LCAA Review of Annual Meeting June 23, 2016

LAKE CARLOS AREA ASSOCIATION – REVIEW OF ANNUAL MEETING
OF  JUNE 23, 2016
(download in Word)

Call to Order
The 2016 annual meeting was held on June 23, 2016, at the Phoenix Event Center. The meeting was called to order by Paul McCarten and the LCAA lake board members were introduced.

Board of Directors:

Region 1:
Dave Butler
Al Grundei
Janet Eisele

Region 2:
Paul McCarten
Stan Pickett
Bill Verschaetse

Region 3:
Derek Trosvig
Dave Holtz
Robb Steinbring

• Douglas County Board member Bev Bales was also welcomed.

Secretary’s Report
The 2015 annual meeting was reviewed. LCAA wrapped up last year in good shape.

Treasurer’s Report
The Association Treasurer Derek Trosvig reported that the Association remained in good shape. Membership levels have held at between 200 and 250, and the board was focused on reaching out to all residents on the lake by way of its newsletter and website. Major expenditures were reviewed including memberships in the Douglas County Lake Association, contributions to environmental groups that focus on Minnesota lakes, and spring walleye stocking. Newsletter costs and administrative expenses were reviewed. The report was approved as presented.

Board Activity Reports

  1. Water Quality and Testing
    Water quality and testing were reported by Dave Butler. He explained the process for testing including water clarity tests that are conducted from spring through the fall, and Sentinel Lake testing for the long-term project in analyzing water quality and lake temperatures. (Lake Carlos is one of a handful of lakes that are included in this Sentinel Lakes program. Because Lake Carlos is so deep, it is an ideal marker for analysis of pollution impacts, climate change issues, and other factors being monitored by the state DNR.)
    As part of Dave’s discussion he made comparisons to past water quality testing. As an example, five years ago the June tests had water clarity depths at approximately 12 feet. This year, water clarity was approximately 27 feet. It is thought that the improved water clarity is related to zebra mussels and the water filtering impact that mussels have on the lake environment. Attendees reported anecdotal comment regarding other areas of the country where zebra mussels have had similar improvements on water quality.
  2. Water Level Monitoring
    Al Grundei reported findings regarding water level monitoring. He referred the meeting to the graph shown in the spring/summer newsletter and commented that this year’s spring testing showed the lowest level season start in the last five years. Historically water levels peak early and then diminish as the open-water season continues into the fall.
    Discussion regarding low water levels in the Le Homme Dieu/Carlos channel were discussed. Lake level testing is conducted at the Long Prairie River dam (weir) on the north end of Lake Carlos.
  3. Cabin Rental Regulations
    Cabin rental regulations were also discussed. Al reported that cabin rentals have become more common on the lake and concerns are being raised about vacation by owner (VBO) and like services. These rentals are unregulated. It was reported that the state of Minnesota is looking into the possibility of statewide regulations. Now, rentals need not comply with safety and public health standards required of resorts. Renters can also cause neighborhood disturbances because cabins are close to their neighbors and the vacationers often arrive with dogs, jet skis, and loud activities that are not otherwise found on a weekly basis in lakeside residential neighborhoods. (Douglas County board member Bev Bales later addressed the issue as well). LCAA will continue to monitor the situation.
    Guest Speaker
    Ben Eckhoff, Lake Carlos State Park Naturalist was the guest of LCAA at the meeting. His interesting presentation included an invitation to boaters to use the park. Boats need not have a sticker and all of the facilities are available for lake users including the fish cleaning station that is maintained by the State Park and is available for fish cleaning.
    Activities including fishing, hiking, bird watching, and many other activities are available to all of us and can be reviewed on the Lake Carlos State Park website. Building a custom fishing rods or snowshoes are an example of these activities. Summer and winter activities are available and lake residents are welcome to make use of the park. Upwards of 170,000 people use Lake Carlos State Park in any given year.
    Ben then discussed the wildlife found at the park. Nesting bald eagles, great horned owls, and local and migratory birds are found throughout the park area. Migrating water birds attract birders from around the country because of the variety of birds found on our lake and in particular in the state park.
    Other animals are also common in the park including a “Fisher” that is related to a river otter. Porcupines, mink, fox, dear, live at the park and even a black bear is a known visitor.
    Ben also discussed boat landing access in the park and invited lake residents to make use of the facility. Camping, canoeing, kayaking, and fish house rentals are available and inexpensive!
    Common issues that confront lake residents were also discussed. The cuckoo bird that thrives on tent caterpillars, are becoming more common in the park. As we know, tent caterpillars can cause difficulty for lakeshore residents.
    A project at the Long Prairie River dam is being considered to replace the aging structure. A number of government agencies are working on the project and LCAA will be in the loop as the project moves forward. (Lake level changes are not anticipated as a result of this new project.)
    The presentation was well received by everybody in attendance. Ben was thanked for his involvement.
  4. Douglas County Lake Association Report
    Board member Janet Eisele regularly attends DCLA meetings and shares information with the LCAA Board so that we can participate in county wide activities as appropriate. Because the lakes have common interests, LCAA maintains involvement.
  5. Walleye Stocking Report
    Bill Verschaetse has coordinated walleye stocking for LCAA. This year spring stocking took place (in previous years we funded fall stocking). Both the Viking Sportsmen Club and the DNR were of the opinion that the small minnows that were stocked in the fall were not developing to the degree that it had been hoped.
    LCAA then explored the possibility of spring stocking and became aware that larger walleye that had grown for a year were available for stocking. Stocking was completed on June 23, 2016. LCAA anticipates that we will now stock on a regular spring schedule. It is hoped that this new plan will result in reduced fish mortality and the larger yearlings have a much better chance of survival.
  6. Channel Dredging
    Bill Verschaetse also reported that LCAA is exploring options for channel dredging. The biggest problem is lack of water depth at the Carlos/Le Homme Dieu channel. Channel navigation has worsened over the last few years and dredging will be necessary soon.
    LCAA is working with the Le Homme Dieu and Geneva associations to explore options. These lakes have agreed to help finance a project and once options are determined, Douglas County Public Works Department will be contacted. It presently holds the permit to complete dredging projects. We anticipate a good working relationship with the county.
    All three of the lake associations want to make sure that the project is completed so that it will last for many years. The LCAA is working with the DNR to assure that the project will be completed this summer.
    The Carlos/Darling Bridge is not experiencing as big of a problem but dredging options are being reviewed. It apparently has some issues that may require more extensive bank work before dredging can be considered. The Lake Darling Association is engaged in this project with LCAA and we will report to our members with the goal of ensuring open channels for navigation.
  7. Board Election
    Region III was up for election. All three of the current members including Dave Holtz, Derek Trosvig, and Robb Steinbring agreed to continue on the board and a motion was made from the floor and passed unanimously to re-elect the three board members to another term.

Other Business

A) Bev Bales: Douglas County Board member Bev Bales, a long-time resident on Lake Carlos, has served on the Douglas County Board for the past eighteen years. She will retire at the end of the year. She reported that the county board is aware of the Vacation by Owner rental concerns. It is an issue without easy answers and since the state is working on a uniform plan the county will hold off. If there are disturbances at a rental unit, residents were encouraged to call 911 to alert authorities.

Bev also acknowledged that lake water levels and periodic channel dredging is a necessary activity for the lake association and she is aware of LCAA’s current activity in that regard.

All lake residents are encouraged to work with the county when doing lake shore projects. Douglas County Land and Resource Management is reportedly easy to work with and encourages residents to contact them regarding projects and/or to report issues that may adversely affect the lake and water quality. Bev was thanked for her long time service on the Douglas County Board.

B) Worm Spraying: Tent caterpillars, army worms, were noted in some isolated areas on the lake and a few neighborhoods completed aerial spraying. There were no reports of any significant tent caterpillar problems this year.

It was reported to membership that the aerial spraying does have an additional environmental impact. The non-toxic solution, sprayed and ingested by the worms, is not specific to tent caterpillars. All caterpillars are killed including those that become butterflies. LCAA will discourage spraying unless there is a significant tent caterpillar infestation.

C) Zebra Mussels: There were no significant reports of zebra mussel problems. LCAA has taken the position that once we became infested with this invasive species it became part of our lake ecosystem. We will continue to monitor the issue and report to membership as needed.

D) Lakeshore Development and Grants: Lakeshore development was noted as being the single biggest contributor to lake pollution. Lake Carlos residents are encouraged to make contact with Douglas County before they do any lakeshore development project. Often times, conditional use permits are granted and guidelines are shared for a project. Failure to get a permit can be problematic.

Grants are available to lakeshore owners if they’re interested in doing environmentally sensitive lakeshore projects. Information regard grants are outlined in the newsletter and found on the LCAA website.

E) Chain of Lakes Committee: Lake Associations for Darling, Carlos, Le Homme Dieu, Geneva, and Victoria are in discussions to revive the committee. It will share ideas and other matters of interest on the Chain of Lakes. All of these lakes are heavily populated. Activities may include publishing of a chain newsletter shared by all of the lakes.

F) Membership Decal: It was decided at the meeting that LCAA will get ‘membership decals’ for all paid members. When the next newsletter/dues notice goes out, members will receive a decal that can be displayed on mailboxes, boats, or otherwise displayed to signify membership in the association.

Member Comments

Everyone enthusiastically enjoyed the presentation by Ben Eckoff. The new newsletter format was well-received. LCAA is encouraged with the prospect of a new and revised website. Again, everyone was interested in correspondence by way of email and dues payments by way of website.
LCAA thanked Jon Gaugert for the availability of the Phoenix Event Center. It worked great for the annual meeting. Member drawing wrapped up the meeting including donations from Ace Hardware, Bug-a-Boo Bay, and the Arrowwood Deck Bar.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00.

Paul McCarten, Board Secretary

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