December 17, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. Via Zoom – Courtesy of Terry Daulton
6:05 PM- Call to Order: Randy Schubert, President
Present: Randy Schubert, President; Jeff Malison, Vice-President; Tom Mowbray, Treasurer; Todd Jirous, Secretary; Directors: Diane O’Krongly, Jean Burns, Jim Kohl, Mike Hittle and Randy Payne
Absent: Directors: Ed Hryciuk
Minutes: Randy Schubert distributed the April 23, 2020 meeting minutes. They were approved. Please remove the Draft watermark and send a clean copy to Jeff Malison to post.
Treasurer’s Report: Tom Mowbray presented the treasurer’s report; we have a balance of $17,634.49…with one invoice being processed for White Pine Printing for $475 since the report was generated. The report was approved as presented.
Membership: Currently we don’t have a Chair for Membership, but Tom M. has been tracking membership. The renewal process is now completed; we have 177 members in total, having lost about 5 this last year. There are between 300 and 400 parcels on the Flowage. Those members that have requested signs are being delivered and installed.
Potential new members? We have 884 followers on Facebook; can we put in a plug for new members on the Facebook page?
We also have a “Special Member” for those that are not on the Flowage, but believe in our cause and want to support the organization; they just can’t be a Board Member.
Water Level: Tom Mowbray reported in Ed’s absence. Note: Excel Energy has changed the link for the lake elevation; go to the TFF website to get the link. (tfftl.org).
Current water level is 1570.81, with a discharge of 871 cfs. Our lowest water level was on 9/23/2020 at 1569.74, and our lowest discharge was on 10/09/2020 at 412 cfs.
In general, it was a good year for water level.
Fish Management Committee: Jim sent out a recap ahead of the meeting to summarize the fishery. One of the busiest years on the TFF, creating additional fishing pressure and no fish biologist; but they are working to replace. Mike H. has a wonderful overview in the “Driftwood”; hoping that all comes to fruition. YOY numbers look good at slightly above average.
It’s too early for the new fishing regulations to have any impact; we won’t begin to see the result of the changes until 2022, and several more years before we see the “size change”.
- Average crappie size was 10.5-12”, and very good Bluegill fishing early in the year.
- Observation: The fishery is changing quickly, and we want to consider soliciting members with a survey (future agenda item). An extensive project was done 5-6 years ago and likely need to revisit.
- Surveying fish houses at resorts; approximately 90% of walleyes are in the 12” to 15” range. Appears to be good compliance with the new regulations.
- Observation: There appears to be a lack of Law Enforcement visibility on the Flowage…even with the increased fishing pressure.
- Do we want to take another step on the Law Enforcement concern; especially with the increase in the campers that discovered the Flowage this year?
Invasive Species Committee: Randy Payne reported that it was a pretty good year for Purple Loosestrife (PLS). 6, 7, 7a 7b are in tough shape. We are seeing a lot less mature plants; which is a good indicator. Concerned about section 8 as seeds appear to be coming down from 7 and 7a. There was no real “Work Day” this year to tackle PLS, but the DNR Team still spent a day eradicating the invasive PLS.
Randy connected with his counterpart (Dennis) on the Chippewa Flowage and shared information back and forth. They are fighting both PLS and Eurasian Milfoil, and doing 5’-7’ winter drawdowns to kill the Milfoil. It was noted that one of our previous fish managers was big on doing some severe winter drawdowns as a fish management tool.
A group of volunteers descended on Rice Lake this Spring/early Summer to help control CLP (Curly Leaf Pondweed). This was a real eye-opener as half the lake has been invaded since the plant was first identified in Rice Lake in 2013. The plant is literally raked up from the soft bottom in up to 15’ of water. Multiple trailer loads were removed from the Lake over the weekend. Zach Wilson and his Crew worked to pull CLP in the Turtle River and Pike Lake; all downstream from Rice Lake. There is an obvious concern about CLP making its way down to the TFF where it would likely grow quite well in some areas.
If there are no objections, Randy is going to alter some of the boundaries/sections of the PLS map to make it more efficient when doing the PLS survey in late July.
Water Quality Report: Todd Jirous reported that there were no water samples taken this year as the State Lab was tied up with Covid testing this year. Looking forward to a more normal year in 2021, but more to come on what will be happening in the coming year.
Communication and Education Committee: Jean- editors discussed putting the Newsletter “on-line” sooner than the current 6-month waiting period that we do now. It was thought that the newsletter is one of our largest marketing tools, and holding back would encourage folks to remain members in order to get the printed issue. The total printing and mailing costs for the newsletter is about $3.35 to $3.40 each. Should we just make it available electronically and save some costs? Some dialog was had, and it sounds like the newsletter gets a lot mileage being available to guests at cabins on the Flowage. No one had an issue with posting the newsletter immediately. Comment: is there more we should do on the Webpage to call people’s attention to the newest publication?
Web Page: Sue Payne jumped on the call. Thank you Sue for all that you’re doing! How can we engage others to submit suggestions for postings?
Mercer Fisheries: Jim K- nothing more to add on the fisheries. Not holding out hope for the Mercer Ranger Station.
Stakeholders Meeting: Jeff M.- 2020 Update? Haven’t heard a thing. Meeting typically happens in Winter/Spring which probably won’t happen this year because of Covid. Let’s make sure we cover again at the Board Meeting in 2021.
What’s the status of the “Rest Lake Meeting”? Not heard anything since last Spring when it went on Hold. Pushing for a Zoom meeting may not be productive as the first in person meeting was challenging.
- Annual Meeting- We’ll keep it on the calendar for now and make a decision at our Spring Board Meeting. Could possibly have it later in the year depending up what transpires with Covid-19
- Elections- We need to address for 2021. Tom M is in a position to pass it on…has been doing it for 15+years, it’s time for change. Need to find an apprentice that Tom can work with for a month or two.
- How can we recruit? We need to come up with a slate of folks for President, VP and Treasurer. Treasurer is about 1 hour per month; what takes time is the member renewal process. Are there any past members that we can invite back? Tom M. will send the member list. Now that folks are familiar with Zoom, we can expand past “who’s up here regularly”, because we can connect via Zoom. We not only have to replace the Treasurer, but his wealth of Knowledge…would you consider staying on as board member?