The Annual meeting of the members of the Blackwater Lake Association, hereinafter referred to as “BLA”, was held on the above date at 10:05 A.M. at Woodrow Town Hall. Fifty three members were present including board members, Lloyd Thielmann, Carolyn Dindorf, Linda Burns, Dodi Sletten, Barbie Laughlin, and Becky Seemann. Jerry Franke, Travis Skalicky ad Val Hyde were not present.
Call to Order
Lloyd Thielmann, Board chair called the meeting to order at 10:05 A.M with an opening statement on water preservation.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was distributed prior to the meeting via Blackwater Blurb, email and distributed at the meeting. Lloyd asked the floor if there were any additions to the agenda to which three requests were added. Well water testing, shoreline erosion, and cabin coffee statements were added to the open floor portion of the agenda. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the agenda was unanimously approved.
Approval of Prior Minutes
The minutes of the 2017 annual meeting were posted on line and distributed at the meeting by Secretary, Dodi Sletten. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the minutes were unanimously approved.
AW Research Labs
Becky Seemann introduced our guest speaker, Sara Ahlers from AW Research Labs in Brainerd. They specialize in testing drinking water/well water and offer testing programs to lake associations at a discounted rate. Sara outlined what they test for including three that can prove harmful in sufficient quantities. They include Arsenic, Nitrates, and Coliform Bacteria. The lab provides lake associations with maps that indicate where each of these have been found at sites around the lake. The recommendation from the MN Dept. of Health is to have wells tested every year especially if maintenance has been done to the well and to check for contamination pathways. Sara reported that we generally have good water in Cass County with between 5-10% of the wells tested having a water contamination issue. Sara went through the instructions for gathering the well water sample which is also included on the instruction sheet in the test kit and also stressed that the samples should be taken as late in the day as possible. She mentioned two options for drop off. They can be dropped off at the lab in Brainerd during regular working hours Monday-Thursdays: 8:00am to 4:30pm or bring to Becky Seemann’s on August 5th. She will take them to AE Labs on Monday August 6th. Questions from the floor: What is required by the MN Dept. of Health for new wells? Response: Before hookup must show testing results that include testing for Arsenic. Arsenic is treated using a reverse osmosis system. What is considered a shallow well? Response: 50 feet or less is considered a shallow well.
Treasurer, Linda Burns presented the following highlights from the Treasurer’s Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. Additionally, Linda provided detailed spreadsheets of the financials at the meeting:
Current Balance: $3,843.85.
Income: $7,753.63 which included $4300 from annual dues, $1348 from Blackwater wear, $1953 from AIS donations and $132 from AIS training for Island and Mule Lake.
Expenses: $5939.89 which included the top three expenditures – the Blackwater Blurb at $1680.41, Beaver Control at $850.00, and various AIS expenses/dues including Conservation Minnesota/MN Waters, ACCL (Association of Cass County Lake Associations), Minnesota Lake and Rivers Advocates, Leech lake Area Watershed Foundation, AIS training, AIS summit and RMB labs for lake water testing. Expenses for Blackwater wear, a donation Lakes Area First responders, the Seedlings program, refreshments (Annual meeting and Cabin Coffee) and Fourth of July parade cover the bulk of the remaining expenses.
Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Treasurers Report was unanimously approved.
Pat Schwerin reported that she had reviewed the books, found them to be in order and in balance. She also noted that Linda keeps very detailed records.
A moment of silence was held in remembrance of members and family who passed away this past year.
- 4th of July Parade: Lloyd reported that 18 watercraft participated in this year’s boat parade. The Schmokel family won the parade with a pyrotechnic theme.
- Beaver Control: Lloyd reported that our beaver control contractor has resigned. A dam was reported in process but the culvert is open. Beaver control is essential to keep the water clean and at an appropriate level so properties do not flood and get damaged by high water. Continued efforts will be made to acquire a beaver control individual.
- Lake water quality report. Jim asked the group if anyone knew what years were the lowest and highest water level years on Blackwater. Jim had physical copies of the trends for anyone that was interested in seeing the results. He reported the water level clarity reading during the last test was up and lake looking good at this time. No significant changes. Sara Ahlers from AW Research labs mentioned that some lakes test the water coming into the lake to see what may be flowing into the lake from adjoining lakes.
- Aquatic Invasive Species AIS report-Carolyn Dindorf introduced herself as Chair of the AIS committee taking over that position from Becky Seemann. She talked through the volunteer’s process of checking for invasive species. The volunteers monitor at several locations around the lake and check a couple times a year. She reported that currently Blackwater has Chinese and Banded Mystery Snails and there is nothing at this point that can be done to eradicate them without harming our native snails and plants. Blackwater also has Rusty Crayfish and Carolyn said trapping is the most effective way to control them. They will eat the vegetation and native crayfish. The biggest concern is Zebra Mussels. Carolyn talked through boat decontamination by cleaning trailers and boats with high water pressure and let dry for at least 5 days. If not using that method, 20 days is recommended to ensure nothing live is transported into another lake. She reported that Eurasian Watermilfoil was found in Girl Lake and Boy River. Starry Stonewort problems have been found in lakes in Minnesota. She also stressed the importance of building up of funds as we currently do not have sufficient resources to respond if an infestation should occur.
- Membership report and AIS funding, property ownership: Linda Burns covered what was donated for AIS funding and reported membership at 116 members. She noted membership was trending higher compared to the previous year. Total property ownership on the lake is a total of 236. This includes the Pine haven and Lake Haven Acres Resorts. The breakdown is 30 year round properties, 175 seasonal cabin/homes, 28 lots, two sites owned by Cass County and one public access. AIS donations were approximately $2,000 with expenses around $920.
- ACCL: Becky Seemann and Lloyd reported on the ACCL meetings and the focus on water quality. Jeff Forester who is a lobbyist and is dedicated to getting our voices heard in the legislature has been key in getting focus on water quality. $250M is spent yearly on MN water protection but focus by the legislature is lacking. Lake Associations having detailed written AIS infestation response plans is the current focus of the ACCL. A question was asked on what has been done to irradiate the invasive species using biologic control methods. Response: Biologic control has been researched, is costly and eradication is very difficult without harming native species.
- Woodrow Township update-Newly elected Woodrow Township Commissioner David Tanner spoke about the importance of reaching out to the Lake Associations by listening to ideas and understanding our focus. With our focus on AIS control, he suggested Woodrow Township may be a source of funding to be used for this purpose. Question was asked on how contact should be made. Response: He explained that checking the Woodrow Township website for the appropriate supervisor responsible for the specific area of need would be the best way to get in contact with the appropriate individual.
- Board of Directors Nominations and Election: Lloyd introduced the new board nominations. The board has nominated:
- Barbie Laughlin-2 year term as director
- Val Hyde-2 year term as director
- Tim Marr-1 year term as director at large
A motion was duly made and seconded, the nominations were closed and the slate of directors nominated by the Board of directors was elected by unanimous acclimation.
- Blackwater Wear Sales: Lloyd introduced the sales of the remainder of the Blackwater wear with the proceeds to help build up our general fund and to help offset AIS costs and future issues.
- Other business: Lloyd opened the floor for any additional topics for discussion. Cabin Coffee recap was given by Becky Seemann and after 2 hosted events, she noted each group that attended were different and new folks were met. She reminded everyone that cabin coffee is 1 hour and encouraged attending our next one in August. Howard Langston relayed their experience in drilling a new well and recommended having a very candid conversation with your well drilling company on what they will be testing for and what to expect. The Department of Health must have the results of the testing including arsenic as a part of that before hooking up the water. Court Lechert mentioned concern about shoreline erosion due to extensive wave action from boats driving too close to shore. A suggestion was made to put an article in the Blurb as a reminder to ask folks to move further from shore when their water activities cause major wave action.
- Silent Auction: The winners were announced post meeting by Barbie Laughlin and Dodi Sletten.
- Luncheon: A luncheon was served post meeting by Terry Thielmann and Joann Statsman.
There being no further business to come before it, upon motion duly made and seconded, the meeting was unanimously adjourned at 11:48 A.M.
Dated as of the date first written above.
Dodi Sletten, Secretary