Lake Conroe Association, LCA – PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
JULY 31, 2009

We’re all enjoying some much needed rain over these past couple of days, and today’s storm has provided me an opportunity to update you on several lake issues. Prior to today’s rain, the lake level measured 199.7 (with normal pool being 201.0) and remains at a level which adequately sustains enjoyment by boaters and anglers alike.

On July 29, the LCA met with Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD), the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) and anglers from the Seven Coves Bass Club to discuss invasive weeds and native vegetation. Having completed its latest lake vegetation survey, TPWD reported no Hydrilla (HURRAY !!!) and only 13 acres of Water Hyacinth. It appears the White Amur grass carp have done their job on Hydrilla and, in Hydrilla’s absence, moved on to attack Water Hyacinth. TPWD also reported Giant Salvinia lightly dispersed over a 582 acre area which, if consolidated into one “mat”, would mostly likely cover 25 to 50 acres (approximately 10% of last years volume) . While the White Amur have not taken a liking to Giant Salvinia, the continuous herbicide spraying of Giant Salvinia by SJRA (at a cost of $8-10,000 per week) has allowed us to gain control over the growth of this noxious vegetation. Many thanks are due SJRA for their efforts here.

Of great concern has been the dramatic reduction of native vegetation in Lake Conroe since the addition of White Amur in great numbers (to control Hydrilla). With over 1,000 acres reported two years ago, native vegetation was reduced to 140 acres in July, 2008. We were pleased to learn from TPWD that their June, 2009 survey reported 156 acres of native vegetation. While not a significant increase over last year, the important point is that native vegetation held its own against consumption by White Amur. With this news, TPWD reported that the protective status applied to White Amur will continue which prohibits anyone from catching and removing White Amur from Lake Conroe. Further, TPWD remains committed to retaining a “maintenance level” of White Amur in Lake Conroe for the lifetime of the lake so that Hydrilla will not reach the invasive levels we endured between 2006 and 2008.

Everyone involved recognizes that without the generous support of our LCA donors, Lake Conroe would not have returned to the condition we all enjoy today. We can’t thank all of you enough for your support in previous LCA fund raising events (approximately $600,000 over the past three years) as well as your continued support in our current 2009 LCA Membership Campaign (adding another $40,000 to date). If you haven’t taken the opportunity to renew your LCA Membership in 2009, donations are always accepted at Lake Conroe Association, PO Box 376, Willis, Texas 77378.

Of course, we also could not have a recovering Lake Conroe without the endless efforts of the San Jacinto River Authority. During this week’s meeting with TPWD, SJRA, anglers and the LCA, TPWD stated “We are all very fortunate to have the SJRA working for us on Lake Conroe. The SJRA has done the best job of any River Authority in The State of Texas in controlling noxious vegetation, investing monies for that control, maintaining native vegetation and serving the multitude of needs of users on Lake Conroe.” To be tagged with the unofficial title “Best in The State of Texas” by TPWD is an accomplishment for the SJRA to be proud of and one you should congratulate them on when you come in contact with any SJRA employee.

Unfortunately, all good things seem to come at a cost. While the LCA has contributed over $600,000 for aquatic plant management over the past three years, the SJRA has expended over $1 million from their budget during that same period. Realizing how much money aquatic plant management has cost, The City of Houston (who owns 2/3 of the water in Lake Conroe and pays 2/3 of all SJRA costs) has reduced the SJRA budget for aquatic plant management to $100,000/year going forward. With these financial constraints in place, the need for both LCA donations and our continued appeals for funds from County, State and Federal sources has never been greater. Texas State Senator Robert Nichols initiated the request for and subsequently secured a State budget line item of $2.3 million in TPWD’s budget for aquatic plant management in The State of Texas to cover the next two years. Senator Nichols’ efforts will greatly benefit the needs of over 200 lakes in Texas and, should we need funds, hopefully the Lake Conroe community.

The Seven Coves Bass Club reported that they have continued efforts to re-vegetate Lake Conroe with native vegetation with the help of TPWD and SJRA. Volunteers from these organizations planted 120 “natives” in Lake Conroe last Saturday along Sam Houston National Forest shoreline opposite Scott’s Ridge public boat ramp and campgrounds (north of 1097 bridge in Caney Creek). On September 26, 2009, these volunteers plan to plant another 400 “natives” along other uninhabited shoreline of the National Forest. “Natives” tend to double in size each year without “inhibitors” (such as Grass Carp eating them) and TPWD hopes to re-vegetate Lake Conroe to a level of 1,000 acres of “natives” over time. TPWD wishes to emphasize that while there remain problems statewide with “exotic, invasive vegetation” (such as Hydrilla, Water Hyacinth and Giant Salvinia), “native vegetation” has never gotten “out of control and required treatment” in The State of Texas.

We hope this LCA President’s Update has provided you with some current, useful information. The LCA continues to serve your lake needs “behind the scenes” on virtually a daily basis and can’t thank all of you enough for your support. Let us know if you have any issues with which we can be of assistance. Until we talk next, enjoy your Summer season on Lake Conroe and be safe.

Mike Bleier, President
Lake Conroe Association

Contact Stroman Realty toll free at: 1-800-733-8846

Wayne Stroman CIPS, TRC, President, Stroman Realty, Inc. 

Houston Association of REALTORS®, Vice Chair 

Your Lake Conroe Area Specialist!

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1 comment to Lake Conroe Association, LCA – PRESIDENT’S UPDATE July 2009

  • Sidney Eschenbach

    Could anyone comment on their thoughts about the net effect of the White Amur in the lake? Positives? Negatives? Also, could anyone give the names of the native species of underwater vegetation that they leave alone and why?

    We’re considering introducing the fish into a large lake to control a blue-green algae outbreak, and are looking for info of any kind pro or con.

    thanks
    Sid

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