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HomeNL-2013-06 Lake Pass Cleanup

Lake Pass Cleanup
May 11, 2013
by Joe Coker

Thank you to all the members of the “HCC Demolition Crew” (John Rich, Natalie & Ellen Wiest, Tom Douglas and Dave Kitson) who joined me on May 11th to do a major clean-up on the upper section of Lake Pass. It’s been months since we’ve been able to get through this important corridor without serious bushwhacking, if at all.

Due to the dedicated efforts of the “Crew”, a number of major blockages and strainers were removed both above and below the Miller Lake Cut. So doing restored clear passage from Miller Lake all the way up to Lake Charlotte. Not only was navigability enhanced, but the clearing process also released tons of backed-up Salvinia. It was gratifying to see large mats breaking up and floating downstream toward eventual demise in the bay.

Pictures tell the story best.

Work crew

to the rescue

  Lake Pass beauty
mid-way up 
Salvinia blockage

above Miller Cut

  Moving In

John attacks
main blockage
  Dave muscling
a log
Salvinia breaking
  Lunch in the
Sea of Salvinia

Crew staff
  John the
bow master

We took our lunch break in an inlet on Lake Charlotte, just a little way west of Lake Pass at a spot that had once been another passage.  It’s blocked now and has become what I’m calling the “Sea of Salvinia”... a beautiful but massive infestation. We also noticed a lot more free-floating salvinia on Lake Charlotte proper out near Bird Island.

Before heading back to work, we paid a quick visit to Buzzard Roost. Bird activity had picked up since our last visit a few weeks earlier, and Spoonbills dominated the scene. 



Returning to Lake Pass, we resumed the clearing process, heading gradually back down to Miller Cut. By the time we got there, the afternoon was waning... along with our strength, but we couldn’t resist a quick look at conditions on Miller.  The lake was like glass, so we paddled around the bend to the Mud Lake Bayou opening and bushwhacked a short way in before the sawgrass got the best of us. We’ll be back.

Mud Lake Bayou    Miller Lake

It was tempting to linger longer to enjoy the rare placid beauty, but we’d been in our boats for nearly 8 hours, and our bodies were screaming for relief! So we headed for home, clearing one last blockage on the way.

Homeward bound    Last stop    Last stop

We finally arrived at the Trinity River Bridge west bank take-out at 6:30pm, 8.5 hours and about 10 miles after put-in. We made a lot of progress toward improving navigability and freeing-up salvinia blockages. But clearly there’s much more to do, and it will be an on-going process to keep the Pass in good shape.

Joe's complete photo albums can be viewed here:

The author, Joe Coker