December 11, 2015
Hanes Building, Mercer, Wisconsin
4:03 PM Meeting was called to Order by Terry Daulton, President,
Members Present: Terry Daulton, Jeff Malison, Tom Mowbray, Bill Stewart, Bill Ficek, Diane O’Krongly, Mike Hittle. Members Absent: Sandy Gitzlaff and Jim Moore. Guest; Leann Malison (Website Committee)
1 Minutes of the October meeting: read and approved were approved as amended (Bill Stewart Secretary)
2 Treasurer’s Report Tom Mowbray: As of 12/09/2015 we have $9849.02 in our general fund and $2,832.75 in our Fish Habitat fund for a total of $12,681.77. Tom noted that a deposit of $675.00 had just been made but it was not posted to the account yet. Full Report filed with the minutes.
3 Old Business:
3A Water Levels: Tom Mowbray presented Jim Moore’s report. Full Report is filed with the minutes. Points 5 and 6 in the full report were emphasized. Point 5 was that the spring refill was late and that water levels were within the guidelines of the MOU during 2015 although the summer draw down was faster than expected and some boating difficulties were reported by Labor Day. Point 6 documents the pace of the summer draw down. This pace deviated from our “Reasonableness Curve “ more than we thought was necessary. We are considering calling the curve “recreational use curve”.
Terry Daulton, Jim Moore and Tom Mowbray met with the DNR to discuss how to better work with Xcel Energy. The outcome was that expanding the number of people in the concerned constituency would give us a bigger voice. We will reach out to the Business Association in Mercer and also the downstream groups impacted by water levels in the river such as canoeing and rafting groups. The key question seems to be how much flow through our dam in excess of 370 CFS is needed during the summer.
The question was raised wondering if the recent perceived DNR reduced sensitivity to citizen-based issues parallels the internal reorganizations struggles of the DNR.
Jim Moore and Terry Daulton will attend the January Turtle Flambeau Flowage Business Association meeting and share information about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them.
Rains in late October, water from the Manitowish Chain and slower discharge through our dam has brought water levels to 1571.5 as of today and the current discharge rate is 870 CFS.
3 B Fish Management Committee: Jeff Malison Jeff reported that at their meeting on 12/3/2014 there was 1 expected guest and 3 uninvited guests. The guests spoke to some issues over which this committee and our association has no jurisdiction: poor walleye fishing and its possible causes was one such issue. At one point one of the guest’s comments were very out of order because of his persistent and somewhat emotional interruptions. Discussion of how our committees can deal with such circumstances ensued. The importance of being open and friendly to all non-members and members alike is very important. Suggestions were made such as having the chair control the issuing of invitations and asking guests to submit a brief written statement of any issue they wish to discuss to the Chair prior to the meeting. No definitive conclusions were reached in this discussion. However the committee chairs have some ideas that can be applied and we will see if they are sufficient.
Jeff reviewed his document with rules for meeting management . he also thought that a basic overview of the work of the committee to date be included. These came from previous discussions of the committee and he hopes to prevent re-visiting these topics at each meeting.
These points included: that the DNR has public input regarding their fish management plan and so we work with them to help meet the management plan goals
That the committee decided to focus its work on walleye
Topics like warden availability, tribal spearing and other state or federal issues are not the focus of the committee
The Sturgeon population is prospering very slowly. The biggest issue is the impact that the timing of the flow of water from the Rest lake Dam has on spawning in the river below that dam.
See full report filed with the minutes. Jeff Malison provided the group with a draft paper outlining committee meeting protocol. The board approved this protocol.
3C Invasive Species. Diane O’Krongly. Summary information from this year is still with Zach Wilson. We will have it soon. Xcel will renew their grant to support our Invasive Species efforts and there may be additional funding for a fishery project. A large survey effort is coming and will involve interns. Terry attended the yaer end meeting with DNR, LCD and Xcel and they will provide another grant for 2016.
3D Water Quality No report
3E Newsletter: Mike Hittle The recent issue is out. A response to the article authored by S.A. Tire from A. Mused was read.
3F Website: Leann Malison. The new site is up and running. Tom Forrester will be our “helping hand” in keeping things up to date and running smoothly. There will be occasional bills for his work. Leann was thanked for her energy and efforts in getting the new web site going. A process for updating will be put into place and this may develop into a committee function.. It will be important for the newsletter to point to the website so that the website will develop a following.
4 New Business
4A DNR Agency Staffing: Brent Berkhoff is the new, half-time, Flowage Manager. He is retired from his previous DNR position.
4 B Shoreline Ordinance Update: Terry Daulton led discussion regarding a draft of a new law we have received on this topic. It is possible that properties zoned prior to July 2014 may be grandfathered. There is a lot going on in response to the changes in the law from this last summer so it is difficult to know what will emerge. Wisconsin Lake Association is now on board with this effort. We will talk with Janet Bewley about this when we meet with her at dinner. Right now the only certainty seems to be uncertainty.
4C Annual Meeting Date: The date will be June 18, 2016. The possibility of an outdoor venue such as The Pines was discussed.
4D Xcel Invasive Update: Covered in Old business.
4E Discussion Topics for our meeting with Representative Janet Bewley were discussed and will include:
Water Level Issues; Local DNR Staff vacancies including Warden and Ranger and Fish and Property Managers; Shoreline Zoning; U.W. Extension staffing; Is the DNR becoming more business oriented and less concerned with lakes and critters?; Is the DNR becoming more po9liticized? What are good strategies for working with them more successfully?
4F Membership Signs to enhance visibility of our association. This topic was tabled until the Annual meeting.
Meeting adjourned 5;44 PM