Minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting on June 21, 2014

Annual Meeting: Saturday June 21, 2014

Haynes Municipal Building, 2657W Railroad St. Mercer, WI 54547

1. Preliminaries
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Terry Daulton at 10:00 AM. Terry discussed the importance of developing active committees and developing members for leadership in our Association. The Board will be making a concerted effort to achieve these goals during the coming two years. Terry said this will be her last term as President.
Attendance: Board Members present: President, Terry Daulton; Vice President, Diane O’Krongly; Treasurer, Tom Mowbray; Secretary, Mike Hittle; and Directors: Jim Bowman, Kit Bogenschneider, Jeff Malison, Bill Stewart. Absent: Bill Ficek.
Attending Members and Guests: Al Ozers, Mari Dallapiazza, Chris Paulik, Harold Clark Jr., Harold Clark III, Sally Stewart, Jean Burns, Marty Burns, Jan Carstens, Hank Carstens, Leann Malison, Sandy Gitzlaff, Judy Pierce, Dave Pierce, Gail Ondresky, Mike Ondresky, Jeff Wilson, Tom Hanahan, Marcia Hittle, Deanna Byrnes, Becky Jirous, Kit Bogenschneider
A Quorum was present
Minutes of last year’s Annual Membership Meeting were distributed and approved by the membership as presented.
Treasurer’s Report: Tom Mowbray apologized for not having an up-to date report because of computer problems this week. He presented the financial statement from the last board meeting (April 19, 2014) and noted that there were only a few minor changes since then. During the past year we had one major expense which involved hiring legal counsel which will be explained in the Water Level report later in the meeting.
2. Elections
President Terry Daulton was reelected. (2 year term)
Vice President: Jeff Malison was elected (two year term)
Secretary: Bill Stewart was elected (One year term)
Director: Sandy Gitzlaff: was elected as a Director (two year term)
Director: Diane O’Krongly was elected as a director (two year term)

Thanks and appreciation was extended to Kit Bogenschneider for her work on the board and her past and continuing involvement in the Purple Loose Strife Survey.

3. By-Law Amendments:
Copies of the proposed revisions were sent out with the meeting announcement and agenda and available at the meeting. Each item was discussed separately and voted upon separately.

Article I – Purpose: the proposed revision passed and the by-laws will reflect “Turtle Flambeau Flowage and Trude Lake” as the area where the Association operates.

Article II – Membership
Section 1 – Eligibility The proposal passed. The by-laws will no longer require that members reside on their property for at least 30 days per year.

Section 2 – Dues: These proposals passed. The by-laws will allow the board to set dues annually and clarified that the period covered by dues is July 1 through June 30.

Article III – Voting
Section 1 – Multiple Voting This proposal passed. The by-laws will be revised to show that only one vote can be cast per property or residence. Properties with multiple owners may only cast one vote. It was clarified that condo owners, while sharing some property in common, would each be considered individual owners and thus have one vote per condo.

Section 2 – Casting Ballots This proposal passed. The by-laws will state that proxy votes may be given only to other members of the Association to be cast.

Section 3 – Special Membership This proposal passed. A “typo” will be corrected to clarify that Special Members cannot vote in Board elections or on binding referenda.

Article VI Membership Meetings
Section 1 Annual Meeting The first part of this proposal passed allowing the annual membership meeting to be held any Saturday in June rather than only of the second Saturday in June. The second part of this proposal was passed as amended. Adopting a budget is retained as a required agenda item for the Annual Meeting. An education program is no longer mandated. Discussion included the value of a budget for protection of the treasurer and its value as a discipline for the treasurer and board.

Section 4 – Notification This proposal passed to change wording to substitute “call attention “ to “highlight” in this section.

Article V Board of Directors
Section 2 – Composition This proposal passed. “Trude Lake” will be specified in the geographic areas for board membership consideration.

Section 3 – Elections This proposal passed. A voice vote can now be allowed to elect directors but a written ballot can be used at the request of a member.

Section 4 – Terms of Office This proposal passed. This revision clarifies that the terms of 3 Directors terms expire in odd numbered years and the terms of 2 Directors expire in even numbered years.

Section 5 – Board Meetings This proposal passed. Board members are allowed to attend meetings via electronic media when necessary.

Section 7 – Compensation This proposal passed. Any member on assignment for the Association may be reimbursed for expenses.

Article VI Officers
Section 1 – President This proposal passed. Board concurrence is now required for committee appointments and designation of committee chairmen.

Section 4 – Treasurer This proposal was changed and them passed. The change was to retain the treasurer’s responsibility to propose a budget. The treasurer will prepare brief financial statements for every board meeting. The treasurer is responsible for maintaining the record of member names and addresses which determine voter eligibility. The treasurer does not serve as a member of the finance committee because we have no finance committee.

Article VII – Committees Changes in this section are intended to reflect how we have actually been operating over the past several years. . All parts of the proposed Article VII passed. All references to original committee structures in the by-laws are deleted and replaced as follows:

Section 1 – Membership and Nominating Committee: Initiates plans for recruitment and retention of new members; recruits potential Board and Committee members and identifies opportunities for training potential new members.

Section 2 – Water Quality Committee: When authorized by the board, represents the Association at hearings and at meetings relating to water quality; conducts water quality monitoring on the Flowage and Trude lake in cooperation with the WDNR and in accordance with accepted protocols; identifies issues and offers proposals to the Board regarding water quality monitoring and potential threats to water quality.

Section 3 – Education and Communication Committee: Oversees or carries out the publication of Association newsletters, press releases, posters and website content; when authorized by the Board, may retain outside expertise in website design and maintenance, printing and layout services or other specific publication and communication needs; assists Board in planning educational programs and events.

Section 4 – Water Level Committee: When authorized by the Board, represents the Association at hearings and meetings relating to water levels; communicates with the WDNR and Xcel Energy regarding the Flowage’s water level and outflow rates in order to maintain compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding of August 23, 1990; works to assure that compliance with the MOU results in a water-level regime that meets the reasonable utilization expectations of our members and the citizens of the State of Wisconsin. The retention of any outside advisors to assist the committee requires prior Board approval.

Section 5 – Fish Management Committee: When authorized by the Board, represents the Association at hearings and meetings relating to the fisheries concerns; identifies, prioritizes and pursues management strategies and actions that benefit fish populations in accordance with the surveyed opinions of Association members, other TFF-TL user groups as appropriate, and WDNR policies and expertise.

Section 6 – Invasive Species Committee: Coordinates monitoring, education and management activities relating to invasive species; partners with Natural Resource Agency staff in conducting management, monitoring and prevention activities; When authorized by the Board, represents the Association at hearings and meetings relating to invasive species concerns.

Section 7 – Other Committees: The President may, with concurrence of the board, appoint such other committees as are deemed necessary to support the efforts of the Board.

4 WDNR Updates
Dike #10: A recent meeting with Xcel Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and WDNR shows that the current plan will require wetlands mitigation which increases the cost. Using the town road is another choice. The dike work results from the classification of our dam and the attached FERC requirements which require the dike to be as much as 8 feet higher in spots like Sportsman’s Landing and only 2 or 3 feet higher in other places. Because the town road is outside the wetlands area, it may be a less expensive choice for the dike work. Trees may be cleared in winter 2014 with work on the dike to begin in 2015.

Trude Bridge: There were no bidders the first time this was put out for bids this spring. The project is out for bids again. It is anticipated that the work will be done this fall and when completed, the passage beneath should be about 5 feet high at full pool and about 24 feet wide.

Bass Tournament: A season ending championship level bass tournament will be held on the flowage October 4 and 5. There are 100 possible entries. Tournament rules are subordinate to local fishery rules. Discussion identified this as a good opportunity for the DNR fisheries staff to survey contestants regarding what was caught and where regarding all species caught, especially considering the target bass species and recent concerns about increasing bass populations. Increased law enforcement will be present.

Campsite Restoration: Work using local students during May is going well. Erosion issues at campsite F8 need to be addressed by a contractor. The DNR is working to find a contractor to work within their budget.

Xcel Energy: Xcel is putting new metal power poles on Big Island, their drilling as hit rocks and some blasting may be required.

Fish Management: Our previous fish manager is now in Woodruff. His position is posted for a lateral transfer within the WDNR and hopefully will be filled in August.

Ranger Services: A new ranger should be on the job here in the next few weeks.

Iron County Lakes Mari Dalapiazza
Two summer interns will be working around the Flowage with a Drain Your Boat Campaign and invasive species, including the placing of beetles unfriendly to purple loosestrife. Because ice out was late, late development of purple loose strife is expected. Our survey will be end of July and early August. She also promoted the “Conservation on Tap” programs available this summer. This summer a complete aquatic plant point survey will be conducted on the flowage by WDNR and Iron County.

5. Activity Reports

President: Terry Daulton reemphasized the importance of developing active committees with specific goals as a way to energize and train volunteers for Association leadership.

Water Level Committee: Jim Bohman summarized the last 18 months progress in working with Xcel and WDNR to manage water outflow through the dam to assure better compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding. He noted that there have been many years of non-compliance which we have documented. In 2012 we sent a strongly worded letter to the WDNR which led to meetings with WDNR officials higher up than our local officials and that brought some progress. We built on that by hiring an attorney, Bill O’Conner for a fee $5000.00. Mr. O’Connor is one of the best lawyers on water related issues in the state. He was able to get the attention of Xcel Energy and clearly established that the Memorandum of Understanding is an enforceable document. The graphs of water outflow and water levels for 2013 and so far in 2014 suggest that Xcel is being more mindful of the water level in the Flowage and Trude Lake. We will continue our vigilance. Our success was built on 1.The correctness of our initial position. 2. Working together as an association rather than as individuals. 3. Our persistence and reliance over many years. 4. Developing high level contacts within the DNR and Xcel Energy and 5. Retention of Legal Counsel who established the legal standing of the MOU. There was applause and appreciation for Jim, Tom and Terry. We may want to develop a legal fund within our budget.

Fish Management: Jeff Malison STATED there are two keys to the work of this committee. One is science. The other is the presence of the WDNR Fish Manager in Mercer. The committee now has 8 members and can grow. We have more than 400 cribs in place. The committee and DNR have determined that additional cribs are not necessary. The committee is working on developing a study on existing woody habitat and habitat needs but this is on hold pending arrival of a new fish biologist. There was discussion regarding the use of “fish sticks” (timber that falls into the water at the shore) as useful habitat for young fish. The committee is waiting for the new WDNR Fish Management person to assume his or her job so they can work on their goals and program ideas.

Invasive Species: Diane O’Krongly pointed out the signup sheet by the door for new volunteers to express their interest in the Purple Loose Strife Survey and noted the target time of late July and early August.

Water Quality Committee: Mike and Beth Meyer will chair this committee. Its reorganization and plan of work will be developing soon.

ATV Trail issue: Terry stated that the association has been invited to participate in a committee looking at broad recreational trail needs in the county. Iron County is looking to see where increases in trails seem to be needed and the county has noted that trails in this general area are difficult because of the number of lakes and wetlands and some suggestions impinge on the area protected by the Flowage Master Plan. Those with opinions and concerns are encouraged to express them to the Mercer Town Board.
Rest Lake Dam The resolution presented by the WDNR regarding the modification of water flow at the Rest Lake Dam is supported by our board. There will be 2 public comment meetings at the Manitowish Waters Town Hall June 27 from 12-5 PM and 6-9 PM. The sturgeon in Baraboo Lake within the Flowage spawn just below the dam so a healthy river flow is needed at the right time to create a sustainable sturgeon population.
Loon Symposium Northland College will host a national symposium about loons in September featuring experts from all around the United States.
Hats: We are selling hats as a fund raiser. Hats were modeled, order forms available. Pick up for hats will be Mercer Chamber of Commerce.
Meeting adjourned 12:24 PM

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Stewart, Secretary