6:00 PM Call to Order Jeff Malison, President
Attendance: Jeff Malison, President; Randy Schubert, Vice President; Tom Mowbray, Treasurer; Bill Stewart, Secretary; Terry Daulton, Immediate Past President; Directors: Jim Kohl, Jim Moore, Jean Burns, Diane O’Krongly. Absent, Ed Hryciuk; Guests: Mike Ondresky, President Iron County Outdoor Recreational Enthusiasts and Randy Payne, Chairman of Invasive Species Committee.
Minutes of October 23 2017 Meeting were presented by the Secretary. One correction was made and the minutes were approved as corrected. They will be filed.
Treasurer’s Report. We currently have $14,504.68 divided among 3 budget lines: Pay Pal $113.99, Fish Habitat Fund, $2,451.75 and General fund: $12,052.93. The board approved the report. Full report on file with minutes. Few expenses include postage for water sample mailings.
Water Level Committee: Jim Moore reported that this morning the Flowage was at 1569.93. This is down 1.5 from the MOU required level of 1571.5 required by April 20 or “ice out.” Since we still have lots of ice there is no cause for concern. The water level is up 6 inches since last Friday. Current rate of discharge is 330CFS at the dam, reduced from 600 CFS in Mid-March.
- Concern for late ice out and walleye spawn was expressed as the Walleye rely on full pool to reach spawning beds.
- There was a meeting in Park Falls last week regarding the MOU for the Rest Lake Dam. A 4 year MOU is in place. There are no changes to the Rest Lake MOU at this time.
- Tom Aartila will set up a TFF-TL stake holders meeting this spring, likely within the next 10 days since the meeting should precede ice out. Broad issues such as the fishery, water levels and
invasive species will be discussed.
- Sturgeon watch was discussed…see minutes from fish committee on file with these minutes.
Fish Management Committee: Jeff Malison reported. See draft of minutes of the committee meeting on file with these minutes.
- Is there natural reproduction of Sturgeon? Efforts will be made to collect genetic info. This could develop into a research grant.
- There is some evidence of sturgeon fishing even though this is a closed species. There were some surveyed fish found with “circle” hooks, sinkers and line in their mouths to suggest there is
some illegal activity.
- Muskie, are the big fish from natural breeding or stocking? How much natural reproduction is going on? Stocking takes place every other year. Sufficient natural reproduction could
eventually end stocking fish.
- Walleye. Special thanks to Zac Lawson for his efforts. He has proposed a special regulation for the Flowage that would be a 3 fish per day limit. All fish must be over 12 inches and only 1 of
the 3 can be more than 15 inches. This proposal must make its way up the bureaucratic hill.
Invasive Species Committee: Diane O’Krongly and Randy Payne. Randy will be the new head of this committee. Randy recently attended a convention in Stevens Point hosted by the UW Extension. He has a good background in this and his wife is a horticulturalist and will be helpful to the work of the committee.
- The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership will provide some seasonal staff again this summer
- Conversation with Brook Woods of the DNR suggest new invasive plants to watch for include Phragmities, a tall stalk up to 18 feet high.
- There is some wild Parsnip in the area. This plant causes rashes on the skin.
- We also should look for Curly Pond Weed and Eurasian Milfoil
- There is a book with laminated pages that is available to help identify various aquatic plants including the ”invasives.” Diane suggested we give a copy to the volunteers who are involved in
the loosestrife survey each year. The books are $10.00 and we would need 17 of them. The board agreed to purchase the books.
- Randy Schubert will seek some grant money from the Isaack Walton League to cover this cost.
Water Quality Committee: No report from the committee. Tom Mowbray moved that we fund the unfunded testing sites again this year. Bill Stewart seconded the motion. After discussion the board agreed. The cost is about $1200.00. Tom has already purchased postage for the mailing of samples. Randy Schubert will seek some support for this from the Isaak Walton League.
Communication/Education Committee: Terry Daulton. The next issue of Driftwood is nearly done. The deadline for articles has just passed. The committee will meet in a week to finalize and then print the letter. Mike Hittle is now back on the committee having finished his book.
- We have used a few “e-blasts” to our members and these are followed by hits on the web page.
- If we want a Facebook Page, we need a volunteer. We will ask at the annual meeting.
- We should poll our members as to whether they want a printed or PDF copy of Driftwood
- We are still pondering the best way to provide long term storage for documents and minutes.
Membership Committee: Still in search of a committee head. We will ask at the annual meeting.
- Road signs. Do we want to see if non-recipients want a sign now?
- A bi-fold brochure is a good idea
- Do we need to increase membership?
Elections: See handout on file showing terms of current officers and directors.
- Terms Expiring: President, Vice President and 3 Directors. Jeff Malison will not run for President but will serve in another capacity. Discussion Followed.
- The board agreed to nominate the following slate for election at the Annual Meeting:
President: Randy Schubert
Vice President: Jeff Malison
Director: Diane O’Krongly
Director: Jim Kohl
Director: Jean Burns
Annual Meeting: the Annual Meeting will be held on June 23 at 10 AM in Mercer. The Location is to be determined. The Great Northern, Community Center, and the Pines were mentioned. The board felt an indoor location might be preferable. Location will be determined and Jeff Malison will develop the agenda. Tom Mowbray will mail out the meeting notice information.
ATV trail proposal: A proposal for a short section of ATV trail through a part of the TFSWA is being considered by DNR. (See map) This short piece of trail would have to connect to a longer trail section on private land in order to complete the trail. The land owner is a senior citizen and has only given his verbal agreement for the trail. No formal documents have been signed as of this date. In the past, our membership and Board have strong opposed any ATV trail within the TFSWA project boundary. The 2014 survey of our members showed overwhelming opposition to such a trail. Since then the Board has reflected and agreed with this survey result in public forums.
- We believe the process used by WDNR to approve the proposed trail is in conflict with the WDNR requirements to change the Master Plans.
- Our Master Plan was written in 1995. Since then legislation, NR 44, Master Planning for Departmental Properties, has been developed and spells out the requirements for creating a variance, an amendment or a revision to a Master Plan.
- In the case of this proposed ATV trail, the WDNR wants to use procedures for creating a Variance to a Master Plan to approve the trail.
- After investigation into the WDNR’s plan to create this trail, we believe that the WDNR is not following its own rules regarding alterations to Master Plans.
- In October of 2017 the Dane County Circuit Court heard a similar case regarding snowmobile trails in the Blue Mounds State Park. In that case,the Court ruled the WDNR did not follow procedures for Changing a Master Plan Outlined in NR44.
- Since our Master Plan, like the Blue Mounds State Park Master Plan pre-dates NR44 we believe that before our Master Plan can be altered it is likely to require all the same updates as noted by the judge in the Blue Mounds State park case.
- Master Plans are being revisited on a regional basis throughout the state
Lively and frank discussion developed.
Our Board, determined that we should engage legal counsel to approach the WDNR on our behalf and bring our concerns about the trail and also what we believe to be the legal responsibility of the WDNR in this matter into focus. Tom Mowbray had spoken to the same attorney who handled the Blue Mounds Case as part of his research and she felt that our position was correct.
Bill Stewart Moved: the Board of the TFF-TL POA authorizes that a sum of money, not to exceed $4,000, be used to engage the services of the attorney Christa Westerberg of Pines, Bach, LLP to contact the WDNR to advance our position that the DNR must follow Master Planning Procedures as described in the Blue Mounds case when considering an ATV trail inside the TFSWA project boundary. The Board also believes that a full Master Plan Revision, as described in NR44 should be done before considering any new motorized trails inside the TFSWA .
Diane O’Krongly seconded.
Some discussion followed.
The board unanimously approved the motion. Tom will contact the attorney.
Next Meeting: Annual Meeting June 23 10:00 AM
Adjourned: 8:33 PM