Tag Archive for: Stop the Drop

Lake Conroe Returns to Average Level for March

Lake Conroe area businesses, boaters, home values and tax rolls got a boost yesterday. Yes, despite the drought, Lake Conroe returned to its normal level for this time of year. The watershed received an average of 2 to 2.5 inches of rain in the last 36 hours. That’s all it took.

The March average for the last 47 years (since the lake was built) is 199.98. The current lake level as of 5pm on 3.21.2020 is 199.96. That virtually equals the March average.

The difference, 0.02 ft., is less than a quarter inch. That’s less that the thickness of a pencil.

36 hour rainfall totals for Lake Conroe area sensors. Source: SJRA.onerain.com.
SJRA Dashboard as of 5pm on 3.21.2020
47 year average for monthly Lake Conroe levels. Source: SJRA

One decent rain Stopped the Drop. If the lake remains at this level, there will be no seasonal lowering in the Spring. The policy adopted by the board calls for lowering it to 200 starting April 1.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/21/2020

935 Days after Hurricane Harvey

SJRA Board Will Hold Two Special Meetings to Discuss Seasonal Lowering of Lake Conroe

So many people wanted to discuss the temporary lowering of Lake Conroe at the SJRA’s December board meeting last week that the Fire Marshall had to turn busloads of people away.

Two and a half busloads of additional “Stop the Drop” protesters from Lake Conroe had to be turned away from the SJRA’s December Board Meeting because of capacity issues related to fire safety. Photo courtesy of David Feille.

Special Meetings Called to Handle High Volume of Public Input

Due to the overwhelming response, the San Jacinto River Authority’s (SJRA) Board of Directors will hold TWO SPECIAL meetings.

  • January 21, 2020, at 6:00 P.M.
  • February 20, 2020, at 6:00 P.M.

Both will be held at the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center. It has the capacity to accommodate everyone who wants to speak. The center is located at 9055 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77303.

The purpose: to hear public comment on the temporary flood mitigation strategy of lowering Lake Conroe on a seasonal basis.

The lowering of Lake Conroe one foot in the spring and two feet in the fall is intended to provide flood mitigation benefits for downstream residents by increasing capacity to catch rainfall and runoff in the lake. The SJRA Board reviews the strategy annually. Both the SJRA and the City of Houston own water rights in Lake Conroe. For full details of the strategy, including timing, click here.

The SJRA Board of Directors will receive a presentation from staff at the January 21st special meeting and listen to public comment.

The board will conduct no other business at these meeting and will not consider the lake lowering strategy at either of its regular board meetings in January or February. Any vote on the strategy will take place at the February 20th special meeting.

Special Meeting Dates, Time, Location

  • Tuesday January 21, 2020
  • 6 P.M.
  • Lone Star Convention and Expo Center
  • 9055 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77303
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • 6 P.M.
  • Lone Star Convention and Expo Center
  • 9055 Airport Road, Conroe, Texas 77303

The SJRA Board of Directors says it welcomes all input regarding its seasonal lake lowering strategy.  

To contact the Board:

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/18/2019 with a photo courtesy of David Feille

841 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 90 since Imelda

SJRA Board Meeting Packed by “Stop the Drop” Protesters

More than 150 red-shirted “Stop the Drop” protesters packed the SJRA board meeting at the Lake Conroe Dam this morning. Lake Conroe lakefront homeowners came to protest the seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe. According to SJRA Board Member Mark Micheletti, two and a half busloads of additional angry protesters had to be turned away because they exceeded the building’s capacity.

Five Lake Houston area residents came to speak. However, they were outnumbered by more than 30 to 1. The Lake Houston Area residents made good presentations, but on the basis of numbers alone, the well organized sea of protesters overwhelmed them. The disparity in numbers between the two sides sent a not-so-subtle message to SJRA board members.

People protesting the Lake Conroe seasonal lowering policy packed the SJRA board meeting on 12/12/2019. Photo taken before meeting shows only half the room.

Goal of Policy

The SJRA designed the temporary lowering program to provide downstream residents with an extra cushion against flooding until flood mitigation measures in the Lake Houston Area are completed. The measures include dredging and the installation of additional gates on the Lake Houston Dam. This year, the SJRA lowered the Lake Conroe one foot during the rainiest part of Spring and two feet during the peak of Hurricane Season.

Since the policy started in the second half of 2018, no downstream or Lake Conroe residents have flooded because of releases from Lake Conroe.

Misperceptions Abound

Organizers had fed protesters false information. For instance, many protesters claimed:

  • Dredging in the West Fork is done. It isn’t. State Representative Dan Huberty is organizing a follow-on program to supplement the Army Corps program which finished around Labor Day.
  • Because some Kingwood East Fork residents flooded during Imelda, it proves that Lake Conroe has nothing to do with Kingwood flooding. The East and West Forks (which includes Lake Conroe) are in different watersheds. During Imelda, the East Fork received 20 inches of rain while Lake Conroe received only 2.
  • Lake Conroe releases during Harvey comprised just 15% of the water flowing into Lake Houston and that was not a large enough percentage to affect flooding. The statistic may be literally true. But it’s misleading. It has nothing to do with the flooding on the West Fork. And that’s where the vast majority of all damage occurred. Lake Conroe releases comprised ONE THIRD of the water coming down the West Fork. Furthermore, they came at the peak of the flood.

Two More Board Meetings Before Vote

The SJRA board meets again in January and February before voting on whether to extend the seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe another year. The next meeting will be at the The Lonestar Convention & Expo Center so more people can attend.

The board was afraid that if it chose a Lake Houston venue for the meeting, it would look as if they were trying to stifle dissent.

Watch for more details in January about the next board meeting.

Another meeting like this could mean the end of Lake Houston’s only flood protection measure at the moment.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/12/2019

835 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 82 since Imelda