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Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee September 27, 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting
Wednesday September 27, 2017, 7:00 PM
Middlefield Community Center

1. Call to Order
Meeting was called to order at 7:02 P.M.

2. Members Present
Amy Poturnicki, Robert Poturnicki, Randy Bernotas, Daria Vander Veer, Hannah Malcolm, Rick Santos, James Irish.  Mark June-Wells and Len Suzio were also present.  Ed Bailey joined the meeting at 7:10. Rebecca Adams and John Lindner joined the meeting at 7:15.

3. Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve the agenda for September 27, 2017 without changes made by Randy Bernotas and seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously.

4. Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of June 28, 2017 with no changes made by Robert Poturnicki and seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5. Public Comment
No members of the public were present.

6. Chairman Report

Amy reported that committee members have met with Kathy Connolly, the landscape architect, several times; sod has been removed at one end of the beach near the paved ramp and plants will be installed.  We have also been able to get about twenty free 10-foot-long coir logs from a job site in Old Lyme; the only cost will be to pick them up and have them delivered, a savings of approximately $1500.  The logs will be delivered Friday morning.

Amy passed around an updated version of Kathy Connolly’s drawing for plantings.  Some of the potentially taller plantings have been replaced with lower ones to preserve the line of sight for the nearby houses.  In response to a question from Jim Irish, Amy confirmed that there will also be plantings at the northern end of the beach as well, and that the landscaping project will go in phases.

The goose population is growing smaller; typically they show up when the flag lines have been taken down by humans, possibly kayakers.

Amy reported on the meeting earlier today with the DEEP.  She provided some of the plant survey maps that Greg Bugbee of the CT Agricultural/Experimental Station brought to the meeting.  Greg has identified several patches around the lake that may contain the protected species Potamogeton vaseyi, which may impede efforts to control plants in the lake.  Amy mentioned that the “protected species” status may be changed in the next year or so, especially if ten or more lakes are determined to have this plant.

Amy reported that Greg has found 23 native plants in the lake this year, a significantly larger number than prior to the drawdown. Ed Bailey mentioned that the important goal is to keep any one species from dominating, and Mark June-Wells agreed.

Amy mentioned that we need to continue to find ways to control invasives; the option of benthic barriers, or “bottom blankets,” can be effective if they are put in in April and taken out one month later, and are a comparatively cheap option.  Mark June-Wells indicated the barriers are fairly easy to use on a small scale, particularly in places like the beach swimming area, and said that if anyone was interested he could help with a bulk purchase discount. Hannah Malcolm said she would start researching prices and availability for use at the swimming area. Purchase of a harvester is still also a possibility; Mark June-Wells indicated there are some reasonably priced machines available.  The committee discussed possible ways of funding a harvester, including STEAP grants, and the logistics of where and how it would be stored and maintained.

Amy related that at the DEEP meeting, Larry Marsicano (manager of Candlewood Lake) said that he has had success with deeper and/or earlier drawdowns. It was suggested to start collecting data on weather, snowfall, temperatures, water depth and resultant plant populations to determine whether changing the drawdown would help and what changes would need to be made.  Mark June-Wells said there are easy ways, and fairly inexpensive tools to collect the information. The committee discussed the current statute that dictates Lake Beseck drawdowns and how the technology has changed for controlling the lake level.

James Irish asked whether a genetic analysis had been done to determine whether the plant Greg Bugbee had found was actually Potamogeton vaseyi.  Ed Bailey replied that Greg seemed pretty certain it was, and Ed felt it was not currently worth spending the money on DNA analysis. He pointed out that we were not likely to get any permits to take action on the invasives at this time since they don’t currently seem to be a problem.  Amy replied that since the committee that reviews protected species meets infrequently, perhaps it is still in our interest to bring our issues to the committee.

Len Suzio reminded the committee that even if the milfoil wasn’t a problem this year, it was safe to assume it would be a problem in future, and we should continue to pursue ways to control it in future. He felt a harvester would be a good investment that might pay off if the plant matter collected could be sold to local farmers.  He also urged the committee to start collecting more data to better understand what factors are influencing the plant population.

7. Selectmen Report                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Ed recapped the main points covered in the meeting with DEEP, including data collection, statutory changes, using a harvester, the plant survey. He indicated a new level gauge for the lake needs to be installed.  Ed also answered questions about the new guard rails put up around the northern end of the lake; John Lindner mentioned the original plans of adding plantings along that stretch of land, and urged the committee again to pursue that project.
8. Mark June-Wells Report
Mark June-Wells mentioned there had been some algae bloom in the past week, but that all other processes are continuing as normal.

9. Project updates                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 Hannah Malcolm said Parks & Rec has put out bids for a retaining wall in front of the pavilion to help limit erosion. 

10. Misc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Randy suggested that some entity, perhaps the Lake Association, should write a letter to the DEEP thanking them for the good work on the dam.

John Linder noted that since the jumpstart of the “Lake Smart” program, there hasn’t been any followup. He recommended taking the matter up again at a future meeting.  Ed Bailey suggested having Greg Bugbee come give a presentation on the benthic barriers in the spring as part of a kickoff event in the spring. 

11. Adjourn
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Robert Poturnicki  and seconded by Rebecca Adams. Passed unanimously; meeting adjourned at 8:25 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Daria Vander Veer