WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE GUADALUPE?
WHAT CAN YOU AND GRTU DO ABOUT IT?
Part of our dues pays for $35,000 dollars of trout that are stocked in our lease areas so that you can enjoy quality trout fishing right here in Texas. (Leasing land for places to fish is the second-biggest investment that we make).
GRTU was instrumental in pushing for, and getting, trophy trout regulations for the Guad. We also purchase feed so that Texas Parks & Wildlife will raise rainbow trout at their Possum Kingdom Hatchery to fingerling size for stocking and growing in the river with the hope of producing another generation of trophy trout.
TP&W biologists have ascertained that trout can survive year-round in the Guadalupe, grow at fabulous rates, and reproduce. Clearly, the Guadalupe has outstanding potential as a year-round trout fishery that has not come close to being realized.
But there is a huge problem. Much of our investment is being wasted. Not because we are misspending the money—we are certainly getting a big bang on our initial outlay—but because during the summer we lose much of our trout and our investment.
Our trout are dependent on good flow rates from Canyon Dam for their coldwater habitat. When flows are reduced, water temperatures rise and trout die. When summer flows are good, they grow magnificently. There is a remedy.
This summer the Corps of Engineers allowed a "deviation" from their operating procedure of Canyon Lake at the behest of the Water Oriented Recreation District and the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority for the summer recreational business. They allowed the lower two feet of the flood pool to be used as a recreational pool. As a result, higher than normal flows of 200 to 350 cfs started around Memorial Day and ended in early August.
Trout fishing in the lower river was hot as long as the flows were fast. But a bad thing happened in early August. Flows were reduced to 100 cfs as Canyon Lake reached "normal" elevation. GBRA saw no reason to release any more than the minimal water required. As water temperatures warmed, there were verified trout kills of massive proportions. We lost much of the trout fishery. Why must this continue to happen?
The Guadalupe River is an environmentally impacted river. The cold water flowing from the bottom of Canyon Lake caused the loss of the historical warmwater fishery for over 20 miles downstream. The released water is "January cold" during the critical spring spawning period of warmwater fishes and is lethal to their spawn. High flows in the spring and early summer, over 200 cfs on the average, extend this "dead zone" for many miles below the dam. In July, August, and September flows have been cut back, generally to 100 cfs or less. This creates another dead zone, but this time for the trout, because water temperatures become too warm. Therefore, the river has a zone where no fishery, trout or warmwater, can be successfully established.
Now, if a municipality or a factory caused this much havoc by polluting the water, then people would be outraged and have it stopped. Because the waters flowing from Canyon Dam are unpolluted and its coolness enjoyable on a hot summer's day, people don't look at the water being a problem.
But it is a problem—to fish. We need to make a change.
GRTU Now Has a Powerful Partner
Now we have the capability of making the Guadalupe the San Juan River of Texas! We have retained the services of Campbell, George & Strong, LLP, an environmental law firm of national stature.
Mr. Campbell developed the economic analysis for damages in the Exxon Valdez disaster. Under that assessment Exxon paid a damage claim of $3 billion! The firm represents clients across the nation and has mitigated and remedied natural resource damages. Current clients include the Nature Conservancy, Chevron, Conoco, and Fina. Mr. Campbell would present our case to the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and would do so at reduced rates.
The attorney who will do much of the work, Mark Stacell, was a Texas Parks & Wildlife attorney. Before that, he worked for TP&W at San Marcos. In addition to his law degree, he has a masters of science in aquatic ecology. He is highly skilled in fisheries matters. He has a house in Gruene and fly fishes the Guadalupe frequently. He is highly motivated personally to see that the trout fishery is protected.
The problem we have faced is that the GBRA places little economic value on fishing and recreation. Mr. Campbell will use his model of economic analysis that was successfully used in a number of previous cases to derive a true economic value of fishing and recreation. GBRA is required by law to look at the competing interests for water. We can place a value of this recreational asset that is much greater than the value GBRA now believes it is worth. Therefore, we will prevail because we can prove the value of fishing and recreation.
We Can't Win Without Your Contributions
Our cause will be short lived if we don't have the money to see it to conclusion. Economic studies and attorney fees will cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.
If GRTU members will give an average of $50, we will be well on our way to having a trout fishery of the first class! Even though I am devoting a lot of hours to this project, I will start off the giving with $100 now, and in a few months, another $100.
I challenge all to match what I give! I am not rich, and I definitely feel pain on giving this amount of money, but I believe our chances of success are great. I see this as an excellent investment for blue-ribbon quality trout fishing, as the Guadalupe has this potential.
Please, please give whatever you can to the Guadalupe River Legal Defense Fund. Send your contribution directly to:
Guadalupe River Legal Defense Fund
P.O. Box 27156
Austin, TX 78755-2156
Chairman of the Flow Committee