Meeting minutes March 13, 2023

Attendees:  Jean Bell, Bill Barton, Rich Haupt, Russ Conklin, Jeff Bravin, Dan Kadlec, Carey Fiertz, Danny Vogus, Erica Cohen, Grant Bogle

The meeting opened at 5 pm.

Membership Meeting Dates for 2023:  June 17 at 10 am and August 5 at 10:00 am.  Both meetings will be held on Isola Bella in the pavilion.  Twin Lakes Day will follow the August 5 meeting.  Please mark your calendars.

Lake Management:  Bill Barton reported that the permit application for herbicide application has been submitted to the DEEP.  The permit application was accompanied by a three-year management plan along with the appropriate permit documents.  The plan was developed by a firm called GEI, our new lake management company, and submitted by Pond and Lake (P&L), the firm that applies the herbicides to the lake each year.   P&L will periodically monitor the progress of the permit application with the DEEP. 

The three-year plan is now posted on the TLA website for members to review.  We believe it is a thoughtful, scientifically grounded plan that will support the judicious use of herbicides to control invasive species. 

Water Testing:  Russ explained that we have hired a new firm to support water quality testing given that AER has ceased business operations.  Russ worked with Bill and Grant through the fall and into the early winter to select NEAR, a well-known firm run by a PhD limnologist who has done quite a bit of work on Twin Lakes since the 1980’s.  NEAR will be responsible for water testing and analysis for 2023, allowing them to get familiar with the lake system once again and to collect baseline measurements.  Going forward post the 2023 season, it is anticipated that we will again use volunteers to collect the samples and have NEAR do the analysis.  This will decrease the cost in future years given that NEAR will not need to send their personnel onto the lake monthly.  We need to thank and acknowledge the incredible hours that Peter and Kathy Neely and Russ Conklin have put in over the years collecting water samples.  I am sure they will enjoy a year “vacation” from this responsibility!

Plant Surveys:  The TLA has conducted plant surveys periodically as part of our lake management activities.  These surveys are required by the state and provide our lake management partners with important data on the health of the lake (along with the water testing).  We have engaged NEAR to conduct this testing going forward.  The survey will be done in the late spring before application of any herbicides so as to get a good baseline survey throughout the three lake basins. 

Budget:  Jean, Russ and Grant met with Curtis Rand and Joe Cleveland in February to discuss the estimated lake management costs for 2023 and beyond.  The town sets aside a sum of money each year to support the 5 lakes in the community but the funds have not been earmarked for any specific lake in any given year. Historically, the town has supported Twin Lakes by paying for herbicide treatments and many of the lake studies.  This amounted to ~$45-$50 thousand per year. While the budget for the 2023 fiscal year has not yet been finalized, we expect that the funds available to Twin Lakes will be in the same ballpark.  In addition, we have budget remaining in this year’s town fund that we anticipate using (~$20K).  Finally, at the August 2022 TLA meeting, the membership authorized the board to spend up to $25,000 of TLA funds to support lake management activities, knowing that we had to make commitments and sign contracts before the June 2023 membership meeting. 

In total, we expect that the cost of water quality testing, plant surveys, herbicide applications and other activities to be in the range of $95-100,000 for the balance of calendar year 2023.  We believe that the combination of funds from the 2022 and 2023 town budget, in addition to the funds authorized to be spent by the board, will cover these expenses.  Hence, consistent with the direction of the membership, Danny Vogus made a motion, and it was seconded by Rich Haupt, that the board enter into contracts with NEAR and P&L to manage the activities necessary to continue to monitor and treat the lake appropriately.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Membership:  Jeff Bravin reported that he, Eric Stoer, Jeff Cox and Jean Bell met to discuss membership activities for 2023.  We are transitioning membership information to a new software, including donation history, This will allow for easier communication to members via email, the newsletter and also via snail mail.  We also plan to print an updated membership directory in 2023.  More news to follow. 

Education:  Erica Cohen has joined the education subcommittee led by Jackie Blombach Our goal is to provide simple, focused education to the lake community about steps we call can take to improve lake ecology.  These include simple things like not using weed control products on lawns, pumping septic tanks annually, monitoring for invasive plants along the shoreline, etc.  In addition, we intend to bring in guest speakers and other educational resources to help lake front homeowners expand the use of native plans along the shoreline to create natural buffers and habitat for wildlife.  More to come.

The meeting adjourned at 6:15 pm.


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