Skip to main content
  The Houston Canoe Club
Share our Joy of Paddling!

P.O. Box 925516
Houston, Texas

The Houston Canoe Club 

is a Paddle America Club

Link to ACA

Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeNL-2014-05 2 Last Meeting Minutes
Last Meeting Minutes

April 9th, 2014
Bayland Park Community Center
Temporary Recorder: John Rich 

Commodore Harmon Everett banged the gavel while wearing his pirate tricorne hat and commenced the meeting at 7:05.
Harmon introduced the club officers, and highlighted our newly appointed Vice Commodore, Will Blumentritt, filling the vacancy left by the departure of Philip Matticks.  The club constitution allows the Commodore to appoint a  temporary successor for positions which become vacant in between elections.
The "Safety Minute" was held round-robin style, selecting half the room and having each person on that side of the room speak briefly about some safety point.  Topics covered were: accidents getting into and out of the water (Terri Herdlicka broke her arm last month this way), sam splints for injured limbs, rain gear in cold weather, annual inspections of your first aid kit, Benadryl for bee sting allergies, and lights for visibility at night.
Honey Leveen talked about the preparations for the 50th anniversary party.  Longtime members John Bartos and John Ohrt wrote club history articles for the newsletter this month.  The club 50th anniversary logo is available on a variety of shirts, and you only need seven orders for a group discount.  Fraser Baker will be conducting advertising of the party by e-mail to members and others.
Purser Bob Naeger gave a summary of club funds, which are plentiful.  The investment CD expires soon, and some money will be transferred from that CD to the checking account to cover contingencies for the 50th anniversary party.  The remaining funds will be re-invested in a new CD.
Fleet Captain Dave Kitson stepped to the podium to review paddling activity and the schedule.  Dave noted that club paddlers have collectively already paddled over 1,000 miles this year! 
Recent trips:
  • Terri Morgan talked about the Columbus Loop trip on the Colorado, and said there were lots of snakes and turtles, an eagle, high water trash in the trees, and she fished and caught a nice drum which she ate for dinner.
  • John Bartos spoke about the Armand Bayou Trash Bash.  There were 825 participants, most of which were land-bound, and almost every canoe came back with a car tire. 
  • Joe Coker covered the San Marcos River cleanup, and said that the recent flood flushed out most of the trash, but left some still stuck high in the trees, including inner tubes.  The school bus that was washed into a tree is now gone.
  • Paul Woodcock was at the clean-up at Stubblefield Lake, where the paddlers returned with a bag of trash each, and there was plenty of good camp food.
  • New member April and her husband participated in the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, and described it as "chaos".  They covered the 15-mile course in 3½ hours, despite dodging boats zig-zagging back and forth between river banks.  Joe Coker served as a sweep boat to help stragglers, and when one paddler was injured and withdrew from the water, Joe got to tow the empty boat the rest of the way.  Other participants were John Ohrt and Christy Long.
  • Joe Coker covered a Champion Lake paddle, where the water was a little low, restricting access to some of the areas.  The birds are also nesting which puts parts of the lake off-limits.  The spring greenery is really blooming.
  • Harmon talked about several trips on the Guadalupe River as practice for the Texas Water Safari, with Christy Long and Will Blumentritt, including paddling at night.  Harmon had a personal record for distance of 38 miles in a day.
Upcoming trips:
  • Turtle Bayou, with Tom Douglas
  • Lake Charlotte, with Tom Douglas
  • Buffalo River, Arkansas, with Ken Anderson
  • Sheldon Lake, with Phil & Tisha Matticks
  • Hidalgo Falls on the Brazos, with Mark Andrus
  • Colorado River, with Paddlesport
  • Louisiana bayous, with Chris Arceneaux of HASK
  • Spring Creek Lake, Earth Day, with John Bartos - canoe volunteers needed
  • Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, with Natalie Wiest
  • Brazos River overnight trip, with Paul Woodcock
  • Cypress Creek trash cleanup, with Tom Douglas
  • Picketts Bayou, with Joe Coker and Dave Kitson
Newsletter Editor John Rich and Conservation Officer John Bartos had nothing new to report this month. 
Guest Speaker:
The guest speaker was Travis Tidwell of the Texas Stream Team, (TST) whose home base is at Spring Lake on the San Marcos River. Texas Stream Team is a network of trained citizen scientists and supportive partners working together to gather information about the natural resources - water.

Every day, hundreds of citizen scientists across Texas collect water quality data on lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, bays, bayous, and estuaries. Texas Stream Team displays all water quality data through their map-based data viewer to ensure the information is available to all Texans. Each year they analyze citizen scientist data for selected watersheds and create quality assured scientific reports. Texas Stream Team remains committed to educating current and future generations about the importance protecting water quality through demonstration, teacher workshops, and science-based curricula. They operate on grants from the EPA and TCEQ.
The TST is looking for a few good paddlers willing to do periodic water testing on area rivers and lakes.  Paddlers allow water samples to be gathered in locations not usually accessible to land-bound testers.  Volunteers are trained and certified on how to use the test kits in a 6-hour class, and how to report their findings to the database, which contains 23 years of data.  The database is open source and available to anyone who wishes to do analysis on it. 
One kit involves a selection of special chemicals, with some of the tests being much like a common swimming pool test kit, with colors matched against a chart.  The tests look for, amongst other things; temperature, PH, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids and water clarity.  A second, more expensive kit, uses electronic wands to replace many of the functions done my chemical testing in the first kit.  The TST prefers location testing be done monthly, but even quarterly data is valuable.  The testing process takes at most an hour per site, and can be done much quicker if you team up with a partner.  Austin Canoe and Kayak keeps several of the test kits in their store, so that the volunteers can pick them up for their testing day, and return them when done for availability to others.  The TST also appreciates any citizen reports of chemical spills or fish kills.

A sign-up sheet was available for interested members to register for the training, and several added their names to the list.
TST by the numbers:
  • 7,692 citizen-scientists trained since 1991
  • 45,000 volunteer hours valued at $1,000,000.
  • 429 sites actively monitored for water quality
  • 125,000 Spring Lake visitors each year
  • 35,000 validated data points
  • 31 partner organizations
  • Every $1 in grant money leverages to $1.72.       
Harmon & Travis    Test kit 1    Test kit 2

Temporary Recorder, John Rich