Lake Conroe Aquatic Weed Infestation sign now

We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:
Resolve the threat that aquatic weeds pose to Lake Conroe!
To: The Honorable, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas
Sponsor: Concerned Citizens of Montgomery County,Texas.

With the rapidly proliferating growth of Hydrilla, The Commissioners of The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are failing to urgently address the health and safety of the surrounding residents and recreational users of Lake Conroe, Texas.

The rapid growth of Hydrilla in Lake Conroe, not only reduces the over-all value of water impoundment, it has severely diminished the recreational value of boating, fishing, and swimming activities. This has directly affected the economic prosperity of the area and the surrounding property valuations. In addition, high densities of submerged species of aquatic vegetation, may greatly reduce the water flow through a particular system. This decreases available flows of irrigation water and increases the potential for flooding due to inadequate drainage.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department conducted two surveys of Hydrilla infested waters, one in May and the other in July of this year. These surveys reported 472 and 739 infested surface acres respectively, a significant increase of 57\% in two months. Following the experience and research of Texas A&M University Agricultural Experimental Station during the catastrophic Hydrilla infestation of Lake Conroe during 1979-1981, it can be expected that proliferation will intensify at a very fast pace within the next 12 months. 700 acres of surface Hydrilla infestation in 1977 expanded to 4,578 acres in October 1979. Aquatic weed growth in Lake Conroe during this period was spectacular, the increase being steeply linear, with Hydrilla accounting for as much as 94\% of total weed infestation. The infestation continued to expand to 8,434 surface acres by July 1981, 42\% of the entire lake's surface.

The situation in 1979 was so serious that the Texas Legislature got involved by introducing House Bill 656, directing Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station to conduct research designed to evaluate the efficacy of grass carp in controlling aquatic vegetation infestation and to determine the effects of such weed control program on the fishery and limnology of Lake Conroe. Following this research, the result was TPWD issuing a permit in 1980 for the introduction by the Lake Conroe Association of 270,000 grass carp (white Amur) with an average length of 12", into Lake Conroe. Stocking rate was set at 30 fish per vegetated acre, at 29 sites, in amounts proportionate to the vegetation present in the release areas.

Proactively, introducing thirty 12" fish per vegetated acre now, before Hydrilla infestation grows to dramatic proportions will speed up the reversal of the expansion and reduce the financial implications of purchasing a much larger volume of fish.Lake Conroe has 100 miles of shoreline, settled with residential homes, representing 30\% of the entire Montgomery County tax base, as well as being a major recreational attraction for Houstonians.

The density of the Hydrilla infestation has become a safety hazard; anecdotally, there have already been near drownings by swimmers and Jet Skiers as was also reported during the 1979-1981 period.

The residents of the shoreline have observed a dramatic increase in mosquito populations, as a result of stagnant and dense acreage of Hydrilla. The Texas Department of State Health Services report a 35\% increase in mosquito's tested for West Nile Virus in Montgomery County from year 2004 to 2006, while Harris County on our southern border showed a decrease of 54\% during the same period.

Lake front property owners are unable to launch or utilize their vessels, as the Hydrilla infestation is dense, unavoidable and with a high risk of severely damaging water propulsion engines to the point of failure.

Further expansion of the Hydrilla infestation will continue to result in depreciating property values, business activity retreating and loss of tax revenue to Montgomery County.

TOGETHER, WE SEND A CLEAR AND URGENT MESSAGE THAT GOVERNOR RICK PERRY DIRECT THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT TO ACT WITHOUT DELAY TO RESOLVE THE THREAT THAT THE AQUATIC WEEDS POSE TO LAKE CONROE, BY:

Conducting continuous surveys of infested Hydrilla acreage on Lake Conroe.
Issuing permits to the San Jacinto River Authority for the introduction of thirty 12" White Amur fish per vegetated acre into Lake Conroe.

c.c. Commissioners of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
c.c. Directors of the San Jacinto River Authority.

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Alissa RichmondBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
The Honorable, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

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