Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee June 27, 2016
Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting
Monday June 27, 2016, 7:00
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.
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Craig Lundell. Meeting adjourned 8:55 PM.