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Thursday, March 26, 2009

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


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