Lake Beseck Living

~All things Lake Beseck brought together in one informative space~

Whether you are interested in family activities in the area, efforts being made toward issues such as weed control and algae of the lake, becoming a volunteer, or you want to stay on top of crime events in the area, this is the place to be.

Minutes of Lake Environment Committee September 27, 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting
Wednesday September 27, 2017, 7:00 PM
Middlefield Community Center

MINUTES
1. Call to Order
Meeting was called to order at 7:02 P.M.


2. Members Present
Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, Randy Bernotas, Daria Vander Veer, Hannah Malcolm, Rick Santos, James Irish.  Mark June-Wells and Len Suzio were also present.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:10. Rebecca Adams and John Lindner joined the meeting at 7:15.


3. Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve the agenda for September 27, 2017 without changes made by Randy Bernotas and seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously.


4. Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of June 28, 2017 with no changes made by Robert Poturnicki and seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.


5. Public Comment
No members of the public were present.


6. Chairman Report

Amy reported that committee members have met with Kathy Connolly, the landscape architect, several times; sod has been removed at one end of the beach near the paved ramp and plants will be installed.  We have also been able to get about twenty free 10-foot-long coir logs from a job site in Old Lyme; the only cost will be to pick them up and have them delivered, a savings of approximately $1500.  The logs will be delivered Friday morning.

Amy passed around an updated version of Kathy Connolly’s drawing for plantings.  Some of the potentially taller plantings have been replaced with lower ones to preserve the line of sight for the nearby houses.  In response to a question from Jim Irish, Amy confirmed that there will also be plantings at the northern end of the beach as well, and that the landscaping project will go in phases.

The goose population is growing smaller; typically they show up when the flag lines have been taken down by humans, possibly kayakers.

Amy reported on the meeting earlier today with the DEEP.  She provided some of the plant survey maps that Greg Bugbee of the CT Agricultural/Experimental Station brought to the meeting.  Greg has identified several patches around the lake that may contain the protected species Potamogeton vaseyi, which may impede efforts to control plants in the lake.  Amy mentioned that the “protected species” status may be changed in the next year or so, especially if ten or more lakes are determined to have this plant.

Amy reported that Greg has found 23 native plants in the lake this year, a significantly larger number than prior to the drawdown. Ed Bailey mentioned that the important goal is to keep any one species from dominating, and Mark June-Wells agreed.

Amy mentioned that we need to continue to find ways to control invasives; the option of benthic barriers, or “bottom blankets,” can be effective if they are put in in April and taken out one month later, and are a comparatively cheap option.  Mark June-Wells indicated the barriers are fairly easy to use on a small scale, particularly in places like the beach swimming area, and said that if anyone was interested he could help with a bulk purchase discount. Hannah Malcolm said she would start researching prices and availability for use at the swimming area. Purchase of a harvester is still also a possibility; Mark June-Wells indicated there are some reasonably priced machines available.  The committee discussed possible ways of funding a harvester, including STEAP grants, and the logistics of where and how it would be stored and maintained.

Amy related that at the DEEP meeting, Larry Marsicano (manager of Candlewood Lake) said that he has had success with deeper and/or earlier drawdowns. It was suggested to start collecting data on weather, snowfall, temperatures, water depth and resultant plant populations to determine whether changing the drawdown would help and what changes would need to be made.  Mark June-Wells said there are easy ways, and fairly inexpensive tools to collect the information. The committee discussed the current statute that dictates Lake Beseck drawdowns and how the technology has changed for controlling the lake level.

James Irish asked whether a genetic analysis had been done to determine whether the plant Greg Bugbee had found was actually Potamogeton vaseyi.  Ed Bailey replied that Greg seemed pretty certain it was, and Ed felt it was not currently worth spending the money on DNA analysis. He pointed out that we were not likely to get any permits to take action on the invasives at this time since they don’t currently seem to be a problem.  Amy replied that since the committee that reviews protected species meets infrequently, perhaps it is still in our interest to bring our issues to the committee.

Len Suzio reminded the committee that even if the milfoil wasn’t a problem this year, it was safe to assume it would be a problem in future, and we should continue to pursue ways to control it in future. He felt a harvester would be a good investment that might pay off if the plant matter collected could be sold to local farmers.  He also urged the committee to start collecting more data to better understand what factors are influencing the plant population.

7. Selectmen Report                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Ed recapped the main points covered in the meeting with DEEP, including data collection, statutory changes, using a harvester, the plant survey. He indicated a new level gauge for the lake needs to be installed.  Ed also answered questions about the new guard rails put up around the northern end of the lake; John Lindner mentioned the original plans of adding plantings along that stretch of land, and urged the committee again to pursue that project.
8. Mark June-Wells Report
Mark June-Wells mentioned there had been some algae bloom in the past week, but that all other processes are continuing as normal.


9. Project updates                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 Hannah Malcolm said Parks & Rec has put out bids for a retaining wall in front of the pavilion to help limit erosion. 


10. Misc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Randy suggested that some entity, perhaps the Lake Association, should write a letter to the DEEP thanking them for the good work on the dam.

John Linder noted that since the jumpstart of the “Lake Smart” program, there hasn’t been any followup. He recommended taking the matter up again at a future meeting.  Ed Bailey suggested having Greg Bugbee come give a presentation on the benthic barriers in the spring as part of a kickoff event in the spring. 

11. Adjourn
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Robert Poturnicki  and seconded by Rebecca Adams. Passed unanimously; meeting adjourned at 8:25 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Daria Vander Veer
 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee June 28 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting Minutes

Wednesday June 28, 2017 7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

 

1. Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 7:02 P.M.

2. Members Present

Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, Daria Vander Veer, Randy Bernotas, John Lindner, Rick Santos, Hannah Malcolm, Edward Bailey. James Irish joined the meeting at 7:09.  Mark June-Wells was also present.

3. Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda for June 28, 2018 without changes made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Robert Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.

4. Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes for March 29 and April 12 without changes made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5.  Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6. Chairman Report

LakeSmart program: Amy Poturnicki thanked everyone who contributed to getting the program implemented on such short notice, including Larry Marsicano, who spoke about the LakeSmart Program, and Mark June-Wells, who spoke about the state of the lake, best management practices, chemical vs organic fertilizers, initiatives underway. Local politicians spoke about town & DEEP initiatives. A landscape architect from Milone & MacBroom spoke about native plants and buffer gardens. Turnout was good and attendees left with a lot of materials and information after enjoying a free breakfast spread.

Amy also described having landscape designers out to the beach to look at the options.  We received proposals and received approval from the town to proceed with Kathy Connolly, landscape architect, to create plan for buffer/anti-geese zones at the beach.

Amy described the recent plant survey by DEEP staff, which found widespread amounts of what they are calling Potamogeton vaseyi, which is a “threatened” species. If it is in fact this plant, it may impede future projects at the lake, including the carp project.

7. Selectmen Report

Edward Bailey reported that Inland Wetlands Commission has made a motion to request that a guard rail be installed at the northern end of the lake to prevent parking and the erosion it is causing. An area has been staked out; Ed invited members to look at the staked area and send him any comments.  Members made additional suggestions about potential locations for guard rails.

8. Mark June-Wells Report

Mark June-Wells addressed the issue of the identification of Potamogeton vaseyi.  He described how plants are commonly identified (by their reproductive components such as flowers and seeds). Vaseyi used to be  identified by counting the veins in a leaf, but now it is identified by a structure at the bottom of the leaf. The difference between this species and Potamogeton bicupulatis, using this new distinction, is miniscule; it’s also possible that Potamogeton species will interbreed, which further blurs the line for distinguishing vaseyi from others.

Mark explained that if the plant had been found in only one patch, we could probably work around it; but since the state has identified several locations throughout the lake, he recommends that we contest the identification and request genetic/DNA testing.  If the identification is correct, virtually of our management options – including harvesting, pesticides, and grass carp – would be off the table.

In response to a question from Daria Vander Veer, Mark indicated that there is a procedure to contest the finding, which involves a memo to high-ranking DEEP officials from the first selectman requesting a review of the finding.  It is possible the town would need to pay for the genetic testing, which is fairly commonplace now. Mark indicated he should be involved with the design of the survey and testing to ensure that the state’s procedures are reasonable and fair.

In response to a question from Ed Bailey, Mark indicated that nine lakes in CT have this plant but he will need to determine how much they have.  If ten lakes turn out to have this plant, the plant moves from “threatened” status to “item of concern.”  The state’s concern is preservation of biodiversity. They also, however, have their concerns about the grass carp project.

Mark answered several detailed questions about the Potamogeton species, its vulnerability to harvesting and carp, and its presence in CT lakes.

Amy Poturnicki indicated that based on this development, our best option is to proceed with genetic testing to protect our future lake management projects. James Irish pointed out that it is important that we work closely with DEEP on the experimental design. He also recommended getting agreement in advance on how identification is done.

In response to a question from Randy Bernotas, Mark June-Wells indicated there was only one other endangered species that has been found in the lake in the past, but the state has never mentioned it.  The next meeting with the state is scheduled for August 30; Amy indicated that might get moved up if Mark can get information about a geneticist soon.

Motion to proceed with genetic testing and a challenge to the state’s findings made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

9. Carp Project

See Mark June-Wells’ report.

10. Beach Erosion/Geese Control

Kathy Connolly, landscape designer, made a presentation about the beach project.  She discussed the potential goals of the project, which include control of the goose population and control of the erosion and sand loss during storms because of the steep slope.  She showed mockups and made different recommendations while asking about the possible problems or challenges the committee foresees in creating a new beach topography. Committee members provided feedback and asked questions about options. Concern was raised about the area being closed in too much. Hannah Malcolm mentioned that the swim area is currently much smaller than is listed on the permit; Ed Bailey suggested that if the roped-off swim area is larger, the swim ropes might help with repelling geese as well. Amy Poturnicki agreed, and felt it would be a nice resolution, but noted that the geese are often on the beach even during the winter, she suggested that ropes would have to be in place and clipped to pilings in that area to deter geese in the off-season.

Motion to create a subcommittee to go over the proposed landscaping options by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by James Irish. The committee to include Amy, Daria, Hannah, and at least one other Park & Rec Committee member and another member of the community who uses the beach frequently. Passed unanimously.

11. Election of Officers

Motion by Robert Poturnicki to keep slate as is; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously

12. Future Meeting Dates

Motion to keep meetings 4th Weds of every month made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously.

13. Misc.

Amy introduced two new committee members, Rick Santos and Hannah Malcolm of the Parks & Rec Commission.

14. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Rob Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas. Meeting adjourned 9:02 PM.

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee April 12, 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Workshop

Wednesday April 12, 2017  7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

1. Call to Order

Workshop was called to order at 7:10p

In attendance:  John Lindner, Rebecca Adams, Randy Bernotas, Robert Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Ed Bailey, Craig Lundell, Jim Irish

2. LakeSmart Home Program

Committee reviewed LakeSmart Home Program material put together by LakeSmart sub-committee.

3. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn at 8:15p made by Rob Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted by Amy Poturnicki

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee March 29, 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee
Special Meeting
Wednesday March 29, 2017, 7:00 PM
Middlefield Community Center

1.    Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Amy Poturnicki.


2.    Members Present
Randy Bernotas, Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, John Lindner, Daria Vander Veer, Rebecca Adams, Jon Brayshaw, Ed Bailey, Craig Lundell.   Buddy Altobello, Len Suzio, Larry Marsicano and Mark June-Wells also attended.


3.    Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve the agenda for March 29, 2017 special meeting made by Rebecca Adams; seconded by Robert Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.


4.    Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of January 23, 2017 without changes made by Robert Poturnicki; seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.


5.    Welcome and remarks by State Senator Len Suzio, and State Representative Buddy Altobello
Buddy Altobello told the committee that reps at the state level are dealing mainly with the budget and a host of bills; he indicated “everything is on the table” and the current atmosphere is “contentious,” which makes it difficult to predict what issues will be resolved and when.
Len Suzio mentioned that there is still grant money available, but it’s not clear where it will be awarded.  It does mean our STEAP proposal still has a chance – Ed Bailey indicated our application will be resubmitted shortly. The theme for grants this year is “intertown” issues. Len indicated he is aware of Lake Beseck issues and promised he would work on them, particularly trying to get a response from DEEP about the carp proposal.


6.    Public Comment
No members of the public were present.


7.    Chairman’s Report
Amy reported there was a delay in getting the lake water back to its spring level due to a problem with the key for closing the gate valve.  This problem has been fixed and the levels appear to be returning to normal. 
Amy indicated she is receiving pictures of geese on the beach already this spring; it is not yet as bad as it has been in past years, but it is important to keep working on that project to preserve water quality at the beach.
Despite repeated contact efforts, we haven’t heard from Country Flower Farms about the landscaping project; we will keep working but may need to focus on other projects in the meantime.


8.    Selectman’s Report  
Ed Bailey indicated there will be another round of STEAP grants this spring (there have been two rounds of awards for FY 2017 so far). Our current request – to improve the culvert on Lake Shore Drive and install a vortechnic unit at the outlet next to the beach  -- needs some updating, but Ed Bailey believes it is strong and will resubmit it. 
The First Selectman’s budget has been submitted to the Board of Finance, which they now have three months to consider. The numbers for our committee ($11,000 in the operating budget and approx. $10,000 for Mark June Wells in the capital account) are essentially the same as last year. The BOF has been supportive of efforts to improve the lake, and the monies in the last five years are the largest committed so far.
Ed Bailey passed out copies of Mark June Wells’ FY2016 “State of the Water Quality Report,” which is the second such report, and pointed out that this is the first consistent monitoring the lake has ever had. He also reviewed the general state of financial affairs for the town with respect to the state.
Jon Brayshaw noted he is looking forward to working on lake issues.


9.    Mark June-Wells Report
Mark went through the FY2016 report, and stressed that there has been a decrease in the overall phosphorus levels at the lake over the past three years.  This means a lower risk of algal blooms, and it suggests that the projects we have been undertaking “are working.” He outlined the actions taken recently during, or as a result of, the dam drawdown, including control of terrestrials and some sediment removal. Mark also mentioned that the dam drawdown caused the lake to lose 21 of the original 27 species of aquatic plants; that population decimation will need to be addressed.  Randy Bernotas asked whether the plants were truly gone or just not visible at present; Mark replied that, in the second year after the lake refill, we’ve seen explosions of the invasive species (pondweed and milfoil). He again mentioned grass carp as the most inexpensive and eco-friendly way to combat the milfoil problem; he is working with other lakes to analyze their carp programs, and has found that carp do not negatively affect water quality and can reduce milfoil populations significantly. In general, Bass populations in the lakes he has studied improved, possibly an indirect effect of the presence of carp.
However, Mark noted that if our grass carp proposal is rejected, he has already done risk assessments for herbicide options; another choice is harvesters, either rented or purchased by the town.  Either way, plant management must be a priority in the coming year.
Randy Bernotas expressed frustration that the committee is being held hostage by the DEEP’s failure to respond to the request to use carp; Len Suzio promised to follow up on the issue.  Len asked about the ideal time to introduce carp; Larry Marsicano, head of the CT Federation of Lakes and the Candlewood Lake Association, replied that early summer is the best time for maximum growth of the fish. Len also asked about dead plants from the use of herbicides; Mark acknowledged that adding to the biomass will increase phosphorous and the risk of algal blooms in future. He mentioned Rogers lake, which is mesotrophic, which used herbicides and experienced significant de-oxygenation shortly after. 
Mark June-Wells also mentioned the proposed Lake Smart Program and the watershed improvements (STEAP), floating islands and aeration as other ways the improve water quality.
John Lindner asked about the harvesting option; Mark June-Wells indicated the advantage is that the harvester actually removes the biomass from the lake, but a large-scale harvester costs $200,000 new/$100,000 used. Larry Marsicano mentioned that an individual at Lake Candlewood has purchased an eco-harvester --  which in theory pulls up the plants rather than just cutting them – although he is still learning how to use it. Larry also mentioned the cuttings themselves can be converted to mulch, and Candlewood is looking into options in that regard.
Len Suzio asked about the possibility of several lakes sharing the cost of an eco-harvester.  Mark June-Wells indicated it could be done, particularly if the lakes are infested with the same kinds of invasives. He estimated Lake Beseck’s littoral zone could be treated in perhaps 1-2 weeks, which would allow several small lakes to get their weeds harvested over a single summer. Len asked Mark for information about the harvesters and a list of other lakes that might be good candidates for a shared harvester.  Ed Bailey mentioned we had made a proposal that included a harvester in the past which was rejected, but which included much higher estimated costs for the town to own and maintain its own harvester.
John Lindner asked about the floating islands and the possible cost; Mark June-Wells indicated he felt it would be better to start with the Lake Smart program and asked Larry Marsicano to discuss.
Larry indicated that the Lake Smart program stresses better stewardship of the lake, often using pledge-level activities for individuals to participate on a small scale. He recommends creating a list of which BMPs (best management practices) we want to promote for Lake Beseck, and then reaching out to residents who will pledge to do these things and rewarding them – often with a plaque or similar signage. CFL has some basic signs we can use. Larry stressed that “engagement is key;” the movement tends to build on itself as people become proud of their efforts. Candlewood used Eagle Scout projects to move the program along. In response to a question from John Lindner, Larry confirmed that some residents simply won’t participate; the idea is to concentrate on the people who want to participate to increase social pressure on others.
Larry Marsicano handed out maps from Lake Candlewood’s program to radio-tag the grass carp to study where they are congregating (near the largest milfoil populations); individuals were given a chance to “adopt a carp.” 


10.    Projects/Outreach

  •  Lake Smart Program

Motion by Amy Poturnicki to create a subcommittee, consisting of Daria Vander Veer, Amy Poturnicki, John Linder, and Rebecca Adams, tasked with working with Mark June-Wells to create a Lake Smart Program for Lake Beseck, including a plan of action for implementation. Seconded by Randy Bernotas. Passed unanimously.

  • Beach Erosion/Geese Control 
  • Earth Day Sat April 22 suggestions – Mark June-Wells is ready to give a presentation on rain gardens/buffer zones and how to create them. 

Motion by Amy Poturnicki to hold the Earth Day workshop on rain gardens and buffer zones on April 22, 2017 from 9-10:30; seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.

  • Open Forum – Amy Poturnicki described the previous open forums; no action was taken.

11.    Budget

Amy Poturnicki indicated the committee has about $6,000 remaining in the budget; she asked for project ideas for the upcoming year.  Suggestions included buffer zones around the northern curve of the lake to decrease erosion and prevent parking along the shoreline; purchase and installation of pet waste stations throughout the neighborhood; a lake cleanup day in the fall; purchase of Lake Smart signage; and floating islands for the northern portion of the lake. 

12.    Future Meeting Dates

Amy has looked at the town calendar and proposed meeting on Wednesdays in future; she suggested the fourth Wednesday of every month.

Motion to move the committee meeting dates to the fourth Wednesday of every month, with the next three dates being April 26, May 24, and June 28, 2017 made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas. Passed unanimously.

13.    Misc.
No miscellaneous business.


14. Adjourn
Motion to adjourn made by Ed Bailey; seconded by Robert Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 9:11 PM.
 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee January 23, 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting

Monday January 23, 2017 7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center


1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:08pm. 


2. Members Present
Craig Lundell, Amy Poturnicki, Rob Poturnicki, Randy Bernotas, Jon Brayshaw, Daria Vander Veer, Rebecca Adams, John Lindner, Jay Brown.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:11pm. 3. Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve the agenda of January 23, 2017 made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by   Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously. 


4. Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of August 22, 2016, without amendments, made by  Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Craig Lundell.  Passed unanimously. 


5. Public Comment
No members of the public were present. 


6. Chairman’s Report
Amy reported that there has been no news on the STEAP grant; we have had no communication from DEEP. 


7. Selectmen’s Report  
Ed Bailey reported that no STEAP grants have been awarded at all since our last meeting, although there is still money available so there is some hope for the end of the fiscal year. The state is under extreme financial duress, so the near future “doesn’t look good.” Rebecca Adams agreed and supplied some additional details; she indicated new projects are facing a serious lack of funding. Jon Brayshaw asked whether funds for this committee were being included in the new budget.  Ed Bailey indicated that funding for small towns in general is endangered. 
Ed also reported that Mark has not heard anything from DEEP about our proposal to put carp into the lake; there is a general sense the fisheries staff are opposed to the idea. Rebecca Adams noted that the carp plan is a good example of a project that we could push for since it is a fiscally responsible option from the state’s perspective. Ed Bailey noted that the state may be holding off approval pending the results of the carp project in Candlewood Lake; he will speak to Len Suzio and Buddy Altobello. 
Speaking of the town budget, Ed recommended we continue at least year’s levels. Amy will ask Mark for a quote to repeat the testing he did last year. 
John Lindner asked, if we do not get a STEAP grant, what funding the town can plan for, longterm, to support our capital projects going forward. Ed Bailey explained some options for additional funding. 
Ed Bailey updated the committee on the work the Planning & Zoning Commission has been doing on the new Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), which includes a section on natural resources and open space, including ponds and lakes in the area. The plan identifies areas of interest but does not make many specific recommendations; Amy Poturnicki mentioned that much of what the POCD provides mirrors the recommendations made by Milone & MacBroom in their management study. Ed Bailey’s recommended that we make P&Z aware of the M&M report.  Otherwise, he and Amy agreed the P&Z plan is a good beginning; Rebecca Adams advised that committee members should go directly to P&Z to make specific recommendations to incorporate into the plan.  P&Z will have a special meeting on Feb. 15th to discuss the POCD, which is available online on the town’s site.  Amy indicated she planned to attend; Rebecca, Rob, and Randy said they would join her. Members were encouraged to review the M&M study and email Amy with specific recommendations. 
In response to a question, Ed Bailey indicated that the committee was not over budget.  About $8,000 has been budgeted for the committee work and $10,000 for the testing & lake management. 


8. Mark June-Wells Report
Mark June-Wells was not present. 


9. Misc. 
The committee discussed the plans for the spring project of creating buffer gardens along the lake edge and coordinating with Country Flower Farms for educational programs and owner discounts on lake-friendly plants. 
John Lindner mentioned that the next CFL convention will be in April at the CT Agricultural Experimental Station.  Members were encouraged to attend. 


10.Adjourn
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Robert Poturnicki; seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously. 
Meeting was adjourned at 8:25. 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee August 22, 2016

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting
Monday August 22, 2016, 7:00 PM
Middlefield Community Center

1.    Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM.

2.    Members Present
John Lindner, Rebecca Adams, Randy Bernotas, Robert Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Daria Vander Veer.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:07 PM.  Craig Lundel joined the meeting at 7:18 PM.  Darin Overton joined the meeting at 7:20 PM. Mark June-Wells (consultant) was also present.

3.    Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve the agenda of August 22, 2016 without changes made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.

4.    Approval of July Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the July 25, 2016 meeting without changes made by Robert  Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.

5.    Public Comment
No members of the public were present.

6.    Chairman’s Report
Amy reported that residents, although still frustrated by the abundance of milfoil, are grateful for the pickup option to store any harvested milfoil at the town beach.  Geese continue to be a problem on all sides of the lake; residents have tried different approaches but nothing seems to be working very well.

The committee discussed the garden plan; John Lindner indicated that the owner of Country Flower Farms has been on vacation but he hopes to meet with him later this week.  Daria Vander Veer suggested that a likely spot for the “example” garden would be the northern curve of the lake, since the banks are being eroded by people parking along the edge. 

7.    Selectmen Report
Ed Bailey reported that Mark June-Wells and selectmen walked the area with state representatives, from the dam southward, to try to find a place to contain any carp that might escape from the lake; the most likely spot is just below Blackbird Tavern, where the stream narrows and there used to be a water wheel.  John Brayshaw has agreed to allow an easement to let contractors access the property to build the containment structure.  Ed plans to speak with Mickey Fowler and get his permission as well.  Mark June-Wells indicated the state representatives noted the drop after the dam and seemed confident that it would kill any escaping fish.  Ed Bailey will follow up with the state after getting permission from Mickey Fowler; however, Mark June-Wells indicated that the tenor of the meeting gave him the impression that the representatives would not approve the carp plan based on the site walk.
Ed indicated that Peter Parker is looking into boulders to put at the town beach to be part of a buffer zone near the water.


8.    Mark June-Wells Report
Mark reviewed the state of the terrestrials in the south end of the lake and modified the treatment map with the idea of retaining some terrestrials in the southern end to sequester nutrients and sediments as well as providing additional habitat for wildlife. These steps reduced the total acreage needed for the herbicide treatment.  He has sent the modified plan to the contractor to get a modified quote. Mark indicated he will donate one staff member to the committee to oversee the actual application.

Mark indicated he expects the permit to be approved within the next few days, since he has provided all the materials they require.  He also has conditional BLM approval, and we have a bid from All Habitat Services.  Mark has also reached out to Pond and Lake Connection (New Milford) for a backup bid.

Randy Bernotas asked about the cleanup of the dead plants after treatment.  Mark indicated the biomass probably wouldn’t be great enough to warrant harvesting.

In response to a question from Amy, Mark indicated that treatment should begin as soon as possible but no later than mid-September.  The committee discussed the fact that some of the terrestrials have died off because of higher water levels, and some because of human harvesting.  Mark June-Wells stated, however, that the plants growing in the shallowest waters will persist unless treated.  He predicted a roughly 90% kill rate for the treated areas.

Daria Vander Veer mentioned that it’s important to get out the word about the positive aspects of the project, including leaving some plants for habitat, etc. Another point in favor of the treatment is that it is applied directly to the plants, not put into the water, so it will not even reach lethal doses for the plants in the water itself.

Ed Bailey asked about notification requirements; Mark indicated that signage would need to be put up at the beach, boat launch, and possibly a public notice in the newspaper.  He indicated the permit would indicate the requirements for notification.  Ed Bailey recommended having Mark write up an eco-restoration paragraph describing the project, so that the committee has something to provide to people asking about the herbicide application.

Motion to have Mark June-Wells write up a brief project synopsis to provide to the public made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by John Lindner.  Passed unanimously.

Motion to make a recommendation to the First Selectmen to proceed immediately with the herbicide treatment made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by John Lindner.  Passed unanimously.

The committee discussed options for redress if the carp application is denied, including asking Mark for his thoughts on how the process works and what might happen going forward.  There was additional discussion about the lack of response from the state and some of the apparently inconsistent decisions made at the state level about various lakes.   Mark provided his understanding of the history of the permitting process, state staffing levels, and the challenges posed by the current setup.

Members discussed the need for organization and a strategy to bring attention to the current situation, including working with the CT Federation of Lakes (Mark June-Wells is a board member).  

Ed Bailey asked about the algae; Mark June-Wells indicated that it hasn’t improved much, but he has contracted with a new lab that is enumerating the algae right now.

Mark indicated that there have been no signs of any weevils lately, and the milfoil is still looking “very healthy.” He also indicated that he was on the lake ten days ago and did the fourth year of data collection as part of the research study he began; the information will be written up for publication in a journal this year.  Mark said he welcomes assistance with editing and fact-checking.

9.    Weeds
Mark mentioned he had made an error in plant identification, and he has since modified his original maps with the correction.

10.    Misc.
Randy Bernotas asked about signage at the boat ramp re: speed limits.  Ed Bailey indicated signage is the state’s responsibility.

11.    Adjourn
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted,
Daria Vander Veer
Secretary

 

 

 

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee July 25, 2016

Lake Beseck Environment Committee

Monday July 25, 2016

Special Meeting

Middlefield Community Center

 

1.       Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 7:08 PM.

2.       Members Present

Randy Bernotas, Amy Poturnicki, Jon Brayshaw, Robert Poturnicki, James Irish, John Lindner, Daria Vander Veer, Ed Bailey. Rebecca Adams joined the meeting at 7:10PM.  Craig Lundell joined the meeting at 7:20PM. Mark June-Wells, consultant, was also present.

3.       Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda of July 25, 2016 made by Randy Bernotas; seconded by Robert Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.

4.       Approval of June Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the June 27, 2016 meeting, without changes, made by Robert Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5.       Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6.       Chairman’s Report

Weeds: cleanup of swim area took place June 28.  Amy thanked those committee members who showed up to help.  Amy continues to get complaints from residents about the chopped-up pieces of milfoil created by the boats. Amy asked the town if there is anything that can be done; she was told that residents can pile up any milfoil they harvest next to the storage container on the south end of the beach.  The town will periodically collect it.

Randy Bernotas asked Mark June-Wells how the milfoil is able to reproduce when the pieces are floating around, suspended in water; Mark indicated the pieces eventually sink and then grow roots just like any other clipping.

Ed Bailey reported that the town lifeguards have been given equipment and instructions to clean up the beach daily.

Geese: More decoys were installed, although it’s not clear that they are working effectively.  Ed Bailey went over a few other options, such as LED lights, that haven’t been tried yet.

Buffer Zone Project: Amy met with Park & Rec and they are willing to work with us on the project.  John Lindner reached out to Country Flower Farms, who were receptive. A meeting is scheduled for later this week to discuss with CFF what plants we would need them to provide and how they can offer classes for local residents.

Grass Carp: Amy spoke with Indian Springs Golf Course and they were enthusiastic about the results they got with using grass carp within two years.  Water clarity improved and algae disappeared. Craig Lundell suggested holding an “Adopt A Carp” program to raise funds to purchase the carp and raise awareness. Amy sent a memo to lake residents about the program; feedback included questions about whether the carp would actually eat the milfoil.  Mark June-Wells indicated that they would, especially since the lake is essentially a monoculture at this time. Another concern was the carp taking over the lake, but that has been solved by using sterile carp and restocking the lake on a schedule. Mark June-Wells mentioned that the data on Ball Pond showed that the impact on the fish population depends on how much habitat the carp eat, thus opening up areas for different species of fish.  

7.       Mark June-Wells Report

Grass Carp Permitting: Mark has been talking with Peter Aristad in DEEP’s fish dept.  The department requested more information about the ownership of the lands beyond the dam; Mark provided that and offered them co-authorship on a paper about the lake.  He believes they will not be willing to let us install a structure on the dam to keep the fish from heading downstream, but we may be able to put something downstream of the dam instead. Peter Aristad is currently talking to the people in Land Management and will be back in touch; Mark plans to set up a site walk to show Peter Aristad the state of the lake.  Mark says the situation is “promising,” although DEEP is still non-committal.

Jim Irish asked about a schedule for actually getting the grass carp.  Mark indicated that he has been able to give Peter Aristad him all the information he has asked for and then some. If Peter is on board, Mark believes we have a good chance of getting the permit. However, it’s clear this project won’t happen this summer; Ed Bailey indicated the biggest challenge will be coming up with a structure to contain the carp that will satisfy the DEEP. Jim Irish recommended caution in how we publicize the carp project to avoid frustration for lake residents who may not understand how slowly the permitting process works.

The committee discussed the structures that would be needed to satisfy the DEEP, how it would be cleaned and maintained, and the properties affected.

Plant Control: Mark June-Wells has applied for a multi-year permit to clear up to nine acres of phragmites in the southern end of lake: Mark thinks we should manage the area as necessary to keep the phragmites under control, especially in front of the property of one owner who can no longer use his boat due to the overgrowth.  However, Mark suggested that we might also use the phragmites’ ability to catch nutrient and sediments to our advantage by leaving some of them in place to clean the water flowing into the lake from Powder Ridge.  We have options we can exercise depending on how well the partial clearing seems to be working.  Ed Bailey pointed out the optimum treatment time is August/September, so we would need to get approval within the next 30 days to take any action this year.

Water Clarity: Mark June-Wells reported he observed 3.63 meters of water clarity this year, which is very good.  He reminded the committee about the floating island concept as “something to think about as we are designing the ecosystem that we want.” In response to a question from Jon Brayshaw, Mark indicated that the water clarity may be due to the milfoil, and that in addition, the sediments that were exposed during the drawdown may have oxidized, which would bind up the oxygen.

8.       Selectmen Report

Ed Bailey mentioned the town has been looking at the culvert under the lake at Lake Shore Dr.  They’ve applied for a STEAP grant but it likely won’t be approved until next year. The culvert is compromised and must be repaired soon.

Ed Bailey provided a native plant list provided by the CT River Coastal Conservation District that might be useful for the buffer zone project. He recommended the plants, saying he has had good success with several on the list. Randy Bernotas also indicated he has had success with clethra plants. John Lindner shared a newsletter from Candlewood Lake that includes information about plants and relevant websites. Amy recommended Craig Lundell be closely involved with the buffer zone project.

In response to a question from John Lindner, Amy indicated she’d like to see the buffer zone project start right away, given the urgency of the goose problem. The “Lake Smart” program would most likely get underway next spring.

Ed Bailey provided a report from the DEEP about geese as a state problem and the town’s response to the survey.

STEAP awards: Ed Bailey reported a round was done in February but we have heard nothing since. He expects there will not be anything more until September/October. He expects we have a good chance with our application.

9.       Election of Officers

Nominations:

Motion to elect Amy Poturnicki as Committee Chair for the 2016-2017 term made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by Craig Lundell; passed unanimously.

Motion to elect Craig Lundell as Committee Vice Chair for the 2016-2017 term made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Robert Poturnicki; passed unanimously.

Motion to elect Daria Vander Veer as Committee Secretary made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by Amy Poturnicki; passed unanimously.

10.   Committee meeting dates

The committee agreed that the fourth Monday of every month works well for everyone, on the following dates:

August 22, 2016, September 26, 2016, October 24, 2016, November 28, 2016, December 26, 2016,  January 23, 2017, February 27, 2017, March 27, 2017, April 24, 2017, May 22, 2017, June 26, 2017

Motion to approve the 2016-2017 calendar of meeting dates made by Ed Bailey, seconded by Robert Poturnicki; passed unanimously.

11.   Miscellaneous

12.   Adjourn

Motion to adjourn made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by Ed Bailey; passed unanimously.   Meeting adjourned 8:30PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Daria Vander Veer

Secretary

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee June 27, 2016

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting

Monday June 27, 2016, 7:00

Special Meeting

Middlefield Community Center

 

1.       Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:11 PM.

2.       Members Present

John Lindner, Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, Daria Vander Veer, Mark June-Wells, Randy Bernotas, James Irish, Craig Lundell, Rebecca Adams, Ed Bailey.

3.       Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda for 6/27/16 made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously.

4.       Approval of May Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the May 23, 2016 meeting without changes made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5.       Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6.       Chairman’s Report

STEAP Grant:  no news at present.

Weeds: Amy took a trip to Bashan lake to look at the equipment they are using to cut weeds.  The milfoil is definitely a serious problem in Lake Beseck this year; she has received feedback from local citizens unhappy about the amount of dying plants floating near their houses.

A cleanup of the swim area is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28 at 5:00PM. 

Geese: more decoys have been ordered; the town is exploring options for how to deter the geese without having up tape that makes it look like the beach is closed.  The current tape is prone to high winds; the town is looking for a more permanent solution.  Amy noted that the water quality has remained good, which is fortunate considering other local areas have been closed.

7.       Mark June-Wells Report

Water quality and clarity have been good; in June clarity has dropped to 2 feet (from 15 feet in April), but that is normal.  The lake is already on the eutrophic side, and phosphorous levels have risen.

Mark June-Wells conducted a plant survey, and there is more bad news than good.  Good news is that some native species have begun to return.  Bad news is that potamogeton crispus (curlyleaf pondweed) is also returning.  Mark also found a single plant of trapa natans (water chestnut) and destroyed it; he hopes that is the only instance.  But the main bad news is the myriophyllum spicatum (Eurasian watermilfoil), which now inhabits 29% of the water body.  Mark found no weevils in the milfoil.  Robert Poturnicki asked if Mark has been seeing weevils in other lakes; Ed Bailey read from a newsletter for Candlewood Lake, which was exploring the use of weevils from 2008-2013 but did not succeed in getting enough weevils and finally decided to use sterile grass carp instead. 

Mark June-Wells indicated that carp can be effective, but Lake Beseck has other plant species besides milfoil the carp may prefer to eat, and the carp won’t eat ceratophyllum demersum, which we also have in the northern portion of the lake.  Mark said there is a chance the DEEP would entertain the idea of using carp in Lake Beseck; we would need about 500 fish at approx. $6 per fish, based on a formula: vegetated acreage x stocking rate (15 fish/acre) x percentage of infestation.  James Irish asked how such a process would get started, since the carp would be a minimal expense; Mark offered to begin conversations with the DEEP.  In response to questions from Amy Poturnicki, Mark June-Wells indicated we have the data to begin applying for a permit, which might require a site visit, and that the fish usually grow to full size and start making impacts in the first two years.

Mark June-Wells also mentioned one challenge: A fence would have to be installed near the dam to prevent the fish from heading over the dam; debris will collect in any fence so it will have to be maintained.  The state will need to be involved with any such project.

Daria Vander Veer asked about whether native species could be planted if the carp knock the milfoil and other invasives back sufficiently.  Mark indicated there are nurseries that specialize in wetland plants if we wanted to buy plants to add into the lake.

Amy Poturnicki worried that the pike currently living in Lake Beseck would eat young carp.  Mark indicated we would need to buy carp large enough to survive, which would cost slightly more.

Motion that Mark June-Wells should contact the DEEP to start a dialogue about applying for the necessary permits to introduce carp into the lake, and begin the permit process.  Made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Daria Vander Veer.  Passed unanimously. 

Jim Irish recommended we move as swiftly as possible on this plan.

Mark June-Wells also submitted a report to the committee that outlined other options for treatment of invasive plants, including various herbicides and their descriptions as well as mechanical approaches such as harvesting.  Both solutions would need to be done by professionals.  John Lindner asked whether we would want to use herbicides along with carp, and Mark said no.

 

8.       Selectmen Report

Ed Bailey mentioned there has been a problem with people swimming at the boat launch.  The resident troopers are aware of the problem, and temporary signs have been posted; DEEP is expected to add more permanent signs shortly.

Ed Bailey demonstrated the “V cutters” that can be used to harvest plants by hand and are in use in Lake Bayshan.  There was some discussion of which organization should pay for the cutters, which can be purchased online and cost approximately $150.  The committee considered which entity would be paying for the cutters Ed Bailey had already purchased; which organizations, such as the Lake Beseck Association, might want to purchase additional cutters, and the liability challenges of determining who would be allowed to use the cutters.

9.       Weeds, geese, beach

John Lindner made recommendations of spots where we might do a demonstration of a property buffer garden so the public can see what such buffers would look like.  Ideas included the town beach, Rover’s Lodge, or the curve around the northern portion of the lake, where traffic passes by. 

Ed Bailey asked about the current status of the terrestrial plants and the permit application for treating them.  Mark June-Wells indicated that the terrestrials seem to be thinning out and that, although the permits have not been received, treatment can be applied as late as September to still be effective.

Amy Poturnicki asked Mark June-Wells for an estimate of the cost of a buffer zone at the beach.  Mark indicated that if we did it ourselves, he estimated $500 for the cost of the plants. Hiring a company to do the labor would substantially increase the cost.  The committee discussed various options for planting both on the grassy sides of the waterfront and in the sandy areas.  John Lindner recommended involving Country Flower Farms in this project; if they set up the demo they could put up a sign to earn business.

Motion to proceed with a buffer garden at the beach made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously. 

Ed Bailey pointed out that the lake is under the control of Parks & Rec; the committee will need to work with P&R on this project.

John Lindner raised the “Lake Smart Home Certification” concept as a way to increase awareness among homeowners.  We would need to tailor the items to Lake Beseck and then, perhaps, do a targeted mailing to homeowners at the water’s edge.

Amy asked Ed Bailey whether the town could provide support to those homeowners who are complaining about the amount of weeds floating past their house.  Ed indicated some limited help may be possible.

Ed Bailey discussed various options he has learned about for controlling the geese; the town is working on ways to impede the geese’s field of vision using various materials.

Ed Bailey indicated that at the June 20 BOS meeting, the committee was reappointed with all current members including John Lindner as the newest member.  Amy recommended including the new Park & Rec staffer, when he/she is hired, to be involved with the committee.

10. Adjourn

 

Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Craig Lundell.  Meeting adjourned 8:55 PM.

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee May 23, 2016

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting

Monday May 23, 2016 - 7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

 

1. Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 7:04PM.

2. Members Present

John Lindner, Amy Poturnicki, Craig Lundell, Mark June-Wells, Randy Bernotas, James Irish

3. Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda of May 23 without changes made by James Irish ; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

4. Approval of April Minutes

Motion to approve minutes of the April 2016 meeting made by Craig Lunda; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5. Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6. Chairman’s Report

STEAP grant – submitted by the town, but we haven’t heard anything yet.  First round has gone out, but we have heard nothing so far.

Weeds – milfoil has been spotted and is fairly dense up to 12 feet of depth.  Mark confirmedthis observation.

We have been asked to give feedback on our Canada geese population; the state’s aware of the problem and wants to know if any of the solutions they have proposed have worked.  Amy filled out the form and submitted it.

Budget: capital funding for the lake was approved a few weeks ago.  We did get approved for the plant survey and for the $15,000 capital fund.  This leaves us with a balance of close to $50,000. Jim Irish suggested that it would be a good amount for a matching grant.

The committee will also be re-approved by the Selectmen in an upcoming meeting.  Amy checked with members to make sure they are all still willing to serve.

7. Mark June-Wells Report

We have been working with Mark for almost four years, and we have a good database of information. The expected loss of quality after the massive drawdown/dam repair did not materialize, so Mark is hoping the good quality will continue. The annual stratification is occurring, of course, so the last half-meter of the lake at the bottom is deoxygenated, so internal loading (phosphorous & ammonia release) is beginning.  This is normal.  Mark recommend against any drastic measures for controlling water quality at this time, but says there are some small measures we can take.

Randy asked why the water quality is so good, and whether the cool spring helped.  Mark responded that the lake has a good flushing rate, which helps.

As far as plants, the milfoil is back and it’s growing densely and fragmenting.  Mark has not spotted any curlyleaf pondweed so far, especially in the littoral zone.  The native plant community was significantly impacted by the dam repair drawdown, from 20 species to eight or nine. That wasn’t unexpected, but it means the milfoil has more opportunity to dominate and move into the spaces left by the native plants. Many lakes are seeing productive plant communities because of the mild winter; Mark foresees this situation maintaining for at least another year. His next proposed step is a survey to quantify the size of the milfoil patches in early June so we can have a sense of the size of the problem and decide what to do next year to tackle it. Approximate cost of survey: $1200-$1500. Amy remarked that this amount was in the 2016-2017 budget. Mark will also survey the terrestrial invasives at no additional cost.

Motion for Mark June-Wells to do a survey of the milfoil population of the lake made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by John Lindner.  Passed unanimously.

Mark indicated it is time for the committee to set up some short- and long-term goals based on what information we have after four years of study. He recommends, for instance, goals for management of the milfoil, perhaps by reintroduction of the weevils, as well as other low-cost ways to maintain water quality. He suggested committee members think separately about goals and bring them to the next meeting. He also mentioned that permitting with the DEEP this year is very slow; we may be able to get permission to do something with the terrestrials, for instance, but it would be very unlikely we would get permission to do anything with the milfoil this year.

Mark indicated that he also put in a multi-year permit for chemical treatments that we can continue for up to three years with additional payments.  In response to a suggestion by Jim Irish that perhaps some raking of certain areas in the southern half might be beneficial, Mark also mentioned that some mechanical actions, like raking, may only require permission rather than a DEEP permit.

John Lindner asked for additional details about the milfoil weevils and Mark described how little is known about the weevils and promised to look for weevils while doing the survey. Amy recalled that in the past, strategies with weevils were very expensive; Mark promised to look into the potential costs.

The committee also discussed other plant options and whether natives could be introduced into the lake to help crowd out the milfoil. Mark answered questions about plant growth cycles and which areas of the lake have the greatest challenges.

8. Selectmen Report

Ed Bailey was not present for the meeting.

9. Outreach

The Town Times ran Mark’s article in a cutdown journalistic form for Earth Day. John Lindner suggested coming up with a simple program for the people right on the lake to get discounts or other easy ways to convince people to do some simple things with their lawns.  Mark June-Wells knows some people in this line of work; he can contact them for ideas. A similar idea would be a “certification,” such as the CFL uses, to show homes that are “lake-smart” and have signs on their lawns to show their level – gold, silver, etc.  Mark suggested that peer pressure might help get residents who live on the lake to do more with their properties.

Motion to implement a “Lake Smart” program for Lake Beseck made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by John Lindner.  Passed unanimously.

Randy suggested a fly-over video and pictures of the lake; Mark will look into buying a drone to get some footage.

10. Lake clean-up

The cardboard boat race is coming up on June 5th; Amy suggested the upcoming Memorial Day weekend for the cleanup. Another idea is for each person to clean his or her roads during the week; Daria suggested cleaning the northern end of the lake early one morning as a high-profile event. The Committee tentatively set 8:00 Saturday morning for the cleanup.

Motion to hold the lake cleanup on Saturday, May 28th at 8:00AM made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by John Lindner.  Passed unanimously.

11. Misc.

12. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:29PM.

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee April 11, 2016

Lake Beseck Environment Committee

Special Meeting Minutes

Monday April 11, 2016, 7:00 PM

1.       Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 pm.

2.       Members Present

Ed Bailey, Amy Poturnicki, Rob Poturnicki, Randy Bernotas, Craig Lundell, Jim Irish, Daria Vander Veer

3.       Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda without changes made by Ed Bailey and seconded by Rob Poturnicki; passed unanimously.

4.       Approval of November Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the November 23, 2015 made by Ed Bailey and seconded by Rob Poturnicki; passed unanimously.

5.       Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6.       Chairman’s Report

The lake is finally filled; Amy reported that we were not able to act on some of the ideas of the November meeting as far as testing the cutting of the terrestrials because the water levels were too high. 

Mark wants to do a quantitative study of the plant community, now that the lake is full; Amy approached the BOF for the $1500 needed.  Jim Irish indicated that amount will be added to the $8,000 budget request.

7.       Mark June-Wells Report

Tabled in Mark’s absence.  Amy indicated that Mark is not sold on the aeration system that John Tucci had showed us, and recommends consulting with one of two chemical limnologists (Ken Wagner or Bob Cortman) that can engineer an aeration system specific to Beseck Lake.  These specialists would also be who we would want to consult with to weigh out an aeration system vs an alum treatment.

8.       First Selectman’s Report

We received the National Diversity Database analysis that was one of the required factors for getting permission to treat the terretrials with herbicides.  Mark June-Wells has recommended we give DEEP a few weeks to process before checking in with them.  The original target was to get this information to the state by March; with luck we could have a permit by the end of June.  Two endangered plants may be present in the lake that (Vasey’s pondweed and northern arrowhead) that we would need to be careful not to treat.  Mark has indicated that he has not seen these in the lake.

9.       STEAP Grant

State issued a request in December for applications.  The application will be to replace & stabilize the culvert that runs under Lake Shore Drive, install a particle separator and widen the road.  Estimated cost: $500,000.  Ed has engaged our state rep and senator to help move the application forward.  Grants are awarded in batches; we were not in the initial group so will have to wait and see.  Ed went over additional details of the proposed work to repair the culvert.

Ed passed out the 2015 summary report from Aquatic Ecosystem Research and indicated that Mark can go over the report at the next meeting.  Amy has passed some of these numbers to some people who want to look into other possible systems for filtering the water.

Jim Irish indicated the BOF has a “good appetite” for continuing to fund the activities of the committee.  He indicated the board recognizes the lake as an asset to the town and Amy has done a good job of explaining the ongoing maintenance needs.

10.   Outreach for Earth Day

Jim Irish suggested a feature-length article for the Town Times on the lake’s recent challenges with terrestrials, phosphorous loading, etc., and the committee’s efforts to effect improvement.  Amy will have Mark June-Wells draft up an article and Daria offered to help edit.

Motion to ask Mark June-Wells to write an article for the Town Times made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

11.   Misc.

Ed mentioned that the town will be using salt going forward rather than sand on the roads, in part because of the difficulty in cleaning up and disposing of the tailings afterward. It was agreed, however, that the town needs to improve the method of laying down the salt since it is currently being put down very heavily.

12.   Adjourn

Motion to adjourn made by Rob Poturnicki and seconded by Craig Lundell.  Meeting adjourned 8:12pm.

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee November 23, 2015

Lake Beseck Environment Committee

Monday November 23, 2015

7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

1. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:14 PM.

2. Members Present

Ed Bailey, Jim Irish, Randy Bernotas, Rob Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Rebecca Adams, Darin Overton, Daria Vander Veer. Craig Lundell joined the meeting at 7:40.  Also present, Mark June-Wells.

3. Approval of Agenda

4. Approval of August Minutes

Motion to approve August minutes, without changes, made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Rob Poturnicki.  Motion passed unanimously.

5. Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6. Chairman’s Report

Drawdown of Lake is running behind.  Although Town received notification of the drawdown from the Commissioner in October, the division of DEEP who draws our lake down did not.  Without this paper they could not proceed.  In addition, they added that they are still learning the new weir board system. They put a call into Ted Rybak to see what they needed for a drawdown below 3 feet.  Due to confined space, there was question as to who is qualified to complete this process below the 3’ level.  Today the lake is down about 2.5 feet and is dropping about 2” per day.  TC to Ted today.  Buddy Altobello will follow up tomorrow.

Bashan Lake – Bashan Lake has been staying in contact as they feel they are heading down the same path as us regarding Cattails and Phragmites, for which they have become inundated as a result of not being able to get water back into their lake.  They sought help from several professional consultants that lead them in the direction of spraying the plants.  The Bashan Lake Assoc. raised funds for a target treatment date for Sept. 21 to maximize effectiveness.  They were set back by DEEP permitting delays that resulted in a late, Oct. 14,15 (and likely ineffective treatment due to being late in season followed by freeze) A DEEP Botanist weighing in on the NDDB review also limited use of the herbicide specifically to Phragmites, and mechanical management of cattails as follows:

Herbicide applications should be restricted to spot treatments of the invasive Common reed (Phragmites australis). The use of herbicides on annual species which have already set seed would not confer any control in 2016. In addition, cattails can be successfully managed through alternate means as noted below.”  “Although increasing water levels should reduce the density of Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia) at Bashan Lake, control of this species may be hastened by cutting or crimping above-ground vegetation in autumn or early winter. Severing the link between roots and aerenchymal leaf tissue should induce stress by extending the period during which rhizomes must convert starches anaerobically. If pursued, mowing should be conducted using low-ground pressure equipment.”

A complaint went out to Commisioner Klee, followed by a meeting with him today.  Chuck Lee expressed that residents are over-reacting and that their lake is acting like a wetland and will return to acting like a lake once refilled.  When Bashan used Beseck as an example, Chuck stated that Lake Beseck weeds are dying off.  The new Deputy Commissioner, Mike Sullivan expressed need to address priority situations but stated that there are issues with limited staffing. 

Amy believes the experience of Bashan is a cautionary tale to us if we go the route of applying for permission to spray. 

Terrestrials – Neither the Town nor Mark heard back from DEEP after Mark’s re-eval of the lake despite multiple contact attempts.  We need to keep in mind that the Land Acquisition group meets every 3 months, next meeting would be March.  We would need to apply for any permits now for March review.  Additionally, there is only 1 person reviewing treatment permits in the entire state.

Mark advised that there is a backlog of almost 3 months.  Ed Bailey suggested we get the application in and figure out later whether we are going to do it.  Darin Overton asked what the cost of the permit would be; Mark June-Wells said it’s between $50 and $75, and he can fill it out on our behalf.  Amy mentioned that Bashan worked with both the Ag Station and DEEP, and three bids, and that all parties steered them towards spraying.  Mark indicated we can get multi-year applications; Ed recommended we apply for both spring and late fall.  Mark mentioned he doesn’t have a supervisory license so All Habitat would have to prescribe the amounts and types. Randy Bernotas asked whether the end date of the drawdown would be moved back since it didn’t start on time; he needs to work on his seawall. Mark June-Wells indicated that to control the terrestrial plants, the best approach would be to inundate the plants as quickly as possible in the spring (e.g., ideally fill the lake by March).  Amy worried that requesting a delay in filling the lake might give DEEP something else to blame for the success of the invasives. Rob Poturnicki suggested coordinating more closely with Bashan Lake to increase numbers and citizen power. Darin Overton and Mark June-Wells pointed out that Beseck has had advice from both Milone & MacBroom and Mark (and Bashan consulted with at least three organizations) and all were in favor of spraying.   In the event that it is decided that treating the terrestrials is the best course of action, Amy recommended that we go ahead and put an the application in now for spraying to prevent future delays, as well as cut the cattails per the botanist recommendation to Bashan Lake (which was to cut by “early winter.”) Darin recommended setting up a test plot with a control area and asking DEEP to send the botanist to show us how to cut.  In a few weeks the south end will be walkable if the drawdown continues. 

Motion to create three test areas to determine if cutting cattails would result in effective management made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Jim Irish.  Motion passed unanimously.

Mark June-Wells recommended three 10’x10’ plots of cut and uncut test areas to have enough to make a compelling case.  He cautioned that as the lake fills, we’ll have trouble finding the plots.  He recommended using buoys so that, as the water rises, the buoys come up and mark the areas.  He also can lend us his GPS so we can identify them easily, and each section should be marked.  Rob Poturnicki recommended three plots, each one 10’ by 20’, with one-half cut and the other uncut for side-by-side comparison.  Randy Bernotas suggested going into the middle of a thick growth area and cutting a 10x10 square so it would be easy to see whether it grows back or not.

7. Mark June-Wells Report

Mark reported that there’s been a lot of investigation of the nutrient loading on Lake Beseck and evidence now points towards internal loading as the culprit.  He handed out five pages of charts and went over them:

1)      Temp & dissolved O2 profiles. These show significantly low oxygen levels to 6 meters starting in April, building through August and falling back off again in September.  This correlates with a spike in specific conductance, which means metals (mostly iron) are present below 6 meters.

2)      RTRM (relative thermal resistance to mixing): calculated off the temperature and density of water.  Very high in the summer months below 4 meters. The upper and lower levels resist mixing and means the lower levels remain deoxygenated.  That leads to the release of nutrients, including iron, in the lower levels, and significant ion loading.

3)      Specific conductance: spike in specific conductance at deoxygenated zone, metals and nutrients are being released by the sediment due to aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Likely Iron, Ammonia and Phosphorus.

4)      Nutrients N, P: Total nitrogen (TKN) at depths of 1 meter.  We get a spike of N in the early spring due to spring flush, that is used by the algae community and drops off into August, then spikes again at the end of the season is due to mixing of the lake. Bottom water N is present primarily as ammonia and increases throughout the entire season due to lack of dissolved oxygen, which is an internal nitrogen load that is happening. Total Phosphorus results from lab were suspect April through July.  We saw an increase in October due to mixing of the lake.  Deep water P, remained consistent through majority of season, which is the internal loading of P from sediments.

5)      Algal counts and secci depths: notable is that we do not have a diatom community, and are dominated by dinoflagellates early in the season and greens and blue/greens toward the end. These tend to be associated with water clarity issues.

So what does this all mean? The lake has a significant oxygen demand on the system, which leads to an internal load in phosphorous.  The good news is that the nitrogen that’s present keeps the blue/green algae at bay.  Mark will have a summarized report that can be presented to the DEEP.

Amy Poturnicki asked how Mark’s figures compare from before and after the work on the dam.  The concern is that we would need to see a rebound of invasive plants to prove the damage the drawdown might have done. Mark agreed we should apply for an AIS grant given the milfoil seems to have rebounded so strongly.

The committee discussed ideas for increasing the visibility of what is happening; one suggestion was to go to NPR and get on John Dankowski’s show, the downside would be negative exposure for property owners, those trying to sell/rent their properties, the worry that it could impact resell value. Rebecca Adams suggested having the state rep bring up legislation in the February session that would force DEEP to come to the table and give us an opportunity to testify. It was agreed that Buddy Altobello should get involved.  Ed Bailey will speak to him and ask if a political strategy could be put into action.

Darin Overton recommended publishing a timeline that includes events and decisions – and who made them – and include Mark’s work and the natural events.  A timeline will make it clear where mistakes have been made; Amy Poturnicki asked Ed Bailey to draft one.

Randy Bernotas asked whether it was possible for the cattails and phragmites to die out.  Mark indicated he didn’t think so: Jim confirmed that the phragmites rhizomes are extremely large.

Motion to have Mark June-Wells proceed with the permitting application for spray-treating the invasive terrestrials made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Craig Lundell.  Motion passed unanimously.

8. Selectmen Report

The state is now accepting STEAP applications.  Ed Bailey indicated the town has to scope out projects the state’s looking for; construction projects tend to be favored, or things like “town center” plans to develop central part of the town.  If we get approved for the treatments he indicated that we have the monies available to do them.

9. Grants

10. Misc.

The group discussed the future of the lakeside deli.

11. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn made by Rob Poturnicki and seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Motion passed unanimously; meeting adjourned 8:32 PM.

MINUTES OF LAKE BESECK ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE - AUGUST 25 2015

1.    Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Amy Poturnicki at 7:10 PM.

2.    Members Present
Robert Poturnicki, Craig Lundell, Amy Poturnicki, Daria Vander Veer.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:12PM.  James Irish joined the meeting at 7:29. Also present, Mark June-Wells.

3.    Approval of Agenda
Motion by Amy Poturnicki to approve the agenda of August 25 without changes; second by Robert Poturnicki.  Motion approved unanimously.

4.    Approval of June Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the June meeting, without changes, by Robert Poturnicki; second by Craig Lundell.  Motion approved with one abstention.

5.    Public Comment
No members of the public were present.

6.    Chairman’s Report  
Phraghmites and Cattails - The Town received word back from CTDEEP. They concluded that the best management action would be to reassess aquatic vegetation coverage after the lake has refilled in 2016. In their notes they suggested that most if not all of the inundated plants are unlikely to survive, they also mentioned a lack of native submergent vegetation, and that phragmites and cattails provide useable cover habitats for the fish community. They recommended that the Town request that the CT Ag Station resurvey and map aquatic vegetation in 2016. 
Mark took a second look at the weeds following DEEP’s response to the Town.  Weeds in shallow water appeared healthy and he expects them to survive and spread. In addition, he mapped out aquatic vegetation that he feels is adequate cover for the fish. His report was forwarded on to our legislators. 
Beach - We’ve been experiencing beach closures this year due to localized high bacteria levels, believed to be the result of the large numbers of geese occupying the beach this summer.  This could possibly be due to the terrestrials forcing them out of their usual territory. Abutting property owners have been chasing them away. The Town has purchased decoys as a deterrent, which seems to be working.  Lifeguards and Public Works had been trying to keep up with the amount of waste produced by the geese.  P&R is currently looking into hiring their landscaper to run through the beach, now that geese have, at least temporarily, fled the scene. Mark was working on a price quote from a lab that does estrogen testing to rule out a sewer leak.

Change in Secretary – Nominate Daria Vander Veer

Motion by Amy Poturnicki to nominate Daria Vander Veer as committee secretary; second by Ed Bailey.  Motion approved unanimously.
 

7.    Selectman’s Report
Ed Bailey indicated that he submitted Mark’s latest memo to Jon Brayshaw who will forward it on to the state.   Regarding the geese, efforts will need to continue.  Parks and Recreation will need to work on discouraging geese early in the spring before populations start to build up on the beach.  The committee members discussed methods for deterring the presence of the Canada geese; it was agreed that putting a barrier up along the edge of the water will discourage them from staying.  Craig Lundell maintained that a simple rope fence along the water would suffice.  Other ideas included adding floating swans to the water.  It was agreed the geese normally overnight in the southern parts of the lake, and the presence of the cattails in those areas have disturbed their normal pattern.

Jim Irish asked whether there would be a likelihood of the town getting a permit to do an application this fall; Mark noted that the state is very far behind on permitting applications, so it seems unlikely that a permit would be processed for this year.  October would be the very latest that an herbicide could be applied, which may not allow enough time for a NDDB review among other delays.

Rob Poturnicki asked what could be done during the drawdown besides spraying.  Mark June-Wells indicated that both the cattails and the phragmites replicate by rhizomes, and so would need to be pulled up by the root systems.  While they can be easy to pull out, he indicated that it would take a great deal of work to eradicate the entire rhizome without leaving some behind.  

Jim Irish noted that he has been finding milfoil around his dock and asked if anyone else had seen it.  Mark passed out his findings and stated that the milfoil is pretty well re-established along with several other native and invasive plants the lake had before.  Ed asked what, if anything, the coming six-foot drawdown this winter would do to terrestrials.  Mark indicated he didn’t think the drawdown would do very much to affect the plants and realistically they will be back regardless.  When asked what the best time next year for an herbicide application would be, Mark indicated in August, when plants are photosynthesizing and actively transporting significant amounts of material to the roots, not away from the roots.  Ed Bailey noted that people would be facing the same terrestrial problem all over again.  Mark stated that you could go a little earlier, like the end of July, you don’t want to get them when they are just popping .  The situation would require early pressuring of the state.  Amy recommended getting the state to commit now to plant remediation next year if their “wait and see” approach doesn’t work.  Ed suggested he will work with Jon Brayshaw to write a letter asking for a commitment from the state.


8.    Mark June-Wells’ Report
Mark June-Wells mentioned that the phosphorus levels dropped off “precipitously” in July, and he is not certain of the cause.  Algae levels are normal, so perhaps the explanation lies in the long-term exposure of the lake bed during the drawdown.  He indicated we are seeing new, unprecedented situations now between the extreme drawdown and the fact that there is consistent monitoring.  The water has been mostly clear, with oddly low phosphorous, to the point that Mark has been having the lab retest. He stated “We are off the norm for Lake Beseck” and we will need to see how the rest of the season goes. Rob Poturnicki noted the major melt-off at Powder Ridge. Mark stated the effects of the drawdown haven’t been what he expected, anticipating this to be the richest year for water quality and domination of algae – but instead he is seeing low nutrient levels, no algal blooms as of yet, and a quicker rebound of certain aquatic plants.  He will probably publish some of the results.  Mark described the mapping he performed of plants in the lake.  He disagreed with the assessment of the DEEP that stated aquatic plants cover only a small portion of the lake; his memo reiterated his perspective that management should take place in following the initial arrangement that was described in the interim report, he also described how terrestrial plants may be causing the problem with geese at the beach.  Rob Poturnicki noted that Bashan Lake is experiencing the same cattail problems as a result of a similar drawdown.  Mark will continue to monitor, especially keeping an eye on the Eurasian Milfoil population.


Jim Irish asked for guidance on how to eradicate the rhizomes, describing his efforts of digging deep “horned” roots out with a gardening fork. He wondered whether the committee should provide information to lake residents who might want to pull plants during the drawdown, as most having docks only took the tops off of the plants.  Mark spoke about the phragmites and two species of typha in the lake, one that is more resistant to deeper water depths that have underground rhizome systems requiring significant work, to a degree that they won’t come back. It was noted when the lake was empty, few took advantage of weed removal and that fewer would likely try to remove the entirety of these root systems.

9.    Beach Water Quality / Geese
The estrogen testing quote came back at $250 per sample.  Mark recommended testing for estrogen starting with one sample from the swim area to minimize cost; if estrogen is determined to be present then start chasing it.  Ed asked what levels would be enough to be an indication of a human waste problem; Mark will look into that.  Ed Bailey explained that if there was a leak in the sewer system, “the experience with sewer leaks we’ve had is that it is very obvious. You would smell it and you would see it, because the system is totally pressurized. If there is a breach, it is just pumping out.” He doubts that is the problem.

10.    Adjournment
Motion to adjourn by Robert Poturnicki; second by Craig Lundell.  Motion passed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 8:10PM.

 

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee - June 29 2015

Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee - June 29 2015

1) Call to order at 7:11p

2) Members present – Ed Bailey, Rob Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Randy Bernodas, Jim Irish, Craig Lundell, Rebecca Adams; also present - Jon Brayshaw, Mark June-Wells

3) Approval of Agenda - Motion by Rob Poturnicki, Second by Amy Poturnicki, all in favor

4) Public Comment – none

5) Mark June-Wells Report: on file with Town Clerk

Summary- Mark looked at distribution of terrestrial plants throughout lake, estimated at 11-17 acres. Taking a conservative approach, he mapped patches above .3 acres using a polygon, below .3 acres was marked as a point.  Reference - Map, Fig. 1 of report.  Mark stated issue is directly tied to dam repair that allowed plants to take a strong foothold by extensive drawdown of over a year and no competition of aquatic plants. He expects plants to survive in shallow waters, impacting recreation, navigational issues to boaters, and property values. Advises issue will be a long term management problem if not taken care of now, due to rapid invasion, high sedimentation that would eventually result in marshland.  Given scope of problem and variation of sediment types throughout areas of impact, two recommended approaches:  1) hydroraking – non-selective, impacting native plants, inefficient, very expensive2) herbicide – highest rate of success, Imazapyr being herbicide of choice given aquatic environment. It would have little to no impact to other aquatic plant life below water. When asked about safety, and how it is applied if State were to take herbicide approach, Mark advised it is listed on State approved list, rated very low on HHRA, degrades in 3 days under conditions in Beseck Lake, an EPA safe herbicide. Mark is willing to run full assessment of it for us. Regarding application, he advised it is done by spraying directly on plant, causing diminished protein synthesis and release of free oxygen radicals in plants within their intercellular tissues, breaking down their cell walls.

May Water Quality testing resulted in diminished oxygen of water early, as well as significant Phosphorus enrichment in bottom waters of 100 ppb, that is historically not seen until late July/Aug. Suggesting high potential of Blue Green algae earlier in season.  Organisms are temp dependent, lower water temps are holding it off.

As a result, Mark recommended managing the swim area independently with a floating boom system to isolate swim area, and local aeration.

6) Chairman’s Report:

Outreach

·        The Storm Drain Stenciling project initiated by the Lake Beseck Environment Committee was completed on June 13.  The Boy Scouts, Middlefield Park & Rec and LBA members assisted with the project. 

·        A postcard mailer went out the week of the project.  Cost $372.48

(Thank you - Ed, Rebecca, Jim, Amy)

·        Mark Dionne covered the project and wrote a nice article for the Town Times.

Phraghmites and Cattails

·        A copy of Mark’s report was forwarded on to our legislators

·        Jon Brayshaw met with CTDEEP regarding the issue

·        People have been submitting pictures of the plants 

Summer Algae Blooms

·        Middlefield Park and Rec to purchase a vinyl barrier (skirt) to protect swim area from floating debris and algae and will look into aeration for swim area

Lake Committee

·        The Lake Committee was re-appointed for another term, it was decided to go back to the original name of Lake Beseck Environment Committee.

LBA Picnic and Cardboard Boat Race

·        11:00 A.M. on July 11 –boat race after lunch, line boats up on beach at 11 A.M.

·        Lake Beseck Environment Committee Boat

·        Outreach opportunity

7) Selectman Report:

Selectmen reappointed Ad Hoc Committee under the name of Lake Beseck Environment Committee, members were added from P&R, EDC, P&Z; Funds left in committee account at approx. $300; Capitol account has approx. $25,000 plus $27,000 will be added for the 2015/2016 fiscal year, building acct up to over $50,000 for future lake projects.   

8) Approval of May Minutes – Motion by Randy Bernodas to accept minutes as written, Second by Ed Bailey, abstentions - Rebecca Adams, Craig Lundell

9) Election of Officers – Chair, Amy Poturnicki. Motion by Rebecca Adams, Second by Ed Bailey, all in favor; Vice Chair, Craig Lundell. Motion by Amy Poturnicki, Second by Randy Bernodas, all in favor; Secretary – Rebecca Adams. Motion by Ed Bailey, Second by Rob Poturnicki, all in favor

10) Committee Meeting Dates – ForthMonday of every Month at 7:00 P.M. as follows – 2015: July 27, Aug 24, Sept 28, Oct 26, Nov 23, Dec 28, 2016: Jan 25, Feb 22, March 28, April 25, May 23. Motion by Randy Bernodas to accept meeting dates as proposed,  Second by Rob Poturnicki, all in favor

11) Adjourn at 8:59 P.M. – by unanimous consent

Respectfully submitted by Amy Poturnicki

Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Committee May 12 2015

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee Special Meeting
Tuesday May 12, 2015
Middlefield Community Center


1.    Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:15pm by Amy Poturnicki.

2.    Members Present

Randy Bernotas, Amy Poturnicki, Richard Boynton, James Irish, Daria Vander Veer, Edward Bailey. Jon Brayshaw joined the meeting at 7:25pm

3.    Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda of 5/12/15 made by Randy Bernotas and seconded by Ed Bailey.  Motion carried unanimously.

4.    Approval of March 30, 2015 Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the March 30, 2015 meeting, without changes, made by Amy Poturnicki and seconded by Ed Bailey.  Motion carried unanimously (one abstention).

5.    Public Comment

No member of the public were in attendance.

6.    Chairman’s Report

On Earth day, the Committee had a good presence with a soil scientist from CT Ag Station who discussed environmentally friendly options when caring for lawns and gardens that will help to protect the lake. Amy demonstrated rain barrels, dog waste receptacle, and handed out informational brochures. Storm drain stencils were also on display as well as a sign up sheet for the upcoming awareness project.  

On April 26, Ed represented the Committee (and the WPCA) at the Coginchaug Area Transition event “Spring into our Future” at the Federated Church.  He reported that the event generated a lot of interest in the dog waste septic systems (Doggie Dooley) and rain barrels; the emphasis was on how to make the area more sustainable. Ed spoke on the strategies for limiting dog waste. He felt the outreach was worthwhile. Amy thanked him for stepping in and helping with this effort. 

April 30 was the lake cleanup event; the stenciling project (June 13) will include several local groups including the boy scouts. An outreach brochure is in the works as well as stenciling kits for project participants.

May 4, CT DEEP fisheries came out and surveyed the lake; unofficial results were consistent with the fall findings, with a variety of breeds found. This is good news for the lake’s recovery.

The town budget passed last night, which included the reinstatement of $10,000 in funds that was initially decreased from the capitol account for lake projects.  

May 21, 7:00pm is the next Lake Beseck Association meeting at the Community Center. Amy asked members to attend so LBA members can be more aware of the committee’s existence.

Amy Poturnicki took an underwater video of the lake.  Water clarity was good, the beach area appeared free of invasive weeds, some unidentified weeds were observed past the swim area, there was also some plant growth coming out of the water.  Other plant life included what looked like cattails growing along the perimeter of the lake and heavily at the south end.  Mark June-Wells is going to see if he can identify the current plants and will report back on Friday. Mark thinks these plants could be buttonbush and cattails growing in various spots around the lake. Ed Bailey also mentioned seeing an unfamiliar plant with three spikes or leaves. Amy suggested they may be cattails.  Amy indicated that we need to go back out on the lake and try lifting up the dead terrestrial materials lying on the bottom of the lake; it’s possible they could be holding back the invasives like a benthic barrier, which would be a good thing.  Committee members also agreed that removing the terrestrials before the lake refilled would have cut down on the amount of dead, slimy material. 

Jon Brayshaw noted that he believes Chuck Lee is now in charge of the grants program and has been taken off lakes. Amy Poturnicki will check into this.

7.    Selectmen’s Report

The budget has been the main project, along with ongoing discussions about the Lake Shore Drive project (repairing the culvert under the road). That project has been worked out but has not been put out to bid.  Jon Brayshaw mentioned that Buddy Altobello may be working on getting the town some funding for the project.

James Irish asked about the planned timing of the project; Jon and Ed indicated the proposed retention pools that the Committee was considering are not currently in the plan. James Irish recommended these be included in the plan.  The Committee discussed possible options for creating ways to slow down the water flow and cause the sediment to drop out. Ed Bailey mentioned that the budget does include capital funding to pay for environmental analysis; he recommended the committee ask Brian Curtis to do some analysis so that the work can be included in the town’s project of repairing the culvert.

Jon Brayshaw recommended that the Committee work together with Parks & Rec to ensure that the beach area receives proper attention and care.  He mentioned it’s not clear who is taking responsibility for the beach area. The Committee discussed options for the lake area and its maintenance.

8.    Outreach

Storm drain stencils: Amy Poturnicki showed the Committee the stencils that are ready to be used. The project is June 13th; eight kits will be handed out (four people per kit). One person is responsible for safety and traffic control; two people stencil; and one person will be responsible for quality control. T-shirts will be given to participants. Amy demonstrated the materials and procedures for stenciling.

Amy also showed the Committee some brochures from the EPA that discuss stormwater runoff and pollution. Ed Bailey said the town can handle the printing of the brochures on plain paper.  Different methods of distribution the flyers were discussed; the boy scouts can carry them to hand out to interested passersby, or they can be handed out door-to-door, or a mailer can go out.

Pet Waste: Amy demonstrated the different containers for pet waste and for bags. Amy mentioned the idea of a kiosk, and/or a bench, at the intersection of Lake Shore/Lake Road and Algonquin, so people can sit and read about the happenings in the lake area. James Irish mentioned that any kiosk would have to not block drivers’ view up Algonquin. Vandalism is also a concern. Other options for locations to put up signage and/or announcements were discussed. The Committee also discussed likely locations for pet bag stations, signs, and/or mailings to raise awareness about animal waste and its effects on the lake.

Amy indicated the committee needs to decide on specific next steps for outreach.  There are still plenty of people living in the lake area who are unaware of the committee’s existence and who don’t know about the issues. Amy appointed a subcommittee to create a mailing for the committee to approve.

9.    Miscellaneous

Amy Poturnicki handed out literature on soil testing from the CT Agricultural Station and brochures about rain barrels and described to committee members how they work.  Randy Bernotas mentioned he could probably procure a large number of appropriate barrels.

Amy Poturnicki handed out additional literature about green lawn care and stormwater runoff issues.  Ed Bailey discussed the challenges of tracking how often people are having their septic systems cleaned or inspected, and possible ordinances that could monitor such activity.

Amy Poturnicki mentioned the recommendation from Milone & McBroom to determine the source of the fecal chloroform in the lake. Lee Vito knows of a lab in Old Saybrook that can test the nature of the contaminants to determine whether the waste is animal or human, and Amy indicated Lee will follow up on that question.

10.    Adjourn
 
Motion to adjourn made by Ed Bailey and seconded by Amy Poturnicki.  Motion carried unanimously.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Daria Vander Veer and Amy Poturnicki

Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Committee March 30, 2015

 

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee

Monday March 30, 2015, 7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

1.       Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by Amy Poturnicki at 7:11pm.

2.       Members Present

Craig Lundell, James Irish, Randy Bernotas, Robert Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Ed Bailey, Daria Vander Veer

3.       Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda of 3/30/15 made by Ed Bailey and seconded by James Irish.  Motion approved unanimously.

4.       Approval of February Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the 2/24/15 meeting, with one change (change Rebecca’s last name from Wells to Adams), made by Ed Bailey and seconded by James Irish.  Motion approved unanimously.

5.       Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6.       Chairman’s Report

Water is now going over the lake spillway, but the gauge is about a foot too high.  Amy will speak to the engineers. 

Regarding the south end of the beach, where the erosion is an ongoing problem, Amy spoke to Brian Curtis about ideas he had since there is planned work on the nearby bridge over Lake Shore Drive.  The pipe that is currently there is concentrating the water flow and increasing the erosion. Ed Bailey indicated that we need to get a detailed plan about the work previously discussed.

James Irish indicated that he thought there was work planned to slow down the water flow in the creek, and Ed Bailey explained that Brian Curtis has said we can try doing something between Lake Shore Drive and the lake itself to slow the flow and limit erosion, but that the larger second half of the project would be the creek bed that runs between Mattabeseck Road and Lake Shore Drive.  One thought, for instance, is to divert some of the flow into underground pipes to lower the  volume of water in the creek itself; but any work done on that area of the creek would be complex and expensive (much of the creek runs through private property, which further complicates matters).

James Irish asked about the things the committee can do between Lake Shore Drive and the lake.  Ed Bailey clarified that the outflow at the south end is the greatest problem; Brian Curtis has suggested a series of three basins, lined with riprap, that would slow the water and collect sediment.  The basins could then be cleaned out during drawdowns. That project would also involve removal of some of the existing culvert pipe.  This type of project would require analysis and planning, none of which has yet been undertaken (along with approval from Inland Wetlands).  The committee also discussed other options for the creek bed.  Another option would be installing a vortechnic unit, but that would probably be too large and too expensive.

Ed Bailey recommended the committee consider using its capital funds to pay for the engineering analysis, since the town doesn’t currently have the funding for it.  The culvert replacement hasn’t gone out to bid yet, but Ed believes Jon Brayshaw has the funding to do it this fiscal year.

Amy recommended to ask Brian Curtis for an analysis for just the segment between Lake Shore and the lake, to get a better idea of what the project may involve.

Motion by Amy Poturnicki that the Committee recommend that a remediation study be done of the area between Lake Shore and the lake by Brian Curtis and that the Committee pay for the analysis from its capital fund.  Seconded by James Irish.  Motion passed unanimously.

7.       Selectman’s Report 

Ed Bailey attended a workshop with the Board of Finance; he passed out the spreadsheet he submitted to the Board, and went over the expenditures for last year (Year-end balance for 2014 was $33,554.92).  Ed also went over the list of potential capital projects that Amy created, with the estimated costs.  He stressed that any of these projects will be a major budget hit, so having the carryover in the capital non-recurring account will be important.

8.       Outreach

A few ideas have been discussed, including containers for dog pet waste that owners can maintain in their yards to keep pet waste out of the lake.  Amy Poturnicki indicated a container would have to be ordered online.  Ed Bailey suggested a purchasing program that would make it easy for owners to buy the containers.  Another option would be installing some stations that dispense plastic bags around the neighborhood.  This summer the committee hopes to add the stencils to the storm drain to increase awareness.  Amy will send out an email asking for volunteers. The Agricultural Station also does soil testing; Amy thought some analysis of soil could help raise awareness of the levels of nutrients already in the soil.  Ed Bailey suggested additional education about buffer zones and erosion control measures, particularly along the shoreline.   James Irish suggested a mailing to remind people to cut back on fertilizer use, especially since spring is around the corner, possibly through the Lake Beseck Association. Amy will follow up.  There is an event focused on sustainability on April 26, sponsored by the Coginchaug Area Transition group that could be a good outreach opportunity.  James Irish suggested we look into fish re-stocking options offered by the DEEP.  Amy Poturnicki indicated she has spoken to the DEEP about this; they said they could come do an analysis of the lake’s needs, but they would not make any promises about whether they had resources to restock, if needed.  Ed Bailey said he believes the DEEP is planning to check the lake’s fish levels sometime this spring.

9.       Misc.

No items under this heading.

10. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn made by Robert Poturnicki, seconded by James Irish.  Motion passed unanimously.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Daria Vander Veer and Amy Poturnicki

 

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Committee February 24, 2015

Minutes of the Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee

Tuesday Feb 24, 2015

7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center

 

1.       Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by Amy Poturnicki at 7:08pm.

2.       Members Present 

Rebecca Adams, Rob Poturnicki, Amy Poturnicki, Mark June-Wells, Matt Sanford, Dick Boynton, Daria Vander Veer.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:14.  Jon Brayshaw joined the meeting at 7:20.

3.       Approval of Agenda

Motion by Rebecca Adams, seconded by Rob Poturnicki.  Unanimously passed.

4.       Approval of November Minutes

Motion by Rob Poturnicki, seconded by Amy Poturnicki.  Unanimously passed with one abstention.

5.       Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6.       Chairman’s Report

Rainfall finally allowed the lake to return to its normal water level and also allowed Matt & Mark to complete their studies.  DEEP intends to start refilling the lake from the winter drawdown level after March 1.  Water quality testing will resume in April; Mark June-Wells will add a few additional tests to the regimen. There is no news on the EPA 319 grant.

7.       Milone & MacBroom – Watershed Report

Matt created an ftp site to download the report: www.mminc.com .  At home page, in upper right, click on “client login.” Username is “Beseck” (case sensitive) and password is “Lake.”  Download the report to your home computer.  It is too big to email.

Matt last spoke to the committee a year ago; the process began in January 2014 and will run through November 2014.  They have sampled through five stormwater events, and did sampling at six locations & two tributaries.  Sites were chosen based on the highest volume of runoff.  Runoff was tested by MS-4 DEEP guidelines for ph, oil & grease, suspended solids, nitrates, and others.  They tried to cover all seasons.  The findings: water quality is generally pretty good.  High fecal coliform, but nitrate/nitrite levels are pretty good in general. He went over the individual outfall numbers.  He stressed they are seeing trends of high levels of fecal coliform in general in Connecticut.  Median should be 750 or less; some Lake Beseck sites had levels of 2500-5000.  Rob commented on the difference in the various outfalls, and wondered if the higher numbers were for those near the farms.  Matt indicated that it’s possible to test for human vs. animal waste, to determine whether the sewers are a concern; there is a lab in Colorado that can test for human estrogen.  He showed the committee the map of the testing sites and the respective results.  The highest levels were at the outflow next to the beach and near Sibley’s. Matt considers these results “something to consider, not necessarily alarming.”  He also noted some of these numbers may be normal spikes that happen after dry spells.  Ed Bailey mentioned that the town sanitarian has always found low bacteria levels in his in-lake testing.

PH was consistently around 7, which is normal.  Phosphorous was present, but not in high numbers. From a stormwater standpoint, Matt feels the report will be useful in identifying the internal loading culprits and build a case with Chuck Lee for lake management.

Matt’s recommendations (see report for full details):

- Consider implementing low-impact land use regulations, preserving open space, especially in the areas north of the lake.

- Consider including requirements for residents to add mitigating structures when they improve their homes (example: installing rain gardens when they add roof footage).

-Establish routine cleaning of the outfalls that were cleared out this past year; get a long-term agreement with the DEEP to make the process routine.  Same for the vortechnic units.

-Road treatments should move to calcium carbonate instead of salt or sand, at least around the lake itself.

-Continue sampling.  It can be done by volunteers, now that we know which areas need watching.  Having 5-6 years of data would be better.

-Forebays for sediment capture only recommended if the lake is dredged/deepened in future.

- Establish riparian buffers around the lake edge. Anywhere from 2’ to 10’ strips can possibly be added to zoning requirements.  This is a trend in CT lakes; FERC has required the lakes that are energy sources to implement such zones.  Homeowners are starting to need to create natural boundaries (“a living shoreline”) instead of, for instance, seawalls. M&M has a management handbook on their website that describes various approaches.

- Education is key; both new and old homeowners need to understand impacts.  Consider a pamphlet, email bursts, web site, etc. to continue educating people about water quality issues.

-Watch for erosion along gullies and beside roads, and make repairs as needed.  The committee discussed the outfall next to the lake that runs under Lake Shore, including various structures that might slow the storm flow, armoring the stream bed, removing the pipe at the end and installing a forebay, etc.

- Be sure the users of the dog park continue to clean up after their pets.

Jon Brayshaw mentioned that the lake area has a real challenge with the high number of domestic pets in the lake area.  The committee considered some options for educating pet owners about pet waste.

Jon Brayshaw noted that sweeping the roads twice per year, which the town has been doing, produces large amounts of material that’s difficult to dispose of.  The committee discussed various options for disposing of the sweepings and whether it is better to sweep more often/less often, switch to calcium carbonate, etc.

Conclusion: the committee will need to make an economic argument for the benefits of dredging the lake to state officials and local residents alike. It will take “a lot of selling” to get the funding to do the dredging.  Matt estimates a total cost between 3 and 6 million for such a project. He suggested perhaps bringing in the benefits to Powder Ridge as part of the argument.

8.       Mark June-Wells - Water Quality Monitoring Report

Mark’s major conclusion, despite the reduced water volume, was that oxygen levels and internal loading are the primary culprits in water quality.  He agreed with M&M’s conclusions in that regard; early in the season, roughly 3 feet from the bottom of the lake was deoxygenated even in May.  That’s unusually low.  That deoxygenated state persisted throughout the season, getting even lower at 6 feet.  What that means is that as water temperatures increase in June, green algae become the dominant element and use up all the nitrogen. By August, greens die off and phosphorous is high.  Blue-green algaes become the dominant species, and these produce cyanotoxins, making the water unpleasant and dangerous. In September/October a shift back to diatoms occurs.

His conclusion was the “oxygen is the challenge,” which isn’t news.  What he expects to determine next year is the total oxygen demand for the overall lake.

After that, the committee needs to consider options.  They include

-alum treatment ($100-130,000);

-aeration, which “turns the lake over” by mixing top & bottom water layers;

- Adding pure oxygen directly to the lake can be dangerous (stored oxygen is explosive);

-Drawing water from the bottom of the lake and using a waterfall system to cause a dropout of phosphorous.  Very rough estimated cost: $750,000-1 million.

Mark is leaning towards turning over the lake (option 2); he is currently evaluating the system being used at a lake in Beverly, MA.  He hopes to know more about its efficacy soon; if it was the system of choice it would need to be up and running by June 1 and run through September.

Dick Boynton asked about the potential effect of the terrestrial plants on water quality this upcoming spring. Mark agreed that 2015 will be unique in many regards, but stressed that he already has evidence that strongly suggests internal loading is the problem and that we should move ahead with lobbying the state and planning an implementation of the aeration for 2016.

Jon Brayshaw asked whether there would be swimming at the lake given the potential problems with rotting plants.  The beach area has been carefully cleaned, however; Mark indicated that the curlyleaf pondweed may have been knocked back significantly, and he suggested considering using booms to keep blue-green algea blooms, which are largely on the surface, away from the swimming area.

Mark will send a pdf of the report to Amy.

9.       Selectmen Report: 2015/2016 Budget

Jon Brayshaw indicated the budget is almost complete, and it contains $8,000 for this committee to cover limnologist and outreach.  Capital account for the lake will get $27,000; $8,000 for water testing.  If this level of funding continues the committee could have the $100,000 needed for Mark’s proposed project. Ed indicated he doesn’t anticipate problems with continuing this level; the goal is to accumulate funds to use for a project, possibly in 2016.  Ed mentioned that the committee will be appearing before the BOF within the next 6 weeks; it would be good for members to attend.

10.   Adjourn

Motion made by Rob Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams.  Passed unanimously.

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Committee November 24 2014

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee

Monday, November 24, 2014

 

1.       Call To Order 7:10 P.M.

2.       Members Present:  Amy Poturnicki, Lucy Petrella, Ed Bailey, Rebecca Adams, Darin Overton, Randy Bernodas, Rob Poturnicki, Jim Irish (7:15).  Also in attendance:  Jon Brayshaw, 1st Selectman.

3.      Approval of Agenda:  Motion by Randy Bernodas, seconded by Rob Poturnicki, passed unanimously.

4.      Approval of August 2014 minutes:  Motion by Ed Bailey, seconded by Rob Poturnicki, passed, 2 abstentions:  Lucy Petrella & Rebecca Adams

5.       Public Comment:  None

6.      Chairman’s Report:

Terrestrial Plants

Approval was granted by CTDEEP to allow the cutting of weeds from the lake bed, with these guidelines:

-Work up to 100’ out from shore

-Access the lake bed for plant removal

     -Plants should be cut not pulled

-Machines such as weed whackers, chainsaws, and hand cutting tools are allowed

-Can have ATVs present for the purpose of removing cut plant material

Things CTDEEP wants to avoid:

-No large machines should access the lake bed including tractors and brush hogs

    -No more disturbance than necessary to the lake bed

 -No pulling or uprooting of plants – (by steering away from pulling the terrestrials by their roots, it would prevent further erosion, and would avoid making those areas more susceptible to aquatic invasive plants)

Permission has been granted from the Town to pile weeds at the beach for removal. They can be placed at the south end of the beach parking lot, in front of the end pilings.

I followed up with the Boy Scouts with the thought of adopting a waterfront property owner to assist them with weed removal.  While there was initial interest expressed, upon follow up, I have not heard back as to if they have decided to pursue the project.

    Water quality samples Mark June-Wells

Mark has completed September and October’s monthly water samples from the lake to add to our database.  P and blue-green algae remained high into October, but algae is expected to shift to green algae with lower water temps and nitrogen rebound.  Water quality monitoring will resume in the spring.  Mark has decided to start his own company, Aquatic Ecosystem Research.

 

    Milone and MacBroom storm water study

We are about a year and a half into trying to obtain enough data for the creation of a stormwater report that will determine our direction with improvements to the lake. M&M has expressed difficulty in trying to obtain adequate samples due to lack of rain. These studies are of particular importance in our pursuit of funding and permitting of lake projects focused on improved water quality. The new EPA and STEAP grant applications are out now. Darin will give an update where they stand with storm water sampling.

Stencil Ease – storm drain stencils

I received an email from Stencil Ease that the $288.74 invoice had not been paid by the Town.  Upon further investigation, they did not bill the town, so it will have to come out of our 2014/2015 fiscal budget.  If needed, we can bring the situation to the BOF and ask if they would be willing to fund the amount underspent last year.

7.      Selectmen’s Report:  Jon Brayshaw stated that he received the punch list for the dam project a week or so ago.  It is greatly reduced.   There was an inspection at the dam where approximately 30 people attended.  The two doors were opened to see the weir boards which can be adjusted via an apparatus which can be brought in as needed to open the sluice gate.  The water is now 3’ higher than it was at “low”.   This being an “even year”, the 3’ draw-down level should be maintained until spring (3/15/15).  The weir board is set at this level.   Official letter received from Robert Klee, Commissioner. 

It was determined that this committee is a member of the Federation of Lakes.  There is no annual membership fee, but they do request donations.  It was suggested that a donation be made.  It was further suggested that information regarding the Federation of Lakes be put into the newsletter so that individuals are also encouraged to join/donate.

The Town has installed (and paid for) guard rails along King’s Road to prevent vehicles from going over the edge when trying to back around.

A discussion was held regarding the Aquatic Invasive Species Grant from the State of CT which funds eligible diagnostics.  This grant was not pursued, we did not qualify since the lake is down.  This grant should be re-applied for in 2015 when the lake should qualify.

Jon made known the drainage problem on Lakeshore Drive.  There is a drainage channel under the road that is undermined and could collapse under heavy pressure.  The channel has been inspected and the Town Engineer has drawn up plans for replacement of this structure.  The project will be put out to bid this winter, with work to be done in the spring.  This project will cost approximately $20,000.00 - $30,000.00 and is being funded by the Town road budget. 

8.      Milone & MacBroom Report:  Darin reported that the lake is up due to recent rains.  The 4th storm water sample was take 1.5 weeks ago and the 5th and final sample was take today (11/24/14).   The samples now are analyzed, summarized and a report is being drafted.  Results are expected early to mid-January.  DEEP wants a complete watershed breakdown management plan, including the extent of discharge points.  Testing was done on the lake side and these tributaries and discharge points should be monitored.

The question was raised as to whether the possibility of a State mandate requiring cleanout of catch basins and sweeping of streets twice per year as opposed to the current once per year will have an impact on the report.  Discussion was held regarding the current practice of once per year at the cost of $70,000.00 to $80,000.00 (that includes entire town) plus disposal fees, and the fact that this is an unfunded mandate.  It was decided that for now, the best route would be to be proactive by setting up a monitoring system to watch the basins and see which fill up first, etc., then do work as required.

9.      Miscellaneous:

STEAP Grant – not applying this round. 

The BOS and Finance Director are starting to work on the 2015/2016 Budget.  Funds requests should be submitted soon so that they can be included as budget items.  Include cost of ongoing testing of water quality by Mark June-Wells and a proposal is needed for annual service. 

It was decided that a comprehensive strategy for applying for Grants (Invasive Species Grant, EPA Grant, etc.)  should be put in place over the next couple of years.  When the Milone & McBroom report is received, a better understanding of problems which need funding will be known.  Getting funding from the State is difficult, applications are best used wisely so as to garner the highest yield.  Best to make a realistic plan on what needs are, and then work on how to fund it.

10.  Motion to Adjourn was made by Darin Overton and seconded by Rob Poturnicki, motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 8:28 pm.

 

 

 

Minutes - Beseck Public Information Meeting Sept 22 2014

Introductions

First Selectman Jon Brayshaw introduces panel of experts

Referencing the lake as a cherished body of water that many grew up with, First Selectman Jon Brayshaw opens up the public information meeting with a brief of what has brought everyone together, “Activities of the dam have brought about a change in ecology and we don’t quite know what to do, so we need help”.  We have brought together a group of folks that can help us understand what we are facing so we can make good decisions. 


Senator Dante Bartolomeo

Addressing the large crowd that came out, Senator Dante Bartolomeo spoke of how closely she and Representative Buddy Altobello have been working with the Town, the Lake Association, and CTDEEP on lake projects.  Bartolomeo acknowledges that part of the challenge is that the dam had to be fixed, but we also want to bring life back to the lake that is not just good for the short term fix, but also good for the long term health of the lake. Getting work done on the dam is one thing, but getting it done in a way and at a pace, which allows the lake to come back to life is very important.


Representative Buddy Altobello

Representative Buddy Altobello stated that he has learned a lot about weeds and dam repair in the past two years but advises that we don’t have the exact answers and feels fortunate to have all of the experts at the meeting for information, squelching some of the rumors that have been circulating. He has been at the dam about 25 times and admits that it is coming along very nicely, despite some additional structural deficiencies found along the way.


Robert Klee Commissioner of DEEP

I am happy to be here and glad for the opportunity of exchange in communication, which is really the most important thing to me – bringing the experts that actually know the day to day details and the details on the ground. The one thing that is most interesting that was highlighted by Buddy and Dante are issues that cut across multiple parts of our agency.  Anytime you are dealing with lakes and dams that always does happen…so, from an internal perspective it is about bringing together the Inland Water folks, the Dam folks, the Fisheries folks, the Lakes folks, the Water Quality folks to make sure the solutions we are working on meet the very wide array of needs and environmental concerns that our agency has.  I’ve learned a lot more about this dam and the efforts that have been made here. I know that there have been a lot of smaller repairs, but this repair, a 2 Million dollar project, is really about having a sustainable and long lasting solution that will be good for the next 50 years or more, that you can be proud of having for a long time. 

Schedule is always a challenge, for those that have been involved with even home repairs –construction schedule is always something that comes up as an issue but we are holding the contractor to their Dec 14 2014 deadline, but we are hopeful that they will be done soon. They are in fact done with the structure that is needed to fill up the lake that we have been trying to fill since the beginning of July.of course Mother Nature is in charge of the rain.  We will have our folks from fisheries talking about why when we are waiting for rain and hoping for the lake to fill as fast as it can, we don’t want to kill all the fish in the river downstream. That again is part of our agencies mission, to protect those parts of our natural environment.

We always knew that there would be one summer season impacted that was this summer season but we are working very hard, very diligently that that is the limits of it. There has also been an interest expressed on the lake bottom, and the weeds that are now growing in this exposed land. We are talking internally with our folks and are comfortable with some rules that we are going to outline with having folks go and remove some of those if they would like to.  The science of it, I actually do have a PhD in environmental science - and it is sort of a mass balance, the weeds were growing there in soils taking up the nutrients and if they go back into the lake the nutrient will stay in the lake so it would be kind of a net zero. We are not sure that it would cause much of an impact, but if folks still want to go out and remove some of those materials, we are okay, but not with heavy equipment – we don’t want people driving out in to the muck getting stuck or injured.

Again I want to express that we want to make sure that communication is open; that people feel that they have had a chance to ask questions, they get answers and keep aware of the project. I think that Ted has been doing a good job as our ground person to do the best that he can to make that communication to flow freely, but obviously keep asking questions and keep asking us how we can better communicate with you.

 

Dam Repair
Ted Rybak DEEP

The concrete work is done on the project now, they have been trying to bring the water up for about 3 months now, have put weir boards in the old structure, the new structure is complete, they are going to start working their way back out to the left side of the road - they have until the end of the year to complete.  Need rain for cooperation to fill the lake.

Dwight Q: How many inches of rain do we predict that it will take to fill the lake?

A: I don’t know how many inches, it is over time. I have to let water go downstream while were refilling.

Q: I just want to know why you are standing out to the end of the year?

A: That is their time on the existing contract.

Sue Q: Do we know why it is taking so long to get the dam repair done, we were talking that it was going to be earlier in the course of events?

Ted A: We had some change orders that was additional time but we are still within the contract limits, they were working when they could be working, they have other commitments, we had a month delay because we couldn’t get the gate in and stopped the work,

Alexandra Q: When you say they have other commitments, does that mean that they are not working full time on this project?

Ted A: No, they are on and off but most of the time, it is full time. 

Sue Q:  We are seeing people working on the weekends, so I’m thinking of the overtime.

Ted A: It is not overtime or anything else, they can work their schedule as it is.

Sue Q: So it will be piece meal from what we can see from across the lake?

Ted A: Like I said they have been working pretty regular, from a couple people to 4-5 people, it depends on what the work is.

Sue Q: So just to clarify at this point in time, it is the end of the year?

Ted A: That is the contract limits, they want to be out of here in another month or so, but they still have grass to grow, they have to run a pump to lead water downstream, they have to get rid of the old intake structure and put water to the new one there is still stuff to do.

Marv Q: The gate is open or closed?

Ted A: The gate is open, but I have weir boards in a slot inside, they leak a little bit just enough to keep the water going down the stream – it is not gushing out.  If you look downstream where the old structure is, it is leaking.

Marv Q:  In other words, if there is rain, it is going to rise?

Ted A: Yes. We received maybe a half an inch of rain the other day and it looks like it came up a little bit, but everything is dry.

Fisheries
Brian Murphy DEEP

I have spoke on the phone a few times with Amy and have also exchanged emails, there were several questions that she had been received from residents that I will go over.  First,

Is there insight on fish survival in the lake? 

We have received information from angler reports, postings on CTFishermen, of anglers catching bass, we know that fish were caught in the ice and cold of last winter.  We did document a spawning of sunfish in the springtime. This population is going to be pretty resilient.  If there is enough area there, you are going to see reproduction going on, although it is going to be in a parcel of limited space.  

Will the decaying terrestrial plants result in a fish kill next year?

We don’t expect to see a fish kill due to decomposition of plant material.  We have observed other drawdowns that have lasted longer than this, Wyassup lake was over 2 years and Higganum Reservoir was down quite a long time before the dam repair occurred.  In need of those situations, we did not see any type of fish kills when the water level was allowed to go back up, so we don’t expect anything to happen.

Will any of the fish be restocked? Which varieties?

The lake will be sampled, assuming that the water level is back up in the springtime.  We typically sample the lake at nighttime by boat, electrofishing in April.  We will compare to 2010 and 2013 samples and will make that determination if we really need to do restocking.   We typically don’t restock warm water fish, but you can’t say never because we will assess what actually happens at that time. So if we see a situation where a desirable fish species is no longer present in that lake, they we will consider restocking, but typically we have never had to do that because we have seen the fish populations rebound.

If DEEP will not be restocking, how long do you anticipate it to take for the fish to actually repopulate the lake?

We see fish that are pretty resilient and repopulate at an accelerated rate because it is almost vacant habitat.  We have lost some fish to downstream, we have had additional predation, so what we do see is good natural reproduction, good survival, and accelerated growth rates because you have less competition between the species and within species.

 

I heard that Pike have been illegally stocked in the lake and DEEP does not want them in the lake? Why? What do we do if we catch one?

Yes, Northern Pike have been illegally stocked and it is illegal for anglers to catch fish, transport them live to restock them in another water body in the state.  There are reasons for that, you can transport fish that may have disease, you can transport invasive plant species – there are laws against that, you cannot do that and oftentimes you may see an actual impact on fish population if your bringing in another fish species. The Pike are protected by the statewide regulation of 2 fish 26” minimum length. So if you catch pike you can release them back or harvest as long as it is within state regulation. A rumor was circulating that fisheries was telling people to harvest the fish and cut off their heads, we would never recommend something like that – again if you catch fish, you can put them back or remove them based on state regulations.

 

Are the lake fish safe to eat?

Yes they are, there is no reason just because the lake has been drawn down that the condition of the fish would be impacted where they would not be safe to eat. The existing state regulations have consumption advisories would pertain to Beseck Lake, the same that they do for other lakes statewide.

Will there be catch limits placed on Beseck Lake fish populations until they repopulate?

Based on past experience and until we do our analysis next year, there probably isn’t going to be a need for special regulations, we don’t expect a need for added protection.

Lake Recovery and Terrestrials
Greg Bugbee CT AG Experiment Station

I am from the CT Agricultural Station, I run the invasive aquatic plant program there.  We have conducted surveys of Beseck lake (showing 2004 and 2011 maps that are available online) The purpose is to see how the lake is changing over the years, we know all the plants that are there, they are recorded, we have transects in the lake, we can back to these exact spots where we can take samples and determine the vegetation and see how things are changing. We will be able to se how things are changing after this has all occurred, by going back and doing another survey and let us know has this hurt or helped, especially with invasive species. My personal feeling is that it could help you a lot with your invasive species issues. Most of the areas have been exposed and are dried and now have wetland, terrestrial or wet/terrestrial vegetation growing there.  I think once the water level comes up, the vegetation will die back and at least for a while it will give you a bio-barrier to protect with re-infestation from some of these invasives that’s my thinking on it, we’ll see that works but we will be out there in a year or so after it fills back up and doing more survey work to help to determine how things have changed.  During the last two years we have offered workshops at this very spot on Earth Day to help to learn how to identify invasive species and particularly look for new ones in an effort to solve a lot of problems, so education can help.


Mark June-Wells All Habitat Services

Acting as the advisor to the Lake Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, a committee dedicated to conserving this lake.  As you can imagine, the drawdown of this magnitude to repair the dam structure is a significant disturbance to the lake ecosystem. What your elected officials have been doing is monitoring that lake before and after this entire initiative. We have water quality data ranging back historically that has been summarized as well as water quality data that has been occurring during the drawdown that will continue after this project is complete. Additionally we have been conducting vegetation survey’s, as Greg has mentioned and we have initiated a research program of our own to understand how the plant community is going to shift – the relevant abundance of each species.  Additionally we’ve been looking for grant funding, to fund future initiatives in Lake Beseck management.  The purpose of all of this is so we are able to respond as a town and committee to manage this lake, to conserve its recreational value as well as the ecological value and ensure that it is there for the future generations.

Chuck Lee, CT DEEP

I want to speak about the history that I have been involved with or the agency has been involved with Beseck Lake. The first time I came out was 1995, the lake was drawn down in the winter and the lake wasn’t coming back up and people were disappointed that it wasn’t coming back up to the summer level by the time recreation began. One of the things we know about Beseck lake is that it doesn’t fill up quickly. With average rainfall we would expect to see it refill – it could fill up twice in one year but sometimes we don’t have average rainfall and we have to deal with the lake not flowing as quickly as we would like or as quickly as the calculations tell us it would be.  We have been involved with the lake in a number of different ways, In 1999 or so when the sanitary sewer lines were placed – that was a big project. Att the same time, we provided a little bit of money so that storm water sewers could be put in as well which was a real foresight in doing that while th etwon had all the contractors on site, all the engineering, and surveyors, it was a lot less expensive to do the storm water sewers at that time then to do it at another time. The former selectman had good insight in trying to do that. Around the same time, back in 2000 we were able to do a quick study of the lake through the Lakes Grant Program and look at the water quality, although in my opinion it was still an abbreviated study – we would still like to collect more data on the lake.  It did show that the sanitary sewers at that time [if you believe in those one-shot data points] were showing improvement. We have liked to have more robust data to show our assessments, but that’s what we were working with. I know people have a lot of questions about plants that are growing up and what is going to happen with that. I think the best example I can give you from our experience is Lake Williams in Lebanon.  It was a similar lake because it was more of a wetland or a pasture or meadow before it was a lake.  It was down maybe 5 years or more – [it was not a state owned lake] we were involved with the Town of Lebanon, when that lake came back up, it came back to being a lake, it did not come back as the emergent wetland that they were seeing when the lake was down, it came back up as a lake again. I think you are right in being concerned, anytime you make a drastic change to an ecosystem especially a lake ecosystem, what’s going to happen - our experience is telling us that is going to come back up and we are going to have the lake that we had before in about a year, once we get the water back up. My concern and probably your concern too is that the lake we had before, we would like to improve. We know we have algae blooms at Beseck Lake, we know we have invasive plants that we would like to control and that has been an ongoing battle and we are going to continue to work with that as we have funding and as we work with the Town.  I’m glad the town is showing a strong commitment by hiring Mark to do work for the town – I think that is a very important first step.  We will be working with Mark and we will be working with the town to keep that information going. I know Mark has some information that looks at internal nutrients causing the algae problems; we could also look at a better assessment of what is going on in the watershed. We need to start looking at that, what it really takes to control the nutrients in the lake and in the watershed. We are not going to be leaving after the dam is up, we will still be around coming to meeting and talking about water quality. Again, I think the weeds we are seeing now are not going to be an issue, we are going to have the lake we had before and again, the lake we had before we still want to improve.

Elizabeth McAuliffe, DEEP liaison

I think someone had mentioned it that this was 2 million dollar investment to make in repairing the dam and we understand it is like living in your house when your kitchen is under construction.  It is an inconvenience, but I think the payback will be not having the leakage over the next many years. Not all communities that have dams that need repair have that investment from the state right away, so I think it is a good thing even though it is very inconvenient right now.  I know people had some comment about the boat launch and the individual from boating was unable to be here tonight but the group that is working on the dam is also working on the boat ramp.  Buddy: The “hump” at the boat launch is gone, it is all graded out and it looks terrific. It was something that Ted did as an adjunct to the dam, it wasn’t part of the original contact and somehow he snuck some guys over there and got it for us and we thank him for that. Liz:  I think I heard someone whisper in the front row that I still see construction trucks, I think it is important to stress that the parts of the dam that are critical to getting the water to come up are done, there is additional work that is being done at the dam but it is not related to the ability of the water to come back up, is that right, Ted?  Ted: That is correct.   And I think that is where some confusion is coming in, people are seeing concrete trucks – do you know?...You know, you watch contractors, it is interesting.  Ted: We finished this week the cap, so the top of the dam is complete, the only concrete trucks we will have now will be at the end of this week or beginning of next week, we should be able to get the old intake structure taken down and I have to fill the pipe that runs through there with concrete and there will be no more concrete trucks.

Amy Poturnicki, Lake Advisory Committee Chairman

I would like to thank everyone for coming this evening.  Momentarily you guys will get a chance to ask questions to all of our scientists, so I would like to thank our scientists and CTDEEP, I want to thank you guys for coming to answer everybody’s questions, there are lots of questions that people have so I think we are going to do that, so thanks everybody for being here. 

Additional Q&A

Randy Q: Back in the 90’s Tom Luby took a nice walk in the snow and that spring they were a lot higher that they are this year, I don’t know why or what didn’t take place but they were over my head and they had the DOT come in and clean them up. And I want to know if we can get the nutrients out of the lake why don’t we, we have the opportunity now- let’s get them out!

Chuck A: Back in the 1990’s or thereabouts when the dam was down before, I don’t think it was DOT that came in, I think it was DEP that came in at that time.  I could be wrong but I know we sent a crew down to harvest those plants under the request of Rep Tom Luby. It wasn’t our endorsement, but it was something that was needed that Tom Luby asked and we did at that time. At that time, we were a much larger agency. We are a much smaller agency now, we don’t have those people anymore. It wasn’t our endorsement but we start looking at that and say that we can removed the nutrients, it is always about removing the nutrients but the question is how much of the nutrients are you really removing by that effort, given the whole bio-mass down to that lake, we don’t think it is significant.

Randy Q: At the south end of the lake, the trolley – there was a huge breach, my concern is the silt that collects at the south end that will run right back into the lake. That was almost like containment.

Ted A: The only thing we got rid of was the old trestle and wood that was a boating hazard. 

Randy Q: Ted, when they fixed the dam the last time the spillway was down about 4”.  I have a high water mark on my wall and when the water is going over that spillway it hasn’t gotten up to that water mark and I want to make sure that they have the elevation right this time.

Ted A: I haven’t touched the front part of the spillway so it is the same elevation as it was when I started.

Randy Q: So it is still going to be down 3-4”?  That was a mistake that was made back then.

Ted A:  I didn’t do it in the 90’s. I didn’t happen to make the spillway any larger - it is a high hazard dam due to the roads downstream, your buildings. I didn’t change the front of that because of a lot of the stone work on the dam was starting to unravel. It was not even, it is still not even, it had dips and I followed what was existing with the section that we put back.  There is a low float toward the center and it comes up on each side.

Kathy Q: Mr. Lee, I spoke to you on Thursday or Friday.  I am new at lake Beseck, I just bought a home that we are remodeling and I could maybe fill a thimble with what I know about lakes. Coming from home from my home last week as I see the plant growing higher and higher, I think who do I call for this? It’s got to be DEP, so I go into work and I make the calls, dialing the numbers and hoping to be transferred to the right person. I want to thank you all tonight – I’ve gotten a different opinion than what I had on Thursday. Thursday I was ripped. I had started a letter to the commissioner and the governor and let me tell you a little bit about the way my conversation went.  Do you have any information of Lake Beseck? (I spoke to Dan at the Dam Repair) Dan said, basically quoting him “you people”…which immediately made the hair raise at the back of my neck  “you people should be very appreciative of the grant money that you got for that work that you didn’t pay for that the State of CT taxpayers payed for” I took a second, breathed deep and said would that be the same way I paid my taxes for roads that I never go on, or the people that live on the shore that had the homes washed away that my tax money went for – so yeh, I guess “we people” maybe should be grateful to you. Then I was told “give me a dollar, and the State of CT would be happy to sell you Lake Beseck because it costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, we’d be glad to get it off our back” this man may have amnesia when you talk to him and say this crazy lady stood up and quoted you but I can tell you that conversation happened.  He repeatedly spoke about the people at Lake Beseck as “you people” and then said that “You people never had a good lake to begin with” and then I spoke to him about the plants, he then said “what do you want me to tell you about the plants?...you should have went for more money – go and find someone to give you more grant money”  Needless to say, something came up on the computer about this meeting and I knew that I had to attend but I thank you all because I do see that there is a vested interest and there is light after this Dan, and do you know who I am talking about?

Chuck A: I know the person.

Kathy Q: well, I have his name at work that is on the Governor’s and Commissioners letter. 

Commissioner Klee: I would still like to encourage you to write me that letter, because I do appreciate that type of feedback. That is something that we are working on and some places need a little more help than others but we are trying to improve our customer relations, and I apologize.

Kathy Q: One more thing I am glad and I hope that what I see a positive step in the right direction for Lake Beseck but I do have a little bit of a concern, I spoke to a couple of environmental engineers (who I don’t profess that they know everything) but they were very concerned about oxygen and the plants which brings me to a think what this gentleman said, “If we know it can be a problem” – so far I have heard “I  expect”,  “it should”, no one has said definitively that it won’t hurt, so if they are there, what should we have to do outside of me going out on a Saturday afternoon, (which I am willing to do) but if you know it could be a problem, why not do something like you have in the  past to make sure they are taken out?

Liz: I just want to make a comment because I had the same concern when I was hearing about these issues, and I think that the point Greg made about the invasives and that it creates a barrier is an important thing to consider because there are now so many lakes that have issues with invasives. I’m not a scientist, but it did strike me as something that was important. You don’t want to create space for them, you don’t want to give them an opportunity.  Someone else was mentioned, can we cut down the trees by the boat launch because people want to fish there. I think when you start removing material, then you start having issues with erosion.

Dante: Permission for Greg to speak more to that question from Kathy about terrestrials.

Greg: Again, this is a biological system. I wish any of us could say this is exactly what will happen, and we just can’t do that. We do know a lot of things. The plants you see will are mostly water, not nutrients, and they will eventually die back.  There will be some nutrients involved, but the question is are these nutrients going to increase the level of nutrients in the water above what they would normally be, and I don’t think that is the case.  I have map with colors marking aquatic plants growing in those areas that are now vegetation that would normally be Eurasian watermilfoil and other plants, many of them do die back. Some of them, like the curly leaf pondweed dies back every year in the summer right at the time when you don’t want nutrients in the water, because it is a plant which has its natural cycle of die-back as it gets warm. You are having that occurring naturally and any addition you would have of these plants is really going to be minimal and like DEEP has said this isn’t the first lake that has been filled with a lot of vegetation. Do you see major algal blooms, that you can attribute to the vegetation?…

Chuck A: After the following year, well, I would say we have or we haven’t.  I’m not going to say that I have assessed all the data bases.

Q: What about the example of the lake in Lebanon, the example that you gave?...you said they it came back with a stronger, healthier quality of water? Did they remove all of the terrestrials?

Chuck A: No, and you would not have known that that lake was drawn down. If you went to the shores of that lake, you would not have known that there were wetland plants there the year before. 

Marv Q: So the plants simply vanished?

Chuck A: The habitat was too wet for the plants to exist. So once the winter came, the plants never came back the following spring that is how that worked.

Kathy Q: I am wondering about the depths, I mean we are trying to make the lake a lake but we have had a very shallow lake to begin with and I am wondering with the other lake s that you are referring to if there was a depth perspective here that you are taking into consideration? 

Chuck A: Right.  That’s why I referred to Lake Willams as a comparison - we could talk about Wyasuup Lake but that was a deeper bonier lake with a lot more stones. Lake Williams was a lake more a wetland and before they were flooded, they were similar habitats. We have several lake that we have drawn down without a problem, Lake Williams just came off the top of my head.

Brad Q: I would like to comment about an earlier comment about trying to fill the lake. We endure a year of trying to get rid of a leaky dam and now you are in control of the dam, and the water level seems to be going down. One weekend I was very excited that the weeds went away, the weeds were under water - we were going in the right direction and boom, it went down as quickly as it came up. So, I’m wondering if we can reverse that trend a little and let the downstream water fill up a little at the same rate that our lake needs to fill up so we will have a lake next year ‘cause I am really concerned that we are not going to have a lake.

Ted A: I have the weir boards in there, it is a very dry season right now. We are below normal for rainfall.

Brad Q:  I understand that evaporation takes it away, but it seems as though there is enough of a leak to be concerned.

Commissioner Klee A:  Brian may be able to answer that question a more specifically, but there are requirements of the flow that must go down the stream.

Brian Murphy A: It is typical that we do have a down flow stream even when you have normal 3 ft and 6 ft winter drawdowns.  It is always at a level that we are not completely shutting off the valve, when we do that we have a stream fish and natural resources in the Ellen Doyle Brook that would basically end up in a fish kill there because we don’t have the flow going downstream. Really, the amount of flow we have going downstream isn’t significant but yes, that would help the water come up a little bit - but not significantly enough.  The bottom line is we just need rain and we need  to have  a balance between protecting our natural resources and bringing up the lake.

Alexandra Q: I just have a quick question, we keep referring to rain and it seems that summer is not normally a rainy time, so when do the rains come, November?

Ted A: We have had significant rains in Sept/Oct before because of hurricanes or bypassing whatever but it’s just a very, very dry summer.

Brian Murphy A: If you look at map of the state, and look at the gauges of streams that are on the website, you can see that a significant part of CT is really way under normal rainfall conditions and normal stream flow conditions.  We have some major streams in CT that are really now flowing.  In eastern CT we are holding off from stocking some of our streams because there is not enough water to put the trout in, so we are stocking more of the lakes and pond areas.

John Q: I’d like to know what your definition of a trickle is to let water go downstream, because if I go over to the Blackbird and sit on the porch and look down, it is more like a babbling brook – that is our water going down Lake Beseck into the Ellen Doyle. Why is there so much water going out?

Jon Brayshaw A: Maybe I can answer that.  A lot of the water that comes by Blackbird comes down from Toad Ridge, High St and not from Lake Beseck, but north of way Rd.

Brad Q: The point is that if we are getting flow, why can’t we shut off the source from Lake Beseck?

Dwight Q: Can I just suggest that someone look into this and adjust it the way it need to be adjusted make sure it is right?

Ted A: When you look at the outfalls, there is just a little bit coming out.\ and that’s all. I have boards in the slots, and I have plastic in there, I have beet pulp in there and I have all kinds of stuff.  It leaks just a little around the edge and that’s what I got for the flow.

Is it a measurement that is done or do you just take a finger in the air approach?

Ted A: You can measure it at the outfalls, but I’m letting a little bit out, it’s probably not as much as I should be but I just can’t stop it all of the way.

Q: Are there any plans on putting sand where the muck used to be and in the beach area?

Jon Brayshaw A: we put sand in the beach area every year that I have been around. We bring a truckload or two of nice clean sand. (That one area just for you folks, when you were not looking, we took a machine and made some improvements to the beach.) So, yes we will be getting some sand.

Q: Can you bring sand in front of our properties so our kids can walk in the sand and not the muck?

Chuck Lee A: Bringing sand in was not a part of the request.

Mark June-Wells A: We recently filled out permits to allow for a maintenance area around the perimeter of the lake.  The reason for that was, is that if there was a concern of terrestrial plants remaining like the smartweed or the cat tails or some of the other species that are able to deal with being inundated with water, we would be able to remove those plants so there would be access to the lake.  However, we did not at that time include the sand to put into those areas. I don’t know if that is an option in some of those areas, it wasn’t part of our initial permit.

Chuck A: What Mark did was as the town’s consultant was put in a request for activities that could be done on the exposed lake bed for removing the plants, not including putting sand in. I’m not saying that that can’t happen, but the town can make that request and we can review it.  It’s really not a permit actually, it is permission from the agency because the state of CT is the owner of the bottom. So as far as regulating that activity, it would be the local wetland commission. Just because you get permission from them as a property owner, doesn’t mean you have permission from the agency and visa versa.

Randy Q: We have had a hard time getting anything from the State DEEP. People have wanted to repair their walls this year, it was back and forth, we didn’t know what direction to go in.  We told them that if they got permission from the state it would be alright with us, we regulate everything up to the lake.

Chuck A:  Thankfully, you could regulate in the lake, if you chose to.

Randy: I don’t know if we want to.

Chuck :  You could, it is Inland wetland and Watercourses permission.

Randy:  The problems with had with people this year, is inspecting the walls after the fact.  What do you tell someone that put up a $30,000 wall that they have to tear it down? We told them to go back to the state to get some confirming information that it was okay to do that. When they came back to the board we would say that we hadn’t received a definite answer from the state.

Chuck: Well, I didn’t receive any of that but if you have a paper trail you can follow, that would be helpful.

Ed bailey A:  The town did deal with Lee Vito – the Land Acquisitions dept there was a lot of communication with them. That’s how that was handled.

Rep. Buddy Altobello: Did you get anywhere?

Second selectman, Ed Bailey: There was some feedback so that is what Randy is referring to.

Chuck Lee: Well, the Town went through the Land Acquisition to do the dredging, remove the plants, the turions but you are talking about individual which would go to the same agency, the Land Acquisition and Property management, they would be the ones that would review that type of request.   1) Find out if they really did  2) If they are not getting  a response, we want to know so we can figure out why.

Jim Q:  I want to try the weed discussion one more time from a different angle.  I understand Greg’s point about bio-cover and that being a barrier of the invasive weeds, but Chuck had mentioned both the invasive weeds and also the algae bloom.  The algae bloom seems like it is responsive to the amount of the material in the bottom of the lake that is de-grading. If we are going to have an amount of material in the bottom of the lake degrading that it is at least five times what we have with  invasives. So, it seems like perhaps it might have some positive influence to your point on invasives, but the algae bloom toward the end of the summer as the temperature goes up could be significantly worse if my logic is correct and I’m just wondering if you all could perhaps comment on that might be another consideration in regard to removal of all of that bio-mass.

Chuck A: I don’t think there is actually a significant amount of bio-mass in that vegetation.  Those nutrients were already there that was available for aquatic or terrestrial plant growth. I don’t think we are going to see a change. I think the algae blooms at Beseck Lake were bad before- unacceptable for most swimmers, I think.  I think we are going to have the same situation when we get it back.  It’s not going to make the matter worse is my belief, but it’s not going to make the matter better either but I do think basically it is a balance, we have nutrients that were in the system, we are not adding any nutrients into the system by letting the plants grow.

Marv Q:  I would ask this question, if you owned property on the lake, and you had all of the weeds in front of you, would you pull them out or would you leave them there?

Chuck A:  I don’t know, I haven’t even thought about what I would do if that were mine. I would probably leave it there but if you were to look at my lawn, you wouldn’t want me to be your neighbor. I’m not a good person to ask.

Rob Q: Well, if you lived on the lake you thought it was unacceptable for most swimmers, what would you do about that? 

Chuck Q: If I were a swimmer?

Rob Q: Yeh, if you lived on the lake you thought it was unacceptable, what would you do to correct it?

Chuck Q:  The water or vegetation?

Rob: The water quality- you said the water quality is unacceptable.

Chuck A: Oh yeh, I hear that question and that is probably a bigger question than an individual  because you are talking about algae bloom throughout the whole lake, how one individual would handle that problem.

Rob Q: Let’s say you are in charge of the lakes for the State of CT, what would you do to help them?

Chuck A: That is a good question, well what I think needs to be done is pretty hard to study when we  have to take it so far, one that would really look at both all of  the nutrient budget of the lake comprehensively, and look at internal loading and we would have to come up with some answers and I think that stormwater infrastructure needs reviewed, the one that went in during the early 90’s to see how effective it has been working, it may not be I heard some reason it may not be. I think all of that needs to be reviewed.  I think we need to maybe be doing more educating with homeowners and how they can keep more water on their property with rain gardens and I think we need to look more at what we can do in the lake.  Options for in the lake would probably be aeration, dredging or alum.  My preference, if I had all the money in the world, would probably be to dredge first and then let’s measure the water quality and see what would happen from that point. The reason we are not talking about dredging is we are probably talking about a 10 Million dollar project – if I had all the money in the world, that is maybe how I would approach it.

Rob Q:  I am looking for a realistic evaluation, not if I had all the money in the world.

Chuck A:  I gave you that answer. So realistically, we need to be looking at the stormwater and look at what type of internal loading is going in in that lake and see what we can do about it but I’m afraid that you all saw very clearly when the lake was drawn down that it was a former meadow that was filled up it wasn’t a glacial dug out lake, so geologically, it was an old lake to begin with and that’s what we are dealing with.

Rob Q: So, when you say we, you mean the Town of Middlefield?

Chuck A: No, I mean the State of Ct and Citizens and the Town of Middlefield. I have been working on the lake for over 20 years and I am not planning on leaving anytime soon so if money became available to that it would be a pleasure for me to be able to administer that toward this project.

Marv Q:  Is aeration a possibility?

Chuck A: Regarding aeration, there are a lot more questions that need to be answered first like what is the oxygen demand in the lake and what kind of air would we have to put in the lake to overcome that oxygen demand. What kind of system would need to be put in, how much would it cost to manage and run that system, and would we get the intended results with that. We don’t have all of that information right now and what you would want to do is compare that with an alum treatment - an aluminum salt that you would put in the bottom of the lake to lock the Phosphorus to the bottom of the lake. What we do with aeration, we try to keep it so Phosphorus does not become available – that is the nutrient that causes all the algae blooms. So we put in oxygen, so we keep it at a state that precipitates at the bottom of the lake.  Aluminum will hold that Phosphorus at an anoxic state and sometimes you can look at putting in an aluminum salt that will lock that up but I don’t know if tat would work or not – we tried that around 2001 or so at Lake Pocotopaug and  what we found is that we had fairly acceptable water qualities ‘til mid-August and then we started having algae blooms again and after looking at it a little bit closer it was stormwater that was causing the algae blooms and it wasn’t as much internal nutrient loading as we initially anticipated. That alum treatment was about a $200,000 investment.

Randy Q: The Town is going in a good direction by hiring Mark.  Mark is doing a lot of studies, we’re actually looking, we looked at a couple aeration systems. Is the State willing to support that?

Chuck A: I think Mark’s work is advancing what we know, and the management of Beseck Lake quite a bit. We are willing to look at it but we don’t have all the information on it. 

Mark A: Just to give you guys a little more information about what we have going on through the advisory committee, we have two initiatives that are important for this discussion that is going on. First is a watershed study, being conducted by Milone and MacBroom.  Those data that are being collected, we are waiting on them and they are summarizing those and we will understand what the total nutrient loading is, including Phosphorus and Nitrogen that are entering the lake throughout the season given wet and dry conditions.  Additionally, though all of the water quality sampling, that we have been doing, it’s a little difficult to tell given the state of the lake however, through the historical data sets that we have looked into, what that is telling us at this point is given a square meter of soil, or roughly 3 ft x 3 ft, it is giving off somewhere in the range of 200 – 300 mcg of Phosphorus – which is a significant amount and the reason for that is exactly as Chuck has mentioned, this is old pasture land, and this is old farmland, it was naturally rich, it was used for those kinds of agricultural activities. Additionally, given the state of the plant community, as you can see from these recent maps, and I also have a significant amount of data that supports this, showing that there is roughly 20 acres or more of species in this lake.  Those species are highly productive, and the cause is that the soil is so rich. However what happens in the plant community this productive is it cycles those nutrients to the surface of the lake bottom and ultimately, the majority of that plant material dies in a relatively shallow region. However, there is a portion of that that migrates to the deeper water and as Chuck has mentioned, under de-oxygenated conditions, those nutrient that are available in that plant material, which is now in the deeper water, is released leading to the algal blooms that you guys have seen. And if fact, those data that we have collected this year under a relatively stressed condition, show that the algal problem does not arrive until hopefully August when you start getting the blue-green algae.  Now there is a reason for that, I won’t go too brutally into depth but it is a Nitrogen/Phosphorous balance.  When Nitrogen is present in the system, you tend to have green algae, they are common, they are the base of the food chain, they are important for the lake’s ecology and they are generally not viewed as a problem.  However, when Nitrogen becomes depleted from the system which is what happens around August/September, and Phosphorus is then enriched do to the limited oxygen content in the lake, you now get blue-green algae. And why is that?  Because blue-green algae can fix their own atmospheric Nitrogen.  However, while that is important from an ecological standpoint, to some extent from a recreational standpoint is it a problem and the reason that is, is because those particular genera of algae have what are called cyanotoxins. They are intracellular chemicals that are produced by those species of algae and as the population booms, the cell count goes way up then those cells die and release all of those cyanotoxins to the water which for a grown adult is not a big deal. Pets and children we can run into some issues and the state is currently working on their risk assessment measures for that particular event. So, ultimately to sum up what we are doing is getting out mind around the oxygen demand of this lake. While we are doing that, we are also beginning to understand what the watershed influences are. What is the purpose of all of this?  It is to lead to a directed management plan, which will include watershed, infrastructure improvements, and will also include in-lake management protocals, potentially alum, aeration and things of that nature to get a grip on the Phosophorus problem, which isn’t just a problem in Beseck Lake. Lake Erie, about a month ago, which provides water to about a half a million people was completely shut down because of blue-green algae. They could not produce water for their populace. Throughout CT, there’s also many lake that have internal nutrient loading like this. The question is why? And you have to only look in the mirror to see why, it’s us so we have to figure out ways to improve that. That is what the advisory committee and the state are working together to do.

Q: If the weeds that are there now are bothering residents, do they have permission to cut them down or pull them up?

Jon A:  That is what we are working on right now with DEEP. There are a few different options that they will let people do if they want to.

Q: Once they get rid of the weeds, if they want to put sand in front of their property can they?

Jon A:  I don’t know about the sand, we are dealing with the weeds.

Chuck A: I think what I am hearing tonight is done.  If the town wants to make a request to the agency, we will consider it along with the other options.

Q: Would putting sand in the muck area, would that help anything, the invasives from growing up?

Chuck A: I don’t think so.  I think you will lose a lot of that sand in the muck.

Jon: I think what the real problem is the state has so many lakes (Chuck- 3,600 lakes named lakes) and there is very little research, no one has conquered the issue. So, I would say we are an experiment. So the state is going to give us these few things to do because we don’t want to just sit there and watch t.v. we want to get out there and do something they are going to give us several things that we can plug into. If everyone in the room were to do their properties that average about 50 ft,

Q: You are saying that leaving the weeds there are not going to change the nutrient content of the lake, however if you are asking all of these people to take the weeds out of the lake, would it then change the nutrient content of the lake, would it be a benefit?

Chuck A: No doubt about it, you would be harvesting nutrients out of the lake, would it be a significant amount that would be measurable in the lake in the next year, I don’t think you will see that. 

Dwight Q:  How about lawn fertilizers and such?

Greg Bugbee A: I run the soil test lab at the Agricultural Station, that is my other charge.  A couple things about lawn fertilizers, Phosphorus is a key element that Mark and I have been talking about that create the algal blooms, that has been banned from fertilizers 2 January’s ago. Whwn you look at lawn fertilizer there will be 3 numbers Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. That middle number is going to be zero.  So you are not going to have Phosphorus in the lan fertilizer however you are going to have a lot of Nitrogen and I think a lot need to be learned about what Nitrogen lawn fertilizers might do.  The key is that you have to make sure that the fertilizers don’t get into the lake.  That is done making sure you have a buffer zone between the lake and your lawn that’s unfertilized vegetation that can maybe utilize any nutrients that might be moving downward to the lake.  One of the key things is keeping the lawn fertilizers off of paved areas. On most of these lakes, our drains go right into the lake. If a good rain comes, that will be in the waterbody in no time.

We do soil test at the Agricultural Station, it is a free service. You can go on the website for more information, we can give you suggestions on exactly what you need. It is important to realize what lawn fertilizers are and what they are not. Right now there is not a lot of Phosphorus in them, but there is a lot of Nitrogen, there is also pesticides – in many cases, weed controls, insecticides and that sort of thing that you don’t want in your lake.

Marv Q: How about lime?

Greg A: The question is on limestone, you need to determine whether you need to lime your lawn. The good thing about lime is that it activates nutrients that naturally occur, so you don’t have to utilize as much fertilizer.  In the case of lawns, you would like to see the PH around 6.0, which will maximize existing nutrients. There is some thinking that using lime on laws could increase the PH of the lake, in many cases is not an issue, but you have a plant called curlyleaf pond weed which likes high Ph water, I don’t think it is a big deal though. I think timing is important, I don’t think it is something that leaches heavily, and should be done according to the soil tests.

Q: I have a question about weeds that I have been pulling and I have to bring them to the dump, this is where you come in.  Can we pile them up at the end of our driveways so the town can pick them up?

Jon Brayshaw A:  We have to come up with a game plan, a multi-faceted game plan. One that addresses the catch basin pollution – that we use to take our water tests from, fertilizers, animal waste, washing your car.  And yes, we’ll have to get something going if you folks are going to harvest the weeds, then we need to be able to put them at the beach, put them at the north end, and put them somewhere so we can pick them up. First, we need to get DEEP’s approval.

Q:  How will we learn about the approval?

Chuck Lee A: I understand that is still under review, Mark have you heard anything since last week?

Mark June-Wells A: No, I haven’t.

Q: So is it okay to pull the roots?

Craig A: I think it is best to leave the roots.

Amy: Perhaps Greg can address that answer.

Greg Bugbee: If it was me, I would leave the roots.  The worst thing I would want to see you do is pull the roots, have sort of tilled soil – the water is going to come up and maybe erode it a little bit, you will have silt in the water and now a place for invasive species to get a foot hold.  If it was me, and you wanted to get rid of the weeds, I would cut them and leave the roots. Weed-whack, then get rid of the material.  The other question which is one that came up is can you burn them? And I’m not sure what DEEP thinks about that one. As I mentioned, I run the soil testing lab and we do suggest wood ash as a fertilizer.  So what exactly is a fertilizer, ash is a fertilizer.  Now, I don’t know if they are going to allow you to do it ((crowd laughs)) but for that reason alone, I would not do that.

Amy:  We left that option off the application, we didn’t apply for burning.

Lenny Q:  Can we somehow get a positive out of this drawdown, do something so these weeds don’t grow so fast?  Hopefully with the lake being drawn down we will get a good freeze that will freeze some of these out.

Mark A: During the turion project, we collected turions (a reproductive bud of the curlleaf pond weed) To determine what kind of impact the drawdown would have on that particular species, we collected a number of those turions – we then planted them in pots and put them at the Agricultural Experiment Station and have allowed them to persist in the water. You guys have a bit of good news, which I didn’t expect to see.  None of those turions produced a new individual. That was from one season, relatively cold winter, not a lot of precipitation that winter, and none of them came back. It is good news for the drawdown.

Alexandra Q:  were they frozen

Mark A:  Yes, they were frozen all winter, they were collected right at the surface of the soi.  So, my hope is that the curlyleaf pondweed will be knocked back. I have not seen it in the lake this summer, so there is a hope that it will be – we will see what happen when the lake returns. Now you have another invasive species of concern which is the Eurasian Watermilfoil. That is a species which is known a s a stem plant, essentially it grows from fragments of itself. It aslo grows as underground stem known as rhizomes. My hope is that that species will also be knocked back.  However, I have seen it in the lake this summer. What is the distribution of it going to be? What is the abundance of it going to be?  Hopefully, less.  There will be less fragmentation from props cutting it up throughout this summer, hopefully we will get a good freeze this winter, in the exposed areas where the milfoil was prior to the drawdown – which there was a good freeze the prior winter, and with a second good freeze, we may see a significant knock back of that species as well. 

In terms of the entire plant community, forget about invasive and native for a moment and let’s talk about the entire plant community. This lake has something in the range of 28 plant species.  For a lake of this size, that is extremely rich. Generally a good thing, however, with the abundance of curlyleaf pond weed, in this particular case, it is a bit of a detriment.  You guys know that, you boat on the lake, you swim in the lake, you know how annoying it is in trying to get through the dense plant community. From those species about half are seed species, which means that they are not actually growing from their roots. They are producing flowers every year, they are producing seeds which are contributing to the lake bed. You guys have heard the term seed bank.  The seed bank is essentially the number of seeds per unit measurement of soil that is available to grow next year. My hypothesis is that the seed bank of this lake is going to be fairly rich and that the overall plant community will rebound at least in moderate abundances. I feel you are going to see quite a bit of plant material next year, the hope is that that plant material is native and not invasive and we will be able to tell you more when the lake comes back.

First Selectman Jon Brayshaw:  Another thing that you need to be aware of is several times over the past year, we have put in for a grant. We put in for a weed harvester. We thought that we would like to own our very own, so we put in for a STEAP grant and we were not awarded the money to buy the harvester. But that doesn’t mean that in future years, with pressure applied at certain locations we couldn’t somehow end up with this weeds harvester, and as part of our yearly activities, we  would go out into the lake and harvest whatever weeds we could harvest.

Senator Dante Bartolomeo:  So yes, Jon to add to that, there have been multiple applications for different grants. Part of the challenge is that at the same time the weed harvester/STEAP grant came in there was also additional funding being requested for the dam repair, we also have a new fund that Buddy and I worked on passing in the legislature for lakes with invasive species, which we discussed applying for but at this point in time we weren’t ready for it because of the situation with the lake. My point is that there are multiple opportunities, some we have been ready for, some we have not, because either another request is in but we will continue to explore what is available that makes sense for this community but to be able to support those as they are going through the process.

 

Jon:  Do I understand that Silver Lkae has such a piece of equipt?

Chuck A:  No.  They don’t.  Silver Lake hydraulic dredge, not a wed harvester. We have build the treatment system where they can put the water discharge back into the lake, a total different machine that they have. Lake Zoar has a weed harvester that they use and other larger lakes.  I think the trend now has been doing herbicide treatments vs weed harvesters.

Randy Q:  That dry carpet like material on the lake bed, would it be worthwhile getting out of the lake bed.

Mark:  It would be a lot of work if we were talking about the whole lake bed. We would be talking about scraping 2” of soil off the entire lake bed. It would not be practical.

Q: Do we have a timeline of when we will hear about the application?

Chuck A: We will follow up as soon as we can and get that information out as soon as we can.

Commissioner Klee A:  We will have a quick turn around because we want to make sure you can get out there with your weed-whacker before the cold.

Brad:  Does the new dam design allow for the same amount of drawdown that we have experienced?

Ted A: No, it is 2-3ft higher.

Dante: Randy, previously you were talking about the walls. If there are individual residents who are getting into situations and you need help getting approval or getting in touch with different departments, whether it is your walls or other, please remember to reach out to Buddy or I because our role is to be your liaison between the constituents and the agencies. They have all taken the time to be here tonight and they have been fabulous about working on this project. But your individual issues, if you need help, reach out to Buddy or I, we are more than happy to help.

Joe Q:  The water runs off of the dam just like it did before, correct?

Ted A: Yes.

Q: The non-aquatic plants will die when the water comes up? Do they will sink right to the bottom?

Chuck Lee A: They will die back first and there won’t be much biomass left.

Marv:  I have to say, I am encouraged by what all the people have had to say up here and I feel much better about it – and thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee August 2014

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee

Monday August 25, 2014

Minutes

 

1. Meeting was called to order at 7:03 P.M.

2. Members Present:  Amy Poturnicki, Ed Bailey, Randy Bernodas, Jim Irish, Darin Overton, Craig Lundell, Rob Poturnicki, also present Mark June-Wells, Beseck Lake Manager

3. Approval of Agenda Darin Overton made a motion to approve the agenda, seconded by Craig Lundell. Passed unanimously.

4. Approval of June Minutes Jim Irish made motion, seconded by Rob Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.

5. Public Comment - None heard

6. Chairman Report :

Update on Beseck Dam repair project

The latest update on the dam repair is that it is now looking more like the end of October for completion.  The control valve was closed down a couple of months ago in an attempt to start getting water back into the lake.  Although the water level did come up slightly for short periods, the lake is still approximately 12’ down due to lack of rain.

Sand Removal Project 

Additional improvements were made to the north end of the lake to prevent further erosion.  The banks were built out, lined with fabric, rip rap was placed and grass was planted along the road.

Terrestrial Plants

A fair amount of inquiries have come in from lake residents concerned about the terrestrial weeds growing in the lake bed.  Suggestions and concerns have been brought to the attention of our Lake Manager – who has reached out to CTDEEP, and Selectmen who are tossing around possible options.

Water samples collected by Mark June-Wells

Mark has collected the 4th consecutive mid-month water sampling from the lake.  Even though we barely have a lake, water studies will continue to aid in recognition of lake trends that will assist with plans and grants geared toward improving water quality.

 

STEAP Grant 2013-2014

In a letter dated on Aug 6 regarding the STEAP application for the lake, Secretary Barnes informed Jon Brayshaw that our application was not selected for grant funding this year. We were encouraged to apply for the 2014-2015 round of grants that they are already accepting applications for. 

Other Grants

We were also not awarded anything from our EPA 319 grant application.  Mark will talk more about the upcoming AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) grant applications currently being accepted by CTDEEP.

7. Selectmen Report – Nothing to report.

8. Mark June-Wells Report – Water sampling has shown a consistent trend in de-oxygenation below 6’ of depth.  Water clarity has been low since testing began.  Algal community has been primarily diatoms and green algae that has been tracking with high Nitrogen levels through July’s water testing, but then changed sometime between the July and August sampling.  Full water chemistry is not back yet but phytoplankton results came back showing a significant decrease in green algae and a high priority in terms of cyanotoxins –(blue green algae) Aphanizomenon resulted in  roughly 1000 Cells/mL.  In July, we saw a spike in Phosphorus concentrations of bottom water likely due to internal loading.  Mark predicts to see Nitrogen come back at low levels with Phosphorus being the dominant nutrient in the system, leading to the blue-green dominance of the algal community we are now seeing.

EPA 319 was not awarded to Beseck, but can be updated, enhanced with new studies, and resubmitted as soon as word is received from CTDEEP about application process. 

Although the STEAP grant was also not awarded, it can be re-submitted with new data.  Per request of Jim Irish, Mark will reach out to Meaghan for insight as to why we did not receive STEAP funding for the lake. 

Regarding AIS grant, Mark brought up the point that we should weigh out cost/benefit of writing the grant application, which could cost around $1,200.00, a Town match of 50% is required, a total of only $150,000 in funding is available for all of CT, funds must be spent within 1 year of funding, also for consideration is that we don’t have a lake and target species must have existed in the project water body as of July 1, 2014 – essentially, we wouldn’t really meet the criteria outlined in the application, which could greatly lessen our chances of receiving funding in a very competitive market.  After further discussion, and in an effort to stay on the grant radar, a Motion by Amy Poturnicki to forego AIS grant, have Ed Bailey submit a letter of future interest to Nancy Murray, seconded by Rob Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.

9. Terrestrial plants – Discussion regarding water quality issues as a result, possible means of removal, permitting, etc.  Unanimous consent to request that Jon Brayshaw submit a formal letter to CTDEEP regarding the terrestrial plants, the opportunity before us to harvest these plants containing nutrients pulled from the nutrient rich lake bed - in an attempt to head off additional water quality issues.

10. Community Outreach – Storm drain stencils came in and were passed around.  Unanimous consent for Lake Ad Hoc to have stencils on display at an outreach booth at LBA picnic on Sept. 6 along with a sign-up sheet for people to assist with stenciling storm drains.  In addition, have lake photos and invasive plants on display.  Mark will assist with Q & A. 

11. Adjourn - Motion to adjourn meeting at 8:27 P.M. by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Craig Lundell.

Respectfully submitted by Amy Poturnicki