Lake Beseck Living

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Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee February 24, 2014

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Environmental Committee

Monday, February 24, 2014


1.       Call to Order:  7:02pm.

2.       Members Present:  Randy Bernotas, Amy Poturnicki, Ed Bailey, Daria Vander Veer, Rebecca Adams.  Dick Boynton arrived at 7:50pm.

3.       Approval of Agenda:  Motion by Ed Bailey, seconded by Randy Bernotas, passed unanimously.

4.       Approval of Minutes:  Motion by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Ed Bailey, passed unanimously.

5.       Public Comment:  None

6.       Chairman’s Report:  March is still the most recent date for the refilling of the lake.  M&M report came back; fecal coliform was high in some of the selected areas (on the map, tributary sample 1 and outfall sample 2) but we are not to get too concerned.  Rebecca Adams asked, “Who is driving the refill of the lake happening so early?  Is it Chuck Lee?  Or the fisheries people?” Amy Poturnicki indicated she thinks it’s more Inland Fisheries and concern for fish habitat, but nobody really seems to know.

Amy Poturnicki went over the details in the chairman’s report (attached).  NEE should have the STEAP plan out to us by the end of this week.  Mark June-Wells has recommended monthly water sampling should start in April and run through October.  We would need to buy a meter (not clear what that will be measuring).  Mark is also going to start back up the monitoring to determine the effects of the drawdown.

7.       Selectman’s Report: Ed Bailey explained that we need three zoning permits to extract the sand from the locations.  P&Z has approved.  Storage will be on site and perhaps in the town’s gravel pit.  Brian Curtis is now getting started on the analysis.  We’ll be limited to 15-cubic-yard trucks, which means about 80 truckloads total.  The town will put out RFPs end of this week to price this out.  It’s likely the northern part of the lake won’t get done this year, but that work can be done during a regular drawdown.  Ed explained the challenge is to figure out how to get the heavy equipment down onto the lake bed; Brian Curtis is assembling a list of contractors with the necessary wide-footed equipment.  Even so, Brian thinks we won’t be able to do this safely until April or even May.  The committee discussed various options for getting in to see the right “powers that be” to find out whether the refill can truly be delayed, and who the people to see would be.

Ed Bailey stated that the $50,000 capital appropriation is left at present to pay for this project. Some of that is for the stormwater study, which probably won’t be completed by the end of this fiscal year.  But the remaining money likely won’t be enough to pay for this project.  We need to wait and see what the RFPs include. Logistics are also a challenge; if the trucks can’t get onto the lake bed, or if we can’t use the long-armed machine from the road or the beach, we will still run into a dead end.

8.       M&M Progress Report: See Chairman’s Report

9.       Mark June-Wells, STEAP Application status: See Chairman’s Report

10.   Committee budget request: Amy Poturnicki reported that Mark June Wells’ fee as lake manager was $10,000 this year, and the Committee is considering asking for that, $1500 for committee outreach & functioning, plus $20,000 for future projects.  Ed Bailey noted that if we use up a some or all of the $50,000 on the dredging we will need more funding in future to finish the stormwater study for DEEP.  But at present, we lack the concrete details to know exactly what we will need for additional funding.  Ed is confident some version of these numbers will be in the budget, and later on committee members can go before the BOF.

11.   Community Outreach Ideas: Ed Bailey & Amy Poturnicki are contemplating a mailer, asking Mark June-Wells to put together some bullet points to educate folks about what they can do to help the lake’s health. Other options include holding a public meeting, maybe getting Greg Bugby to come out and do a workshop like last time.  Randy Bernotas recommended getting reporters involved, possibly from Middletown as well, to get the word out. Amy Poturnicki mentioned some residents are concerned that talking about the issues the lake faces might bring down their property values; Rebecca Adams stressed that the publicity we generate has to be positive.

Other outreach ideas were discussed. Ed Bailey suggested stenciling the storm drains with “DRAINS TO THE LAKE” or something similar (the way it’s done near the Sound).  Get Inland Wetlands involved (Daria Vander Veer will bring it up at the next meeting). Other ideas were to hold a public meeting of the LBA, or write a press release/pre-packaged article for the Town Times.  It would be good to get something put together before fertilizing season gets going; perhaps it would be good to coincide with Earth Day on 4/22. Committee members discussed various ways to get out literature, including using literature bags to hang the newsletter on door knobs – maybe using volunteers/high school groups to go door to door.  It was noted the committee should be sure to reach out to people living uphill on Baileyville Road to make them aware they’re in the watershed too.  The estimated cost for literature might be something like $200. Rebecca and Ed will work to figure out the cost of a postcard to all relevant households.  Amy and Rebecca will work on content.

The committee also decided to hold another outreach meeting like Greg Bugby’s plant workshop. Put a save-the-date on the postcard; Mark June-Wells can offer additional education at the meeting; we’ll need a date before the next meeting, ideally around 4/22.

12.   Meeting adjourned at 8:23pm.

Chairman’s Report – Brief of Progress to 2-24-2014

Early Refill of Lake

We have received a varying degree of info about when the dam project will be at a point where the lake will begin to refill.  Without accurate information as well as if DEEP is willing to delay the refill by a few weeks or so to complete the sand removal project, it is difficult to plan the project as well as determine if our efforts will be a waste of money.  As a result, Senator Dante Bartolomeo has continued to work with Chuck Lee in an effort to help us meet our goals.

According to Rob LaFrance, DEEP legislative liaison, they are still roughly estimating that March will begin the refill of the lake.  This is contingent upon the weather.  The best commitment that Dante was able to get for us was that Rob will make sure they give a minimum of 1 week notice.  Jon Brayshaw has drafted a letter to the DEEP Commissioner asking for his help.  Dante and Rep. Buddy Altobello are on standby to assist him with his efforts.

Milone & MacBroom

The stormwater report came back from M&M. Fecal coliform was high at a couple of the testing locations.  Matt advised not to draw conclusions until further testing is complete.

Status of DEEP sign-off’s:

·         Fishery division - signed off

·         Inland Water Resources - signed off

·         Solid Waste - signed off

·         Land Grant Request paperwork – still pending. 

M&M was referred to another person Thursday afternoon (2-20) to check on the status of application. Matt spoke with (Al Schentke) Friday morning.  He is going to review the Land Grant application and see where it stands. Al mentioned that the CTDEEP will require the Town to provide proof of insurance information and name CTDEEP as part of the insured under the Town policy.

·         NDDB – no official letter yet, but they don’t feel the project will be a problem.

In addition, Middlefield Planning & Zoning has signed off on project.

Mark June-Wells, NEE

The STEAP grant should be back from NEE review this Wed, 2-26.  Mark will make minor modifications and have it to us by Thursday/Friday.

Mark advised that we need to start thinking about water quality monitoring for this season.  He recommends sampling to start on the 2nd week of April, monthly through October.  It will require rental of a meter and we will need to process water samples through a lab.  He will obtain costs.  Alternately, we can buy a meter, possibly when we have some lake funding.  1 mid-month measurement is the minimal amount he would like to do and increase the frequency when we have more money. 

He will likely start his Beseck research project again in June.