President Bob Spalten called the 2017 FOLM Annual Meeting to order on June 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge. Other directors in attendance included Buddy Alcede, Joe Hugenberg, Berny Croan, Gary Spence, Angela Twitero, Karen McMillan, Sadie Stanley, Jamie Long, Larry Schwab, Weldon Dietze, Wade Walker, and Matt Hannon.
On behalf of FOLM, Bob offered condolences to Al Bacon on the recent loss of his wife. Al has served as a member of the board for a number of years.
Bob had each board member introduce themselves, and also recognized Rick Thelen, FOLM's webmaster. Minutes of the last Annual Meeting on June 11, 2016 were approved as presented.
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority - Bob introduced 3 representatives of GBRA: Ron Hermes, a Director of GBRA and resident on Lake Placid; Jonathan Stinson, Deputy GM; and Charlie Hickman, Director of Project Engineering.
Jonathan Stinson provided an overview of GBRA and noted that it has a variety of functions, including water supply and treatment, wastewater treatment, and laboratory services as well as hydroelectric power generation. Flood control is not a function. It cannot levy taxes; funding for special projects comes from state or federal grants as well as revenue bonds.
Its only customer for hydroelectricity is GVEC under a 5 yr rolling contract. Currently GVEC is paying GBRA roughly double the cost that it pays for electricity generated from natural gas. In a good year, GBRA receives about $3 million in revenue from electricity sales but its production expenses are around $5 million. GBRA has just started cooperation with GVEC to try to produce more power during peak periods (as declared by ERCOT). These periods generally last about 2 hrs in the late afternoon. GBRA will increase the flows through the hydroelectric plants for that period, with a consequent small drop in lake levels (for instance 0.33 ft at Lake Dunlap and 0.06 ft at Lake McQueeney). Flows are reduced after the peak period to restore normal lake levels.
GBRA requires a permit in order to install or repair boat houses, retaining walls, and other such structures. A provisional fee has been set at $600, and GBRA is considering setting an annual renewal fee. Over the coming months, GBRA will be working with stakeholders to develop updated procedures related to the permitting of structures and lake management. GBRA will advise when a new regular fee structure is adopted.
Zebra mussels have been found recently in Canyon Lake. As a result, the Guadalupe River and all of the lakes downstream of Canyon Lake will inevitably be invaded by zebra mussels. This Eurasian invasive species has no natural predators. They are efficient plankton feeders resulting in the water becoming clearer. However, they will be very detrimental, as they reproduce quickly and attach themselves to pump intakes, pipes, docks, boats, etc. No eradication method is known, although some control measures can be taken at large-scale water intakes. It's likely that they will have an impact on native species of mussels, and could affect the designation of the native mussels as endangered species.
Charlie Hickman informed the group about repair and replacement options for the gates on the GBRA dams. The failure of the gate at the H5 dam in Gonzales has led to a review of the condition of all of the dams. The aging equipment needs to be replaced. GBRA has studied various options. The most promising, the Obermeyer gate, consists of an air bag to control the height of the gate. They have some concern about debris getting caught in a backflow below the dam and damaging the air bags, but believe this problem can be overcome. So a solution to the technical problem is likely, but they have not yet come up with a way of paying for the modifications, which would cost about $3.5 million per gate. Meanwhile, work is proceeding on an interim upgrade of the existing gates by modifying the locking bars and tie bars. This program will have an initial cost of $1.3 million, starting with gates at both Nolte and Placid, then moving on to McQueeney this winter.
One member asked about the lowering of lake levels to determine how to fix bulkheads. In the past, this has been done after major floods in order to locate debris and bulkhead damage but not on a routine scheduled basis.
Treasurer's Report - Jamie reported that FOLM currently has a balance of $193,264. Expenses during the 2016-2017 fiscal year amounted to $61,424, with debris clean-up and removal making up 69% of total expenses and lake management/water quality another 21%. Expenses exceeded income over the year by $13,826.
Status of Lake / Problem Vegetation - Scott Smith surveys the lake once a month for eight months a year. The lake remains clear of hydrilla.
Membership - Sadie reported that FOLM currently has 329 members. New software has helped greatly in tracking the membership.
Lake Cleanup - Angela heads the Lake Cleanup Committee which was formed about 6 months ago. Previously FOLM had essentially relied on one contractor for cleanup work. Now competitive bids are sought from at least 3 contractors. The Cleanup Committee tries to act quickly to deal with the amazing amount of potentially dangerous debris that shows up in the lake. It's thought that much of this debris comes from the fairly wild section of the river between Dunlap Dam and Lake McQueeney.
Votes for zone representatives were taken, tallied, and reported. See current list here: FOLM Board
All of these members served on the previous board with the exception of two: Cindy Reyna and Troy Herring. Bob welcomed these new members.
There was no further business or discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 3:15 pm.
Larry Schwab, Secretary