Minutes for Saturday, July 16th 2016 – General Summer Meeting

TEAL, LOST LAND AND GHOST LAKES IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION MINUTES OF GENERAL SUMMER MEETING 2016

TIME & PLACE: The 156th meeting of the Teal, Lost Land and Ghost Lakes Improvement Association was held Saturday, July 16, 2016 at Boulder Lodge on Ghost Lake. The meeting was called to order by President Bob Dale at 9:07 am.

ROLL CALL: Board members Bob Dale (President), Norm Bratteig (Vice President), Shari Peterson (Secretary) and Gayle Little (Treasurer) were present. MEMBERS PRESENT: Dan & Jane Brandenstein, Bob Book, Chris & Kay Callaway, Sue Dale, Bob Capes, Jim Dooley, Carole & Dick Dumovic, Anne Feicht, John Gouze & Margaret Lew, Sue & John Grady, Penny & Roger Hage, Tom Jablonski, Orlin Johnson & Gail Nicholson, Scott Johnson, Doug & Jan King, Brian John & Brenda Maier, George & Connie Miller, Bryan & Dave Neuswanger, Bob Niedziejko, Jim & Donna Nickel, Jeff Post, Brian Reitz, John & Julie Trombello, Greg & Liz Wassilkowsky, Jack Wellauer. NON-MEMBERS PRESENT: Prudence Ross (+3). Once again we want to thank Terry and Michelle Conroy, proprietors of Boulder Lodge, for graciously hosting the Quiet Lakes Association (QLA) General Membership Meeting.

PRESENTATION: We have asked Alex Smith, Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Wisconsin DNR, Pat Brown, Sawyer County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, and Tiffiney Kleczewski of Flambeau Engineering to be here today to help guide us through aquatic invasive species (AIS) issues. Tiffiney is in the process of surveying the Quiet Lakes for an Aquatic Plant Management Plan. She also surveyed all 3 lakes in 2008, and 2012.
The following is a brief history of the QLA’s involvement with AIS. In 2011 Rex Clevenger, the Environmental Director at the time, applied for and received a grant called “Clean Boats Clean Waters”. The grant is designed to assist lake associations from a preventative side through education and boat monitoring. For a number of years the WDNR trained volunteers in identifying AIS. Rex divided the lake into sections on a map and volunteers began surveying designated sections of the lake for AIS. Also, for 3 years we had boat monitors at several boat landings. In 2013 hybrid Eurasian watermilfoil (HEWM) was discovered on Lost Land Lake by Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. They notified the WDNR who then notified the QLA. An attempt was made by volunteers to hand pull the few HEWM plants we were aware of. The HEWM and the native northern watermilfoil look almost identical and sometimes it takes chemical analysis to confirm. This was a setback to our volunteers being able to monitor the lakes. The next year, 2014, more HEWM was discovered on Lost Land Lake.
At the 2014 annual picnic the Quiet Lakes members voted in favor of applying herbicide treatment. The QLA obtained a permit and Rapid Response Grant to treat 4 Acres. On July 2, 2015 Tom Connell applied the herbicide. In 2016 it was apparent that the herbicide was ineffective. We now have approximately 40 acres of HEWM. Our goal is to find some way of reducing the amount of HEWM since eradication is unrealistic. No lake has ever successfully eradicated EWM/HEWM. We want to find the most environmentally appropriate, cost effective response to this invasive. Last year we spent $5,500 to treat 4 acres with herbicides. From this point forward we are in the management phase with HEWM and we are looking at all options. The grants in combination with our own treasury have paid for expenses related to AIS.
After the herbicide application in 2015 there were some residents near the application site that were unaware of the HEWM or the proposed herbicide treatment. We have always communicated to our membership the work our organization is doing to combat AIS but not to non-members. It is our desire to hear member and non-member voices as we work through these important issues. Gayle Little and Bob Book compiled a list of non member residents and at the expense of the QLA. Letters pertaining to AIS and an invitation to this meeting were mailed to roughly 200 non-member residents. We encourage lake residents to become members as we do send out information via email to our members throughout the year. There are roughly 360 property owners on the lake of which 145 are members, and of those, 4 are board members. We encourage anyone interested in volunteering to be a board member to contact us. Bob Dale has given notice that this is his last term. He has been on the QLA board 8 years, 7 as President. Other board members have also volunteered for several terms and it is time that other folks become involved in keeping our lake association active. We have a respectful relationship with the WDNR, and we rely on them for their knowledge, and guidance.
The board has been listening to those that have experience in AIS. We don’t want to do more harm than good in our actions. Broad herbicide treatment has drawbacks. The DNR has had very little success with re-establishing native plants. First, they are difficult to find since green houses don’t grow native pond weeds. They are also difficult to plant in a natural lake where waves and other natural causes interfere with them taking root. The WDNR treated an entire 100 acre sandy lake with herbicides because pure strain Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) was so prevalent. Some native pond weeds have not come back to date, which is 7 years. However the EWM did come back 4 years later. The problem with killing off plants in a given area is that now there is a vacant spot ready for the most aggressive plant to take over. Unfortunately, often the EWM will then fill the void. It is possible that this what occurred last year after the herbicide treatment. In the Chippewa Flowage the annual water draw down controls some of the EWM. Some of our native plants thrive on conditions like that but not EWM. For EWM to thrive it generally likes 4 to 8 feet of water so there is a limiting factor to the spreading capability. Most of Lost Land Lake and Teal lake will never be affected by EWM because it is too deep. The Quiet Lake most at risk is Ghost Lake because it is a shallow lake. EWM also prefers a mucky bottom so its less likely to take hold in sandy and gravel bottom areas of the lake. Another attribute of EWM is that it likes sunlight, clear water is preferred. EWM may not be prolific in Teal Lake as the water is more amber in color. Going forward, Tiffany will complete the lake survey and develop an Aquatic Plant Management Plan. From there we will discuss options in managing the HEWM. State law prohibits us from closing the thoroughfare to prevent the spread to Teal Lake. The best window of opportunity for herbicide treatment is around May 1. The best defense against AIS is a healthy aquatic plant community. We could put buoys out to warn people of the HEWM areas. However, people tend be curious as to why the buoy is there and as a result attract boaters to the area. For that reason we have chosen not to put any HEWM warning buoys out. There are signs at the boat launch areas as well as resorts alerting boaters of the HEWM in Lost Land Lake. Some non-chemical options lake associations have tried include raising and releasing native weevils. Some lakes have been successfully managing EWM with weevils. However, these native bugs are also a delicacy for blue gills. To get enough weevils to make an impact on the EWM, weevils need to be purchased, and then reproduced by feeding them EWM until you get the targeted quantity. Diver assisted suction harvesting (DASH) is another non chemical option. It involves a diver pulling the EWM under water at the root and feeding it into a suction hose. The EWM travels through the hose to a collection area on a pontoon boat. The benefits of DASH are that is it is instantaneous, and because divers are selective as to which plants to pull it is especially useful in areas where the EWM is mixed in with natives. Although pieces can fragment while pulling, the entire plant is removed and not left to decompose as with herbicides. DASH would qualify as a treatment option under our current grant; however we have heard it is expensive because it is labor intensive.
The board would like to create an Invasive Species Committee. If anyone is interested there is a signup sheet on the front table. As a closing point we need to accept that HEWM is here to stay. We don’t have a way to eradicate it. What we need to do is to manage the HEWM so it survives within the native plant community but doesn’t take over. That is what success will look like. A healthy native plant community is our best ally. There will be information disseminated as soon as Tiffiney completes the Aquatic Plant Management Plan.

SECRETARY REPORT (Peterson): The minutes from the Saturday, July 18, 2015 annual meeting were approved. No new correspondence.

TREASURER (Little): We have about $11,000 in savings, and $4,400 in checking. We have some outstanding checks that haven’t cleared that will bring the balance to around $3,500. Jim Imse’s bequest of around $8,800 to our association has really helped in giving us a cushion to fund our expenses until we are reimbursed by the grants.

MEMBERSHIP (Little): After the AIS informational letter went out we received about 12 new members. We have 156 members but we also gained a few more today. About 14 have not paid dues for 3 years and will be removed from the membership list. Contact us at quiet_lakes@yahoo.com.

FISHERIES (Dale): No additional stocking this year.

PROPERTIES (Dale, Bratteig): Lake levels are 17″ above authorized level. Rocks have been moved at the dam to lower the lake level, and all debris has been cleared. Buoys are maintained by John Gouze. Part of the Jim Imse donation money will be spent on improving the picnic area on McKnot Island. A plaque will be displayed in honor of Jim.

SOCIAL: The annual picnic will be held at Red Deer Resort on Saturday, August 20th, from 11-3 pm.

BLOG (Dale): There are lots of great stories on the blog (http://quietlakeswisconsin.blogspot.com). If you have a picture or story you would like to share please don’t hesitate to contact us at quiet_lakes@yahoo.com.

LOON REPORT (Little): This year we had 3 pair that produced babies. 1 pair had 2 babies, the other 2 pair had 1. Gayle saw the nest on Pine Island, and there was a report that a nest was spotted in the thoroughfare close to the platform. The other pair nested in Lynch creek.

OLD BUSINESS (Dale): Election of board officers. The nominations are Norm Bratteig for Vice President, and Gayle Little for Treasurer. The membership unanimously nominated Norm and Gayle to another 2-year term. Next year the President and Secretary positions will be open.

NEW BUSINESS (Dale): None.

Meeting adjourned at 12:35 pm