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Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall 2014 Aquatic Plant Harvesting

Aspen Outdoor Services completed the weed harvesting on Birch Lake during the first week of August.  Prior to the harvesting activity, Aspen also refitted the conveyor system on the harvester with new conveyor tracks.
This year, the harvesting activity consisted of opening homeowner access where needed, removal of dead plant material, and cutting and removing nuisance vegetation. The focus was on improving the recreational value of the lake while maintaining the aquatic habitat.  The higher than normal high water level helped to reduce the amount of nuisance vegetation that needed to be cut.
Harvested plant material was deposited at the Ramsey County Composting facility.

Fall 2014 Fish Kill Update

Blue Water Science conducted a fish survey on Birch Lake Sept 4-6, 2014, to determine the extent of fish kill observed after ice-out this past spring.  It was conducted during the same time period and at the same locations as the survey in 2011, enabling a valid comparison.
Although a final report has not been issued, Steve McComas, the principal of Blue Water, has shared a summary of his findings. Table 1 from the summary compares the findings of the 2011 and 2014 surveys.  With the exception of a lack of largemouth bass in the 2014 survey, the other fish populations are nearly the same for the two surveys.  As might be expected, the large number of dead bass after ice-out foreshadowed the lack of largemouth bass in the 2014 survey. 
While no bass were trapped in the survey, residents have recently caught several largemouth bass.  In any case, the bass population is very low.
The board reviewed the survey results and, based on recommendations from Steve McComas and consistent with the encouragement from residents at the annual meeting, elected to restock largemouth bass yet this year.  On October 16, 2014, about 2,000 fingerling largemouth bass were introduced into the lake.
Birch Lake trapnet results for the fish survey conducted in 2011 and in 2014 by Blue Water Science. Fish data are shown as fish per trapnet.

We can expect to see results from this effort in a couple of years.


What happened to the cattails? Why the celery plants on the shoreline?

Dale Bacon reports:
I walk around the lake at least once a day.  During these treks, I’ve noticed that the cattail and bulrush populations are way down from previous years.  In some spots, all that is left of cattails is the stubble from last year!  I’ve spent some time trying to determine what caused this.  A sudden explosion of muskrats? Yet another invasive bug??  I talked with Brian Corcorian of VLAWMO about this and learned that he has also seen this in other lakes.  He feels that the primary reason for the population decline this year is the higher than normal water levels we experienced during most of the growing season.  High water levels can prevent the growing tips of the cattail from taking in oxygen needed to support root growth.  Lack of oxygen during the growth period kills the plant.  “No need to worry,” he says, “there are plenty of cattail seeds in the sediment!”
While on the topic of aquatic plants, I’ve also noticed a lot of water celery plants around the shoreline.  I talked with Steve Enger of the DNR and learned that in the fall the water celery plants become more buoyant which, when coupled with wave action, causes them to be uprooted and float to shore!  Another of life’s burning questions answered!

Quarterly Meeting Minutes November 6, 2014

Call to order at 7:15 PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Steve Laliberte, and Jim Grisim.  Tom Merritt was absent.

Motion (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Approval of the minutes  -
Motion: (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve June 5 minutes. Motion carried.
Motion: (Laliberte/Hoops) Move to approve July 17 minutes.  Motion carried.

Review Treasurer’s Report
Motion: (Hoops,Laliberte) to approve report.  Carried

Status Reports

Harvesting Painting Update
Not complete.  Aspen has the paint.  We are seeking another contractor to complete the job.

Buckthorn Removal Project
Completed treating about 100 plants.  After two months half are dead and the others showing stress.  We will do more next summer.

Fish Survey / Restocking Update
We are waiting for the final report from Blue Water.  2,000 bass each 6 inches long were planted in October.  They will be large enough to spawn in the spring.

Aerator Status
The aerator is running and the signs have been placed.  We need to purchase new signs.  The old ones are rotting.  Ryan will order some new signs.

Communication Strategy
Steve will post newsletter on neighborhood and the BLID blog.  There is a facebook page for Birch Lake.  We should take it over.

Steve to draft a communications plan on how we will use FB, Blog, email.

Building Birch Lake Through Social Service
Many residents prefer not to promote the lake because it attracts more usage.

Steve has extra aerator posts.  Jim has spare aerator motor, bubbler, and small ice signs.  We need to inventory what we own and where it is.  There may be harvester parts in Bret and Marine boat house. 
Rod Kruser may have a spreadsheet.

Motion: Move to Adjourn (Grisim, Laliberte) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 9:06 PM.

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte

Fall 2014 Chairman's Corner

By Dale Bacon

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BLID Quarterly Meeting July 17, 2014

Call to order at 7:04PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Steve Laliberte, and Jim Grisim.  Tom Merritt was absent.

Motion (Grisim/Laliberte) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Approval of the minutes  - we will approve via email

Review Treasurer’s Report
Motion: (Hoops,Laliberte) to approve report.  Carried

Election of Officers

Motion: (Hoops/Grism) Move to Elect Bacon as Chairman, Hoops as Vice-Chairman, Merritt as Treasurer, and Laliberte as Secretary.  Carried

Motion: (Grism, Hoops) Move to make Bremer Bank as depository.  Motion Carried

Motion: (Grism,Hoops) Move to make the White Bear Press the official BLID newspaper.  Motion Carried.

Motion: (Grism,Hoops) Move to approve Julie Yoho contract for another year.  Motion Carried.

We have the permit to harvest. We will ask Aspen to get going.

Fish Survey will be Sept 3,4, 5

Mark Burch North Shore Restoration Project Update.
There is some erosion.  We will put in stone walkways.  We will add more boulders for fishing. 

Newsletter goes out Monday/Tuesday

Motion: Move to Adjourn (Grisim, Laliberte) – Motion Carried.  Adjourned at 8:25.

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BLID Annual Meeting June 18, 2014

Call to order at 7:04PM with the following board members were present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Tom Merritt, Steve Laliberte, and Jim Grisim.  

A total of 22 members were in attendance constituting a quorum.

Motion (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Motion (Hoops/Grisim) Move to approve the minutes of 2013 Annual Meeting.  Motion carried.

Treasurer Report: 
Merritt presented the Treasurer Report and proposed budget. 

Motion (Krueser/Bacon) Move to approve the Treasurers Report.  Motion carried.

Year In Review:
Bacon reported on state of the BLID. 

Water level is at a record high.  There is an 8 inch depth of the outflow to the overflow wet land in Rotary Park.  There was a partial fish kill. 

The cold winter with early ice and heavy snow plus the wet spring has slowed the weed growth. 

Wildlife is booming.  The loons are back, swans are present along with herons. 

BLID attended the review of the Memory Care building planning and suggested improvements of set back from water level, native plants, and light covers.

Board members presented at the shallow lakes conference and the Conservation Minnesota waters conference. The BLID has paid to be a member of Conservation MN.

The BLID is certified as a Lake Service Provider, a requirement for moving and renting the harvester.

The annual lake cleanup day was held the first Saturday in May. It was a success but we need more member participation for the clean up to be more successful.

Published the newsletter quarterly.

Blue Water Science completed the lake plant survey in 2013.  Birch Lake continues to be a very clear and relatively clean metro lake. There is a healthy balance of plant life.  There is an abundance of Fern Pond Weed. 

Fish stocking was completed in early 2013. One Thousand bass and several hundred crappies.

The harvester has been rented to Aspen for use on Goose Lake.  This will generate revenue and assist a neighbor, Otter Ski Team.

2014-15 Plans
Plan to increase the use of electronic communications for ease of communication and to reduce postal and copy costs to BLID members . 

Aquatic plant management will continue with low-level weed cutting to maintain a balance between having healthy plant existence, allow for navigation on the water, with trying to minimize floating algae.

Initiate and complete the invasive species of buckthorn, removal project.

Complete another lake sediment testing program for the continued monitoring the sediment content of our lake.

Continue the water testing/monitoring program on conjunction with VLAWMO and the DNR. Vlamo now increased their allocation for lake restoration, rain garden, or erosion control funds.  They will now contribute up to 75% of the cost up to $2,000.

Motion:  (Krueser /Auger) Move to conduct a fish survey right away this year (at the same time as when the last one was done) to measure the severity of the fish kill.  Motion carried.

2015 Budget Review:
Motion: (Merritt/ Krueser )  Move to amend the proposed budget to increase the Special Project line item from $2,500 to $4,000 to include $1,500 for fish stocking next spring.  This will be taken from the reserve and not change the levy.  Motion carried.

Motion: (Kueser/Grism) Approve the 2015 budget.  Motion carried.

There are two position open for board members.  Bacon and Hoops seek to be re-elected.
Motion (Krueser/Grism) to elect the board members.  Motion carried.

Motion to adjourn  (Hoops, Grisim)  Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:38 PM

Minutes prepared by Steve Laliberte

Thursday, June 5, 2014

BLID Quarterly Meeting June 5, 2014

Call to order at 7:04PM with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Tom Merritt, and Jim Grisim.  Steve Laliberte was absent.

Motion (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Motion (Hoops/Grisim) Move to approve the minutes of April 10, 2014.  Motion carried.

Motion (Hoops/Grisim) Move to approve Treasurers Report.  Motion carried.

VLAWMO Update: 
Grisim reported VLAWMO deciding on projects for summer especially areas, such as Lambert Creek, with e. coli (this does not affect Birch Lake).  Stephanie and Christine reported the Birch Lake restoration site on the north shore looked good.  Bacon reported on a visit by the ladies on June 3 to Birch Lake and Dale’s request to get an OK to dam the outlet of the marshland to the north of Birch.  If the water table stays high, it may kill back the Reed Canary Grass which is becoming a major problem not only in crowding the marsh but also now showing on the north shoreline near Dale’s house.

State of the Waters Conference:
Bacon reported on the meeting that he found to be most worthwhile.  He recommended other such meetings be attended.  The attendance was about 350, many from lake associations plus DNR and PCA staff.  Legacy Amendment is source of funding for water protection. There are now 42 LIDs in State.  Kentucky blue grass is a major problem caused or exacerbated by mowing too close to shores.

Conservation MN Membership:
Bacon will mail check and application form as approved at earlier meeting.

Contract Status:
Aspen contract for harvester rental is signed.  Phiel contract for electricity is signed.  Both are kept in BLID cabinet at City Hall.

Member Spreadsheet:
Bacon updated the data and sent it to Board members.  Thank you, Dale.

Harvester Repairs:
Hoops reported the work has been done.  Painting is planned for after the season.

Buckthorn Removal Project:
Bacon purchased the Lance and herbicide shells.  Nick Nash accepted to be a trial site.  Bacon proposed we visit homes particularly on west shore to explain the project and get agreement to proceed with marking and injecting.  Bacon will establish a date. 

Clean Up Day: 
Grisim reported a disappointing level of participation.  Next year, the idea will be to try to engage area businesses, especially those whose employees walk around the lake on lunch hour.

New Member Packet: 
Bacon will mail to Board.   It has been reduced to a short letter.

2015 Budget and Levy:
Merritt presented the budget plan reviewed at the April 10 meeting. 
Motion:  (Merritt, Grisim) The 2015 budget was approved and a levy of $155 per parcel was approved.

Annual Meeting:
Each Board member will recruit for attendance to ensure a quorum.

Bacon led a discussion about getting all BLID property identified and stored in one location under the control of BLID rather than in member homes.  The purchase of a Pod (20’ length?) will be pursued and likely located adjacent to the harvester/trailer at the City lot.

Motion to adjourn  (Hoops, Grisim)  Passed

Meeting adjourned at 9:00PM

Minutes prepared by Tom Merritt

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BLID Quarterly Meeting April 10, 2014

Call to order at 7:00 pm with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Tom Merritt, Jim Grisim and Steve Laliberte.  Ryan Hoops arrived at 7:07.  Nick Piehl attended the meeting.

Motion (Grisim/Merrit) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Motion (Grisim/Merritt) Move to approve the minutes of February 6, 2014 Motion carried.

Treasurers Report: 
Reviewed the 2014 budget and YTD actuals.

Motion (Grisim/Hoops) Moved to approve the treasurer’s report.  Motion carried.

VLAMO Report
Jim Grisim presented notes from VLAMO meetings.  They updated their website.  They will pay 75% or up to $2,000 for water gardens. 

Harvester Status
Ryan Hoops – repair is in process.  The belts are being replaced.  What type of paint? Marine epoxy was suggested.  Nick Piehl is in the paint business, he will help us select the paint.
We reviewed a contract with Aspen and Midwest Ski Otters.  We will modify this to create an agreement with Aspen to do our work and for us to lease the harvester.  Aspen will need to contract with Midwest Ski Otters.

Ryan Hoops will draft the terms, Steve will draft the agreement and get legal review.  We will do an email vote on approval.

Lake Cleanup Day
First Saturday in May.  May 3rd.  Jim Grisim will coordinate.

Reviewed Buckthorn Removal Program:
Dale will continue to work with the White Bear City engineer Mark Birch to advance the plan.  The city has a new tool to shoot herbicide into the trees.  They will let us use it, we must buy the shells.

Motion: Move to purchase one lot $250 of EZ-Ject shells.  (Merrit/Grisim). Motion carried.

Budget Review
Add harvester rental to income.  We set a 2015 budget estimate at about $13,000.  We will finalize the budget in the June meeting.

Inventory of equipment
Steve will reach out to Rod to pick up and complete the inventory.  Then we can decide if we want to consolidate and store.

Annual Meeting
Possibly get a speaker on buckthorn. 

Want to get one out before May 2.  Call for pictures.  Winter kill update.  Get it out by April 21, 2014.

Conservation Minnesota
This is the association that replaced Minnesota Waters.  They hold an annual conference of Lake Associations. 

Motion:  We will join the association providing the annual fee is under or equal to $150. (Grisim/Hoops)  Motion carried.

Motion: We will pay the registration fee for a board member to attend the annual conference.  (Grisim/Merrit).  Motion carried.

Motion (Grisim/Hoops) Move to adjourn.  Motion Carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:53pm. 

Upcoming meeting
Board meeting Thursday, June 5, 2014.
Annual meeting June 18, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

VLAWMO spring workshops

Here is a link to VLAWMO's upcoming Spring workshop. Open to anyone interested.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

BLID Quarterly Meeting February 6, 2014

Call to order at 7:00 pm with the following members present:  Dale Bacon, Ryan Hoops, Tom Merritt, Jim Grisim and Steve Laliberte.

Motion (Hoops/Laliberte) Move to approve agenda.  Motion carried.

Motion (Hoops/Merritt) Move to approve the minutes of November 11, 2013.  Motion carried.

Treasurers Report: 
The procedure to receive the city levy is to request a check 3 days in advance.

Reviewed Contract for Aerator Power:
Draft contract was reviewed and revised.  Steve will seek input from the city attorney.

Reviewed Buckthorn Removal Program:
Dale will continue to work with the White Bear City engineer Mark Birch to advance the plan.

Motion (Grisim/Hoops) Move to adjourn.  Motion Carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:00pm. 

Upcoming meeting
Board meeting April 24, 2014.