Saturday, June 27, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., at the Mercer Community Center, Mercer, Wisconsin.
Meeting was called to order at 10:10 by President Terry Daulton
Attendance: Board members Terry Daulton, Tom Mowbray, Bill Stewart, Sandy Gitzlaff, Diane O’Krongly, Mike Hittle, and Jim Bohmann were present. Bill Ficek and Jeff Malison were absent.
Members Present: Deana Byrnes, Arnie Popp, Deb Garny, Joyce Patzer, Kal Patzer, Carole Moody, Marcia Hittle, Jim Kohl, Mary Kohl, Mike Ondresky, Gail Ondresky, Roger Arnould, Emily Arnould, Barb Moore, Rick Heinritz, Al Ozers, Harold Clark III, Harold Clark Jr. and Jim Moore
Guests Present: Lawrence Eslinger (DNR), Zach Lawson (DRN), Craig Calzavara (DNR), Matt Meade (DNR)
A quorum was present.
Minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting of June 21, 2014 were distributed. Approval was moved and seconded. The minutes were approved without corrections.
Treasurer’s Report, Tom Mowbray: As of 6/23/2015 the Association has $7,305.47 in its General Fund and $2832.75 in its Fish Habitat Fund. Total funds equal $10,138.22. The complete report is filed with the minutes.
The positions of Secretary, Treasurer and 3 directors were up for election. The following slate of candidates was proposed:
Secretary: Bill Stewart (incumbent)
Treasurer: Tom Mowbray (incumbent)
Director: Bill Ficek (incumbent)
Director: Mike Hittle (incumbent)
Director: Jim Moore (replacing Jim Bohmann)
There were no nominations from the floor. The slate was moved, seconded and approved unanimously.
Jim Bohmann was presented with a gift of a “reasonableness gauge” for his many years of service and his focus on tracking water levels.
3. WDNR Presentations
History of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage Walleye: Maintaining a Sustainable Fishery
-Zach Lawson, Fisheries Biologist
Zach presented a report based on his extensive review of the data gathered in 1975, 1989, 1992, 1997, and 2009. The next survey will be 2016. Populations studies show our walleye population has stabilized at just above 4 adult fish per acre on the flowage. The annual harvest of walleye from the Flowage ranges between 15,000 and 35,000 fish per year. The information reveals we have a stable and sustainable fishery at this current level of harvest and recruitment (hatch rate maturing to adulthood). Information regarding foraging areas and spawning areas was discussed and comparison to other fisheries was made. Additional information about promoting the populations of fish on which walleyes feed was included. There may be recommendations to liberalize the regulations on pike and bass. It is anticipated that the current bag limit of 3 walleye per day with no size limit can be maintained.
Once this study is complete and published the board will distribute it to our membership.
4. Updates on Current and New Activities
President’s Report on recent activities of association: Terry Daulton mentioned letters which the board has sent on public policy items.
The first letter is to the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Senate President Mary Lazich, Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Voss, Senator Janet Bewley and Representative Beth Meyers, regarding State Budget Motion 520 expressing our concern that policy items should not be budget items. Specific reference to the Rest Lake Dam issue and the role of Counties in determining Shoreline Zoning is in this letter
The second letter is to Iron County expressing support for improvements at Lake of the Falls Park.
Our Membership fee has been $15.00 since the organization began in 1996. The board has recommended an increase to $25.00 per membership, based on a comparison with other similar organizations. There members were asked for feedback on this and no objections were cited.
Website: Diane O’Krongly and Sandy Gitzlaff: Our new website launch will come later this summer. Diane was thanked for her past work on our current website and Gail Ondresky and Leann Malison were thanked for their help in developing the new website.
Water Level: Jim Bohmann: Water level is up this year compared to one year ago and holding steady even though we have had plenty of rain. Jim and other board members had a meeting with Xcel Energy the intent of which was to let them know we are still vigilant. There was not significant outcome from this meeting.
Fish Habitat: Jeff Wilson: The Committee had shared much of Zach Lawson’s preliminary report with the board and mentioned the importance of good science reflected in the report. He suggested we maintain our fish habitat fund separate from our general fund as a project would likely come along soon.
Water Quality Monitoring. Since Mike and Beth Meyers were absent, a written report was submitted. The full report is on file with the minutes. Seven sites on the flowage are being monitored. Currently 6 of them are covered by volunteers. Funding for cost of the testing and mailings for the coming year seems secure.
Invasive Species: Diane O’Krongly reported that the Annual Purple Loose Strife survey is almost organized. There are a few areas that are in need of volunteers to view mostly northern parts of the flowage. Heather Palmquist reports that the Xcel grant of $5000.00 came through to support the Clean Water, Clean Boats program this summer. There is a new program initiated by Iron County to work Clean Boats Clean Waters in the Springstead area, with the intent of preventing invasives there that could spread to the flowage. An additional intern will be doing that work, bringing the crew to 3 seasonal staff. In addition there will be and aquatic plant and vegetation study on going on the flowage during the next several years conducted by WDNR and the LCD.
History: Mike Hittle reports his draft is complete. It is now in the editing stage to keep it concise. He is seeking a publisher and hopes it will be available within the year. Mike will be doing the Conservation on Tap presentation August 18 at the Pines in Mercer and presenting some of the stories about the history of the flowage.
5. Open Floor for Discussion
Joyce Patzer mentioned that there is a project being developed that provides PFD’s at boat landings. This would allow boaters who may need to borrow a PFD the opportunity to use and return the PFD placed at the landing.
Deanna Byrnes complimented the newsletter staff.
Arnie Popp wondered if we could get solar lights of some kind at the landings for boaters arriving after dark as aids to night boating. We can take this up with the property manager.
Joyce Patzer suggested that summer interns with the Clean Waters, Clean Boats program need to have some uniform item to identify themselves to boaters.
The Fish Committee will look into the possibility of a project impacting perch spawning areas.
Diane O’Krongly offered that she might be able to have her biology students look at issues of erosion at Lake of the Falls Park as they impact spawning areas.
6. Adjournment Moved, seconded and approved at 12:09 PM