Minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting on June 18, 2016


Saturday June 18, 2016, Pines Restaurant, Hwy 51 at Vaughn St.

Mercer, Wisconsin

1. Preliminaries

Meeting called to order by President Terry Daulton 10:05 AM.  Terry thanked the Pines for hosting us and providing refreshments. She stated her intention to continue in an ex-officio capacity to advise and support the board going forward.

Board Members Present:  Terry Daulton, Jeff Malison, Bill Stewart, Tom Mowbray, Jim Moore. Mike Hittle.  Board Members Absent:  Diane O’Krongly, Bill Ficek, Sandy Gitzlaff

Members Present:  Leann Malison, Sally Stewart, Jeff Wilson, Deana Byrnes, Hank and Jan Carstens, Judy and Dave Pierce, Roger Nelson, Kathy and Dick De Vries, Randy Schubert, Marcia Hittle, Dan and Joanne Dugenske, Sarah Wolff, Briand and Sue Gantner, Barbara Moore, Maryanne Brown, Jack Utrie, Gail and Mike Ondresky, Jean and Marty Burns, Geoff and Elodi Bacci, Harold Clark Jr., Jann Clark, Harold Clark III, Becky Jirious, Todd Jirous, Arnold Popp, Gary McCardle, Zach Wilson, Jim Bohmann,  Liz Kilgore, Frank Kilgore.

A quorum was present.

Minutes of the 2015 Annual Membership Meeting were distributed. A motion to approve and a second were presented.  There was no discussion.  The minutes were approved as presented.  Bill Stewart, Secretary.

Treasurer’s Report:  see attached report for details.   Tom Mowbray, Treasurer. As of June 9, 2016:

General fund:                        $9731.38

Fish Habitat Fund               $2451.75

Total:                                  $12,183.13

Motion to approve the report was seconded and passed with no discussion.

2. Elections

The terms of President, Vice President and two directors were up for election.

Tom Mowbray nominated Jeff Malison to be President, Arnie Popp and Bill Stewart seconded. Jeff made brief remarks, no additional nominations were made.  Jeff Malison was elected to be President.

MaryAnn Brown nominated Bill Ficek for Vice President.  Leanne Malison seconded.  There were no nominations from the floor.  Bill Ficek was elected to be Vice President..

Randy Schubert and Jim Kohl were nominated to be Directors. There were no nominations from the floor.  Jim Kohl and Randy Schubert were elected to be Directors. Jim Kohl will serve a two year term and Randy Schubert was elected to fill the one year remaining on Bill Ficek’s term.

3. Presentation and Program.

Jeff Malison expressed his thanks to Terry Daulton and congratulations to new directors and those in new positions.

Tom Mowbray expressed his appreciation for Terry Daulton’s leadership for the past 8 years mentioning a 50% growth in membership, establishment of a web page, revised committee structure, and leadership in developing our relationship with the DNR and Xcel Energy and Iron County.

Mike Hittle: on behalf of the board and membership presented Terry Daulton with a Aldo Leopold style bench with a plaque expressing our gratitude for her leadership.  The bench was made by Mike Hittle and his son. Terry was delighted and thanked Mike, the board and membership.

Shoreline Zoning Update:  John Richter and Bill Scott representing Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative updated us on the current situation which has developed from Act 55 of the Wisconsin Legislature last year.  This law was intentionally passed at the last minute to avoid public comment and focuses on reducing the control that local governments have on shoreline zoning issues. The creation of the Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative group is an attempt to organize a legislative rather than court-based response to this legislation and regain much of the local government control over shoreline zoning.  See brochure and handout on file. Bill O’Connor, water attorney and Mary Panzer, former Senate Majority Leader in Wisconsin have been engaged to work toward several specific goals including: repealing amendment 520 to Act 55, restoring the Lake Classification system, and restoring local zoning authority to protect lakes from high density population.  Bill Scott spoke about the Public Trust Doctrine and its importance in this fight because current legislation is undermining this Doctrine. Other issues included protecting lakes from nearby high capacity wells.  Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative has grown out of the Plum Lake Association and now includes 53 lake and property owners Associations, 5 river associations and several other organizations.  It is funded from contributions of its members and is working to become a 501C4 organization to allow it to engage in legislative lobbying.  Information from the Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative will be passed to its member organizations and those members are asked to share this information with their membership bases.

Wisconsin DNR:  Brett Bockhop.  Brett Bockhop is the part time Property Manager for the DNR of the TFFTL state-owned area.  He expressed his hope a full time person would be in place after July 2016. Currently there are employees covering facility repair and Ranger responsibilities.  Matt Mead is our Warden.  Issues under discussion include the rerouting of snowmobile Trail 10 off private land and onto land governed by the Master Plan of the Flowage.  This trail crosses some wetlands.  Because this area is frozen when in use by snowmobiles, damage to the wetlands is minimal and was unopposed by our organization.  The Dusty Loons ATV club has asked that an ATV trail be developed from Popko Circle east to west.  Some proposed trails would require some wetlands mitigation and revising or amending the Master Plan.  The DNR is waiting for Dusty Loons to present the required documents to allow discussion of a proposal to move to the next stage. There is continuing cooperation with Iron County to sustain the work to contain and eliminate invasive species though volunteer efforts and programs such as the Clean Boats Program and Purple Loose Strife abatement. Work is also being planned to address erosion issues at some Flowage campsites. The DNR also supports the work of the Wisconsin Resources Foundation that leads tours and other activities in, on and around the Flowage area.  Work is going on with the Town of Sherman to upgrade a portion of Clark Lane to bring it up to town specifications with the intent of turning this portion of the road over to the Town of Sherman. Dike 10 work will begin in 2017 near Sportsman’s Landing to raise the level of the dike and roadbed.  There will be creel clerks working on the flowage daily throughout the summer.

Iron County Land and Water Conservation: Zach Wilson.  Zach discussed the water sampling program and positive actions we can take regarding aquatic invasive species, such as the Clean Boats Initiative.  The Flowage has very few invasive species, mostly purple loose strife which our annual volunteer efforts has managed to reduce and even eliminate in some places.  Several grants funding these efforts are scheduled to end in 2016.  New grants or other sources of funding must be found. The value of the Conservation on Tap program to educate the public was expressed.

4. Updates on Current and New Activities

TFFTL Board position on ATVs: Jeff Malison.  Jeff clarified the opinion of the Board that we opposed the development of new trails in the Scenic Waters area of the Flowage with particular emphasis on the initial trail proposal that would involve a large number of wetlands.  Our 2014 membership survey covered this topic and 80% of our members oppose the development of new trails. He clarified that we did not oppose the ATV routes on Popko Circle and that we had been working on an ad hoc committee with the DNR and the Dusty Loons to identify alternatives.  This committee has not acted as the club has not put forward a proposal to the DNR.

Roadside Membership Signs: Jeff Malison.  Jeff explained the idea of membership signs that would promote our organization.  A sample was shown. These could be attached to the same poles with the fire numbers.  Some discussion followed including the value of having contact information on the sign.  Most of those present were interest in such a sign and indicated they would make a donation to help defray the cost of these signs. Other ideas to promote membership and visibility included Adopting a Highway and creating a brochure that could be given to realtors and Chambers of Commerce to give to prospective home buyers.

Web Site Development:  Jeff Malison.  Appreciation for those who got us going on the initial development and following improvements to the Website was expressed.  Recently Scott Burkes (Manitowish Waters) has been hired to manage our website and has made some nice changes and seems quick to include updates we send.  The board will be developing a communication vehicle for website contributions and also communication with members through e-mail. www.TFFTL.org

Water Level Committee: Jim Moore, chairman.  See attached graphs. The flowage is currently within 2.5 inches of full pool and the wetlands are fully recharged following a very wet spring.  We are hoping this summer’s draw down will be slower than last year.  Additional rains through the summer will help with that.  Xcel anticipates a 3 – 3.5 foot drawdown between now and November.  Last year Xcel stayed within the parameters set out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The Board is working to form a coalition of stake holders to work with the DNR and Xcel which will include the Turtle Flambeau Flowage Business Association and river and flowage associations downstream from us.  Individual members are encouraged to contact Xcel through their website whenever water levels interfere with their water-based activities.

Fish Habitat/Management Committee:  Jeff Malison, chairman. There are 8 members in this committee including Zach Lawson who is the area Fish Manager for the DNR. The 2015 DNR report on walleye population is posted on our website.  Research is underway to understand why walleye populations are shrinking when hatch and young of the year populations seem sufficient. The young of the year population ultimately drives the creel limits on the Flowage. New Bass regulations are in place.  Our association has posted signs at all the landings with information about the new limits. We have a great small mouth bass population.  The present limit is 5 fish per day with only 1 over 18 inches and none between 14 and 18 inches.  The 2016 fish population survey preliminary results show walleye population is down slightly based on ratios of 2.8 fish per acre.  Zach Lawson is seeking the “limiting factor” in walleye population. More frequent water temperature readings are being sought. Bass prefer warmer water than walleyes.  Climate change may be a factor.

Water Quality Committee:  Mike and Beth Myers. Terry Daulton reported for the Myers who were absent. Volunteers are working in all areas being surveyed.  A volunteer is needed for the area where the Turtle River comes in starting in 2017.

5. Open Floor for Discussion

What is the other side of the zoning issue?  Members are encouraged to see Tom Tiffany’s website and research the articles in the various Wisconsin Newspapers on the topic.  Essentially the point of view is that the changes that were made give property owners more opportunity to change their property by sub-dividing, dredging, installing high volume wells and several other actions.  We all need to become self-educated.

July 12 Mike Hittle will be presenting part 2 of the History of the Flowage at the Pines as part of the Conservation on Tap series.

6. Final Comments and Adjournment

Jeff Malison expressed our appreciation to the Pines for hosting us and thanked the membership for coming.

Motion to Adjourn: Deana Byrnes.   Seconded and approved at 12:20 PM