Updated: Feb 18
A copy of the audio from the SJRA board meeting on April 26 2018 was obtained thru a Freedom of Information request. The audio times are referenced after each of the comments.
This meeting was when the SJRA board voted to start the Seasonal Lowering of Lake Conroe.
1. The communities of Lake Houston and Kingwood had significant flooding and they made their appeals to the SJRA board. 5 comments (4 lake houston and 1 Lake Conroe) to start the meeting.
2. The Board was informed by Jace Houston, the general manager, that the City of Houston had approved a plan that was ½ of the lowering the current plan. It starts around the 58 minute mark on the audio.
3. The current lowering was presented by the board president without any reference to science to support this decision. Nor was there any time for public comment. It was an emotional response to the Kingwood/ Lake Houston communities loss. 1hr 27 mark on the audio.
4. This plan could have environmental impacts on the fish and wildlife. 1hr 26 mark on the audio.
5. The plan that had a minimal cost. 1hr 26 mark on the audio.
6. The most effective solutions for Lake houston flooding are solutions downstream of the dam. 1hr 27 mark on the audio.
7. The Board stated that they needed to communicate better with the communities. 1 hr 42 mark on the audio.
Fast forward to February 2020
1. There are no environmental and economic impact studies for this plans effects on Lake Conroe. The Seasonal Lowering has had a significant cost to the businesses, homeowners, and the environment around Lake Conroe.
2. There is still no science that shows that this is an effective solution to downstream flooding for the Lake Houston Communities. The dredging is complete, which was the original reason for this plan.
Yet, the SJRA board is planning on voting whether to continue this temporary plan for a 3rd year.
The Lake Houston communities have struggled to get relief from the City of Houston for its flooding issues. Why has it taken so long to get them effective relief?
The communication with the SJRA is broken and needs to be fixed. It must be open and transparent. A press release by the SJRA, is not an effective communication method for any of the communities. Neither are meetings where you have no responses, and blank stares from board members. We need open quarterly or semi-annual presentations from the board about its plans. There needs to be a 2-way exchange of ideas and listening and respecting each others opinions and ideas. Emails to the SJRA board need to be answered.
When you attend the next SJRA board meeting please remember we all are in this together. We are all fellow humans and we must respect each other. Expressing your opinion is fine, but respecting your neighbors position is a must. When both of our communities work together for solutions we can accomplish so much more. With the changes we are seeing to our environment we must all work together to find solutions that support both our communities, now and in the future.
Al Heilman MD