NEWS & UPDATES
This is a reminder that the drawdown of Meadow Lake will begin next Monday, March 27. All activity on Meadow Lake should be suspended during the drawdown period beginning on March 27th. Any access or activities on the water including to retrieve or secure property should be completed prior to March 27. GBRA plans to draw down the lake 6 feet the first day (27 March) and then allow wildlife to migrate to the water overnight. Ten Aquatic Resource Relocation Plan (ARRP) employees will be salvaging wildlife on both dewatering days (27-28 March) and will focus on the shallow ends of the lake/reservoir. Once the lowering of the spill gates at both lakes is completed, access or activities on the water may resume. More information may be found on GBRA's website here: https://gvlakes.com/timeline/ as well as on the MLNDA website here: https://mlndatx.wixsite.com/mlnda/news-1
GBRA has provided the pdf safety advisory shown below. You can find a printable pdf here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ej4nVcTlLVkwNxp7H2sNURD6Zbp1VVpg/view?usp=sharing
In addition, history from past dewatering events has shown that wading to the middle of the lake is difficult due to silt/mud; individuals have sunk into the mud approximately 3 feet deep and had to be pulled out/rescued. Even 4-5 months after the dewatering event, the river beds/lakes have appeared dry but were still wet/muddy beneath the cracked surface and could not be safely walked upon. The GBRA dewatering safety issues include people being stuck in mud and also walking on top of unseen dangers such as metal and river debris. Please use extreme caution in the weeks and months after the drawdown on the newly exposed properties next to the river.
GBRA plans to have a post dewatering presentation on reseeding and wildlife to include information/lessons learned to share with the community. If you have any other questions, please contact Nathan Pence, GBRA Executive Manager of Environmental Science, at email@example.com or (830) 379-5822 ext. 239.
We wanted to first of all remind you of the drawdown of Meadow Lake which will begin on March 27. All activity on Meadow Lake should be suspended during the drawdown period beginning on March 27th. Any access or activities on the water including to retrieve or secure property should be completed prior to March 27. Once the lowering of the spill gates at both lakes is completed, access or activities on the water may resume. More information may be found on GBRA's website here: https://gvlakes.com/timeline/ as well as on the MLNDA website here: https://mlndatx.wixsite.com/mlnda/news-1
Also, member Mason Jones has forwarded us information from arborist Valerie Tamburri of TreeFolks (https://www.treefolks.org/) about protecting the trees along the river bank once the water has been lowered. We wanted to pass that information along:
If there is not a huge elevation drop from the banks, the trees should still be able to access the water table underground and have a better chance of surviving. The most immediate thing that comes to mind is for landowners to seed their banks with native riparian mixes of grass, since they are deep rooted and will help hold the banks together in the meantime. This will help colonize the dry banks more quickly and provide some protection and ground shading and moisture for the trees. These various grasses will grow 3'-6' tall, depending on the species, so landowners should know that in advance, in case they are used to a manicured landscape. (Manicured riverbanks are the worst management practice for a river since they do not hold up the banks or provide biodiversity.) Two grass/wildflower seed sources that we have used in the past are Native American Seed and Turner Seed Company. They both have great seed mixes, such as the Riparian Mix or the Texas Native Multi-site Mix. Either one of those should give you the correct balance of deep rooted grasses to stabilize the soil, while providing beauty with their wild flowers. Restoring the lake will take time and patience, so folks should understand that the process will appear "messy" to people who are used to a manicured look and who do not yet appreciate the look of a truly functional landscape. The guide Your Remarkable Riparian (http://www.remarkableriparian.org/index.php) is a great resource for learning more about what trees and grasses should be in the landscape and will help landowners appreciate the beauty of a natural landscape. There is a hard copy book that can be purchased on their website, but there are many free video tutorials available there as well.
Considering the above, we also obtained recommendations from Seed Source out of New Braunfels on what native grasses to plant. They sell a "Riparian Recovery Mix" which is a seed mix that includes grasses and flowering plants native to the area. This can be purchased here: https://www.seedsource.com/catalog/detail.asp?product_id=4506 and can be shipped or picked up "will call" at their warehouse in New Braunfels.
Please let us know if you have any questions. We will be sending out an email later in the week about what is currently going on with MLNDA.
GBRA has posted the Meadow Lake Drawdown Notice on the GVLakes.com website here: https://gvlakes.com/timeline/ The Notice can also be read or downloaded here:
According to the notice, the process of lowering the spill gates at Meadow Lake will begin on March 27. All activity on Meadow Lake should be suspended during the drawdown period beginning on March 27th. Any access or activities on the water including to retrieve or secure property should be completed prior to March 27. Once the lowering of the spill gates at both lakes is completed, access or activities on the water may resume.
The MLNDA Board has also compiled some FAQs to answer questions you may have about this drawdown process. We will update these as we receive additional questions:
When will the drawdown occur?
The drawdown is scheduled for March 27. Meadow Lake will be drawn down first, and McQueeney Lake will be drained afterwards. The drawdown of each lake (Meadow and McQueeney) will take approximately 2 days each. You will not be able to access Meadow Lake during the drawdowns. After the drawdowns are completed, you will be able to access Meadow Lake.
Why is the GBRA drawing down Meadow Lake?
The GBRA is drawing down the lake for safety reasons given the recent failures of the dams at Lake Gonzales, Lake Dunlap and Lake Placid. Also, the Texas courts have ruled in favor of the GBRA in the lawsuits over the lakes and dams. Thus, the GBRA is legally entitled to drawdown the lakes for any reason.
In addition, the GBRA has told us that there continues to be violations of the prohibited zones, which endangers the lives of people given the unstable nature of Nolte Dam. According to the GBRA, these violations are occurring primarily below the dam.
What do we do to prepare for the drawdown?
According to the GBRA, you should remove and/or secure all recreational and other personal property on or near the water. This will be at your expense. The GBRA has stated that it will not be responsible for recreational property used or stored on Meadow Lake. Waterfront structures such as docks do not need to be removed.
How low will the lake drop?
We don’t know. We’ve been told by the GBRA that the lake will drop by 12 feet at the dam.
Will we be able to use the lake after the drawdown?
The GBRA has informed us that after the drawdown is complete, the zones on the lake will be eliminated and you will have full access to the lake.
The GBRA has also developed an Aquatic Resource Relocation Plan with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department designed to minimize impacts to the environment, including aquatic life. We anticipate the GBRA will publish this plan. This plan may contain restrictions on activities related to aquatic life.
Will the lake ever be filled back up?
That depends on whether we can reach a mutually-agreeable solution on repairing the dam with the GBRA. The GBRA is willing to continue to engage in discussions with us to find a dam solution, even after the drawdown. We cannot progress on a plan without the approval of the GBRA. We remain hopeful we can reach a resolution with the GBRA that meets both cost and safety requirements.
Is there a plan to repair the dam?
We continue to work on a plan to repair the dam. We intend to present our engineering report to the GBRA in late February. The GBRA is willing to continue to engage in discussions with us to find a dam solution, even after the drawdown. We remain hopeful we can reach a resolution with the GBRA that meets both cost and safety requirements.
When will the dam be repaired?
We don’t yet have a timeframe. We are still working on a plan to repair the dam. We intend to present our engineering report to the GBRA in late February. The GBRA is willing to continue to engage in discussions with us to find a dam solution, even after the drawdown. We cannot progress on a plan without the approval of the GBRA. We remain hopeful we can reach a resolution with the GBRA that meets both cost and safety requirements.
How much will the dam repair cost?
We don’t yet have a hard estimate. The cost will depend on the plan agreed to by the GBRA. If we are able to reach an agreement with the GBRA on a dam solution, we will report that to everyone.
How much will I be taxed for the dam repairs?
We don’t yet have a hard estimate. The cost will depend on the plan agreed to by the GBRA. If we are able to reach an agreement with the GBRA on a dam solution, we will report that to everyone.
Who will own the exposed land from the lake drawdown?
Based on our discussion with the GBRA, the GBRA believes it owns the exposed land. We don’t know the legal answer to this question, but are assuming the GBRA is correct on this matter. If this ever becomes an issue, someone may test the question through the legal process.
Can I maintain or use or develop the exposed land?
It’s unclear to us what restrictions, if any, will be placed by the GBRA on the exposed land. The GBRA will likely communicate publicly on this matter in connection with the lake drawdowns.
Is the GBRA being helpful at this point?
The GBRA has won the lawsuits brought against it related to the lakes and dams. As we understand it, the GBRA is now even entitled to recover its legal fees from the plaintiffs in the lawsuit covering the “takings” claim. Thus, the GBRA is legally entitled to draw down the lakes for any or no reason. Despite this, the GBRA has communicated its willingness to continue to work with us to try to reach a mutually-agreeable solution to repair Nolte Dam and re-fill Meadow Lake. We are very appreciative of this, and we remain hopeful we can reach a solution with the GBRA.
Can we sue the GBRA for this?
The GBRA has already won the lawsuits brought against it related to the lakes and the dams. As we understand it, the GBRA is now even entitled to recover its legal fees from the plaintiffs in the lawsuit covering the “takings” claim. We’re not aware of any additional claims that can be brought against the GBRA related to Meadow Lake and Nolte Dam.
At this point, the GBRA has communicated its willingness to continue to work with us to try to reach a mutually-agreeable solution to repair Nolte Dam and re-fill Meadow Lake. We are very appreciative of this, and we remain hopeful we can reach a solution with the GBRA.
Please let us know if you need any other information.
Guadalupe County has posted the UNOFFICIAL election results on their website here: https://www.co.guadalupe.tx.us/elections/index.php These show (page 22) the proposition to create the Meadow Lake WCID No. 1 had 164 (90.61%) "for" votes and 17 (9.39%) "against" votes. All five WCID temporary directors were voted in as permanent directors. We will let you know when these results are official. This was a very important step towards saving Meadow Lake! Thank you to all who participated!
Great news!! The County Commissioner's Court approved the creation of the Meadow Lake WCID #1! This is a VERY important milestone achievement and allows the District creation to move forward to the November 8th election. The temporary Meadow Lake WCID #1 Board of Directors will now have their first meeting at the GBRA annex building on August 19th at 2pm to call for the election. Confirmation of creation of the District requires the approval of a majority of the voters at the election. Thank you for your overwhelming support!!
The WCID Board Agenda posting can be found here:
Below is a brief summary of the actions taken by MLNDA regarding creation of the WCID, and upcoming events relating to creation of the WCID. We encourage all members to review the information below carefully.
MLNDA seeks to create the WCID for purposes of financing improvements to Nolte Dam that will allow Meadow Lake to be returned to its normal water elevation. The WCID is a type of local government that is authorized by law to own, operate, finance, construct and maintain lakes and dams. Both the Lake Dunlap community and the Lake McQueeney community previously created WCIDs for purposes of financing improvements to their respective dam facilities. MLNDA seeks to do so for Meadow Lake.
If the WCID is created, it will be governed by a Board of Directors elected by residents within the WCID. It is currently contemplated that the WCID would acquire ownership of the Nolte Dam facilities from the GBRA, and the WCID would thereafter finance and construct improvements to Nolte Dam for purposes of restoration of Meadow Lake.
Current Status of Creation of WCID
Under Texas law, a WCID is created by execution of a Petition for Creation by landowners within the proposed WCID, and submission of that Petition to the County Commissioners Court. On July 18, 2022, MLNDA filed a Petition for Creation of the WCID with Guadalupe County. The Petition was signed by 118 owners of real property within the proposed WCID.
Commissioner Court Hearing
The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court has scheduled a hearing for consideration of the Petition to be held on August 16, 2022 at 10am at the Guadalupe County Courthouse, 101 East Court St. in Seguin. Based on testimony presented at the hearing, the Commissioners Court will decide whether to approve the creation of the WCID based on the following factors: (i) whether organization of the WCID is feasible and practicable; (ii) whether the land to be included and the residents of the proposed WCID will be benefited by the creation of the WCID; (iii) whether there is a public necessity or need for the WCID; and (iv) whether creation of the WCID would further the public welfare. All of you are welcome to attend the hearing, and MLNDA encourages people to attend to show the overwhelming support by the community.
Proposed WCID Boundaries
The Petition for Creation of the WCID that was submitted to Guadalupe County seeks to include 1,814 acres of land within the WCID. The lands to be included in the WCID generally consist of all tracts abutting the lake (including any canals or waterways directly connected to and with access by water to the main lake), adjacent tracts owned by the same property owner as the tract abutting the lake, and contiguous tracts with an easement, lease, or other contractual/legal right to access the lake. A map identifying the boundaries of the proposed WCID can be found here:
By law, the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court has the authority to exclude from a proposed WCID any land that will not be benefitted by inclusion in the district. As a result, if your property is proposed to be included in the WCID and you do not believe it will be benefitted by creation of the WCID and restoration of Meadow Lake, you may communicate this to the Commissioners Court.
Creation of the WCID cannot be completed without approval of the voters within the WCID. In the event the Commissioners Court approves creation of the WCID, then an election will be scheduled for the residents within the WCID to confirm creation of the WCID. These elections may only be held in May and November of each year. As a result, if the Commissioners Court approves creation of the WCID at its August 16, 2022 meeting, the WCID would seek to hold the confirmation election on November 8, 2022. Confirmation of creation of the District requires the approval of a majority of the voters at the election.
Acquisition of Nolte Dam
It is currently contemplated that the WCID would acquire ownership of Nolte Dam from GBRA. Preliminary discussions for acquisition of the dam have taken place between MLNDA and GBRA. In the event the WCID is created, then a detailed acquisition contract would be negotiated. Upon acquisition of ownership, the WCID would assume responsibility for improving and operating Nolte Dam.
Financing of Dam Improvements
MLNDA has conducted some very preliminary engineering analyses for the proposed improvements to Meadow Lake. Based on the preliminary analyses and depending on the nature of the improvements, the estimated costs of the improvements range from $7,800,000.00 to $17,250,000.00. In the event the WCID is created, additional engineering will be undertaken to refine the engineering design and costs.
In the event the WCID is created by Guadalupe County and confirmed by voters within the WCID, then the current plan is for the WCID to seek financial assistance from the Texas Water Development Board (or other sources) to fund the dam improvements through low-interest loans and/or grants. The application for financial assistance may not be filed until the WCID is created.
The primary revenue source for the WCID would be ad valorem taxes levied upon the property located within the WCID boundaries. A WCID does not have the authority to levy ad valorem taxes without approval by a majority of the voters within the WCID.
Accordingly, in the event the WCID is created by Guadalupe County and subsequently confirmed by the voters within the WCID, another election would be held for the voters to consider authorizing the WCID to issue bonds for improvement to Nolte Dam and the levy of taxes to pay debt service on the bonds and WCID costs. Prior to the election, a detailed engineering report will be prepared and made available to the public so that the voters may consider the proposed improvements to Nolte Dam that would be funded with the bonds, and the estimated costs of the improvements. The bond proposition will specify the maximum amount of tax bonds that may be issued by the WCID.
In summary, MLNDA has made significant progress in its efforts to create the WCID. The Creation Petition was signed by many property owners and has been filed with Guadalupe County, which will consider the Petition at a hearing scheduled for August 16, 2022. All of you are welcome and encouraged to attend the hearing whether you support or oppose creation of the WCID and restoration of Meadow Lake.
If the Commissioners Court approves creation of the WCID, then subsequent elections will be conducted for voters to approve confirmation of creation of the WCID, the issuance of bonds by the WCID to finance dam improvements, and the levy of taxes to pay debt service on the bonds and operation and maintenance costs of the District. Prior to those elections, significant additional information will be developed and made available so that the voters may make an informed decision at the election(s).
We appreciate your continued support, and hope this provides useful information to you.
Thank you to all the Meadow Lake property owners that came out to our petition signings or supplied notarized signing pages by mail/drop off, and on a holiday weekend no less! We obtained 133 signatures with 72 of those from no lien properties (this makes it easier/faster to move forward). We needed 50 signatures to file with the county, so the petition looks good. Also more great news - the Seguin City Council met last night and passed the resolution consenting to the creation of the Meadow Lake WCID, a necessary step as the properties on Meadow Lake are within the city limits/extraterritorial jurisdiction.
A huge thank you to Membership Committee chairperson Danelle Roddy for all of her work organizing the signings as well as the Membership Committee members/MLNDA Board members for working at the sigings. These included Janet Hudson, Sydney Burton, Eilen Thedford, Mike Meskill, Mike Messermith, Andy Taylor, Dawn Kremer and Jill Stechshulte. Also, we are so grateful to Robert and Donna Raetzsch for letting us use their Seguin Title Co. office and wonderful notary, Melissa Walls. Board member Brent Hammond put in many, many hours working with our survey company to finish the survey, the most important part of the petition. Our Board members Andy Taylor and Mike Meskill also contributed their extensive knowledge to getting the petition language and signing rules just right. Finally, thank you to our president, Jacy Robbins, who has been instrumental in literally every step of the plan to save Meadow Lake and on keeping our time frame on track. It cannot be emphasized enough how much Jacy has contributed to MLNDA and the plan from the very beginning of this whole process.
The next step will be filing the petition with the county clerk. Once the petition is filed with the county clerk, the county sheriff is responsible for publishing the meeting in the local newspaper and on the courthouse door. At this point a hearing date will be set for the county to grant the petition. This will allow for the district to call an election for November 2022. More information and the hearing date will be sent out soon.
The MLNDA Board has been hard at work the last few months initiating the steps necessary to eventually rehabilitate Nolte Dam. Remember that to rehab the dam, we will have to set up a Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) to fund that. Here is a summary of what is currently happening:
- The engineering study of Nolte Dam is being performed by Freese & Nichols with initial findings/results to be submitted to MLNDA and the City of Seguin mid May. MLNDA expects to work with Freese & Nichols and others to finalize the report in the upcoming months.
- Next steps will include an analysis of the engineering report by the MLNDA Engineering & Construction Committee in conjunction with the Financing Committee to decide the path forward for the dam rehabilitation and financing strategies.
- A Project Information Form (PIF) for initial application to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for the Clean Water Revolving Fund was submitted and accepted by the TWDB for inclusion into Fiscal Year 2023’s Intended Use Plan. This will allow a WCID we set up to potentially obtain a low interest loan.
- In March, we began the survey process with HMT Surveying to map the lakefront property boundaries. This is a step necessary for the formation of a WCID, and it is expected to take about two months, to be completed around mid-June.
With the above activities occurring, we expect to be able to present a summary of the engineering findings and our financing options in early June. We plan to have a Zoom meeting where anyone can watch, give input and ask questions. MLNDA Members will then be asked to vote on whether they want to set up a WCID to pay for the Nolte Dam rehab.
We have been able to fund all of these important first steps due to your tremendous support and faith in MLNDA. Thank you for your continued support - we are working hard toward saving our beautiful Meadow Lake.
As noted in our last membership update the Engineering Study for the new dam is progressing well. It will tell us the cost of the dam rehabilitation and should be complete in late March. Jacy and the MLNDA Board will need some time to analyze the study and use this cost to run financial models to determine what financing is needed. They plan to share all of this information in May, most likely in a virtual meeting. This meeting will give Jacy the chance to explain the engineering study findings, the WCID formation process and financing options, and it will allow you all to ask questions and voice any concerns. We will email instructions about how to be included in this meeting ahead of time and also plan to send out the information contained in the meeting afterwards for those who cannot attend.
In addition to the study, we have made another huge milestone on our way to restoring our dam and our lake. We have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GBRA and MLNDA. GBRA posted about it on their website here: https://gvlakes.com/timeline/
What does this MOU mean for MLNDA efforts to repair/restore?
- It gives MLNDA a clear roadmap for moving forward with trying to find an affordable, reliable solution for our lake and Nolte dam. Nobody has more incentive to get this done than the lakefront residents and surrounding community that benefits from Meadow Lake.
Why is ownership important to MLNDA?
- We believe that nobody has a stronger desire and motivation to develop a long-term solution for Nolte Dam than the lake residents and surrounding community in Seguin and Guadalupe County. We are in negotiations with an experienced dam operator and the GVEC to arrange for safe operations and power generation sales for the long-term future.
What are the next steps?
- We are moving forward with investigating long-term financing solutions, and eagerly anticipate the completion of the engineering study in March. If that study reveals a financially feasible solution, we would recommend to MLNDA membership that we move forward with forming a water control and improvement district (WCID) to accomplish the dam rehabilitation and hopefully assume ownership of Nolte Dam.
This is not a time to take our foot off the gas though. We need to continue to encourage membership of all our neighbors on the Lake. With the vote for the WCID imminent, it is more important than ever for active membership in the association (only current members in good standing will be able to vote on WCID creation). In addition to our voting members, we have a category for non-voting “Associate” members of MLNDA. Anyone with an interest in saving Nolte Dam and Meadow Lake can join the association as an associate, non-voting member. These members will be invited to general membership meetings and included in membership updates. Please help us spread the word to your friends and neighbors who are not on the Lake but would like to join the association. Membership info can be found on our website: https://mlndatx.wixsite.com/mlnda/membership
If you have questions or comments please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message us through our MLNDA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NolteDam
The MLNDA Board
We have some great news we wanted to share with everyone. The Seguin City Council unanimously approved a resolution to partner with the Meadow Lake Nolte Dam Association (MLNDA) to execute an engineering study for the repair and rehabilitation of Nolte Dam. Our organization has fully funded the study and we expect the results of the study to be complete sometime in late March. The study will provide detailed information on replacing the existing gates with an alternative gate type as well as the cost of maintenance over the life cycle of the new gates. A press release through KWED and the Seguin Gazette will be issued in short time, so be on the lookout.
This is the first and most crucial step in our efforts to move forward in saving our dam. There will be future updates on the creation of the WCID, and the information from the engineering study will provide vital criteria for that effort.
It has been a long journey to get to this point, but it is the opinion of the MLNDA Board that things will start moving forward in a much more consistent fashion than the previous two years. We hope you share in our excitement over this news.
We also wanted to let you know that, thanks to the overwhelming support of our membership, we have raised $133,092 of the $180,000 total in our Capital Fundraising Campaign. This has allowed us to fund and go forward with the engineering study, but we are still actively raising the additional funds which we will need to establish the WCID. To be part of our solution to save Meadow Lake, you can send a check with your donation to Roxanne Henricksen at 40 E Hampton Dr., Seguin, TX 78155. PayPal/Credit Card payment is also available through our website, www.mlnda.org. MLNDA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation so all donations are tax-deductible.
Please pass this on to any of our neighbors we may have missed and please help us pass on the word for membership renewals (we still have several of our neighbors that have not renewed or become members of the association). Membership ensures you have a voice in any decisions concerning our lake!
The MLNDA Board
We held our latest Membership meeting on September 18, 2021 at the Pat Irvine Pavilion at Starcke Park East. We had about 60 members attend the meeting. A big thank you to City of Seguin Mayor Donna Dodgen, City Council Rep Monica Carter, City Manager Steve Parker and State Representative John Kuempel for their continued support of our efforts!
This written summary cannot fully detail what was presented and we would like to encourage you to listen to what was discussed via the Facebook Live links (two parts) provided here:
Please share this with friends, family and anyone you think would be interested in saving our lake!
We continue to pursue local ownership with a legal entity (WCID). This path would allow for private partnerships with Sorenson, a Hydro Operator. Sorenson inspected the dam and hydro station on September 24, 2021 and is very interested in operating the hydro station as well as any others.
The Engineering study, with Freese & Nichols (FNI), will take approximately 5-6 months, so the sooner we can begin the study, the quicker we can start construction of the dam. The scope of work has been finalized and is ready to move forward. Several considerations were laid out during the meeting concerning moving forward:
Embankment hardening was discussed, and TCEQ requires a long term plan to address this but it is not required as part of the current construction plan for dam rehabilitation.
Gate replacement is the top priority moving forward, and we have high confidence that any gate replacement option provided by our engineering consultants will meet the TCEQ requirement.
During gate construction there must be considerations for dewatering to allow work to occur without the worry of water. The engineering study will address this with options and costs.
The Board believes the best course of action is to plan for tax owners whose properties abut the lake to fully fund the project. We cannot rely on revenue from the Hydro or Recreational opportunities at Nolte Island; these options will continue to be aggressively worked but cannot be counted on at this stage of planning. The Board also believes a legislative path should be a final option if everything else fails. It would be an extremely long and expensive process and 3 of the 6 Guadalupe gates have failed to date.
Water Control and Improvement District (WCID)
A WCID is needed to allow us to negotiate with the city, county and GBRA. Establishment of a WCID is a relatively low-cost (bookkeeping, legal, etc.) effort and would allow us to move forward with all efforts.
The WCID would have 5 Board Members and would allow us to vote on bond measures for gate replacement.
The District would include all properties that touch the lake.
A resolution in the MLNDA bylaws requires all paid current MLNDA members to vote on the creation of the WCID.
Currently MLNDA has raised $120,000 to go toward the engineering study and the creation of the WCID. We still need about $60,000 to fully fund both. We want to thank everyone who has donated and encourage anyone who hasn’t to please do so! Please be clear that your donation for this effort is separate from your MLNDA annual dues.
The next big decision is to determine whether to do the engineering study and then form the WCID or run them concurrently. Both Dunlap and McQueeney formed their WCIDs without any binding agreement with GBRA, and once they did GBRA was active in working with them.
The President of the Board, Jacy Robbins, recommends we do the engineering study and the creation of the WCID simultaneously, if there is membership approval to do so. Note again, you must be a current member of MLNDA to vote on this.
Tim Bays, Sydney Burton and Janet Hudson’s terms were at their end and they decided to let others help make MLNDA successful moving forward. Sara Fitzgerald is resigning her position on the board as well. We would like to thank them all for their dedication, determination and unending hard work in establishing MLNDA and seeing us to where we are today!
There was a vote for their replacements for Tim, Sydney and Janet (Sara’s position will not be filled) as well as renewing Directors Jacy Robbins and Roxanne Henricksen.
Mike Messersmith, Danelle Roddy and Jack Walker were voted in as new Directors and we look forward to their commitment to our Lake.
There was a question-and-answer session at the end of the meeting:
Several members asked for clarification on the property surveys as large tract owners have concerns about their entire tract being in the WCID (especially if not Ag Exempt). For anyone in this category please reach out to MLNDA to see what can be done.
A member asked about voting on the WCID. Current dues-paying members are eligible to vote on the formation of the WCID (per resolution in MLNDA bylaws). This vote will take place soon (electronically) and if approved would allow formation of the WCID. Those members registered locally to vote would then vote on future bonds.
Discussion was had about increases in taxes based on increases in property appraisals. The simple answer is yes; however, any issued bonds would be a fixed payment, so any increase in home appraisals would effectively decrease the tax rate accordingly.
The city of Seguin and GBRA are property owners along the lake but both are tax exempt entities.
River clean up has been postponed due to several considerations, not the least COVID, but if the lake is de-watered for repairs, we will conduct river clean up then.
There is a good chance that once we have formed the WCID our local governments will participate monetarily. We cannot have this discussion with them until there is a WCID created. This is why it is imperative that we as property owners show our “skin in the game” by contributing to the engineering study and WCID creation.
Rep Kuempel confirmed a legislative avenue is not a recommended course of action.
Membership & Communications Committee
Since our last update in July, the MLNDA Board has continued to work on plans for the “ownership” and rehabilitation of Nolte Dam. We met on Aug 9th via Zoom - here are the discussion highlights:
Freese and Nichols Engineering firm will have the ‘Scope of Work’ and estimated cost completed in a few weeks. The actual study will commence when we have the funds raised ($100K-$120K).
Sorenson (the potential hydro operator) will be visiting here on Sept 23rd and will coordinate with MLNDA, the City of Seguin and GBRA to access and tour the hydro facilities.
Our financial advisor, SAMCO Capital, continues to work on financial projections.
A committee was appointed to examine what properties will be included in the property survey used for the WCID.
River Cleanup Day will be postponed due to the increase in COVID as well as the fact that the Board is focused on realizing the goal of fixing the Dam.
There are on-going discussions with regard to Nolte Island as a possible income source to help reduce the WCID tax rate.
We continue to work toward our timeline: (a) have the Engineering Study conducted and completed within the next couple of months (this, of course, depends on whether we reach our fundraising goals to pay for it), (b) with approval of MLNDA membership, petition to form the WCID would then occur in November 2021, and (c) the election to form the WCID would be held in May 2022.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING – Saturday, September 18th at 10:00 AM. We will update you on the specifics, but with the current COVID situation we’re working on several ‘location’ options. PLEASE PUT THIS DATE/TIME ON YOUR CALENDAR!
Sadly, LAKE GONZALES’ GATES FAILED last week following torrential rains, and the water level dropped at least 12 feet. This is the third of six lakes to fail. This is more proof that it is not a matter of IF Nolte Dam will fail, but rather WHEN it will fail. When failure does occur, the gates could be down (with little water in the river) for a couple of years before we could fund and begin the project. It would be better to lower OUR gates “on our own terms” when we are ready to complete the work, rather than experience failure before we’re ready.
We need $180,000 to proceed - we are happy to report that, thanks to the overwhelming support of our Meadow Lake property owners, we have raised almost $90K and are HALFWAY THERE! If you haven’t already sent in your contribution to fund the engineering study and other initial WCID formation expenses, PLEASE DO IT NOW as time is of the essence. You can send a check with your donation to Roxanne Henricksen at 40 E Hampton Dr., Seguin, TX 78155. PayPal/Credit Card payment is also available through our website, www.mlnda.org. MLNDA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation so all donations are tax-deductible.
If you have any questions, or would like to visit individually to learn more about our plan to save the lake, please contact Miriam Jones (email@example.com, 512-587-2298) or Jacy Robbins (firstname.lastname@example.org, 281-702-7435).
Membership & Communications Committee
On Saturday, June 19th we held the Membership Gathering at the Seguin Power Plant. Without a doubt, the event exceeded our expectations (even on Father’s Day weekend). About 75 members attended and came away with a lot of important information about our plans, both immediate and long term. This written summary cannot fully detail what was presented, including the Q & A session, so we encourage you to listen to what was discussed by clicking on the YouTube link below AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. We will also post this video link on our FACEBOOK page, https://www.facebook.com/NolteDam, so please “Like” and Share it.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/XFPeTblLDIc
MLNDA’s plan continues to be LOCAL OWNERSHIP (versus GBRA maintaining ownership & operation, but not paying for the replacement/repairs).
We are very grateful to Seguin City Manager Steve Parker for facilitating communication with GBRA. GBRA has agreed to transfer ownership of Nolte Dam to a WATER CONTROL AND IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (WCID), should the ML property owners vote to form it, but with two stipulations: (1) we can prove that the financial model is viable and (2) that the plan abides by all Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulations. We also agree that both of these items are necessary! Since this communication with GBRA has opened up, they have been very cooperative in providing all necessary information that we have requested.
While the Comprehensive Engineering Study will guide us as to what the actual costs will be, we have a level of confidence through preliminary engineering work already completed that it will be in the range of $6-8 Million. A number of unknown variables still exist that could impact cost (increase or decrease). In order to identify, understand and accurately obtain these “unknowns” we must proceed with the study. The Study is crucial and comprehensive – we don’t want any “surprises” after work begins.
Following completion of the study, MLNDA will then have an accurate capital improvement cost in order to move forward with developing a solution for financing. This will include potential revenue streams from hydroelectricity and the possibility of recreational development at Nolte Island, State and Federal funding through grants, and property taxes from the District. So, it is not just working out the variables from the engineering side, but also the financing side, to truly understand what the tax rate will be. MLNDA would not be moving forward if we didn’t think we had a solution that the large majority of property owners would support (all Board Directors are property owners themselves). As highlighted in the meeting, MLNDA is committed to providing the facts to membership, and it will be up to membership to decide if we move forward with forming a District. What MLNDA’s Board is asking is to let us work to provide the most accurate information possible in order for membership to make a proper decision.
What are the costs for this initial phase and WCID creation? We need $180,000 to get the point that we can return to membership with exact facts on the technical requirements and financial obligations that property owners would incur through taxes. This includes the following Professional Services:
$120,000 for the Comprehensive Engineering Study – MLNDA has been in continual communication with Freese & Nichols (FNI), which will be conducting the study. This is a very reasonable amount for the extensive information that we will receive.
$20,000 for the Property Survey – this will “set the boundaries” and detail exactly which properties will be included in the District.
$30,000 in legal efforts to establish the WCID. McGinnis Lochridge specializes in District formation and has been retained by MLNDA.
$10,000 to engage professional grant writing services to assist with accessing and applying for relevant state and federal funding with the potential to have a substantial impact on the final tax rate to the District.
How will we get the funding for the $180,000 “initial phase – pre WCID creation period”?
We are asking YOU, our members, for donations. As property owners it’s important that WE have “skin in the game”. This is the first time we have reached out to you for funds (other than your $50 membership fee that pays for Association operating expenses). Some of you have asked why we hadn’t had a major push for fundraising previously, but we didn’t want to do so until we had gotten “all of our ducks in a row”. Now is the time.
We will request monetary offerings from the City of Seguin and GBRA.
We will reach out to local businesses and others because the preservation of Meadow Lake is crucial to health and economy of our community (e.g. Realtors, Banks, Manufacturers, Principal Gift Givers, etc.)
How much of a donation is expected from members for their contributions?
No amount is required. A suggested “guideline” is in the area of $300 for every $100,000 in property value. For example, a property valued at $400,000 would equal a $1,200 donation ($300 x 4). If every single property owner on Meadow were to participate in this donation effort, we would immediately raise the $180,000 required to move forward.
We know that some of you may not be able to donate this much, while others will have the capability of offering a higher amount.
You can send your donations to our Treasurer, Roxanne Henricksen 40 E Hampton Dr, Seguin 78155. For further info: email@example.com. PayPal/Credit Card payment is also available through our website, www.mlnda.org
A professional brochure outlining details on WHY TO INVEST IN SEGUIN AND SAVE MEADOW LAKE will be sent to area businesses and we will supply you a shortened flyer for you to use in reaching out to your neighbors, family and community. We encourage you to use this when reaching out to others in the community.
WE ARE CONFIDENT IN OUR PLANS, but we cannot do anything further without the Engineering Study and District Formation so this local lake community can proudly own Nolte Dam.
Immediate: raise the $180,000 to cover this initial phase
If funded, move forward immediately with the Engineering Study and initial steps to establish the District
September 18, 2021: Annual Membership Meeting - we will present all info received. No further outlay of funds will be made without your approval, so it’s crucial that you attend this meeting! The venue has changed since our last update – we will meet at the GBRA Annex (more info to follow).
November 2021: WCID - District Creation through petition
May 2022: Election - at this time voters registered in the District will vote
Following a “FOR” vote, work on the Dam begins, and we are confident all will be completed by May 2023!!!
As you can see, things are moving swiftly. If we delay, then our timetable for preserving Meadow Lake is unknown; if we move forward now, then we are in control of our own destiny.
PLEASE HELP US MEET THIS TIMELINE AND PRESERVE OUR PRECIOUS MEADOW LAKE
TALK WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS & FRIENDS IN THE COMMUNITY – ENCOURAGE THEIR SUPPORT
Membership & Communications Committee
The Board has been diligently working on all fronts and is happy to report that we are on the cusp of realizing plans for the rehabilitation of Nolte Dam! Highlights of this work include:
May 4th – MLNDA had a very productive meeting with Freese and Nichols engineering firm (FNI) and the City of Seguin. Several issues need to be addressed before a well-defined scope of work is developed. We will continue to work closely with FNI in the upcoming weeks to resolve all of these issues before moving forward with the Comprehensive Engineering Study.
May 10th – The MLNDA Board met via ZOOM
The Board has reached out to other experts to assist us in the formation of the new Water Control & Improvement District (WCID), including legal and financial advisors. We are happy to report that Zachariah Evans of McGinnis Lochridge has been retained for legal counsel, and MLNDA is working closely with Samco Capital for financial consulting.
The Board is developing a detailed schedule/timeline for completing all activities required to allow for the creation of a WCID, with the goal of a bond election vote in May 2022. This timeline will be shared with members as we develop an overall plan and identify key milestones.
There will be a need for fundraising to pay for the engineering study and other legal/financial expenses. Members will be updated soon regarding this effort.
We urge you all to be educated on the Zebra Mussel infestation that is occurring on Lake Placid. Texas Parks and Wildlife signs explaining the dangers of zebra mussels have been posted at the different boat ramp locations around Meadow Lake. We need to be diligent so a similar situation doesn’t endanger our lake.
Annual Membership Meeting is Sat., Sept. 18th from 10 – 12 at a location TBD - PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Thank you all for your patience and support…the Board is very excited about where we are right now. We will continue to send frequent, written updates to members with more complete details as we move along in the process.
Please recruit new members if you know of others who would be interested in joining us to PRESERVE MEADOW LAKE.
Membership & Communications Committee
Invasive zebra mussels have devastating economic, recreational and environmental impacts. Because of this, state regulations require draining of water from boats and onboard receptacles when leaving or approaching public fresh waters. Please follow the recommendations from Texas Parks & Wildlife to protect Meadow Lake and the other lakes in Texas from invasive zebra mussels. More information can be found at https://texasinvasives.org/zebramussels/
MLNDA Membership, Communications and Information Committee
First we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2020 has been difficult for many reasons. While COVID has certainly become center stage, please know that the MLNDA Board has continued to work as best as we can on our situation.
In November the Membership Committee conducted an Outreach Drive, with emails and snail mails, encouraging new and renewal memberships. We are happy to report we now have 98 Household Members (with 165 Individual Members, since some couples pay for 2 memberships). If you know of any of your neighbors who would like to join our effort, please let us know.
We email updates to paid members detailing the steps we are taking to save Nolte Dam and Meadow lake based on the particular situation of our lake. We thank you all for your patience this year, especially knowing that the larger lakes have moved forward with their WCIDs. Please remember that they are larger and wealthier, thereby offering them options that we cannot afford.
We hope to offer you some positive reports in the next couple of months as we navigate the ‘waters’ with GBRA. In the meantime, we wish you a healthy and happy 2021, as we hopefully face some better times.
MLNDA Membership, Communications and Information Committee
The Board and various committees have been meeting regularly to work on efforts to preserve Meadow Lake. We have been in continual communication with the Seguin City Manager, who is coordinating with us to set up a new meeting with GBRA. As you already know, the three larger lakes are already on a path with GBRA to replace their gates using a solution that is completely out of our financial means, since we are not only a much smaller group of property owners, but also our valuations are much lower.
We have now written a “Roadmap” specifically tailored to our own situation to present to GBRA and are in the process of trying to set up the meeting, with the support of the City of Seguin. Members will be the ‘first to know’ as to the result of this effort…hopefully very soon.
If you haven’t yet sent in your dues, we ask that you please do so – there’s strength in numbers. Please go to the Contact/Payments page of this website for information on renewing by check, Venmo, PayPal or credit card.
The Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled monthly meetings on Sept. 16th and Oct. 14th. A couple of action items were voted on that we want to inform you about:
1. Resolution - This was read at the Annual Membership Meeting on Sept 5th and voted on unanimously by the Board on Sept. 16th.
2. Bylaws changes - These were unanimously voted on at the Oct 14th Board meeting:
Mandatory requirement to inform membership of any bylaw changes
Clarified the forums in which the Board can meet (i.e, Zoom)
Clarified 1/3 of directors to be elected annually by membership
Other minor changes helping to clarify requirements within bylaws
The Resolution and Revised ByLaws can be found in the links below:
Our Annual Membership Meeting this morning was well attended, in spite of competing with COVID and the holiday weekend. We thank the City of Seguin for allowing special dispensation for us to gather and we thank attendees for complying with all requirements. Also, thank you to those government officials and candidates who attended – Representative John Kuempel ; Seguin Mayoral candidates Donna Dodgen and Francisco Herrera; and city council district 6 candidates Monica Carter, Wanda Rosales and Ricardo Sanchez. We appreciate you all taking time out from your busy schedules to hear MLNDA and the community’s concerns and our plan for preserving Nolte Dam for the Seguin community. Meadow Lake is an important part of Seguin and Guadalupe County, economically, ecologically and recreationally, and MLNDA is working hard to save this valuable resource.
For those of you who were unable to attend, we invite you to renew your membership and encourage new people to join us as well. WE NEED YOU! And if you are a property owner, you will want to have a voice in our plans to save Meadow Lake. A member application can be downloaded from here:
Please fill it out and send dues to:
Roxanne Henricksen, Treasurer
40 Hampton E
Seguin, TX 78155
Thank you for your support!
We have recently received many questions and emails regarding what we are doing to save our dam and lake. Most of these questions are coming after the news that GBRA and the other Hydro Lakes have settled their lawsuit. As you all know and realize, Meadow Lake has only 111 people that have property which touches this lake, whereas McQueeney has 600, Placid has 300 and Dunlap has 514. There is quite a difference, not only in numbers but in mean market value as well. Some of our folks can't stand to pay another $1 on their taxes, and we are cognizant of this. But just to let you know, we have not given up working on a solution and have been working hard on different action plans. Several of the board members met with our County Judge and County Commissioner last week, and next week we are meeting with several city officials in trying to come up with a game plan.
The Sutter lawsuit is still continuing on behalf of all the lakes. Those property plaintiff property owners, including some MLNDA members, are receiving continual legal updates. As MLNDA itself isn't part of the lawsuit, we can't impart info regarding it's status.
Our MLNDA President, Jacy, is working hard, and he too has not given up. He has met with engineers, dam builders and the list goes on and on. We are in a difficult situation on Meadow Lake, but we plan to keep our MLNDA members better informed in the coming months. All of this takes lots of time and sometimes it takes weeks for people to get back to us. MLNDA has a hardworking Board and we are proud of the work we’ve done so far. Some of the Board Member terms are up so we will need you to step up and join us.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Also, we need you to come to our annual meeting on September 5. We need your help in figuring out what you want to do to save the lake. Our MLNDA secretary, Sydney, will be sending out reminders, but the meeting is 10:00 a.m. at Starcke Park East, right on our river, in that huge covered pavilion. Bring a chair so we can social distance. Please wear those mandated masks too.
The regularly scheduled monthly board meeting of MLNDA took place on Wednesday, May 13 via Zoom. All board members were in attendance except for M. Terry, who had a previous engagement.
The board acknowledged with great sadness on the loss of board member, Karen Anderson in April. T. Bays mentioned that some of the folks that know Karen would like to give a memorial to MLNDA in her memory.
The following is a brief summary of the meeting. A detailed report will be emailed to the membership later.
Secretary, S. Burton, gave an update on our membership. We have 143 current members, with 118 household members.
A treasurer’s report was given to the board by R. Henricksen. Ms. Henricksen gave us an update that our Liability insurance is finalized and went into effect on February 18. She also stated that the tax return and audit requirements were filed as required.
T. Bays gave us an update on the proposed river cleanup project we had originally scheduled for April. A new date is on hold until further requirements and guidelines for COVID-19 are known.
J.Robbins, MLNDA President, gave an update on the Technical Committee on Dam Construction and on the Financing Committee. Detailed information will be emailed to our MLNDA membership soon.
As a point of information, M. Jones discussed some problems with the river signs that GBRA placed along Meadow Lake. The signs float and move and can be misleading. Additionally, some people are not following the guidelines that were set in place.
We discussed the meeting date for our yearly meeting, which will be held at the Seguin Public Library again, on September 5 at 10:00 AM. J. Hudson will oversee finalizing the date and time with the Library.
The next regularly held monthly board meeting will be held on June 10, either by Zoom or at First United Bank, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
The Guadalupe County Appraisal District released a study on lakefront property values which looked at the market value changes for the lakefront land and improved properties located along the Guadalupe River in Guadalupe County over the next four years. The full study can be found at www.guadalupead.org under the press release tab as well as in the link below. There is also an article on SeguinToday.com about this study which can be found here.
We had a great turnout for our first social event sponsored by the Texas Power Plant. A big thank you to the Power Plant for hosting this event. We plan to have our next social event sometime in January. We apologize for the poor acoustics, but the weather didn't cooperate with our plans to have it more privately on the covered patio area.
Since forming and having our first membership meeting back in August, the board, officers and committees have worked to research, gather information, and meet with city and county officials, state officials, GBRA, bond investors, attorneys, other lake associations, engineering consultants, lobbyists, newspapers, radio representatives and others. Oftentimes one door would close only to have another open with the plan constantly fluid and changing almost daily. From all of this a long term strategy has been developed which was summarized at the last social event and which is recapped briefly below.
Potential funding sources have been identified, and we will be proposing and working with both GBRA and the Texas State Legislature to further progress. The Texas Senate has recently been charged with studying a number of topics before the 2021 legislative session. The charges are an indication of the Lieutenant Governor’s priorities and those of the Texas Senate. Included is a commitment to “river authority infrastructure” by promoting infrastructure stability and maintaining the usability of these bodies of water. This is a great sign that the state is looking to save our lakes. Additionally, a number of grants have been identified, with a few being available to apply for immediately, and other applications beginning next year. While it is not likely the grants will cover the full cost of the project, the grants could provide funding to significantly progress the detailed engineering and other aspects.
We are also progressing by bringing on board an engineering consultant that will represent the best interest of our organization. The engineering consultant scope will include a design review for identifying and developing a strategy for complete dam rehabilitation that will bring all components of the dam, not just the spill gates, into regulatory compliance. From this report, an independent review of the projected cost will be developed. Understanding what to correctly budget for plays a critical role in evaluating the funding required and what funding sources are needed.
Our goal is to have the first major round of donations from members and our community to support the most critical objectives identified to date, namely:
• Lobbyists – support efforts with funding through Texas Legislature
• Grants – professional support in grant writing and applications
• Engineering Consultant – independent dam evaluation and development of projected costs
We expect to have the cost for the above confirmed within a month’s time and will be sharing those costs with membership and asking for donations at that time. Thanks again for your support and we will provide further updates as progress is achieved.
2019 Interim Legislative Charges - November 15, 2019
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has released 116 interim charges to the Texas Senate. Included are charges for the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and Water and Rural Affairs Committee which have been charged with “river authority infrastructure.” The description below is extracted from the charges document as a charge for the aforementioned committees:
Examine the roles and responsibilities of river authorities in maintaining their managed assets including, but not limited to, dams. Evaluate the impact on the economy, water supply, and flood control due to deferred maintenance. Make recommendations to promote infrastructure stability and maintain the usability of these bodies of water.
This is a great sign that the state is looking to support financially in saving the lakes.