April 21, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. Via Zoom – Courtesy of Terry Daulton
6:02 PM- Call to Order: Randy Schubert, President
Present: Randy Schubert, President; Jeff Malison, Vice-President; Kurt Wolff, Treasurer; Todd Jirous, Secretary; Directors: Jean Burns, Jim Kohl, Randy Payne, Jeff Wilson, Joanna Vodicka. Guests: Tom Mobray, and Zach Wilson
Minutes: Meetings Minutes for November 18, 2021 were distributed via email prior to the meeting. Motion to accept meeting minutes as presented; motion seconded and approved Please update and remove the Draft watermark and send a clean copy to Jeff Malison to post.
Treasurer’s Report: Kurt Wolff presented the treasurer’s report; we have a balance of $19,507.93 with a working list of 177 members and 164 members paid to date. The report was approved as presented.
Membership: Mary Kohl reported that we have been doing clean up on the membership list, and many thanks to Tom M. on the smooth transition. We do have a contact that could do a Lakes Association brochure for us, and is there any interest in looking into this? Jeff M. expressed that having signs has been a huge plus for the Association, and having a brochure could be another plus. Do we have ideas for the first draft? This is our place to tell our story and the history.
Do we have any indication as to why membership is down? No idea right now. We have 1,650 Face Book followers; maybe we can message how folks can be a “Special Member”? Currently struggling with the “Mass Email”, and need to be able to have more than one person be able access it.
The PO Box in Mercer, is that being monitored? Yes. The key was transferred from Tom to Kurt and Kurt is monitoring the PO box.
Water Level: Tom Mowbray reported that the water level is at 1571.75, and 3 inches below full pool. The water level came up very quickly, and the output is currently at 2,200 cfs.
Water Quality: Todd reported that we have 5 of the 7 sites staffed right now. We could use some help at Townline and Murray’s landing. Currently Todd is going to cover these locations until we have a volunteer(s). There are four water samples taken each year, and then Secchi disk reads in between those samplings, with the intention of doing the reads every two weeks or so. Jim K and Randy P volunteered to help, and Todd will contact them off line.
Communication and Education Committee: Jean reported that they will be meeting on May 6th to work on the next newsletter
Fish Management Committee: Jim sent out a recap ahead of the meeting to summarize the fishery progress. Jim and Team met with Zach Lawson in regards to some updates.
Subject 1. Zach has been thinking about adding the TFF System to the list of Wisconsin state waters with a 50 inch minimum size limit on Muskies. Despite the fact that the history and genetic base of the flowage Musky fishery would indicate that inclusion in the list of state waters with the 50 inch minimum is warranted, he was reluctant to call special attention to a body of water that already receives relatively heavy fishing pressure. Those of us in attendance were generally in favor of the new regulation, even knowing that it would protect Muskies between 40 inches and 50 inches, that are currently subject to harvest. Most muskies caught on the TFF are already being released, because of the “catch and release ethic” that currently influences most musky anglers. So, while the benefits would be limited, this regulation change should prevent the harvest of a handful of Muskies every year. For a variety of reasons, there has been a reduction in the availability of hatchery Muskies for stocking. The stocking allocations are falling short of the quotas set for many bodies of water, including here on the TFF. Zach thinks the new regulation might help offset some of the reduced hatchery stockings. Those of us present were supportive of the change. Unless Zach has a change of heart, this proposed change would be offered as a question on the 2023 DNR Spring Hearings with the potential to become law in 2024.
Subject 2. Zach also wanted our committee to be aware that a TFFTLPOA member, has been inquiring in recent months about creating a local “hatchery” on/near the TFF, with the goal of raising Walleyes for stocking or Perch as Walleye forage. This person is energized, well intentioned, and has also pledged financial support for the project.
Zach has been in contact with this member and has stated that he would not support the walleye hatchery idea for many reasons. So, the concept of capturing and rearing TFF Perch for release back into the flowage waters to increase the forage base for walleyes, has been introduced. Zach also has concerns about this activity. But, like the rest of us, Zach does not want to throw up “Stop Signs” in front of an association member with positive energy and enthusiasm to tackle a large project with hopes of improving our TFF Walleye fishery.
Unlike Walleye stocking, there is very little research available on rearing Perch to improve a Walleye forage base. Zach’s biggest concern is how much we would increase the Perch population by taking Perch from the flowage waters, during the spawning season, artificially spawning them in hatchery tanks, and then releasing the fry back into the flowage. Zach questions removing these Perch to spawn them, when they are in the process of spawning naturally, which they have historically had good success in doing. We all noticed strong populations of Perch fry in the flowage in 2021. Jeff Robl commented specifically about this. Zach also commented that the flowage had an abundance of shiners present in 2021.
Thoughts- why is the population declining? If we can’t find/understand the decline, then how can we effectively develop a plan to create a robust population? What is the Associations role? Is our role to muster up the man power to put it in motion?
The State of Wisconsin is working on a “Master Walleye” plan, which has not been updated since 1998. The Northern half of Wisconsin, has on average, seen a 35% decline in the walleye population.
Invasive Species Committee: Randy shared that we have a volunteer that’s committed a matching fund, up to $10,000 to combat Curly Pondweed on the Flowage and its watershed. There are other Associations that we can partner with; Rice Lake, Pike Lake and ICLRA. Rice Lake is completely infested in 30% of the lake. Rice Lake received a grant, tied to a boat landing, for which there is no boat landing yet. They are currently out of money from that grant.
Pike Lake and the Turtle River have sporadic CPW placement, this donation could/should involve multiple Organizations.
>Bottomline is that we should donate with some strings and goals
>Match is against all Sources
>Donor is comfortable with where Zach feels the money should be spent
>We are so very lucky to have such a donor
>Prevention is KEY. It is more likely that the Flowage will get an invasive from a boat
>We need to work upstream to stop the invasives because its not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “When”
>We currently have boats/people coming in from 15 other counties around us that have plenty of issues
>We should look to earmark money and plan for the future…this isn’t going to go away
What does Zach recommend?
- Active Lake Associations can get access to funds/grants
- After 2022, Pike will have little or no funds
- Take some of the money and give it to Pike Lake to keep them going (10%)
- Rice Lake should get the other 90%
- If in three years the plan isn’t working, what do we do?
- Is there value in education to keep it at bay?
- My Dream would be to have a “Boat Wash” at Springstead Landing
- We need a multi-tier approach to this issue
- There has been talk of using the “Crown Jewel” as a marketing technique
What can/should we do with the funds? There is already a “Go Fund Me” page for this cause.
How do we get down to one go fund me? Zach to ask Bob at Rice Lake about this, as we don’t want offend him.
There are 450-500 private owners around the Flowage, and 170 members. How do we get the message out to all about this? Jeff, Terry and Joanna- should we ask this in the questionnaire? Probably not, but a separate document/message would be good.
Is there an amount of money that we want to spend against the matching funds?
Zach is going to work with Randy P. on a plan
- Zach to talk to Steve at Pike Lake to accept funds
- Zach knows that Bob is itching to get going and pull from June 1st through mid-June
- Bob also has other issues to get the manpower to do the work and why he wants money soon.
- Has Bob looked at hiring High School students? Yes, he did last year
A motion was presented to Donate $5,000 toward the Invasive Species cause, with anticipation of receiving other donations from members. The motion was seconded, and all were in favor
Randy P. is going to work with Zach to develop a plan, and get it to Jean for communication
Do we need to write a letter to solicit donations?
Zach is going to work with Randy P. on:
- Should we incorporate as an insert?
- Should we have as an article in the newletter?
- Or, possibly do a mailing?
- Face Book as well? Randy to give a heads-up to Sue P.
Shall we reconvene again at the end of May, as Randy P. and Zach W. are going to work on this promptly?
What do we say publicly about the donor? Does he want to be recognized? No one is sure at this point, so we’ll take a conservative path and not mention a name
Stakeholders Meeting: Jeff Wilson was there and it was a good meeting. There have been some meetings on the Master Plan and more to come.
The survey is in the works as we speak. The water level with Excel Energy is going to be a constant battle, and its not going to go away. The DNR is not going to push it. The Canadian border is expected to be closed and we’ll continue to see higher than normal usage on the Flowage.
There will be a new warden in Mercer starting this October
Currently there is no registration for camp sites on the Flowage, but with much higher usage, they are leaning toward registering for camp sites in the future.
- We are just a couple meetings away from having the survey ready for Board review
- We are going to ask about the Volunteer Quiet Area
- Going to tease out in the survey if there are members that are interested in being on a committee and volunteer
- If we want Amy to speak at the meeting, June 18th is the only available date
- Randy S. to contact Erv at the Pines to see about availability for the meeting
- Randy S. to invite Beth F as well for a synopsis of the Stakeholders Meeting
Board Members and Directors:
- Randy S. and Jeff M. to go another two years
- Invasive species, Randy P to go another two years
- Jean Burns, no thanks to a two year term, but would do one year until you can find someone
- Jim Kohl, yes, two more years is good
Would it be good for us to have our own Zoom Account? Terry is happy to let us use hers. It’s $15 per month; would there be other committees to use the account? No real interest at this time to get our own account
The Zoning issue was a Great Effort, and a nice win! Both Mary and Jan handled the email blast and the response was overwhelming 100% in favor of NOT changing the zoning. Thank you to All!
- Adjourned 8:25