TLRfishBarrierLowerDamDetail cc by-nc-nd 2013 bruce john stracke

new fish barrier nears completion

Tierra Linda Board of Directors…

Since I haven’t heard from the Board since my request almost a week ago I thought I’d try one more time in a neighborly fashion. Nobody likes being ignored.

Dictionary definition-TLRfishBarrierLowerDamWide
structure: a cohesive whole built up of distinct parts.

Definition of a fish barrier, according to our US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation-
A fish barrier is a structure, either natural or man-made, that prevents the movement of fishes and aquatic organisms.
The lower dam appears to have a new structure being erected upon it, a fish barrier.

Dictionary definition-
facility: the fact of being easy, or easily done; absence of difficulty, simplicity. The physical means or contrivances to make something possible; the required equipment, infrastructure, location etc.
Adding mechanical boat launches certainly facilitates and makes more easily done the launching and retrieving of boats. This would be a new facility and I assume have some structure as well.

Quoted from our by-laws-
“SECTION 15. BOARD ACTIONS REQUIRING MEMBERSHIP APPROVAL. An
Association Member vote shall be conducted by the Board of Directors before certain major actions are taken.
Actions which shall require a majority favorable vote, as defined below, of the membership before implementation are:

“…b) Expenditure for construction of any new FACILITY, building or STRUCTURE which is not a replacement for one which has existed previously. [emphasis added]

“c) Actions implementing any proposal which would significantly impact the community, its individual members or groups, its amenities, its rural ranch-like atmosphere, or its current or potential assets…”

Adding grass carp certainly is a significant impact on our lower lake, an amenity and current asset. So, significant an impact Texas Parks and Wildlife requires a permit and a barrier be built to make sure these fish do not escape our ponds. While stocking grass carp was tried almost 14 years ago, this is a change to the way the lakes have been managed more recently.

The Board cannot ignore calls to be accountable to the membership or continue some private agenda without notice or redress.

It is really simple, the board has to act in a way that is transparent to the membership and allow the membership a voice when changing direction or starting something new. Fish barriers, boat launches and grass carp may be perfectly good ideas, that doesn’t change the fact that the membership has a voice on these matters and circumventing that voice isn’t acceptable in a community like Tierra Linda. If these are such great ideas, why would you refuse discussion?

The Board has been asked to stop this construction of a fish barrier, and allow all sides of the issues regarding the best path forward for our invaluable lakes, the ranch’s greatest assets, to be heard. Changing the name of the group from Lakes Advisory Group to the Lakes Assistance Group to keep that group off our listing of volunteer organizations, hiding this group of motivated fishermen’s requests to the board in the Ranch Manager’s Report instead of properly allowing notice to the membership in the business section of the agenda for these significant actions and changes should be below our Board. In this particular case the requests of this group aren’t even consistent with the purpose of the ranch as laid out in our by-laws which clearly state we are to preserve the environment, not enhance fishing.

The lack of a response last week from the Board regarding these requests to stop construction and allow the voice of the membership to be heard suggests the Board believes it is above the membership rather than working for the membership. This frankly is a much larger problem than whether we build new structures with Association money or whether we change the way we manage our most valuable assets on the ranch without consideration of past membership supported board actions in these regards. I am beginning to wonder if we have a Board that believes communicating with concerned members, and allowing open, frank conversations are not in the best interest of the Board’s agenda. By denying different points of view we lose our strength as a community to come together and build a better place. Different view points openly discussed often offer nuggets of wisdom, helping to refine and improve plans. There is no one source of all the best answers, that is our strength, in allowing everyone to contribute.

Please respond as appropriate, using our by-laws as a guide to the best way forward for our ranch and allow these matters to be vetted in the open view of the membership rather than by some cabal with an agenda contrary to our purpose as an Association. These issues are of great import on the ranch and deserve no less.

[This letter was delivered to Board members this past Monday morning. I spoke with Fred Henneke, our Association’s attorney, Tuesday afternoon, he confirms the Board can ignore requests from the membership. He added, “It’s not very neighborly,” nor the best way to run a neighborhood association.

I remain hopeful a majority of the Board will find the courage to allow members to come to the next meeting and discuss the issues from all sides. Though time is running out: our new fish barrier is almost complete.]

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11 Comments

  1. Julie Stracke

    I wonder how many TLR residents even know that their money is going to this endeavor? How much is this costing the Ranch (us residents) anyway?

  2. tierralindaEditor

    Julie…
    Two great questions. The first I can’t answer, though I’d say not many. That’s why we need to have these kinds of conversations. The second is in our article what should we use Association funds on? A short read that reveals this project is taking a surprising percentage of our discretionary funds when there is so much that really needs to be done on the ranch.

  3. Mel Hixson

    I agree with the contents of this post.. This grass carp introduction issue is not the first time in recent months the board has introduced ” new business” issues with no prior notice in the board agenda under the guise of the ranch managers report. They also handled the 4-H proposal and the horse breeding program proposal in the same manner. Having backdoored these items into a vote, the ranch residents were then presented these programs as “done deals” without any prior knowledge they were even being considered or any chance for ranch residents to speak to the issues or ask questions on specifics before a vote was taken. I would submit that, whether the general ranch population supports any of these ideas or not, this is a rather unfair way of handling new issues that are of importance to the ranch environment and the residents. The board, after all, serves as a body to represent our interests and without notice and discussion before “new business” issues are voted upon, how can residents feel they are fairly represented?

    Regarding the grass carp issue. The picture posted here is the first I’ve seen of the new carp barrier. It seems from the photo, to be a very substantial obstacle, especially if the cross members are covered with the 1 1/2 inch- 2″ mesh wire required to properly contain young 10–12 inch grass carp. I certainly hope the structural integrity of our dam is good enough to support such a barrier in times of flood when debris is likely to build up behind that very strong looking fence. I rather doubt our downstream neighbors would appreciate a wall of water from a broken dam and an introduction of unwanted exotic fish.

  4. Juan

    If Mr Henneke is right and ” the Board can ignore requests from the membership” then anyone speaking to the board might as well be talking to the walls. We need those fishermen who managed to get the board to listen to them and have these very same fishermen ask the board in behalf of all TLR home owners for a detail expense account of all ranch money. If you know where it came from you should know where it went.

  5. tierralindaEditor

    Juan…
    It is essentially that simple. They have to listen, but they do not have to respond. In this particular case since the assertion is that the Board is spending Association money on new facilities, buildings or structures we could start a petition to force a vote of the membership per the by-laws.

  6. bruce john stracke

    Last evening the Board responded with their decision not to reconsider any of the issues I raised.

  7. alan dorsman

    I am an avid bass fisherman-I have or will have fished most of the lakes in Texas not to mention private ponds or lakes. I grew up on a ranch in North Texas with multiple ponds full of bass and other specises such as crappie and catfish. Our lakes or an example of a great fishing opportunity. Given the right weather conditions I will catch 5 bass per hour from the bank on either lake-don’t believe me- take the dare-the problem is not the vegetation-it is the lack of knowledge of how to fish it! On any body of water in Texas or anywhere else-I go straight to the grassline to catch fish. I have wached with great amusment at the futile efforts of the board to eliminate the lake vegetation-They have done grass carp-multiple times-mechanical-very humorous-chemical-scary and now back to the grass carp. All of the methods mentioned above were totally ineffectve-thank goodness. Don’t blame this foolishness on the fishermen (fisherpeople for you ladies and gays) it is the board Don Quioxte like charging the windmill. The things that affect the vegetation in the lakes are: 1. drought, 2. floods and 3. freezing weather. Quit, cease and stop trying to play god. alan dorsman

  8. Zeke Anderson

    NOTICE TO THE BOARD!

    Everything that happens on this ranch has probably happened before in its 43 year history. There are many previous board members who have dealt with these multifarious problems. Why don’t you ask them for advice? Thanks. za

    P.S. We stocked the upper lake with grass carp in 2002 and built barrier fences. It was all money wasted.
    P.P.S. Of course now assessment income is $51,500.00 higher than it was then so there’s more to waste.

  9. Mel Hixson

    Unfortunately, Tierra LInda has the same problem the American Indians had with making treaties with the United States government. An issue is decided by one government, a new government comes into power, a new special interest group comes to the fore, all decisions of the previous government are forgotten and voided, along with the reasons the decisions were made, and the whole ball game starts over again.

  10. bruce john stracke

    Thanks Alan and Zeke. Alan, at least one board did considerable research with the help of many folks on and off the ranch only to come to the same conculsion. I would be interested to see or hear about the logic and research that led to this decision.

    I am surprised few seem be concerned with the Board’s use of our Association funds to build new structures (boat launches and a fish barrier) and facilities (boat launches) without a membership vote as the by-laws require.

  11. tierralindaEditor

    Good comments! It would be great to see even more perspectives. Board and/or Lakes Assistance Group member comments or a guest editorial would add to the conversation greatly. Keep sharing and inviting others to join in. Thank you for participating!

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