Lake Beseck Living

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Minutes of Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee - March 2014

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Monday March 24, 2014, 7:00 PM

Middlefield Community Center


1.       Call To Order:  7:12pm.

2.       Members Present: Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, Randy Bernotas, Ed Bailey, Daria Vander Veer, Craig Lundell, Darin Overton, Dick Boynton, James Irish.  Rebecca Adams arrived at 7:35pm.  Also present Mark June-Wells.

3.       Approval of Agenda:  Motion by Rob Poturnicki, seconded by Craig Lundell, passed unanimously.

4.       Approval of 2/24 Minutes: Motion by Dick Boynton, seconded by Randy Bernotas, passed unanimously.

5.       Public Comment:   None

6.       Chairman’s Report

Chairman’s Report – Brief of Progress to 3-24-2014

Refill of Lake is looking like end of April, however Chuck Lee is working with Jon Brayshaw and DEEP staff to delay by a month to allow the Town the opportunity to get into the lake to start the Sand Removal Project.

Milone & MacBroom now has all DEEP permits signed off. (Fisheries, Inland Water Resources, Solid Waste, Land Grant Division, NDDB)  Composite samples from sand removal project areas were collected today. (3-24)

Mark June-Wells, NEE finalized the STEAP grant application after it was reviewed and suggested changes were made by Lake Ad Hoc. It was then forwarded on to Selectman’s office for final review and signing.

Selectmen forwarded the STEAP application to OPM on 3-10.  Required insurance info was sent to DEEP on 3-7 by Town Finance Director, Joe Geruch.  Excavation contractors met at the beach on 3-17 to review project details.  Bids were due back today. (3-24)

Legislator’s (Sen. Dante Bartolomeo and Rep. Buddy Altobello) submitted a letter to OPM on 3-10 in support of STEAP funds to help the lake.

Community Outreach is underway.  The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is scheduled for April 22 at 6pm at the Community Center to do an invasive aquatic plant workshop.  Ag Station scientists will help participants to identify live invasive plants, talk about management techniques and answer any of your questions.  Mark June-Wells will spend some time talking about the lake and offer a question and answer segment. 

The cost of post card mailers has been researched.  Once we put outreach material and design together, It looks like postcards will cost under $1ea. to print and mail.

7.       Selectman’s Report: the town has sent out an RFP for removal of sand from the three areas.  The bidders met last week at the lake bed; two bidders showed up and the town has now received three bids.  Nothing has been finalized yet, but bids came in at $35,500, $39,000 and $51,000.  Part of the bid is at least $5,000 spent restoring the yard of the person they’ll have to go through to get to the lake.  Other costs involve building a ramp.  It’s a more complex project than one would think, particularly because it’s hard to get to the outfalls. There is a tentative agreement with the property owner but an easement will have to be finalized.

Ed Bailey discussed an idea to build a berm for water diversion at really wet outfall locations.  This would allow the area to dry out in order to get equipment onto the site.  A heavy rainfall will make work even more difficult.

Jon Brayshaw had a conversation with the person DEEP has apparently designated as responsible for the lake level; the water level is currently too high for town project, and they’ll need to lower the lake further for the work to take place.  Right now there’s only a pipe controlling the lake level (there’s no spillway), so the level is dependent on how much water is coming into the lake, which is increasing steadily.  Jon is trying to get the state to realize we need at least one to two months to get this work done.

On Monday we get composite soil samples back; the results of that test will dictate what we can actually do with the material.  Ed believes our options for disposing of the material are becoming limited; disposal costs may become prohibitive.  But they will wait for the results to see what our options truly are.

Budget: capital fund has $48,000 remaining.  The committee has $5500 remaining.   We have the money for this project, but we have to spend money on composite samples and the storm water study. Ed said that we can keep the work Milone & MacBroom is doing to a minimum of essential storm water sampling, and resume the storm water study after the new fiscal year starts.  Jon Brayshaw has asked the BOF for $20,000in the capital account and $12,000 in the committee account.  BOF meets Wednesday and Thursday, 3/26-3/27.

Dick Boynton asked, once a contractor is chosen, who decides whether the conditions will allow for the work to actually happen. Ed said that time could be added onto the timeline for the project in the event of conditions changing such as heavy rain.  We only pay for what is actually removed from the lake. The larger the area being removed, the cheaper the price per cubic yard.  The town trucks are not large enough for this project.  Public Works will handle the storage of the material if it does in fact go to the town garage.

We are still awaiting the arrival of the “special use license” from the state; Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner, has supposedly signed it but we haven’t received it in the mail.

Darin asked about the depth of the outlet in front of Beichner’s; it’s at least four feet deep. Members discussed the technical ways the water can be diverted.  Area D seems to be the most problematic; it’s not clear how the trucks will be able to get to the south side of the area. There’s also discussion of placing the material on the beach to dewater it before transporting it.

Randy Bernotas asked about the filling of the lake; Ed Bailey responded that no one has currently said the lake will be up to its normal level this summer. They’ve simply said the lake will fill, but the level will have to be low enough for them to continue to work on the dam. Right now, at the center part of the dam, is to within 8 feet of the top of the dam. One abutment has been excavated, and Ed assumes they’ll soon start work on the level control.  So far they have poured two six-foot rows of concrete.

Ed reported the Board of Selectmen has passed a resolution supporting the STEAP grant. The last round of money will be awarded no later than Sept. 15th, so we have until then to find out whether we will receive the money.

8.       Mark June-Wells, NEE (water quality monitoring):  Mark indicated any statements he makes tonight are up in the air, depending on when the lake actually gets completely full.  To save money, he indicated the monitoring is currently on a six-month schedule (May-October) The current plan is total phosphorous, total nitrogen, algae counts, and alkalinity from surface water at a cost of $235 per test.  From the water bottom, total phosphorus, total nitrogen & alkalinity at $195 per test = $430 per event or $2580/year.  These are standard protocols.  Mark advised that other samples should be taken at the same time, temp, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, ORP- tests are best taken at variable depth gradients.  A money saving option would be to purchase equipment rather than renting at a cost of $3780.  Mark can do most of the maintenance, but every two years it needs leaning at US Environmental ($125).  Ed Bailey pointed out the STEAP grant includes $5000 for equipment; until we know whether we have been awarded the grant, he recommends renting because we cannot be reimbursed retroactively by the grant once we purchase any equipment.  It is also possible that NEE will purchase the equipment for Mark and rent it out to their clients.  Rob Poturnicki expressed concern that expensive equipment, used only rarely, quickly becomes unusable. Storage might also be a challenge; the committee prefers the idea of renting for the time being until all the options are clear.  Mark will be sampling once in May and once in June, plus his time, equipment rental which would be roughly $1000 per sampling session.  Mark encouraged the committee to consider the testing an important part of educated lake management.

Rob Poturnicki asked what the final benefit will be from all this testing.  Mark indicated he would put the results into a database so for the first time, trends will be monitored.  Algal blooms can be predicted and monitored; problems in the watershed can also be pinpointed.  Another benefit will be a better chance for funding in the future, since we will be armed with consistent data.

9.       Community outreach ideas:  Ed Bailey reported he checked the price of mailing 600 6x9 color postcards is about .31 each. If we supply addresses in an Excel sheet, they can mail it for $250 plus .37 per postcard.  The cheaper option is to send to every postal patron on a route. That requires figuring out which route encompasses Lake Beseck, and then we don’t have to worry about addresses and the price would be .21 cents per card.

Randy Bernotas recommended including some residents near Lake Beseck and not just confining the mailing to the immediate lake area.  Ed Bailey said that if it would be easy to cover those areas using existing postal routes, that would be possible.

Rebecca Adams said she has mocked up some postcards based on the committee’s comments from last time.  Ed Bailey indicated a portion needs to be kept clean for postage, etc.  Amy showed some sample photos we can use for postcards, including photos of algae, cleanup, etc. Jim Irish asked what the goal was in doing a mailing; Amy Poturnicki indicated the goal was to raise awareness among lake residents that their actions impact the lake and to publicize the invasive species workshop for earth day. Darin recommended a listing of the issues with the lake and then a listing of what people can do to help. Randy recommended highlighting the town’s efforts to clean up and manage the lake.

Darin recommended, separate from this mailing, a flyer educating people about the new laws regarding phosphorous use.  Mark June-Wells recommended that the postcard contain a URL that sends people to a website to learn more.

Motion to allocate up to $600 on educational material; made by Rebecca Adams, seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously. 

Motion to create a subcommittee (Amy, Rebecca, and Daria) to get together and come up with postcard options for the committee to choose. Made by Daria Vander Veer, seconded by Ed Bailey.  Passed unanimously.

The idea of stenciling the storm drains was raised again; Ed Bailey said that could definitely be done.

Darin Overton showed a sample brochure and discussed the volunteer effort at Winding Trails that was done to accomplish the dredging of the lake.

10.   Adjournment:  Motion to adjourn made by Rob Poturnicki, seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Daria Vander Veer