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Lake Conroe at 199 Feet: Photos Show Little Impact on Boating, Fishing, Commerce

On January 25th Sharon Mize and her husband, B Ray, drove around Lake Conroe to see the impact of the lower lake levels on boating, fishing and commerce. Even though the water level was still at 199 feet, they saw dozens of boaters; full parking lots at the boat ramps and restaurants; and people getting boats in and out of the water.

On Jan. 25, 2020, SJRA recorded the lake level at slightly more than 199 feet. Screen capture by Sharon Mize.

An Outsider’s View on a Cold and Blustery Day

The Mizes quickly point out that they do not have enough history with Lake Conroe to determine whether what they saw was “normal.” However, they characterized the activity as “healthy,” despite a cold, blustery, overcast January day.

As you look at the photos below, look not only at the activity in the shot, look at the waterlines on piers and docks relative to the water level.

Photo taken from Wolfies restaurant at Lake Conroe Park
House and slip across from Wolfies. Note fisherman at right.
Bulkheading across from Wolfies shows normal and current water lines.
Slips by restaurants at Waterpoint Marina. Note normal water level on posts and smile on woman.
Activity at Waterpoint Marina
Boats tied up at restaurants at Waterpoint Marina. A restaurant owner told me that business was down seasonally, but that it was normal year over year. The owner estimated winter was down 20% compared to the peak in summer during vacation season.
Waterline at Waterpoint Marina
Boat Ramp still usable at La Torretta
Walden Yacht Club. Note normal waterline on pier in foreground.
Fishermen near Walden Yacht Club
Note difference between water level and normal waterline on docks at Walden Yacht Club. The heaviest orange color shows the most common level of the lake. B Ray Mize estimates the lake was down about 12 to 18 inches compared to that.
Boats entering and leaving harbor at Walden Yacht Club
Another waterline on docks at Walden Yacht Club
Shoreline across from Scott’s Ridge Boat Ramp. No excessive exposure of sediment at 199 feet.
Boats by Scott’s Ridge Boat Ramp
Scott’s Ridge Boat Ramp Parking Lot filled with empty boat trailers.
Boat about to land at Scott’s Ridge boat ramp
Paradise Point North Boat Launch

Exception Noted for People at North End of Lake

A Lake Conroe resident told me that the lower level impacted people at the far north end of the lake the most. This stands to reason. Water levels are lowest there. Grand Harbor felt the effect of lowering the most. However, she quickly added that the canals were poorly maintained, silted in, and not dredged deep enough to start with. A video by a Grand Harbor resident posted to YouTube before the SJRA started lowering the lake underscores these points.

201 Feet a Target Level, But Average is Lower

Note that the SJRA targets a level of 201 feet. When the water goes above 201, the SJRA starts releasing water so it rarely goes above that except briefly in major floods. However, the water level frequently drops below 201, due to evaporation combined with low rainfall.

In fact, during the months SJRA intentionally lowers the lake 1-2 feet, the lake level AVERAGES about 199.5. So, Lake Conroe residents would only lose about another half foot.

The 46-year January average for Lake Conroe’s level is 199.54, according to the SJRA. Note also that the average for any month has never exceeded 200.44 since the lake was built.

Source: SJRA presentation by Chuck Gilman before Jan 21 board meeting. See page 23. Lake is currently down less than one-half foot compared to 46-year January average. Note also that the average never reaches more than 200.44 in any month.

SJRA policy calls for not releasing any water when the lake level drops below 200 in the spring or 199 during hurricane season.

Make Your Voice Heard

The SJRA will hold its next board meeting on Feb. 20. Please attend and explain how the SJRA release affected you and why you value the lake lowering policy.

For more background on this controversy, see the Lake Lowering page on this web site.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/6/2020 based photos and input from Sharon and B Ray Mize

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