If you have been following this hydrilla infestation, you are aware that the Lake Conroe Aquatic Management Plan covering April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2008 calls for the reduction of hydrilla to “40 acres or less by March, 2008”. So, go ahead and ask your next question: “Do you think that this goal of 40 acres or less WILL be achieved?” When Dr. Earl Chilton of TPWD was asked this question today, he responded that he felt the objective of “40 acres or less” was still achievable. I would be very pleased if this goal were reached, but find it unlikely that a decrease from today’s 1,776 acres to a goal of “40 acres or less” in seven months can occur. I hope that I am proven wrong. While I expect TPWD and SJRA to do their utmost to achieve that goal of “40 acres or less”, a significant reduction between now and March, 2008 would set the stage for success later in 2008. If 75,000 White Amur could reduce hydrilla from 1,776 acres to 200 acres (just to pick a number out of the air) by March, 2008, then I’d anticipate that those same 75,000 White Amur would most likely complete their job shortly thereafter and allow us to enjoy our Lake more fully, and at less cost, in 2008. This is not a scientific explanation but, rather, just my opinion…..which LCA Members ask me on the golf course and at the supermarket and over the internet and “in my face”. I’m not Johnny Carson’s “Karnak” on predicting the future, but I’m sharing my opinion because you ask me for it. Let’s just all hope that the plan in place today succeeds.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for your contributions. All of us at the LCA are doing our best to assist in solving this hydrilla infestation and return Lake Conroe to its magnificent beauty. Enjoy the balance of your summer on the Lake.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

What a relief!! Our rains have filled Lake Conroe and we can again enjoy the Lake at its best. We thought you’d like an update, so here goes…

LAKE LEVEL:

Lake Conroe was at 196.68 feet (above sea level) on October 12 and rose to its highest point of 201.27 feet on November 10. The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) has since released water and we are at a level of 201.0 feet today. SJRA does not plan to allow Lake levels to exceed 201.0 feet (other than during storms) and would release water if further rains raised the level over 201.0 feet.

Factoid: The Lake rose from 196.68 feet to its highest point of 201.27 feet, or an increase of 4.59 feet. Assuming Lake Conroe to have approximately 21,000 surface acres, and assuming 0.25 inches of water over 21,000 acres equals 180 million gallons, then our 4.59 feet increase equaled over 39 billion gallons of water. That’s a lot of rain!!

Factoid: During Summer’s heat, Lake Conroe loses 180 million gallons per day to evaporation (or 0.25 inches per day over its 21,000 surface acres).

Factoid: SJRA is authorized to sell up to 90 million gallons per day. Of this, 30 million is allocated to municipal, industrial (currently to Entergy) and irrigation (various golf courses and home owners) contracts. 60 million gallons per day are set aside for the City of Houston (although they have not drawn water from Lake Conroe under this contract since 1989).

HYDRILLA:

With a net increase of 4.5 feet of water in the Lake, most of the hydrilla is under the surface. Sure looks nicer!! It’s not gone….it’s just hidden. Hydrilla will not grow as rapidly in the cooler months, and we will see less of it until spring. The exact growth rate of the hydrilla and the effectiveness of our White Amur will not be known until then. We can be assured that hydrilla will be back in our Lake in the spring (including the summer’s dry lakebed now covered with water). Until then, we would not expect to see any further additions of White Amur or herbicide treatments for hydrilla.

GIANT SALVINIA AND WATER HYACINTH:

The heavy rains have “flushed out” significant quantities of Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth from the northern portions of Lake Conroe. These areas have primarily low water levels and are not typically accessible by SJRA or the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) for herbicide applications. Unlike hydrilla which anchors itself to the lakebed through roots (tubers), Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth typically float. In a heavy rain, they just “float” South towards the dam. The current infestation of Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth across our Lake is serious, and serious action is being taken by both SJRA and TPWD. Both have committed financial and personnel resources to actively spray herbicides on these plants (to date in 2006, no money has been contributed by the LCA for herbicide applications). The most effective herbicide for Water Hyacinth is “Diquot”, but it does not work well on Giant Salvinia. Since “Glycophosphate” (with an “AquaKing” surfactant) works on both Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia, it is the herbicide of choice currently. SJRA and TPWD provide notices with recommended precautions in your area if they are spraying herbicides.

“Weevils” have been used on Lake Conroe as a biological supplement (to herbicides) to reduce Giant Salvinia. Due to quantity of Giant Salvinia “flushed out” into our Lake currently, herbicides are being applied to Giant Salvinia (which will also kill the “weevils”). Going forward, SJRA intends to only utilize “weevils” for Giant Salvinia infestations west of Little Lake Creek Bridge (going into Montgomery on FM 1097) and in the northern National Forest (both of which areas are uninhabited). “Weevils” are utilized to determine their effectiveness compared to herbicides (both to reduce our use of herbicides in our Lake and to reduce the high cost of herbicide applications).

WHITE AMUR:

With November 13th’s White Amur release, we should now have an estimated 27,048 White Amur in Lake Conroe (after factoring in mortality of fish during 2006). The maximum number of fish allowable under the 2006 Lake Conroe Hydrilla Management Plan was 30,000. Approximate White Amur release locations and quantities are summarized as follows: 10,000 in Little Lake Creek (Walden boat ramp), 8,000 in Lewis Creek (FM 830 boat ramp), 5,000 in Caney Creek (Scott’s Ridge boat ramp), 2,000 in Atkins Creek (Del Lago boat ramp), 1,500 from Cape Conroe and 500 near the 1097 bridge. The “LakeConroeAssociation.com” website has a more detailed map for your review.

The cost of our 27,048 White Amur was approximately $216,000. Approximate funding was provided as follows: $110,000 LCA, $81,000 SJRA and $25,000 Montgomery County Precinct 1.

TPWD WAIVES $2 FEE:

TPWD charges a $2 per White Amur processing fee throughout Texas. While final authorization has not been signed in Austin yet, TPWD acknowledges that the TPWD Commissioners have approved waiving this $2 fee beginning around January 1, 2007. At $2 per fish, over $54,000 was paid to TPWD in 2006 for Lake Conroe’s introduction of White Amur.

2007 AQUATIC MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR LAKE CONROE:

The current 2006 Hydrilla Management Plan for Lake Conroe is soon to expire and will be replaced by the 2007 Aquatic Management Plan for Lake Conroe. The 2007 Plan will extend beyond Hydrilla and address the control or eradication of Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth on our Lake. The first draft of the 2007 Plan has been completed by TPWD and submitted to SJRA for review. With SJRA’s comments to be submitted shortly, a second draft will be produced and reviewed by the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is encouraged to make comments and recommendations, but the final decision of the contents of the 2007 Plan will fall upon TPWD and SJRA as “Cooperators” of the Plan.

Members of the Advisory Committee (other than TPWD and SJRA) are referred to as “Stakeholders”. The proposed “Stakeholders” will be a diverse group approximating representatives of four (4) resident/POA/HOA’s, four (4) local businesses, four (4) angler associations, one (1) independent consultant, and four (4) local individuals currently active in addressing Lake Conroe’s weed infestation. The LCA will hold one (1) of the “resident/POA/HOA” designations.

FUND RAISING:

Through your generous contributions, the LCA has raised in excess of $200,000 during 2006 (out of its $250,000 goal). These contributions have allowed the LCA to act as the primary funding source for White Amur in 2006 and established sufficient reserves to help fund the LCA’s portion of anticipated White Amur purchases in 2007. Of course, the LCA’s Fund Raising efforts cannot stop here. The LCA is already thinking towards anticipated 2008 White Amur purchases, ongoing White Amur introductions for maintenance levels, reserves for herbicide applications should Giant Salvinia, Water Hyacinth or some new invasive weed get out of control, reserves for surveying and testing, and reserves for the unforeseen incidents that occur on a Lake and always need money to remedy.

If you have not yet contributed to the LCA’s Fund Raising efforts, we would greatly appreciate your donation as each dollar gets us closer to our $250,000 goal. Donations can be mailed to Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378-9998. The LCA is a 501 ( c ) (3) non-profit corporation, and your donation should be deductible for income tax purposes. Approximately ninety-six percent (96%) of all monies donated to the LCA since 2000 have been utilized to purchase White Amur or herbicides (and all related fund raising costs such as printing and postage). The LCA is staffed by volunteers and pays no compensation.

Support from local businesses in the LCA’s Fund Raising Campaign has been disappointing. To better communicate our need to the many local businesses who may consider financially assisting the LCA and our community, the LCA is currently working more closely with the Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce and its members through participation at Chamber meetings, public speaking, trade show booths and whatever other source that allows us to make a “connection” between the LCA and local businesses.

TPWD will be waiving its $2 per White Amur fee. SJRA has agreed to split the cost of White Amur with the LCA, and has significantly increased its Aquatic Plant Management budget. Having met numerous times with Montgomery County Commissioners Court, the LCA is drafting its request for additional 2007 funding from Montgomery County. The LCA’s Fund Raising Committee is utilizing volunteers to search for State and Federal Grants which may be available to assist with Lake Conroe’s 2007 Aquatic Plant Management Program. Efforts across the State are being made to restore a Federal “CORE $” program discontinued in 2004 which, if funded, would again make monies available to TPWD and/or SJRA for our Aquatic Plant Management needs. Texas Black Bass Association is investigating funding sources to deal with the eradication or control of Giant Salvinia on Lake Conroe. The Seven Coves Bass Club (Lake Conroe) has applied for a State Grant to secure funds for lake health and maintenance. It’s beginning to feel like we’re all working together in Lake Conroe to solve this serious problem, and we sincerely thank everyone for their efforts.

LCA ANNUAL MEETING:

The LCA will hold its Annual Meeting for its Members and Board on Friday, January 19, 2007 at 10AM at the SJRA offices on Highway 105. The agenda will include updates on all Aquatic Plant Management issues, voting on proposed LCA By-Law revisions and electing the LCA Board of Directors for 2007. All LCA Members will be receiving in the mail a written invitation as well as a proxy ballot for the 2007 LCA Board of Directors should the Member be unable to attend the Meeting. The current LCA Board has thirteen (13) Directors. YOUR RETURN OF THE ANNUAL MEETING PROXY IS CRITICAL TO OBTAIN A QUORUM. Without a quorum, elections cannot be held and the meeting will have to be rescheduled followed by another mailing. Please return your Proxy today.

NEVER SHORT !!

These LCA Updates are never short due to the quantity of information and infrequency of distribution. We will endeavor to provide more timely communication to you via our website (“LakeConroeAssociation.com”). We thank you for reading to the end and supporting our collective cause to preserve our wonderful Lake Conroe.

Mike Bleier

President, Lake Conroe Association