October 24, 2018 6:30 at Subway in Mercer, WI.
I Call to Order by President Randy Schubert at 6:38 PM Change of venue caused by not having a key for the Haines building
II Attendance and Introduction of Board members: Present: Randy Schubert, President; Jeff Malison, Vice President; Tom Mowbray, Treasurer; Bill Stewart, Secretary; Directors: Jim Kohl, Jim Moore, and Ed Hryciuk. Absent: Directors Jean Burns and Diane O’Krongly. A quorum was present. Guest: Randy Payne, Invasive Species Committee
III Minutes of the April 20, 2018 were approved as presented by Bill Stewart
IV Treasurer’s Report, Tom Mowbray. We have $12652.96 in our account. This is lower than a year ago but includes the cost of legal fees and drafting a letter on our behalf to the Wis. DNR regarding the ATV trail issue that has been under discussion. Tom also stated that we have 185 members. 30 have not yet renewed. Most of these should come on board when he asks again. This is in line with membership in previous years. Complete Treasurer’s Report is on file with the minutes.
V Correspondence. There was no direct response to our letter from the DNR. However, the Wis. DNR has postponed discussion of the ATV Trail segment within the Scenic Waters Area until the DNR is prepared to do a Master Plan for the entire region.
VI Committee Reports
A Water level Committee: Jim Moore. Graphs were handed out and will be filed with the minutes. The water level is way up for this time of year as a result of heavier than normal rainfall and the seasonal draw down of the Manitowish Chain. As of October 23, the water level was at 1571.90. We have no record of higher levels in late October and this is nearly “full pool.”
The anticipated fall Stake Holders Meeting was not scheduled. But we have been present at meetings regarding the Rest Lake Dam and have spoken of our interests and concerns at those meetings. Tom Aartila has stated he will organize a stake holder’s meeting after ice has formed and is thinking of the first week in December.
Discussion: Randy Schubert noted that the Turtle Flambeau Flowage Business Association seems less active than it has been in the recent past. Randy will encourage their participation. The variety and breadth of topics will have an impact on attendance. Stake Holders Include us, The Tribe, Iron County, the business Association, Xcel energy and others. Having several people attend from our group should be of value. We will have statements on various topics ready to present.
B Fish Management Jim Kohl has been talking with Zac Lawson of Iron County. Zac stated that the walleye hatch was very successful this year. The fall “shock” survey has been completed but not officially interpreted yet. But the fish from the 2015 year class are plentiful and were found at a rate of 10/mile of shoreline compared the average of 2 per mile. The survey found fewer Pumpkin Seeds and Blue Gill. There is evidence of natural Muskie reproduction. There is hope for this rate to grow. In the long range this could eventually phase out the need for stocking this species. Muskie fishing is exceptional for big fish in the Flowage. Recent stocking efforts have placed Muskies away from the landings, hoping for a better distribution of fish.
The proposed walleye regulation is making smooth progress in the DNR. If all goes well it could be in place for the 2020 fishing season. The regulation would be a daily bag limit of 3 Walleye with no fish under 12 inches and only one fish over 15 inches.
C Invasive Species Committee: Randy Payne reported that this year all 220 miles of shoreline in the Flowage was surveyed for purple loose strife. 6 or 7 areas have large numbers of plants and more than 90% of the plants found are found in those areas. Almost all the rest of the Flowage is in very good shape. There is one area near Bonney’s Mound that seems to be increasing…in the Grant’s Creek area. There is Purple Loose Strife along the Manitowish River but we are not seeing it where the river enters the flowage. We wonder if the higher water levels will impact spreading or not. The annual work day is focusing on the 6-7 most critical areas but one work day is not enough. Next year volunteers will be asked to harvest any plants in their areas other than the problem areas so that most of the work day and other efforts can be spent on the heavy infestation areas. Efforts with beetles have not seemed to work well here.
D Communication/Education Committee: Randy Payne. Our Facebook page has 36 likes and 3 followers. We are looking for material to draw more interest. We will continue this pilot until the annual meeting in June when we will reassess this effort.
Terry Daulton is involved with an Iron County effort to develop a survey regarding the silent sports. This information may be useful to us in developing material for our own proposal at the time the DNR addresses a Master Plan for our Region.
E Water Quality No report.
F Membership; See comments in the treasurer’s report. Jeff Malison suggested we may have a new member who could take on the project of the bi-fold brochure we have been discussing. Also a video opportunity awaits us. Ed Hryciuk expressed interest in assisting with this. Is this something that a local high school or community college might assist with?
V Old Business
A ATV Trail Status: the request to run a segment of an ATV trail through the Scenic Waters Area has been put on hold. It will be considered as part of the development of a regional master plan at some point in the next year or two. Tom Mowbray handed out maps (on file with minutes) showing where the various regions are and where the Turtle Flambeau Flowage – Trude Lake Scenic Waters area falls on those maps. The regional maps indicate different ecological landscapes and our Scenic Waters Area seems to fall into two different areas. If this is the case, will we be governed by 2 different Master Plans? We need to be proactive on this and advocate for the region we think best suits our unique “property.” Our initial thinking is that the Northern Highlands Region gives us the most traction regarding the preservation of the unique character of the Scenic Waters Area. We will be a larger part of a smaller area and more of that smaller area will have interests similar to ours. No calendar for developing plans for this or the adjacent regions seems to be available at this time. Tom Mowbray will be in touch with the planning group of the DNR and advocate for our inclusion in only one area and that our Scenic Waters Area should be the Northern Highlands Region.
B Stake Holders Meeting: See Comments in Water Level Committee report.
VI New Business:
A Future Planning Process for the TFFTL Scenic Waters Area: Discussion: Should we resurvey our members regarding the ATV issue to be sure our data is current? Tabulating a survey is hard work. Tom Mowbray would like to not do this again if we do resurvey. There are some in the community who feel we “hug too many trees” causing us to be seen as obstructionists. We do feel our mission statement is sound and that our membership is highly supportive of it. We should be prepared with ideas to bring to the planning process when the Master planning begins. The ATV issue is not just about ATV’s, it is about bringing tourist dollars into the community. There are other activities that could do as much or possibly even more in this regard, such as bicycling, kayaking, hiking, geocaching, birding and storytelling which could be among the attractions.
B Next meeting: Randy will set the date for a spring meeting
VII Adjournment: 8:20 PM