Lake Beseck Living

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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


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