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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of April 13, 2018

By at April 16, 2018 | 9:28 am | 1 Comments

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

as of April 13, 2018

 

Hurricane Harvey and its effects are still being felt today. Back in January, we updated you on a request by numerous Kingwood-area organizations including the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce to have lake levels on Lake Conroe reduced permanently by 3 feet as a possible flood control vehicle to reduce flooding downstream of Lake Conroe. We asked that our Lake Conroe community residents and businesses write Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick to express our concerns over and disagreement with such a program. Our thanks go out to over 1,000 of you who took the time and initiative to write and mail those letters to Austin. The efforts by our community did not go unnoticed by the Governor’s Office.

Clearly, programs need to be implemented and funded that assist in flood control from northern Montgomery County to the Gulf of Mexico….and all points in between. Initiatives being considered include a comprehensive flood control study for the area, the creation of detention reservoirs on multiple creeks (such as Spring Creek, Lake Creek, and Cypress Creek to name a few), remediation of portions of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River to improve water flow, better review and regulation of proposed residential and commercial development within flood plains, improved functionality at the Lake Houston dam, and enhanced communication before and during flood events. We are seeing much discussion and some action being taken by appropriate decision makers.

On March 29, Governor Abbott announced authorization of about $5 million in initial funding for flood control projects to support the Kingwood area. $3 million has been pre-approved to cover engineering and permitting costs of dredging the San Jacinto River, and $2 million has been pre-authorized for a regional study that will evaluate ways to prevent future flooding along the San Jacinto River. The funds come from the state’s Hazard Mitigation Fund, which is collected from FEMA by the state for redistribution to affected cities and counties.

Additionally, Governor Abbott has directed the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) to identify what can be done to prevent flooding along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and to implement long-term solutions to protect lives, property, and communities located downstream from Lake Conroe. SJRA has accepted this responsibility, hired an experienced individual to head this new department within SJRA, and is reviewing how to best fund this challenge. Harris County places flood control under the Harris County Flood Control District which is authorized to levy taxes to fund its operations. Voters in Montgomery County voted down a request to create a Montgomery County Flood Control District in 1985 which left a void in who was exactly in charge of flood control and how it would be funded.

To be certain, area flooding is not only a practical problem but also a political dilemma. Enormous pressure is being applied by Kingwood-area residents and businesses to elected officials such as Houston Mayor Sylvestor Turner, City Representative Dave Martin, State Representative Dan Huberty, and State Senator Brandon Creighton. Those elected officials, looking for relief for (and from) their constituents, look to Governor Abbott for action. Governor Abbott has responded in initiatives listed above and is applying pressure to SJRA to provide solutions. It is strongly perceived that “solutions” include utilizing the Lake Conroe dam and Lake Conroe lake levels as “one of the tools in the tool box” to provide flood control.

We met with Jace Houston, SJRA General Manager, last week to discuss their new role and the options being considered for flood control related to Lake Conroe. I’d call that meeting a constructive yet preliminary attempt to provide feedback representing the LCA’s perception of the desires of local residents and businesses. We communicated with over 150 individuals and organizations in person or by e-mail this week to start discussing public opinion on the matter.

There appear to be a minimum of three (3) initial responses that SJRA could provide to Governor Abbott regarding Lake Conroe and its lake levels. Those responses could resemble 1) Lake Conroe’s lake levels should not be used as a flood control mechanism, 2) Lake Conroe’s lake levels should be reduced in advance of imminent storms by pre-releasing water through the Lake Conroe dam into the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, and 3) Lake Conroe’s lake levels should be seasonally adjusted downwards based on historic weather patterns. We’ll discuss each option briefly below.

Proposing to not utilize Lake Conroe’s lake levels as a flood control mechanism appears to be a response that brings the most uncertainty and potentially worst consequences. It is felt that such a response would most likely be met with an Austin reply resembling “If you’re not willing to include Lake Conroe in the solution, then we (Austin) are just going to tell you what your future lake levels are going to be.” Such an Austin reply would take away local input (including that of SJRA) and could permit the implementation of a disastrous program like the Kingwood proposal to “permanently reduce Lake Conroe’s lake level by 3 feet”.

Proposing a pre-release program in advance of imminent storms does not appear to be as effective as it sounds on the surface. SJRA states that it can only “safely release” 1 inch of water per day into the San Jacinto River without causing downstream consequences, and that a release of 6 inches per day floods the banks of the river in numerous locations. Pre-releasing water into the river only means that the river can no longer receive water from the numerous creeks that need to flow into the river without causing local flooding along those creeks. It was expressed to me that The City of Houston and Harris County Flood Control District really don’t like the “pre-release strategy” and that a “dry San Jacinto River would be best in a flood situation because the river could then accept the greatest amount of water from the creeks that need to empty in the river”. I’m also told that river authorities across the state, in general, do not typically support “pre-release” as a flood control mechanism. As it relates to Hurricane Harvey, a “pre-release” of 1 to 6 inches per day for 2 to 3 days in advance of the storm would not have assisted downstream when SJRA released over 15 feet of water through the dam and, in fact, would have only filled the San Jacinto River that much quicker and further added to flood problems.

Finally, proposing a “seasonally-adjusted lake level” may make the most sense. SJRA is gathering statistics on lake levels, rainfall totals, and releases from the SJRA dam since construction of Lake Conroe in 1973 to best support any proposal. In advance of that specific documentation, it can be represented that the highest lake levels, greatest rains, and maximum releases revolve around two timeframes – Spring rains from mid-March to mid-May and Hurricane Season from mid-September to mid-November. A proposal could resemble reducing Lake Conroe’s lake level to an elevation of 200’ (compared to a “full pool” elevation of 201’) from March 15 to May 15, and reducing the lake level to 199.5’ or 200’ from September 15 to November 15. No releases would occur if the lake were already at those adjusted levels.

It is not forgotten by Montgomery County or The City of Houston that Lake Conroe was built as a water supply reservoir and that Houston owns the water rights to 2/3 of the water in Lake Conroe. Pre-releasing water from Lake Conroe or “seasonally-adjusting” its lake level could have an effect on the ability to draw water for consumption should a drought follow any releases from the Lake Conroe dam. SJRA already utilizes the majority of its 1/3 share of the maximum 100,000 acre feet per year “yield” from Lake Conroe for water sales to its GRP Division (water treatment plant for Montgomery County public consumption), Entergy, and local consumers such as golf courses and residential irrigation permits. While The City of Houston has only called on its 2/3 share of water rights twice since the construction of Lake Conroe, these water rights are crucial as a back-up water supply to the water it pumps from Lake Houston for public consumption in Harris County. And while The City of Houston is actively working on negotiating and constructing supplemental water supplies that will replace its dependence on its Lake Conroe water rights, SJRA will continually require more water from Lake Conroe to serve the ever-growing population of Montgomery County.

As SJRA is developing their proposals on flood control, we can only hope that they keep a few things in mind. It is our opinion that 1) any proposed reductions in Lake Conroe’s lake levels (by “pre-release” or “seasonal adjustment”) are coupled with an equivalent volume reduction in Lake Houston, 2) any proposed plan has a limited duration (i.e. 2 years) that can be reviewed after its expiration once regional flood control studies are completed and the effects of remediation/dredging of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River can be evaluated, and 3) maximum lake levels (before release) on Lake Conroe are examined to minimize local flooding and structural damages.

LCA MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: If you are not a Member of the LCA, please consider becoming one AT NO COST now. We all know there is “power in numbers” and we need your e-mail address to best circulate our communication on a timely basis. To join the LCA, simply send an e-mail to lca@lakeconroe.com and request to be added to our Member Database. Rather than charge a “Membership Fee”, we now provide complimentary membership. We have found that when an emergency or “cause” arises that requires funds of the LCA, an e-mail from the LCA requesting voluntary donations seems to be the most effective tool.

Wow. That’s a lot of information when I go back and read this Update. We hope you find the information provided to be helpful in better understanding the current situation being so frequently reported in the local media. We do not feel any need for panic, and we endeavor to continue to be your voice in developing any solution involving Lake Conroe. We are not asking for any action from you at this time, and we will report back once SJRA develops its initial written proposal on its new flood control role. Thank you and thoroughly enjoy our beautiful Lake Conroe.

 

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of January 25, 2018 – CALL TO ACTION

By at January 25, 2018 | 9:52 am | 0 Comment

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of January 25, 2018

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!

Please find below two (2) sample letters to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. If you agree with their contents and choose to participate, please 1) print these letters, 2) sign and date the letters, and 3) place the two signed letters in two stamped envelopes to Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Your participation would be greatly appreciated.

Gov. Abbott letter | Lt Gov. Patrick letter

DO YOU DESIRE TO SEE LAKE CONROE’S LAKE LEVEL DECREASED BY 3 FEET?

No? Send in your two (2) letters….and read on.

WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

As you may have read in our previous LCA President’s Update dated December 12, 2017, the Houston Chronicle on December 8, 2017, or the Conroe Courier on December 10, 2017, an initiative by the Lake Houston Area has commenced related to flooding incurred during Hurricane Harvey. Devastation incurred in the Lake Houston Area is being blamed, in part, on water releases from the Lake Conroe dam during that storm event.  In an effort to draw attention to the issue, this Lake Houston Area group initiated a letter-writing campaign to Governor Abbott and thirteen (13) elected officials in Austin.  Governor Abbott’s Office has estimated that they have received “thousands of letters” to date.  To represent what we believe is in the best interests of the Lake Conroe Area, we are asking you to join us in writing Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick by completing the attached sample letters.

WHO IS THE “LAKE HOUSTON AREA”?

A program named “Recover Lake Houston” and “PleaFor3LakeHouston” is being coordinated by, among others, the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Houston Economic Development Partnership. For specifics on this program, you may go to www.lakehouston.org/recoverlakehouston.

WHAT DO THEY WANT?

“PleaFor3” relates to three (3) specific requests termed Reduction, Remediation and Representation. “Reduction” relates to reducing Lake Conroe’s lake level by three (3) feet as a means of downstream flood control.  “Remediation” references the removal of slit and debris from Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River (between Lake Conroe and Lake Houston) to improve water flow.  “Representation” refers to placing a representative from the Lake Houston Area on the Board of the San Jacinto River Authority.  The two (2) attached sample letters further explain these three (3) “R’s”.

HAVE YOU MAILED YOUR LETTERS YET?

PLEASE PARTICIPATE and mail these letters.  Thank you.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of December 12, 2017

By at December 12, 2017 | 9:56 am | 0 Comment

LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

as of December 12, 2017

As I wrote my first draft of this LCA President’s Update, the day provided a cloudy, rainy, 46 degree day.  And, as 5:20PM approached, it would soon be dark outside.  A few days later, while I was out of town, I’m told we experienced a snowfall that made our landscape look magic!  While Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, I think IT’S HERE!  Put away the swim suits and wake boards, and slide on some thermals and rain gear.  For Winter lovers, enjoy your time of year.  For the rest of us, fear not as flowers will grow, bass will spawn and sunshine will abound in less than 100 days.

LAKE VEGETATION:  Texas Parks & Wildlife has completed its survey of Lake Conroe lake conditions and will officially release their findings shortly.  Preliminary results tell the story of a healthy Lake Conroe.  “Native vegetation” continues to expand naturally and from approved “plantings” coordinated by Texas Parks & Wildlife and local fishing organizations.  It is expected that the number of acres of “native vegetation” will be equal to or greater than the 334 acres reported in Fall, 2016.  As it relates to “invasive vegetation”, Lake Conroe contains some of the lowest quantities of “invasives” ever.  While tubers of Hydrilla may still lie dormant in the floor of Lake Conroe and the plant will undoubtedly return someday, we have no reportable quantities of Hydrilla currently.  Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth are still found in “pockets” around the lake, but the quantities are minimal and being controlled, in large part, by the aquatic herbicide spraying program of the San Jacinto River Authority.  When Texas Parks & Wildlife releases its official results, we will post that information to our web site at www.lakeconroeassociation.com.

ZEBRA MUSSELS:  While Texas has spent millions of dollars in a “war of containment” against invasive aquatic species, we continue to lose ground across the State in the battle against Zebra Mussels.  Last month, Texas Parks & Wildlife reported that Lake Livingston on the Trinity River and Lake Georgetown on the Brazos River watershed have been colonized by Zebra Mussels.  These were the fifth and sixth Texas reservoirs this year to be documented as “holding established, reproducing populations of the non-native mollusks”.  Earlier in the year, Zebra Mussels were documented in Canyon Lake on the Guadalupe River, Lakes Travis and Austin on the Colorado River, and the Richland-Chambers Reservoir on the Trinity River.  Zebra Mussels were first documented in Texas in 2009 in Lake Texoma and are now reported in at least 13 Texas lakes.   Fortunately, Zebra Mussels have not been documented in Lake Conroe yet; and all boaters are urged to follow precautionary steps outlined under Texas Parks & Wildlife’s “Clean, Drain & Dry Program”.  For more information about the “Clean, Drain & Dry Program”, you may visit our web site at www.lakeconroeassociation.com or Texas Parks & Wildlife’s web site at www.tpwd.com.

HURRICANE HARVEY and LAKE CONROE:  August, 2017 brought record amounts of rainfall into and water releases out of Lake Conroe.  Our prayers continue for those affected by this terrible storm.  Lake Conroe reached a peak lake level of 206.2 feet above msl (mean sea level) surpassing its previous high of 205.5 feet msl in October, 1994.   With a normal lake level (often called “full pool”) of 201 feet msl , Lake Conroe and its lake front property owners found themselves battling waters in excess of 5 feet over normal lake conditions.  Bulk heads were breached, boat docks were damaged, watercraft floated unsecured across the lake, and unfortunate homes and businesses became flooded inside.  Our immediate area reportedly saw over 22 inches of rainfall during the event – 13 inches of which fell on that Sunday alone.  The previous record for our area was 15 inches of rainfall in October, 1994.  As a result of this onslaught of water, the San Jacinto River Authority released water from its dam site on the South side of Lake Conroe at an amazing peak rate of 79,141 cubic feet per second (surpassing the previous record release rate of 33,300 cubic feet per second in October, 1994).  Many people have a difficult time “quantifying in their head” what a cubic foot really looks like.  For something to relate to, I like to use a bowling ball as an example of a “cubic foot” (something 12” by 12” by 12”).  Can you imagine standing at the water release gates of SJRA’s dam site and witnessing 79,141 bowling balls going by EVERY SECOND?  For specific details of the rainfall event and actions taken by the San Jacinto River Authority, you may visit their website at www.sjra.net.

RAINFALL:  Through today, the lake community has received 63.2 inches of rain (compared to an annual average of 48.0 inches) in 2017.  The San Jacinto River Authority has released a total of 410,367 acre feet of water at the dam site – equating to 19.5 feet of water over the 21,000 surface acres of Lake Conroe (compared to an average annual release of 7.0 feet).

LCA RESPONSE TO GROUP’S REQUEST TO DROP LAKE CONROE LAKE LEVEL BY 3 FEET:  Sunday, December 10th’s Conroe Courier reported that a group organized as the Lake Houston Area Long Term Recovery Task Force has launched a program named “Recover Lake Houston”.  In response to the flooding devastation created during Hurricane Harvey in their community, this group requests 1) Remediation (dredging the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston to remove silt), 2) Representation (meaning placing representatives from their community on the Board of the San Jacinto River Authority), and 3) REDUCTION (MEANING PERMANENTLY REDUCE LAKE CONROE’S LAKE LEVEL BY 3 FEET).  Obviously, residents and businesses on and around Lake Conroe would not desire to see our lake level reduced permanently by 3 feet.  This is a very short summary of a very big request reported only 2 days ago.  The LCA has requested a meeting with this group and will immediately be preparing a response.  We will report back to you via e-mail and solicit your help shortly.  This topic will be discussed at our LCA Annual Meeting on January 18, 2018 and listed below.

LCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS BALLOT:  For Members of the LCA, you will be receiving your voting proxy via. U.S. Mail in late December to elect your Board of Directors for another year.  Please take the time to complete and mail your proxy back to us so that we may utilize your feedback.  As requested by some LCA Members last year, the voting package will include a biography of individuals on the LCA Board.  For any individuals desiring to join the Board of the LCA, we are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who can join us for LCA Board Meetings once a quarter.

LCA ANNUAL MEETING:  The Annual Meeting of the LCA will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10AM at the 3rd Floor Conference Room of the San Jacinto River Authority (off Highway 105).  Ballots for the LCA Board will be counted and a brief summary of the LCA and its 2017 happenings will be provided.

On behalf of the Lake Conroe Association, may we wish you a blessed and safe Holiday Season, and thank you for your support of our non-profit volunteer organization.  Should you have any questions, thoughts you’d like to share, or make a donation to the LCA, you may reach us at www.lakeconroeassociation.com or e-mail me directly at parmgb@aol.com.  We appreciate your interest and support.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

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Conroe Fastest Growing City in US

By at May 25, 2017 | 6:56 am | 0 Comment

DALLAS (AP) — Ten of the 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more were spread across the South in 2016, with four of the top five found in Texas, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Conroe, Texas, a northern Houston suburb, was the fastest-growing of the 15, seeing a 7.8 percent increase from 2015 to 2016, a growth rate more than 11 times that of the nation.

The rest of the top five fastest-growing large cities were Frisco, Texas, a northern Dallas suburb, with a 6.2 percent increase; McKinney, Texas, another northern Dallas suburb, saw a 5.9 percent increase; Greenville, South Carolina, ran up a 5.8 percent increase; and Georgetown, Texas, a northern Austin suburb, had a 5.5 percent increase.

“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S. region,” said demographer Amel Toukabri of the bureau’s population division.

Since the 2010 Census, the populations of large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4 percent, while cities in the West grew by 7.3 percent. Northeastern cities showed 1.8 percent growth, while populations of Midwestern cities grew by 3.0 percent.

Four cities in the West were among the top 15: Bend, Oregon; Buckeye, Arizona; Lehi, Utah; and Meridian, Idaho. One Midwestern city, Ankeny, Iowa, made the top 15, while the Northeast was shut out.

New York remains the largest U.S. city by a wide margin, its population of 8.5 million people being more than twice that of the 4 million of runner-up Los Angeles. Chicago trailed in third place with 2.7 million residents, despite a population loss of 8,638.

Phoenix showed the largest one-year numerical population increase of 32,113 from 2015 to 2016.

League City, Texas, situated between Houston and Galveston, was the lone city to cross the 100,000 population threshold, reaching 102,010 in 2016.

Only North Dakota and the District of Columbia saw the addition of housing units increase by more than the pre-2007 levels of 1.4 percent. North Dakota housing stock increased by 1.6 percent from 2015 to 1026, while that in D.C. grew by 1.4 percent.

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of May 21, 2017

By at May 21, 2017 | 10:00 am | 0 Comment

It’s been an early and beautiful Spring for us this year in Montgomery County. But, based on yesterday’s heat and humidity, that soon will pass and we’ll be welcoming (???) another Texas Summer.  Yet, if it’s going to be hot, what better place than on or around our fun-filled Lake Conroe?  Let us share with you some brief information about lake conditions and safety.

BOAT INSPECTIONS BY MONTGOMERY COUNTY CONSTABLES: Law enforcement in Montgomery County continues to work towards improved safety on our roads and waterways.  We’ve had “No Refusal Weekends” for some time now as an attempt to curb alcohol and/or drug related accidents in our vehicles and boats.  The Montgomery County Constables Department Lake Division is soon implementing an enhanced boating safety check to enforce existing laws on the lake.  The same rules still apply, but you may now be checked prior to launching your boat or jet ski from a public boat launch.

Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, the Montgomery County Constables will be providing personnel to check boats and jet skis prior to allowing you to put them in the water. A total of nine (9) public boat launches on Lake Conroe will be participating in the program.  Three teams of three people (with each team consisting of two Constables and one volunteer) will man three public boat launches on a given Holiday Weekend Saturday…..then move the three teams to three other public boat launches on Sunday…..and then move those three teams to the remaining three public boat launches on Monday.  It is anticipated that the teams will work from approximately 10AM to 2PM.

Should anyone be interested in joining the Constables’ safety check team as a volunteer, the Constables Lake Division will welcome your participation.

The boating safety check will be enforcing the same safety rules that have applied for years and which are regularly done on the water by the Constables Lake Division. It is anticipated that safety checks done on the land (prior to launching) will be much safer for all involved than performing these checks in the open lake, and should be able to be completed in a shorter period of time.  Upon a satisfactory completion of the safety check, the boater will be provided a bright-colored card by the Constable which remains valid for that one day only.  In the event that you are subsequently “pulled over” on the water that day by the Constables Lake Division for a safety check, you will simply show the bright-colored card and not be asked to perform the safety check on the lake.  Please keep in mind that the bright-colored card will note the number of passengers on the boat and that you had a sufficient number of life vests at the time of the check.  Should you add passengers to your boat later that day and fail to hold a sufficient number of life vests, you will remain subject to citation and fine.

The boating safety checklist includes:

  • Personal floatation device that is size appropriate for each passenger.  These devices must be “serviceable” (they work) and “accessible” (not in a locked cabinet on board)
  • A Class IV throwable or ring buoy
  • A charged and accessible fire extinguisher
  • A sound producing device for emergency
  • The Texas Parks & Wildlife registration card for the vessel (no copies allowed)
  • A valid driver’s license for identification purposes only

The safety checklist for a jet ski is the same as above except for not requiring a Class IV throwable or ring buoy.

Operators of watercraft on Texas lakes must be a minimum of 16 years of age. An exception to utilize watercraft at 13 years of age may be obtained by satisfactorily completing an approved boating safety course.

It should be noted that these safety checks at public boat launches are considered “voluntary” and may be refused by the boat owner. Boating safety rules enforced by the Constables only apply “in the water” and not “on land”.  If you are in violation of any of the safety rules BEFORE you launch, you will asked to obtain the missing safety items prior to launching.  If you are in violation of any of the safety rules AFTER you launch and are “in the water”, you are issued a citation by the Constables with a fine attached.  I’d guess that should you choose to refuse such a safety check on the land and launch your boat, it will be so noted and you may be “pulled over” on the water for that check by the Constables shortly thereafter.

For boaters who do not use public boat launches (private dock owners, country club marinas), you will remain subject to random boating safety checks on the water as in the past by the Constables. If you are checked “on the water”, you will NOT be issued a bright-colored card documenting your passing of the safety check.  The Constables have made this decision based on the time, safety and danger of writing out the bright-colored card while on the water.

ZEBRA MUSSELS: The terribly-invasive species called Zebra Mussels have now made their way into Lake Livingston based on the first documented case last week.  Zebra Mussels had already been documented in the Trinity River and at least five (5) Texas lakes.  Zebra Mussels are typically transported from one water body to another by attaching themselves to your boat or trailer.  Texas Parks & Wildlife have implemented their “Clean, Drain and Dry” Program as an educational and enforcement tool to stem the infestation of additional Texas lakes.  Should you observe anyone launching a boat into Lake Conroe that you believe to contain Zebra Mussels, contact a Game Warden regarding the enforcement of transporting Zebra Mussels as they can issue an Invasive Species Citation which is a Class C Misdemeanor. Please help to protect our Texas lakes.

INVASIVE VEGETATION ON LAKE CONROE: Texas Parks & Wildlife and the San Jacinto River Authority were pleased to report to us last week that Lake Conroe is in wonderful aquatic health.  Giant Salvinia is primarily controlled by a spraying program and after only one treatment this year, they report Giant Salvinia limited to only 40 acres at this time (versus approximately 200 acres at this time last year).  Water Hyacinth (also treated by spraying) is reported to be minimal and under control.  Hydrilla appears to be restricted to only experimental “cages” where White Amur grass carp cannot reach the invasive.  When Hydrilla reappears in Lake Conroe (which it will inevitably do), a balanced, mutually-agreed upon stocking program of White Amur will be implemented immediately.

NATIVE VEGETATION ON LAKE CONROE: Subsequent to the 2006-2008 Hydrilla infestation and the introduction of White Amur grass carp, we found Lake Conroe’s native vegetation to be terribly damaged and reduced.  From its height of approximately 2,000 acres of native vegetation in 2005, we experienced a decrease to less than 200 acres of native vegetation by 2010.  Native vegetation is extremely important for water quality, limiting shoreline erosion, and providing fish habitat.  Through the efforts of Texas Parks & Wildlife, the San Jacinto River Authority, and volunteers from a variety of angling organizations, numerous stockings of native vegetation have been added to Lake Conroe to replenish the depleted resource.  Texas Parks & Wildlife reported 334 acres of native vegetation last Summer and anticipates a significant increase in that acreage when they complete their next lake study in Summer, 2017.  A plant called Water Willow has proven to be a wonderful success in the native plant restoration program.

On behalf of the Board of the Lake Conroe Association, we would like to thank you for your interest in Lake Conroe and your support of our non-profit organization. Previous LCA President’s Updates, informative articles, and links to other valuable websites can be found at www:lakeconroeassociation.com.  Should you have any questions or desire to provide feedback, we can be reached via that website or you may contact me directly at parmgb@aol.com.  Enjoy your Summer and be safe out there.

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

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Lake Conroe In The Water Boat Show

By at April 10, 2017 | 9:11 am | 0 Comment

eblast card for dealers17-3 0480 Lakeshore Sports Map final

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Bass Tag Roundup 2017

By at February 20, 2017 | 9:58 am | 0 Comment

Bass Tag Roundup , Fishing , Lake Conroe Resources , Visitor Forum

LAKE CONROE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of November 28, 2016

By at December 1, 2016 | 11:38 am | 0 Comment

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 parmgb@aol.com. We appreciate your interest and support.

Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association

Visitor Forum

Lake Conroe In the Water Boat Show 2016

By at March 10, 2016 | 11:15 am | 1 Comments

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outdoor furniture and animal cages

By at February 25, 2016 | 6:45 am | 0 Comment

I build outdoor furniture and small animal cages, rabbit, dog houses, chicken, quail and other animals.

I also build lawn and patio chairs, benches, tables etc.  I also make garden stools, planting tables and benches and raised garden beds.  Other items, ask and see if it’s available.

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE

By at December 22, 2015 | 6:37 am | 0 Comment

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BENTWATER YACHT & COUNTRY CLUB, LTD. Weiskopf Golf Course Press Release

By at September 9, 2015 | 6:17 pm | 0 Comment

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LCA President’s Update – June 25, 2015

By at June 25, 2015 | 2:57 pm | 0 Comment

LCA President’s Update
June 25, 2015

The only thing predictable is that the weather is not! In reviewing a past December 1, 2011 LCA President’s Update, I write “After the generous rainfall we experienced over the past two weeks, our landscape may be happier but our lake level remains at a dismal level of 192.79 as of today….8 feet, 3 inches below normal pool. These lake levels reflect the lowest levels in the history of the lake.” Here, in 2015, we have recorded rainfall totals of 30 inches year-to-date (compared to an annual average of 48 inches) and water releases from the dam year-to-date totaling 290,661 acre feet, or 14 feet across Lake Conroe’s 21,000 surface acres (compared to an annual average of 7 feet). The water released year-to-date equates to 69% of Lake Conroe’s total volume. May, 2015 was the wettest May in Texas history, and April/May, 2015 was the wettest April/May in Texas history.

LEWIS CREEK RESERVOIR:
As you probably saw through the media, Lewis Creek Reservoir (private reservoir for Entergy just North of FM1097 and East of Lake Conroe) experienced some slope failures at several locations along the backside of their dam during our Memorial Day weekend rain event. Evacuations were ordered to protect those in the area. Entergy and local elected officials have reported that all failures have been corrected and danger no longer currently exists for local residents and businesses.

FACTOID: As hard as it rained during our Memorial Day weekend rain event, it did not rival a rain event in 1994 where we received 5 times as much rain (24 inches in 24 hours).

DISASTER DECLARATION FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY:
Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal issued a disaster declaration on June 15, 2015 due to severe weather storm damages that have occurred in Montgomery County since May 4th of this year. A request for assistance has been sent to Governor Greg Abbott requesting state and federal aid for additional funding to make needed repairs and to provide the citizens of Montgomery County with effective relief. Montgomery County has been added to the Small Business Administration (SBA) declaration due to being a contiguous county with Harris County. Information concerning the application process for the SBA assistance can be found on the Montgomery County OEM website at www.mctxoem.org. This information is provided in cooperation with the Office of Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal.

REDUCED WATER USE:
With our multitude of rain events in 2015, water use has dropped dramatically. It has been reported that between 65% to 80% of water use in Summer is for irrigation (with an estimated 50% of that related to over-watering or runoff waste). Annually, over 30% of domestic water use in Montgomery County relates to irrigation of lawns and landscape…..and Mother Nature is providing all the water our yards have needed. The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) has reported that for the months of April and May, 2015, The Woodlands has purchased its least amount of water since 2001.

INVASIVE AQUATIC VEGETATION:
Rain is good. Too much rain can be bad – especially if you’re floating, invasive aquatic vegetation. Both Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth float on the lake’s surface (as compared to Hydrilla which roots itself into the floor of the lake). Often, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth flourish in the shallow creeks and coves on the northern portion of Lake Conroe; making treatment of these invasives difficult because you cannot reach them by boat. With our heavy rains recently, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth have been “flushed out” of their shallow waters and into the main body of Lake Conroe. SJRA and its spray contractors have been taking advantage of this rare opportunity and aggressively treating all invasive vegetation with approved aquatic herbicides.
As it stands today, Texas Parks & Wildlife and SJRA report less than 0.2 acres of Hydrilla in Lake Conroe. You may recall that we experienced an approximate total of 2,033 acres of Hydrilla infestation in February, 2008.

SJRA SURFACE WATER TREATMENT PLANT AND PIPELINES:
As of April 30, 2015, SJRA’s Surface Water Treatment Plant is estimated to be 93.5% complete and its related Pipeline System 93.0% complete. On June 1, 2015, SJRA started capturing water from Lake Conroe, processing that water through its Surface Water Treatment Plant, and delivering that water through its Pipeline System. At this time, the water is not reaching the public for consumption; but, rather, is being utilized to test the treatment processes and pipeline delivery system. Typically, Municipal Utility Districts (MUD’s) accepting water from SJRA’s Surface Water Treatment Plant will “blend” that water with aquifer ground water before delivering a final water product to the consumer. As the testing of the “blending” process is completed, the “blended water” is utilized to “flush” the Pipeline System and ready that Pipeline System for active consumer use. The estimated date for full implementation and use of SJRA’s Surface Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline System (and water delivery to the public) is September 1, 2015. The annual amount of water to be removed from Lake Conroe by SJRA over the next ten (10) years is estimated to be 25,000 acre feet, or about 1.2 feet of water across the surface of Lake Conroe per year. Key variables in this calculation of “25,000 acre feet over the next 10 years” include population growth and average water use per household.

LAKE CONROE RESERVOIR RULES & REGULATIONS:
SJRA has released its updated Lake Conroe Reservoir Rules & Regulations effective June 1, 2015. The last amendment to these regulations was effective August 28, 2003. I’d say the primary purpose of these amendments includes clarification for the public and enhanced enforcement by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department of those Rules. A brief summary of revisions to these Rules follows:
1. Boating: The amendments clarify local rules related to the operation of boats and vessels on Lake Conroe. Notably, amplified music and other noise that unreasonably disturbs the public is prohibited between the hours of 10PM and 6AM. Amplified music containing explicit lyrics is prohibited at any time if audible to the general public.
2. Picnicking and Camping: The amendments allow for picnicking and camping on SJRA land in designated areas. The amendments prohibit extended camping stays, littering, and burning refuse on SJRA land, and prohibits unreasonable noise between the hours of 10PM and 6AM. Glass containers are now prohibited on Ayers Island and Lake Conroe Park. Camp fires are permitted on Ayers Island so long as SJRA property is not damaged. Individuals may not enter SJRA land intoxicated nor become intoxicated on SJRA land.
3. Other significant sections of these amended Rules include Definitions, Public Access and Use, Fishing and Hunting, Firearms, Feral Animals, Encroachment, Sanitary Conditions, Abandonment of Personal Property, Commercial Operations, Raw Water Use, and Penalties & Enforcement.

This brief summary is my interpretation of significant topics and amendments for the everyday lake user. For a complete copy of SJRA’s Lake Conroe Reservoir Rules & Regulations, visit SJRA’s website at www.sjra.net.

LAKE CONROE WATERSHED PROTECTION PLAN:
SJRA has recently implemented its Lake Conroe Watershed Protection Plan. Simply put, the Plan outlines steps necessary to maintain and improve our high water quality on Lake Conroe. In addition to SJRA staff, a diverse group of stakeholders were assembled to facilitate the Plan development effort. The Lake Conroe Association was among the list of over 26 stakeholders to participate in this Plan.

Among topics included in the Plan, you will find extensive summaries and graphics of Lake Conroe regarding the physical watershed location, soil types and land cover; and locations of marinas, storm drains, petroleum storage tanks, on-site septic facilities, wastewater treatment plants, wastewater outfall locations, boat ramps, boat dock locations, and water quality sampling sites. For the technically-inclined, specific water chemical data is outlined and compares current versus desired conditions. Finally, a variety of Plans have been developed and listed regarding solid waste management, on-site septic systems, urban run-off, municipal storm sewer system discharges, centralized wastewater collection and treatment plants, construction sites, and public education and outreach.

For homeowners operating residential septic systems (aerobic treatment units, or ATU), particular attention should be given to Section 4.3.1 (Regulatory Changes for the OSSF Program). Upon installation of an ATU, homeowners have a two-year maintenance program mandated by TCEQ. Under new proposed regulations for the Lake Conroe Watershed, all ATU systems must be maintained beyond that initial two-year period by a licensed maintenance provider or by a residential homeowner that has been certified and licensed by the TCEQ. SJRA currently has approximately 2,000 ATU’s in its jurisdiction.

For a complete copy of SJRA’s Lake Conroe Watershed Protection Plan, visit SJRA’s website at www.sjra.net.

BOATING AND ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION:
I believe that most operators of watercraft are unclear on alcohol consumption regulations. We all know that operating any vehicle under the influence is a poor choice, and the Lake Conroe Association does not endorse boating and drinking. Having said that, this section is provided to clarify the law as it currently exists. SJRA has confirmed with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department that “the driver of a boat can have an open container, but they cannot be intoxicated”. Be smart and safe out there on the lake; and if in doubt, do not drink and operate watercraft.

SJRA’S FLUSH CAMPAIGN:
SJRA has developed a “Flush Campaign” to promote education about what should and should not be flushed through the sanitary collection system. Washing fats, oil and grease has developed into a recurring issue causing clogs of sewage pipes. This informative campaign educates people on what is safe to flush down the toilet and what’s better suited to be thrown in the trash. Some paper products, wipes and other products may be marked as flushable but could result in costly home repairs and cleanup of wastewater treatment plants. For more information, you may visit SJRA’s website at www.sjra.net. To coordinate a presentation for your subdivision or organization, please contact SJRA’s Public Relations Manager Ronda Trow or SJRA’s Public Relations Specialist Michelle Guidry at 936-588-3111.

LAKE CONROE ASSOCIATION IN MAY, 2015:
To update those in the area regarding the $500 million SJRA Surface Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline System, the Lake Conroe Association and SJRA hosted a tour of those facilities at the SJRA dam site on May 12 before a Lake Conroe Association Board of Directors Meeting. Representatives from Bentwater, Walden, April Sound, Point Aquarius, Grand Harbor, Shelter Bay, and Rancho Escondido were in attendance, as well as individuals from a Utility District, MUD Board, realty company and consultants. The tour was followed by a presentation from Jace Houston, General Manager of SJRA, regarding SJRA’s treatment facility and the topic of available water in our aquifers for public consumption.

Thank you for your time in reviewing this edition of our LCA President’s Update. For more information regarding the Lake Conroe Association or for prior editions of our LCA President’s Updates, please visit us at www.lakeconroeassociation.com. We wish you and yours a safe and happy Summer season on and around beautiful Lake Conroe.

Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association

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Lake Conroe Communities Network Groundwater Regulation Petition

By at May 19, 2015 | 11:45 am | 0 Comment

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Montgomery County launches informative Web site for citizens on 2015 Road Bond

By at April 28, 2015 | 8:48 am | 0 Comment

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The Art of Marriage

By at February 19, 2015 | 7:57 am | 0 Comment

the art of marriage a six-session video event
April 10-11, 2015
Location: Lakeside Bible Church 18940 Freeport Dr Montgomery, Tx 77356
Cost: $20 single $39 couple
Schedule: FRIDAY Doors open at 6:30 PM SATURDAY Doors open 8:30 am
Begins 7:00 pm. Begins 9:00 am
Ends 9:30 PM. Ends 4:00 PM.
REGISTER @ https://lakesidebible.eventbrite.com

FAMILYLIFE and Lakeside Bible Church present “the art of marriage” video event.

The art of marriage weaves together expert teaching, real life stories, humorous vignettes, and more to portray the challenges and the beauty of God’s design for marriage. Six engaging video sessions are interspersed with projects for couples to complete in a Friday night-Saturday schedule.

Price includes entrance to the event, 1 workbook per adult, and snacks/refreshments during the event.

No childcare will be provided and we ask that you please arrange childcare prior to attending.

For questions please call 936-582-1977 or send an email to admin@lakesidebiblechurch.org.

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For anyone who likes fishing on Lake Conroe!!

By at January 8, 2015 | 8:17 am | 0 Comment

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Its been a Long Climb Back to Consistent Lake Levels

By at January 1, 2015 | 11:03 am | 0 Comment

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE – December 19, 2014

By at December 19, 2014 | 4:43 pm | 2 Comments

Happy Holidays to our LCA Members, their families and friends. I’d say we had a great year on Lake Conroe based on the return of normal lake levels, lack of invasive vegetation, and strong economic growth. It feels like Santa has already given us gifts for the year. Please allow me to summarize some current LCA and lake information for you.

LCA ANNUAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION: If you are a LCA Member, you will have received a 2015 Annual Meeting Proxy Card with this Update which allows you to vote for your LCA Board of Directors for 2015. We are fortunate to have all eight (8) current LCA Board Members agree to enter their names for re-election. Those current Directors are Gene Barrington, Mike Bleier, Tom Butz, Dawn Cleboski, Gene Colbert, Rich Cutler, Jim Pohoski and Ben Richardson. We encourage you to vote for the re-election of the current Board or “write-in” a candidate of your choice by returning the Proxy Card prior to January 16, 2015. I’d like to thank the current LCA Board for volunteering their time in 2014 on behalf of the LCA and our lake community.

LCA ANNUAL MEETING: The Annual Meeting of the Lake Conroe Association will be held on January 16, 2015 at the SJRA Meeting Room (3rd floor of the 3-story building) at the Lake Conroe dam site at 10 A.M. The Annual Meeting summarizes the Member vote for 2015 LCA Board of Directors and presents general information on Lake Conroe (similar to content below).

RAINFALL AND LAKE LEVELS: The current level of Lake Conroe is 200.86 (with an elevation of 201.0 being “normal pool”). The year was a bit unusual in that we had numerous slow, steady rains as compared to significant individual rainfall events (which produce a great deal of run-off and fill the lake quickly). While the rainfall totals recorded at the SJRA dam site totaled 43.69” (which is less than the average annual rainfall on Lake Conroe of 48”), lake levels remained relatively high throughout the year. Our lake level exceeded an elevation of 199.0’ for 348 days out of the 349 days year to date. I think most would state they were happy with lake levels in 2014 and hope for more of the same in 2015.

WATER RELEASES AT THE SJRA DAM: We finally reached a “full pool” elevation of 201.0 on Lake Conroe on May 13, 2014 after enduring 4 years of below that level (April 25, 2010 being the last time a level of 201.0 was recorded). While small quantities of water in excess of the 201.0 elevation were released through the dam starting May 13, the total quantity of water released in 2014 totaled 30,292 acre feet, or approximately 15” of water across the lake (and no water has been released since July 23, 2014). The average annual release of water through the dam approximates 7 feet per year.

IMPROVEMENTS AT SJRA “SERVICE OUTLET”: Water is released from Lake Conroe by SJRA through either its “service outlet” (intended for small amounts of water – typically 25 to 500 cubic feet per second) or through any combination of its three “gates” (usually releasing water in increments of 500 cubic feet per second and typically associated with a large storm event). The “service outlet” plays an important role in SJRA’s efforts to “conserve” lake level. When the lake goes over 201.0’ during a storm, SJRA staff begin releasing the excess water. Their goal isn’t to try to keep the lake from going over 201.0’, but they do have to stay within certain safe operating parameters. In fact, they are typically able to hold or “slowly bleed off” a few inches of water to “conserve” what they can. Because the “service outlets” can be fined-tuned to release smaller amounts of water (as compared to the main “gates”), SJRA staff use these gates to slowly release water when the lake is only a few inches over its full level. SJRA’s Board (of which I am a Member) approved a rehabilitation project of that “service outlet” which will maximize the long-term functionality and effectiveness of this “service outlet”. The project is currently underway and will be completed in phases over the next two (2) fiscal years.

LAKE CONROE ADVISORY BOARD: Since the hydrilla infestation of 2006, an Advisory Board was created to discuss lake conditions, how to best control invasive vegetation, and how to protect important native vegetation on Lake Conroe. Participants in this Advisory Board include Texas Parks & Wildlife, San Jacinto River Authority, angling organizations and the LCA. A meeting was held on December 15, 2014 where various updates were provided and suggestions for ongoing maintenance were presented. Key points of interest include: • An estimated 7,900 hydrilla-eating White Amur Grass Carp are still alive in Lake Conroe • Hydrilla is estimated to occupy only 0.01 acres currently (basically, none) • Water Hyacinth is estimated to occupy 162 acres currently • Giant Salvinia is estimated to occupy 48 acres currently • Native Plants have rebounded to an estimated 1,171 acres currently • Based on the estimated 7,900 Grass Carp still alive and the lack of Hydrilla on Lake Conroe, no stockings of White Amur Grass Carp are planned for 2015 The LCA is pleased to participate in this committee and do its part in providing feedback towards a healthy Lake Conroe.

ZEBRA MUSSELS: Please be reminded to inspect your watercraft for Zebra Mussels should you transport your vessel from one body of water to another. Zebra Mussels have been confirmed in seven (7) Texas water bodies and we strongly desire to keep these intruders out of Lake Conroe. Texas Parks & Wildlife has implemented significant fines for individuals not cleaning ballasts, live wells, bait buckets, bilges, wake board bladders, or any other water-holding compartment when removing a vessel from or launching a vessel into a Texas water body. For more information regarding Zebra Mussels, please visit our LCA website at www.lakeconroeassociation.com. Remember the Texas Parks & Wildlife campaign slogan, “Clean, Drain & Dry Your Boat”!

SJRA WATER PROTECTION PLAN: Lake Conroe has been blessed with relatively clean water chemistry compared to most Texas lakes and we desire to keep it that way. With the future use of Lake Conroe water as a drinking supply, the importance of maintaining clean water is even more important. With this in mind, SJRA created a Water Protection Advisory Board comprised of 17 diverse individuals from many walks of life including a marina owner, real estate consultant, dredging and bulkhead company, municipal water provider, Montgomery County constable, angler, forester and numerous appropriate businesses. The LCA has two (2) representatives on this committee. Counties represented included Montgomery, Walker and Liberty counties. Having held 8 informative meetings requiring feedback from all participants, SJRA is completing its first, formal Water Protection Plan for Lake Conroe. Topics addressed include storm sewer run-off, animal waste and fertilizer run-off, poorly maintained residential septic systems, larger municipal or sub-division on-site septic systems, proper disposal of chemicals and paints, and other related subjects. SJRA will be releasing its first draft of this policy in early 2015 and, upon feedback from the Advisory Board and the SJRA Board, a formal policy will be implemented for the betterment of our local water supply.

SJRA WATER TREATMENT FACILITY AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM: With the $500 million Water Treatment Facility and Distribution System (Pipelines) ahead of its scheduled completion date, SJRA anticipates testing of the project to commence June 1, 2015 and actual delivery of drinking water effective September 1, 2015. Through October 31, 2014, the Water Treatment Facility is 80% complete (based on paid invoices of $151, 707,353) and the Pipeline is 83% complete (based on paid invoices of $123,839,431). That pipeline includes approximately 52 miles of various sized concrete coated steel pipe, PVC pipe, and bar wrapped concrete mortar pipe. One of the common questions I hear from our LCA Members is “How much will the lake go down when SJRA has to fill all of those pipelines?” It is assumed that we’re talking about a significant amount of water just to get the pipelines filled and pressurized. In fact, the estimated quantity of water needed to fill the pipelines and two (2) five million gallon above-ground storage tanks is 16 million gallons, or approximately 1/32” of water from the surface of Lake Conroe. An additional use of water will be the initial “flushing” stage of the project required by TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). TCEQ maintains guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting all the storage tanks and pipelines before they are placed in service. The “flushing” will last for several days to a few weeks depending on how the process goes, and initial estimates are that “flushing” could use approximately 300 million gallons in a best case scenario (or the equivalent of a ½” of water from the surface of Lake Conroe) to as much as 900 million gallons in a worst case scenario (or the equivalent of 1 ½” of water from the surface of Lake Conroe).

SJRA WATER DELIVERED AND PUMPED: SJRA is in the business of providing water for residential and commercial use in primarily Montgomery and Harris Counties. Raw water is delivered to industrial customers mostly from Lake Houston (with a small amount of industrial use out of Lake Conroe). SJRA also has a few municipal customers receiving raw water from Lake Houston. Groundwater is captured via water wells and delivered primarily for the ultimate use of residential customers. The total amount of water (both groundwater and surface water in both Harris and Montgomery Counties) “delivered” and/or “pumped” by SJRA during the fiscal year ending August 31, 2014 exceeded 30 billion gallons. While the vast majority of that water does not come from Lake Conroe, I found it interesting that 30 billion gallons approximates 22% of water held in Lake Conroe at a “full pool” elevation of 201.0’.

IS RESIDENTIAL WATER USE DECREASING? During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2014, the amount of water sold by SJRA and utilized by residential customers appears to have decreased. In fact, residential water use in The Woodlands was ten percent (10%) less than what was budgeted for that period. Much work is being done by SJRA to clarify the “Why?” Given we had relatively steady (while moderate) rainfall and did not endure prolonged periods of drought during that period, was there less use by residential irrigation systems? Did the use of “rain sensors” on residential irrigation systems “turn off” the systems more frequently based on this more steady rainfall? Did people truly choose to “conserve” water and modify their previous water usage based on requests from Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District and San Jacinto River Authority for conservation? Did people around Lake Conroe choose to conserve, in part, because they felt it may help to protect lake levels? The results of further researching this phenomenon will be important in planning water resources for our future.

FUN FACTS AND FIGURES: SJRA’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended August 31, 2014 included some interesting “factoids”. Based on the most recent Census Data available, please find the following information specifically for Montgomery County: • Population = 499,137 • Attained High School = 86% • Attained College = 30% • Median Age = 36 years old • Median Household Income = $66,422 • Unemployment Rate = 6.8% The report provides similar data for the following Counties/Cities as well: Barrett, Baytown, Crosby, Grimes County, Highlands, Liberty County, San Jacinto County, Waller County, and Walker County. It would not be surprising to note that Montgomery County recorded the highest Population, Attainment of High School and College, and Median Household Income compared the other Counties/Cities. For those of us in Montgomery County, we have been fortunate to set roots here and, I believe, the future looks promising.

LCA MEMBERSHIP: Until the LCA needs additional funds for a “project”, we will not invoice our Members for dues. Of course, donations are accepted and appreciated at any time. Individual memberships in the LCA are typically billed at $100 per year. The LCA is a 501 (c) 3 Not-For-Profit Organization and donations are generally tax deductible. Our mailing address is Lake Conroe Association, P.O. Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378. For more information about the LCA, visit our website at www.lakeconroeassociation.com.

Well, another year has passed and I feel the Lake Conroe area has fared well. On behalf of the Board of the Lake Conroe Association, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous year to come. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available. Should you have any questions, please contact me via the LCA website (www.lakeconroeassociation.com) or at parmgb@aol.com. Thank you for your support of the Lake Conroe Association.

Mike Bleier, President Lake Conroe Association

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Health Insurance Shock

By at December 9, 2014 | 11:49 am | 0 Comment

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Lake Conroe weather app

By at December 8, 2014 | 7:29 am | 4 Comments

I don’t why the weather app was changed but it is really screwed up. I have used this weather to fish by for as long as I can remember and it isn’t worth a#%$@. It always amazes me how some people can screw things up when they just need to leave them alone. The old saying”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” really applys. I quess it all boils down to money which is how most good things are screwed up

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Handyman/powerwashing services grand opening pricing!!!

By at May 21, 2014 | 8:56 pm | 0 Comment

 

 POWER WASHING PROMOTIONAL PRICES

valid untill June 15th 2014

  1. Sidewalks and curbs—$15  *prices vary depending on size 
  2. Single Driveways— $35+
  3. Double driveways—$45+
  4. Mobile homes—$60+
  5. Double wide mobile homes—$75
  6. Single story houses—$100
  7. RV or camper–$45
  8. Wooden decks —$20 and up
  9. Wooden fences—$50 and up

For a list of services visit our website at WWW.southernpathomes.com or call us anytime for your FREE ESTIMATE!

CALL OR TEXT

936-718-7930

E-MAIL

Southernpathomes@gmail.com

 

Visitor Forum

Lake Conroe Reaches Full Pool Level

By at May 13, 2014 | 10:08 am | 0 Comment

The day has finally arrived. Our surface elevation has reached 201. Last day the lake was at this level was April 27, 2010.

201-lake-level

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LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE 04/18/14

By at April 19, 2014 | 5:24 pm | 0 Comment

 LCA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE as of April 18, 2014

 

The Lake Conroe Association (LCA) wishes you a Happy Spring and a wonderful year on Lake Conroe to come. We have many happenings in and around our community, and we wanted to take an opportunity to update you on topics of interest. In no particular order of importance:

 

U.S. MAIL OR E-MAIL?: The LCA chose to deliver this Update by both U.S. Mail and e-mail. Our normal, less expensive method of delivery is e-mail. In the event that you received this Update by U.S. Mail but not by e-mail, we must not have your current e-mail address. In the event that you would like to be added to our e-mail list, please 1) go to our web site (www.lakeconroeassociation.com), 2) select “Contact Us”, and 3) provide us with your name and e-mail address. You will be added for all future e-mail correspondence.

 

LOCAL ELECTIONS: In a County of approximately 500,000 residents and 267,969 registered voters, only 43,510 votes were cast in our March, 2014 Montgomery County local elections. This equates to 16% of our registered voters controlling who shall best govern Montgomery County. Run-off elections will be held on May 27, 2014. As voters have fewer decisions to make on run-off election day (some races were decided by majority in March and propositions were voted on in March), voter turn-out for the May elections is typically lower. Do you want 8%, 12% or even 16% of registered voters to decide the elected officials who will represent you for the next 4 years? PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE ON MAY 27, 2014!

 

WEATHER: Have you ever seen so many ups and downs in a weather pattern before? Our Winter season (defined as December to February) produced the third coldest Winter in Montgomery County in recorded history. I thought I was finally warming up this past week, but then a cold front approaches and gives us 35 degrees again. My plants were not happy!

 

RAINFALL: With an average rainfall of 48 inches per year in Montgomery County, we saw rainfall totals of 39.89 inches in 2013. Through April 14, we have averaged 9.89 inches of rainfall over the past six (6) years and have seen 7.86 inches at the Lake Conroe dam site so far in 2014. We will soon be entering our wettest months of the year (May and June). Forecasters say an El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific (one that brings more moisture) could help out Texas by Fall and into Winter.

 

LAKE LEVELS: Lake Conroe is currently at a level of 200.67 feet (with 201.0 being considered “full pool”). It’s just wonderful to look out and see an almost-full Lake Conroe, and anglers and recreational boaters seem to be out in numbers taking advantage of the conditions.

 

SJRA LAKE LEVEL REPORTING: Some erroneous lake level data has been reported by avid followers of SJRA’s website recording lake levels. The lake levels reported can actually come from 1 of 4 different sources; namely, one gauge operated by the US Geologic Service, two gauges operated by SJRA, and a manual reading by SJRA. Gauges, being an instrument, can become faulty periodically and require re-calibration or, in the worst case, replacement (as was done with the USGS gauge recently). Strong winds out of the North can push water higher on the SJRA dam and create an artificial rise in lake level of over an inch or two. The lake level data on the SJRA web site is recorded electronically by one of these three gauges and, in the event the data becomes suspicious, another gauge is selected for future reporting. Should conditions dictate that none of the three gauges may report accurately, a manual reading is taken and input into the web site. All three gauges utilized by SJRA are currently functioning properly.

 

NO WATER HAS BEEN RELEASED: Contrary to many rumors, no water has been released from the Lake Conroe dam since March 21, 2010.

 

TEXAS RESERVOIR LEVELS: Reservoirs across Texas are 65% full (the lowest level for this time of year since 1990). Normal for this time of year is 84% full. In the Austin area, the two lakes managed by the Lower Colorado River Authority are a combined 37% full. At a level of 200.67, the Lake Conroe reservoir would be measured as 99.8% full. Lake Houston and Lake Livingston are reported to be 99.3% and 100.0% full, respectively.

 

LAKE CONROE VEGETATION SURVEY: An annual survey of native and invasive vegetation on Lake Conroe is conducted at least annually by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). Our next survey is scheduled for May, 2014. Preliminary observations made by both TPWD and the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) record limited Hydrilla, Giant Salvinia and Water Hyacinth at this time. Rising lake levels have “flushed out” some invasive vegetation from shallow coves, creek beds and marshy areas; and aquatic herbicide applications have been applied by SJRA on an “as-needed” basis. We will report the TPWD survey results upon study completion.

 

WHITE AMUR GRASS CARP: As you may recall, an estimated 2,052 surface acres of Lake Conroe were covered by the invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla in early, 2008. This represented 9.4% of Lake Conroe’s total surface acres. 123,765 White Amur Grass Carp were purchased by SJRA and LCA between March, 2006 and February, 2008 to combat the invasive weed. An estimated 10,000 White Amur remain alive today and are reaching the end of their typical 7 to 10 year life span. Upon completion of TPWD’s May, 2014 Lake Conroe Vegetation Survey reporting today’s Hydrilla status, a stakeholder group of SJRA, TPWD, LCA, angling organizations and others will meet to discuss when and how many White Amur should be purchased to maintain control of Hydrilla on Lake Conroe. We will report the results of that meeting.

 

ZEBRA MUSSELS: The presence of live Zebra Mussels or their larvae has now been confirmed in six (6) Texas water bodies: Lakes Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Belton and Lavon. To date, Zebra Mussels have not been detected in Lake Conroe. Due to the diligent efforts of marina owners on Lake Conroe, at least two (2) vessels have been prohibited from launching into Lake Conroe after the marina owners identified Zebra Mussels attached to the hulls of the vessels attempting to launch. Please be very aware of this state-wide problem and pay particular attention to any vessel being launched in Lake Conroe which has visited any of the infested lakes listed above. For more information regarding Zebra Mussels, please visit our LCA website at www.lakeconroeassociation.com.

 

SJRA BOAT DOCK LICENSES: It’s that time of year again and SJRA has billed boat dock owners on Lake Conroe for their annual boat dock license fee. The fee is based on the number of square feet on your boat dock (with a minimum fee of $60 per year). SJRA has 3,892 licensed residential boat docks and collects approximately $622,472 per year for those licenses. SJRA has 82 licensed commercial boat docks (13 of which are marinas) and collects approximately $413,570 per year for those licenses. Revenues collected from boat dock licenses are used to offset the cost to SJRA of permitting and inspecting new boat docks, ensuring compliance of existing boat docks, billing and collection of boat dock fees, overall administration of the program, and contribution towards maintenance of the dam and related facilities.

 

SJRA RESIDENTIAL IRRIGATION CONTRACTS: SJRA has historically provided a Landscape Irrigation License that allows lakefront property owners to use water from Lake Conroe for the sole purpose of landscape irrigation. The annual fee for this license is $150 and billings were mailed this month. The State of Texas requires anyone that diverts water from a State reservoir to enter into such a contract or permit. In February, 2014, SJRA mailed ALL lakefront property owners a notice informing them of this license requirement and asked that they complete the Water Diversion Form for Private Landscape Irrigation if they intended to divert any water during the upcoming year starting May 1. SJRA has 686 licensed residential irrigation contracts and collects approximately $102,900 per year for those licenses. Although the license does not restrict the annual quantity of water you may divert, SJRA has notified licensees that it may require a meter to be installed to measure the quantity of water you divert and reserves the right to implement a tiered rate system based on the quantity of water diverted in the future.

 

SJRA WATER CONSERVATION PLAN: SJRA has adopted a Water Conservation Plan and Drought Contingency Plan that addresses access to water provided by SJRA based on fluctuating lake levels on Lake Conroe. SJRA currently sells water out of Lake Conroe to residential and industrial customers located in Montgomery County and, upon completion of its Surface Water Treatment Facility and Transmission System, will be selling potable water throughout Montgomery County. These Plans will limit the quantity of water sold from Lake Conroe based on lake levels. As lake levels decrease due to seasonal fluctuations, droughts or disasters, SJRA will implement restrictions on the quantity of water delivered. More specific information on the Plans (and related lake levels) will be summarized in a future LCA President’s Update and can be further reviewed by visiting SJRA’s website at www.sjra.net.

 

SJRA LAKE CONROE WATERSHED PROTECTION PLAN: With the construction of SJRA’s Surface Water Treatment Facility and Transmission System to be completed in 2015, water from Lake Conroe will now be used for human consumption. More than ever, the quality of water in Lake Conroe must be maintained at a high level. SJRA has assembled a Stakeholder Group of approximately 22 volunteers to develop a Watershed Protection Plan over the next twelve (12) months. Through monthly meetings, this group will discuss topics to include septic discharge, storm sewer run-off, agricultural run-off, bulkheading, riparian buffer zones, dredging, water quality testing, and any number of related topics which affect Lake Conroe’s water quality. Representatives from many walks-of-life have been assembled to present views from a variety of perspectives and knowledge. Examples of Stakeholders include realtors, ranchers, marina owners, Public Works Directors, foresters, law enforcement, MUD’s, Community Health Services Directors, forest rangers, anglers, Chamber of Commerce, Planning & Development Directors, dredging/bulkheading companies, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and local organizations.

 

PURCHASING WATER TO MAINTAIN LAKE CONROE LAKE LEVELS: While Lake Conroe has almost reached “full pool”, many residents and businesses are concerned about fluctuating lake levels in our future. Many question “Why can’t we buy water from somewhere to keep Lake Conroe full at all times?” As this is an enormous topic, I will share just a couple of thoughts for your consideration. First, the question would be “Who is the WE” in “Why can’t WE buy water”? Is the “WE” SJRA, Montgomery County, City of Conroe, State of Texas, Federal Government or you? There is no budget in any of these entities to cover such a cost today. Second, a question would be “How much could the water cost?” Using round numbers, we’ll assume Lake Conroe to be 22,000 surface acres and the cost of raw water today to be $100 per acre foot (“acre foot” being the amount of water covering one square acre at one foot deep). Using this information, raising Lake Conroe by one foot would cost 22,000 surface acres times $100 per acre foot, or $2.2 million. While very simplified, I believe you will quickly see the dilemma. Any creative suggestions to the solution would be encouraged and greatly appreciated.

 

STATUS OF SJRA WATER TREATMENT FACILITY AND TRANSMISSION SYSTEM: As of March 31, 2014, the Water Treatment Facility was 51% complete at a cost of $97,362,711 and the Transmission System (pipelines) was 45% complete at a cost of $66,361,818. The estimated cost of Phase 1 of this project (capable of serving our needs through 2025) totals $490 million.

 

WHEN WILL SJRA START TAKING WATER FROM LAKE CONROE?: The Water Treatment Facility and Transmission System is estimated to be ready for initial testing by June, 2015. Assuming all testing goes as planned, SJRA estimates that it would start to deliver treated water from Lake Conroe by September 1, 2015. SJRA will remove the same quantity of water from Lake Conroe each day throughout the year, or approximately 1/32 of an inch per day. Seasonal fluctuations in water use will be satisfied by adjusting the amount of water delivered via water wells drilled into the Jasper Aquifer (i.e. limited water from the Jasper in Winter when water use is low and much greater water from the Jasper in Summer when water use is high).

 

LCA MEMBERSHIP: Until the LCA needs additional funds for a “project”, we will not invoice our Members for dues. Of course, donations are accepted and appreciated at any time. Individual memberships in the LCA are typically billed at $100 per year. The LCA is a 501 (c) 3 Not-For-Profit Organization and donations are generally tax deductible. For more information about the LCA, visit our website at www.lakeconroeassociation.com.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION AND ENJOY THE SUMMER TO COME.

 

AND DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON MAY 27, 2014!!

 

Mike Bleier, President

Lake Conroe Association

 

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