WHAT’S NEW ON THE FLOWAGE?
AT THE DECEMBER 31, 2022 BOARD MEETING
- Treasurer Al Williamson reported the operating fund is approximately $3,200, while the Non-Lapsible Fund holds approximately $20,000.
- Discussion about Board meetings using Zoom or call-in methods. This would require amending the By-Laws at the Annual Meeting. This will be further discussed during April’s Board meeting.
- Commissioner and Treasurer Al Williamson’s term will expire this summer. He would be glad to step down, so nominees are solicited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The letter from Chris Goodwin (Ayers Associates) was read, regarding lake levels, and what it would take to change the recommended level. It was decided to first survey all Flowage property owners regarding their perception of water levels. A draft will be discussed at the April meeting.
- To keep Lake District property owners better informed, it was suggested to try sending out more frequent emails with any news and highlights.
- Water Quality Committee year-end report (see below)
- Future agenda items: nominees for commissioner, insurance for individual supervisors, call-in or Zoom for meetings, calibrate water level gauge, survey
- Next Board of Commissioners meeting: April 15, 2023, at 9:00 am
WATER QUALITY COMMITTEE YEAR-END REPORT AND CHARTS
Sue Holloway gave a report on the Committee’s activities this past season
- There are now 8 members on the Water Quality Committee. Some training will be set up for new members this spring and summer.
- The second of a three-year grant for water chemistry testing was completed for Baker Lake (phosphorus/nitrogen), to better understand the blue-green algae blooms. Although not as bad as in previous years, 2022 still saw some BGA, most remarkably a bloom in the colder weather of fall!
- The North Lakeland Discover Center again set the water level gauges at the Baker Lake Landing and at the Dam site. The Dam Tender logs the water level at least weekly during the season. Since the water levels for the last two years on Baker and the Flowage have been identical, it was decided to install and calibrate only the Dam site gauge this coming year. It is calibrated now to the surveyors benchmark, enabling the calculation of the water level in “feet above mean sea level”. An experimental winter rod has been installed, and if the ice cooperates, it will read the rough water level at ice-out – without waiting for the NLDS to install the official gauge.
- Vilas County collected several different milfoil plants and had them analyzed at a lab. They were several species of native milfoil, luckily!
- Update on phragmites eradication (see below)
Here are charts depicting Flowage water levels, rain, and Baker Lake clarity for 2022.
The control process is called “cut-stem application”. Each stalk is cut near the ground (or water), and a few drops of the chemicals are applied to the hollow stem with a syringe. The chemicals are specific to phragmites, and do not harm aquatic plants or animals, Glyphosate and Imazapyr, 50/50. A permit from the DNR is required for application close to or in the water. Although we received a permit for this year, we won’t use it, and will re-apply next year.
The eradication will take place in the fall of 2023, after the seed-heads have formed. Until then, the plants’ energy brings resources upward from the roots toward the growth process. Once the seed-heads have formed, the plants begins to draw resources back down to it roots (rhizomes), and will take the chemicals with it, where they will do the most good (damage!) Here are pictures of the phragmites growth process:
IMPORTANCE OF BAT MONITORING TO SAVING WISCONSIN’S BATS
In 2014, white-nose syndrome (WNS) began to devastate Wisconsin bat populations. White-nose syndrome is caused by a white fungus that grows on infected bats and interrupts their hibernation. They wake up, and burn up their stored energy. The infected bats starve to death before winter ends. Bat monitoring by volunteers is helping Wisconsin DNR and other groups to assess the impact and, hopefully, save our bats.
This summer, the Mosbruckers, Holloways, and friends have paddled the route from Baker Lake through the Little Tamarack Flowage and Spring Lake several times, on dark and sometime moonlit nights, to monitor bats. Here is the latest map. Quite a variety – hope the bats are coming back!