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Minutes of Lake Beseck Environment Committee June 28 2017

Lake Beseck Environment Committee Meeting Minutes

Wednesday June 28, 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, Daria Vander Veer, Randy Bernotas, John Lindner, Rick Santos, Hannah Malcolm, Edward Bailey. James Irish joined the meeting at 7:09.  Mark June-Wells was also present.

3. Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve the agenda for June 28, 2018 without changes made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Robert Poturnicki.  Passed unanimously.

4. Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes for March 29 and April 12 without changes made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

5.  Public Comment

No members of the public were present.

6. Chairman Report

LakeSmart program: Amy Poturnicki thanked everyone who contributed to getting the program implemented on such short notice, including Larry Marsicano, who spoke about the LakeSmart Program, and Mark June-Wells, who spoke about the state of the lake, best management practices, chemical vs organic fertilizers, initiatives underway. Local politicians spoke about town & DEEP initiatives. A landscape architect from Milone & MacBroom spoke about native plants and buffer gardens. Turnout was good and attendees left with a lot of materials and information after enjoying a free breakfast spread.

Amy also described having landscape designers out to the beach to look at the options.  We received proposals and received approval from the town to proceed with Kathy Connolly, landscape architect, to create plan for buffer/anti-geese zones at the beach.

Amy described the recent plant survey by DEEP staff, which found widespread amounts of what they are calling Potamogeton vaseyi, which is a “threatened” species. If it is in fact this plant, it may impede future projects at the lake, including the carp project.

7. Selectmen Report

Edward Bailey reported that Inland Wetlands Commission has made a motion to request that a guard rail be installed at the northern end of the lake to prevent parking and the erosion it is causing. An area has been staked out; Ed invited members to look at the staked area and send him any comments.  Members made additional suggestions about potential locations for guard rails.

8. Mark June-Wells Report

Mark June-Wells addressed the issue of the identification of Potamogeton vaseyi.  He described how plants are commonly identified (by their reproductive components such as flowers and seeds). Vaseyi used to be  identified by counting the veins in a leaf, but now it is identified by a structure at the bottom of the leaf. The difference between this species and Potamogeton bicupulatis, using this new distinction, is miniscule; it’s also possible that Potamogeton species will interbreed, which further blurs the line for distinguishing vaseyi from others.

Mark explained that if the plant had been found in only one patch, we could probably work around it; but since the state has identified several locations throughout the lake, he recommends that we contest the identification and request genetic/DNA testing.  If the identification is correct, virtually of our management options – including harvesting, pesticides, and grass carp – would be off the table.

In response to a question from Daria Vander Veer, Mark indicated that there is a procedure to contest the finding, which involves a memo to high-ranking DEEP officials from the first selectman requesting a review of the finding.  It is possible the town would need to pay for the genetic testing, which is fairly commonplace now. Mark indicated he should be involved with the design of the survey and testing to ensure that the state’s procedures are reasonable and fair.

In response to a question from Ed Bailey, Mark indicated that nine lakes in CT have this plant but he will need to determine how much they have.  If ten lakes turn out to have this plant, the plant moves from “threatened” status to “item of concern.”  The state’s concern is preservation of biodiversity. They also, however, have their concerns about the grass carp project.

Mark answered several detailed questions about the Potamogeton species, its vulnerability to harvesting and carp, and its presence in CT lakes.

Amy Poturnicki indicated that based on this development, our best option is to proceed with genetic testing to protect our future lake management projects. James Irish pointed out that it is important that we work closely with DEEP on the experimental design. He also recommended getting agreement in advance on how identification is done.

In response to a question from Randy Bernotas, Mark June-Wells indicated there was only one other endangered species that has been found in the lake in the past, but the state has never mentioned it.  The next meeting with the state is scheduled for August 30; Amy indicated that might get moved up if Mark can get information about a geneticist soon.

Motion to proceed with genetic testing and a challenge to the state’s findings made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously.

9. Carp Project

See Mark June-Wells’ report.

10. Beach Erosion/Geese Control

Kathy Connolly, landscape designer, made a presentation about the beach project.  She discussed the potential goals of the project, which include control of the goose population and control of the erosion and sand loss during storms because of the steep slope.  She showed mockups and made different recommendations while asking about the possible problems or challenges the committee foresees in creating a new beach topography. Committee members provided feedback and asked questions about options. Concern was raised about the area being closed in too much. Hannah Malcolm mentioned that the swim area is currently much smaller than is listed on the permit; Ed Bailey suggested that if the roped-off swim area is larger, the swim ropes might help with repelling geese as well. Amy Poturnicki agreed, and felt it would be a nice resolution, but noted that the geese are often on the beach even during the winter, she suggested that ropes would have to be in place and clipped to pilings in that area to deter geese in the off-season.

Motion to create a subcommittee to go over the proposed landscaping options by Amy Poturnicki, seconded by James Irish. The committee to include Amy, Daria, Hannah, and at least one other Park & Rec Committee member and another member of the community who uses the beach frequently. Passed unanimously.

11. Election of Officers

Motion by Robert Poturnicki to keep slate as is; seconded by Randy Bernotas.  Passed unanimously

12. Future Meeting Dates

Motion to keep meetings 4th Weds of every month made by Amy Poturnicki; seconded by James Irish.  Passed unanimously.

13. Misc.

Amy introduced two new committee members, Rick Santos and Hannah Malcolm of the Parks & Rec Commission.

14. Adjourn

Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Rob Poturnicki; seconded by Randy Bernotas. Meeting adjourned 9:02 PM.