2016 certainly proved to be a very exciting year around our lake community and the nation. It felt like our entire year was filled with local and national election rhetoric. We experienced heavy rains and flooding through rain events in March, April, May and June. For those unlucky enough to be in its path, a tornado (or some downplay the event to be “straight line winds”) struck the northern side of the lake tearing decades-old oak trees from the ground by their roots and snapping 100 foot tall pine trees in half. 2016 is becoming the “hottest year on record” for global temperatures and yet we’ve seen 36 degrees on our outdoor thermometer this month.
RAINFALL: Through today, the lake community has received 65 inches of rain (compared to an average annual rainfall total of 48 inches) in 2016. The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) has released a total of 20.8 feet of water at the dam site (compared to an average annual release of 7.0 feet).
LAKE LEVELS: As a result of our often heavy and relatively consistent rainfall in 2016, the lake level on Lake Conroe has averaged 200.95’ and stayed above 200.0’ for 255 days out of 325 days so far this year. As you probably know, the standard elevation for Lake Conroe is a level of 201.0’. In terms of enjoying a relatively “full” lake, we were blessed with wonderfully high lake levels this year. I’m confident we can all still recall 2011-2013 where we experienced lake levels as low as 192.68’ and a total of 427 days below 198.0’.
AQUATIC VEGETATION: 2016 has been a relatively benign year as it relates to invasive aquatic vegetation. Based on recent Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) surveys and ongoing supervision by SJRA, Hydrilla remained virtually non-existent this year (observing only small fragments of Hydrilla in 3 TPWD “test cages” which protect aquatic plants from, among other fish, White Amur grass carp). While Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth continue to reside on Lake Conroe, ongoing aquatic herbicide spraying by SJRA and its sub-contractor (SprayCo) have kept the invasives at manageable levels. TPWD last reported surveyed totals of Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth as 58 and 89 acres, respectively. TPWD has reported the emergence of “common” Salvinia here in small quantities (not previously experienced) and has added it to its list of invasives to monitor. We’ve seen a wonderful recovery of native vegetation on Lake Conroe thanks, in great part, to restoration efforts by TPWD, SJRA and many angling organizations. Native vegetation totals approximately 334 acres currently.
WHITE AMUR GRASS CARP: Based on the non-presence of Hydrilla currently and the estimated quantity of existing White Amur Grass Carp from our last stocking in 2008, it is unlikely any new White Amur will be added to Lake Conroe in the near future. Should Hydrilla once again appear, SJRA, TPWD, the LCA and anglers will immediately convene to assess the situation and address the need for a stocking.
ZEBRA MUSSELS: Other than catching a few vessels trying to launch into Lake Conroe with Zebra Mussels attached to their hull, we have avoided an infestation so far as best we know. Eight (8) Texas lakes have now been identified as containing Zebra Mussels including our close neighbors Lake Livingston and the Trinity River. We must all take particular care when transporting our boats, jet skis and any water-bound accessory from any lake known to contain Zebra Mussels. Please be sure you acquaint yourselves with TPWD’s program of “Clean, Drain & Dry your boat, trailer and gear every time you leave the water” when enjoying our Texas lakes. For more information, you may visit www.TexasInvasives.org.
EQUIPMENT DONATION TO MONTGOMERY COUNTY CONSTABLE’S LAKE DIVISION: The LCA was pleased to donate $4,975 in diving equipment to the Montgomery County Constable’s Lake Division last month. Among other tasks, the dive team is charged with the responsibility of “Search & Recovery” for victims in Lake Conroe. This new equipment (2 dive communication masks and a communication console for a Constable boat) allows the divers under the water’s surface to communicate with the Constables in the boat on the surface. Not only does this facilitate more timely recovery of the victim, but also tremendously improves the safety of the divers having to navigate Lake Conroe’s unclear waters (often having to dive at night). The Constable’s Department and Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court were very appreciative of the donation afforded by our LCA Members.
LCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS BALLOT: For Members of the LCA, you will be receiving your voting proxy via U.S. Mail in late December to elect your LCA Board of Directors for another year. Please take the time to complete and mail your proxy back to us so that we may utilize your feedback. For any individuals desiring to join the Board of the LCA, we are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who can join us for LCA Board Meeting every other month.
TOM BUTZ RETIRES FROM LCA BOARD: After 13 years of volunteering his time to the LCA Board (most of which he served as LCA Treasurer), Tom and his wife Nancy have relocated to Kansas. We very much appreciate his friendship and years of dedicated service to our organization. Good luck to ya’ll and we will miss you.
LCA ANNUAL MEETING: The Annual Meeting of the LCA will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 10AM at the 3rd Floor Conference Room of the San Jacinto River Authority (on Highway 105). Ballots for the LCA Board of Directors will be counted and a brief summary of the LCA and its 2016 happenings will be provided.
On behalf of the Lake Conroe Association, we all wish you a blessed and safe Holiday Season, and thank you for your support of our non-profit volunteer organization. Should you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share, you may reach us at www.lakeconroeassociation.com or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your interest and support.
Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association