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.
Mark mentioned he had made an error in plant identification, and he has since modified his original maps with the correction.
Randy Bernotas asked about signage at the boat ramp re: speed limits. Ed Bailey indicated signage is the state’s responsibility.
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by Rebecca Adams. Passed unanimously.
Daria Vander Veer