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Thursday, November 19, 2009

BIRCH LAKE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
QUARTERLY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
November 6, 2009

Call to order: 7:05 P.M., Chairman Jim Grisim presiding
Members present: Jim Grisim, Rod Kreuser, Dale Bacon, Dick Brink
Member absent: Ryan Hoops
Also present: Julie Yoho

The following persons were also present: Member Dave Bartle, John Steinworth of the White Bear Lake Conservation District, Member Ron Åuger, Member Neil Franey, and Member Bill Gebhardt.

The tentative agenda was approved.

Motion by Bacon, seconded by Kreuser, to approve the September 16, 2009 minutes. Motion carried.

Motion by Brink, seconded by Grisim, to approve the treasurer's report, a copy of which is attached. Motion carried.

Grisim reported that the White Bear Lake City Council had approved the 2010 budget at its October 27, 2009 meeting. He will check to see whether Council approval will be required for future budgets. He will also check into making sure future documents refer to White Bear Lake Improvement District, not White Bear Lake Improvement Association.

Kreuser reported that the ramp improvement project had been completed. Excavation to a depth of 24 inches has been carried out and the muck hauled away. The reconstructed ramp includes, from the bottom up, a layer of contractor's fabric, expanded steel panels, rock, and concrete planks interspersed with rocks. It was noted that Grisim had carried out considerable negotiation with the DNR to obtain approval of the construction. With the coordination and equipment provided by Rod Kreuser, and the help from all the members who showed up for the project, the ramp turned out exceptionally well. The project met the objective of having a better ramp with a long term solid surface for future weed harvesting.

Bacon reported that the 900-foot northwest shoreline project was proceeding slowly, the BLID working cooperatively with VLAWMO and the City of White Bear Lake. VLAWMO has hired a consultant to survey the shoreline, and actual work is expected to begin in the spring. Last year's application for a $10,000 grant from Minnesota Waters will be revised and resubmitted. The land on which construction will take place is owned by Richard E. Smith, Jr., but he is expected to convey it to the City of White Bear Lake by quitclaim deed.

Dave Bartle presented a detailed report on the level of Birch Lake over the past ten
years, noting that it is currently 19 inches lower than it was at the time harvesting was suspended in 2008. It was agreed that lake level will be evaluated when the ice goes out next spring to determine if harvesting of weeds is feasible. If harvesting is not feasible, Bartle proposed that chemical treatment of selected weed areas should be carried out, paying for it with the approximately $10,000 that is allocated for the harvesting program and other line items in the budget. Ron Auger suggested that the area at the shoreline, which is always too low for harvesting, is a likely target area. Any homeowner can apply chemicals to his property to a distance believed to be 150 feet. Pertinent information will be researched for accuracy and provided to residents. The DNR approves weed harvesting for up to 30% of lake area, and only 15% is eligible for chemical treatment. Because the weeds in Birch Lake are native fern pondweed, the DNR will not provide any funds for treatment.

Bartle also provided information on the use of sterile triploid herbivorous carp for weed control, a practice followed successfully in several Southern states. Because Minnesota prohibits the use of carp for this purpose, it would be necessary to sue the State DNR to obtain permission. The process would be both long and expensive, requiring ichthyological and limnological experts to support the suit. Board members indicated that they would not pursue such an action at this time.

The Board has received a request from Fred Downing for early payment of the 2009 installment on the agreement for purchasing harvesting equipment. Motion by Grisim, seconded by Kreuser, to pay the next installment before the due date of December 1. Motion carried.

Motion ;by Brink, seconded by Kreuser, to adjourn. Motion carried, and meeting adjourned at 8:50 P.M.

Richard E. Brink
Secretary

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

BIRCH LAKE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BLID) Annual Membership Meeting June 17, 2009

The fourth annual membership meeting of the BLID was held in the White Bear Lake City Hall on June 17, 2009 with Chair Jim Grisim presiding. The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m. with 14 residents, representing 13 of the 62 units in the BLID and constituting a quorum.

There being no objections, the proposed agenda was approved. Motion by Patrice Kuppe, seconded by Rod Kreuser, to approve the minutes of the June 18, 208 Annual Membership Meeting. Motion carried. Grisim reported on the past year's activities of the organization. The weed harvester was removed earlier than usual because of low lake water levels. It was determined that a tow truck should be used to remove the harvester in the future. Consistent with the concept of using professional help in the harvesting program, the 85 loads of weeds harvested were allowed to dry and then hauled to the composting site by Barefoot Landscaping Co.. Working with VLAWMO. and Steve McComas of Blue Water Science, our study on developing a long term sustainable lake management plan was completed, concluding that the BLID is "doing lots of things right" and recommending that we continue to monitor water quality. Board members have attended pertinent seminars and workshops. A dozen or so persons took part in a lake shore cleanup day on May 2 (a few people did cleanup work earlier). We will continue to have "Lake Cleanup Day" on the first Saturday in May. Aerator hoses have broken loose from their moorings in a a few places, and a more effective anchoring method will be developed. Board member Ryan Hoops agreed to lead the aerator hose "re-stringing" project.VLAWMO has offered to sponsor rain garden workshops if there is sufficient interest. Thanks to the efforts of Patrice Kuppe, the third annual BLID newsletter was published. Members present expressed their appreciation for the newsletter and the communication of BLID activities Weed control this year is complicated by low lake level. The Board researched the use of herbicides as an alternative to harvesting the weeds. Herbicide literature was on display and available for members to review. For lakes less than 15 feet deep, the DNR will approve the use of herbicides over 15% of the area. In our case, with a maximum depth of 6 feet and an area of 129 acres, we could treat up to 19 acres at a cost of roughly $1,000 per acre. Steve McComas does not consider herbicidal weed control very successful, especially with the fern pond weed predominant in Birch Lake.

In an attempt to use our weed harvester this year, we will seek approval of extending the ramp at our easement and dredge an area 2 feet deep, 18 feet wide and 40 feet long to permit the harvester to come close enough to the shore to enable transfer of weeds to our trailer.An application for a permit to carry out the project has been submitted to the DNR. Multiple environmental agencies need to approve lake dredging, including DNR Wildlife, DNR Waterways, VLAWMO, the City of White Bear Lake, the Federal Corps of Engineers, and the State of Minnesota Soil and Water Division. Unfortunately, even if the dredging is approved, we may not be able to harvest this year unless the lake level rises significantly.

Richard Brink being the only candidate for election to the Board, motion by Nicholas Nash, seconded by Patrice Kuppe, to cast the unanimous ballot of the group for Brink. Motion carried Kreuser presented the attached treasurer's report and the attached proposed budget for 2010. If there is no weed harvesting this year, the 2010 budget would be reduced by only about 25%, since about 35% of the budget goes toward purchase of he harvester. The final payment for the harvester and trailer will be in 2010, and thereafter the budget should be reduced by $8,148.84, the amount of the payment. Motion by Neil Franey, seconded by Patrice Kuppe, to approve the budget. Motion carried. The group expressed the sentiment that, if weed harvesting cannot be carried out this year, the unused budgeted amount should be considered for other projects or used to reduce the amount owed on the harvester and trailer.. Motion by Patrice Kuppe, seconded by Rod Kreuser, to ask the White Bear Lake City Council to amend the Order establishing the BLID by amending Article 6 to read as follows:
This Order shall remain in effect until dissolved by resolution of the
White Bear Lake City Council after receiving a request from the District's Board of Directors, or upon receiving a petition signed by owners of not less than fifty-one percent (51%) of the parcels in the District, or at the initiative of the City Council. Motion carried.

Motion by Neil Franey, seconded by Patrice Kuppe, to amend the BLID Rules of Governance as follows: Add the following paragraph to Article 7, Section 2: A property owner of the District who cannot attend the Annual
Membership Meeting may vote by giving his/her written proxy to
a property owner who will be present at the Annual Membership Meeting. Delete the following paragraph from Article 7, Section 3: Anyone desiring an absentee ballot should submit a written request to the Board at its business address (4701 Highway 61, White Bear Lake, MN 55110) no later than 30 days prior to the Annual Membership Meeting. Motion carried. The following four persons agreed to be members of a committee to consider ways to improve the northwest shoreline (roughly from the property of Nicholas Nash to the bridge) and to make specific recommendations to the Board: Dan Anderson, Nicholas Nash, Patrice Kuppe, Mary Dee Auger. Board member Dale Bacon agreed to organize and lead the group. Board Secretary Dick Brink stated that he will determine ownership of the land involved.

In the general discussion period, cleanup of the northeast corner of the lake, which has a high nutrient level, was urged. If weed harvesting is impossible this year, reallocation of the funds budgeted for that purpose should be considered. Use of the aerator in the summer was discussed. Nicholas Nash discussed the desirability of speed bumps to slow down traffic on North Birch Lake Boulevard.. Meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.
Richard E. Brink Secretary

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Board of Directors Meeting June 4, 2009

Birch Lake Improvement District

Board of Directors Meeting

June 4, 2009

Draft

Call To Order: 7:15 p.m., Chair Jim Grisim presiding

Members present: Ryan Hoops, Jim Grisim, Dale Bacon, Richard Brink, Rod Kreuser. Also present Julie Yoho.

Motion by Bacon, second by Grisim to approve tonight’s agenda. Motion carried.

Motion by Grisim, second by Hoops to approve minutes from March 18, 2009. Motion carried.

Bacon provided a report on the 2009 MN Waters Lakes & Rivers conference. Major highlights included:

  • Aquatic Invasive Species – There are more and more appearing. There is a need for lake improvement districts rather than lake associations, as LID’s are able to assess and manage money to help combat invasive species. Bacon recommends the BLID develop a long range monitoring strategy to watch for changes in the lake.
  • Lakeshore restoration – most importantly, working with individual residences to develop a buffer zone of vegetation along their lakeshore.
  • Climate change including the changes in ice-on dates and the warming of streams.
  • Number of resources available to assist in projects. Extension service, Ramsey Co. corrections, VLAWMO.
  • Some lake associations have organized procedure manuals which can assist new members. May be a good idea for BLID to develop.

Overall, it was a very informative conference.

Grisim reported on the lake clean up day. Approximately 12 people participated. Others who were unable to attend, went out on different days and cleaned up. BLID will keep organizing the clean up on the first weekend in May.

Grisim reported on the sale of the property at 1320 S. Birch Lk. Blvd. where the BLID holds an easement. Grisim met with the new owner and he is aware of the easement.

Grisim reported on the aerator maintenance. There was no winter damage, however some of the hose is above water now. There was discussion on various ways to keep the hoses on the bottom. Some ideas were running the hose through cinder blocks or running through pvc pipe. There was also discussion about solar or wind powered compressor systems for aeration, rather than running hoses. In the near term, Hoops will organize how and when to best maintain this summer.

Kreuser provided the Treasurers Report. Bank balance is $11,417.25. Motion by Hoops, second by Bacon to approve treasurer’s report. Motion carried. Kreuser will have a summary for the annual meeting.

Grisim reported that even if the water level is too low to harvest this year, we should apply for the harvesting permit so we are ready. Motion by Kreuser, second by Bacon to fill out the application for the DNR harvesting permit. The question of treating with herbicide came up. Grisim reported it would cost $1000 per acre to treat, and only 10% of the lake would be able to be treated as per DNR regulation. Steve McComas does not feel herbicide would be as effective as harvesting, and it would be cost prohibitive. The Board is in agreement not to use herbicides.

Grisim led discussion on other projects for the future, including fish survey (currently on DNR waiting list), north shore project, and harvester ramp improvement. The north shore project would involve removing vegetation and replacing with native plants. VLAWMO has funding available to assist, and the City has offered to provide equipment. BLID would need to supply volunteers. The ramp improvement project will require a permit from the DNR for dredging. Grisim will apply for.

Brinks provided 2 versions of language for removal of the sunset clause. The Board felt there should be a majority of 51% to dissolve the BLID. Brinks will check statutes.

Brinks provided an amendment to the rules of Governance. It was recommenced to add the language “written” and “property owner”. Motion by Brink, second by Kreuser to accept the amendment with the changes noted. Motion carried.

The 2010 budget was discussed. Krueser will update the budget sheet with the proposal for voting at the annual meeting.

Grisim discussed the agenda items for the annual meeting to be held on June 17, 2009. Agenda items will include report of Board activities, approval of 2010 budget, amendment to the rules of governance and the sunset clause, and an election for 1 three year term.

Motion by Brink, second by Bacon to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

.

___________________________________________

Vice Chair, Ryan Hoops

Next meeting: Annual Meeting June 17, 2009.

Next quarterly meeting September 17, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Birch Lake Improvement District Board of Directors Meeting March 19, 2009

Draft

Call To Order: 7:00 p.m., Chair Jim Grisim presiding

Members present: Ryan Hoops, Jim Grisim, Rod Kreuser. Also present Julie Yoho and Steve McComas(for part of meeting). Absent: board members Dale Bacon and Richard Brink

In the absence of Secretary Brink, Julie Yoho appointed to take notes by Grisim.

Sustainable Lake Management Plan.
Bacon and Grisim met with Stephanie McNamara and Kristine Lampert of Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization - VLAWMO last week to review the plan. Key questions that BLID would like to have answered include:
How healthy is Birch Lake?
How do we sustain or improve the health of the lake?
Are nutrients from runoff creating weed growth?
Is there a way to get rid of muck on the bottom of the lake?
Is harvesting the best and only way we should be trying to manage the aquatic weeds?
BLID would like more specific recommendations on what we should be doing with priorities, goals, and timeframes set. The report seems very thorough, but too technical. Can there be a summary and more explanation of what the report is really saying to distribute to members?
Steve McComas - stated he will compile a summary of his report and work with VLAWMO on incorporating what they are updating in the report with what he will do. The study has cleared up some of our questions regarding the health of the lake and its vegetation. Fern Pondweed is the dominant plant in the lake. Birch Lake is shallow, very clean and has better water quality than expected of a metro lake. The thick sediments (muck) with low ph keeps milfoil and curly leaf pondweed from growing. The sediment (muck) on the bottom is natural for the lake basin and short of dredging there is not much that can be done to remove or reduce the sediment. Water levels are controlled by the regional ground water table – all area lakes are low and will be until the water table comes up.
Grisim – why is there more plant growth and higher nutrient levels by runoff areas?
McComas – storm water runoff carries sediments with nutrients and affects water quality in the inlet areas. Runoff can be better controlled to keep the unnatural sediments out. This will be part of his summary.
Grisim – BLID has to prioritize action plan items to address these locations. Original assumption was that controlling runoff would reduce plant growth. However, it is actually the nutrients in the sediment that is the main contributor as a source of nutrients for the plant growth..
McComas – BLID is already doing 90% of things correctly. Vegetation issue is with a native plant, Fern Pondweed. Sediments are not conducive to non-native growth problems (milfoil), we are very fortunate for that. Harvesting is the best way to manage excessive weeds, and some spot treatment of aquatic herbicides could help in the shallower higher weedy areas.. Having an aerator use is good for the lake, especially since it is so shallow. Birch Lake is a relatively unmodified natural glacial lake and is following the natural path of a glacial lake.

McComas said his goal is to finish the summary before ice is off the lakes as that is when he gets very busy with the new season.

McComas left the meeting at this time and the board went on to the rest of the meeting agenda.

Motion by Kreuser, second by Hoops to approve minutes from November 6, 2008. Motion carried.

Kreuser provided the Treasurers Report. Bank balance is $11,280.24. After looking into the M4 city checking plan he found it provided no better interest and more hassle. A savings account could be opened to earn a little interest – transfer funds into savings as needed. It was decided to table the idea until next meeting when more board members will be present.
Motion by Hoops, second by Grisim to approve treasurers report. Motion carried.

Grisim reported a spring newsletter should be ready soon. Dale Bacon, Patty Kuppe, Ron Auger and Jim Grisim met on March 1st. Patty Kuppe is putting together the first draft and Jim will share the draft with the board for input before it gets sent out.

Grisim reported the sunset clause put on the BLID by the City was originally for 12/31/08, however the City Council voted to extend it out pending a vote at this year’s BLID annual meeting in June 2009. Members will vote at the annual meeting if they agree to have the sunset clause removed.

North Shore restoration project. Grisim reported we did not receive the grant we applied for through MN Waters. If BLID still wants to do the project, the City has verbally agreed to provide some equipment and labor to clean out the area, VLAWMO agreed to help with coordination of project and has some money they could contribute toward the right buffer plants. Dale Bacon is coordinating the project with the assistance of VLAWMO and the City. We will be soliciting help from volunteers for planting labor.

Grisim reported there are now more stringent standards for water testing /samples that Ron Auger has done for many years. There will be a training session on May 2 from 9-2. Grisim will see if he can assist Ron in the testing.

There is another site at Otter and 4th that would be good clean up project. The north east corner of this intersection has been a filter area for the water coming into the lake. The areas seems to be over grown and filling up with leaves and brush growth. This could be why the lake has more weeds in this area due to the lack of filtration.

Grisim reported he has the harvesting permit application and will be submitting it to the DNR. Its time to start organizing for cutting. Kreuser will check with Comstock to see if we will be able to contract the same helper we used last year. Hoops offered to help with coordination of volunteers and setting schedules with Ron Auger.

Spring weed clean up – need to get weeds off the White Bear Township site by mid-May. Kreuser will check with Comstock to see if they can give us a bid to remove the weeds. Hoops to check with a landscaper he knows also for a bid. Estimate 110 – 120 yards of material needs to be moved.

Discussion was had over upcoming harvester repairs and what could be budgeted for the year that would be above and beyond regular maintenance. The track was mentioned last year as needing repair and adjustments. Discussion included the concern that if we don’t do any repairs we could end up with a broken harvester and have it sit when cutting is needed. Board agreed we should look at spacing out the repairs and do some this spring and see if we can afford to do more in the fall and then more next year. This would hopefully let us keep up with repairs needed.
Motion by Grisim, second by Kreuser to allow up to $1500 for highest priority harvester repairs. Motion carried.

Kreuser has tabs for truck and trailer.

Grisim said the spring lake clean up is set for the standard first Saturday in May, this year that is May 2. This will be in the newsletter and we hope for more participation this year.

Grisim reported that Brink’s board term is ending in June 2009. Brink has stated his intention to seek reelection for a 3-year term, advising the board that, if elected, he may not serve the entire three years.
We will advertise the expiring term and vote at the annual meeting if needed.

Motion by Hoops, second by Kreuser to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 9:15pm.





___________________________________________
Vice Chair, Ryan Hoops


Next quarterly meeting: June 4th, 2009