Officers in attendance were, President Tim Lovett, Vice-president Mark Piening, Treasurer Ted Burtke, and Master at Arms Dave Eyink. Trustees in attendance were Dave Meyer, Tom Rampe, Dan Schenking, Stan Wilker, Jeff Vossler and Brian Morris.
The meeting was called to order at 10 AM and President Lovett led the Pledge of Alligance.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Burke reported the financial records of the Association had been audited by the audit committee and found to be in good order.
Beginning Balance $46,887.55
Trustee Stan Wilker reported that there are only 8 corporate tables left for the Parrots of the Caribbean Party on Saturday, February 16 at Romer’s. He noted there are only 2 or 3 condos left at Romer’s for rental that night at reduced rates. The corporate logos for the corporate tables need to be ordered by February 8, so contact Stan at 419-852-0064 to reserve a table. This year the Party will include a silent auction and the auction items include a Notre Dame football autographed by Bill Kelly any way the winner wants and an autographed photo of President John Kennedy and Stan Musial. The LIA thanks the local business for the donation of the auction items and door prizes and encourages the membership to patronize them. Tickets are going fast for the party, so contact Stan to get yours.
ODNR Director Zehringer’s Comments
Tim introduced Jim Zehringer, Director of ODNR and Glen Cobb, the deputy director and the Chief of the Ohio State Parks division. Director Zehringer noted the recent excellent ice fishing on the Lake and acknowledged member Dave Brunswick who caught a couple of very nice saugeye/walleye. Director Zehringer stated we are at Mother Nature’s mercy on the weather and when ice fishing can occur, but ODNR will continue to try to improve the fishing in the Lake.
Director Zehringer acknowledged the excellent work of Terry Mescher and Francis Springer to encourage and support the producers in the watershed in compliance with the distressed watershed rules which are now in effect. Of the affected 156 producers in the watershed, 151 have completed the required nutrient management plans (NMP). The remaining 5 were issued Chief’s orders to submit the plans and 4 are in the process of completing plans now. The implementation of the plans is expected to greatly reduce the phosphorus which is coming into the Lake from the watershed.
Director Zehringer noted it is a team effort to reduce the nutrients in the Lake and the work of the watershed coordinator, Laura Walker; the continuation of the record amounts being dredged from the Lake; and the continuation of the rough fish removal are all important. Director Zehringer thanked Tim, Milt Miller, and the members of the Lake Restoration Commission for their efforts to improve the Lake. He noted that on a biweekly basis a teleconference is held between the LRC executive committee and the State Directors, legislative staff, and the Governor’s office to discuss Lake related issues. These teleconferences are strong evidence that the Governor and his directors have made improving the Lake a top priority. He also thanked Jim Keller and his AG Solutions group for their efforts to improve the production practices in the watershed. Director Zehringer noted in a speech he gave that he stated the major progress that has been made on cleaning up the lake is a result of all of the parties getting on the same page and we are starting to see results.
Director Zehringer noted the alum treatments in the Lake have gotten us through the past two summers. The experts say that the Lake’s depth and the wind conditions have marginalized the effectiveness of the alum treatments and the State is seriously looking at continuing the alum treatments. But there is a question if the alum treatments are the best use of money to improve the Lake. There are a lot of problems that need to be addressed in the Lake and its watershed. The State is committed to increasing dredging this year and to improving rough fish removal.
Director Zehringer reported there will be some work done on controlling the Lake level early this year to determine the effects of opening the spillway tubes under various conditions. There has been improved Lake level monitoring and downstream level monitoring equipment installed to record the effects of opening the tubes.
Director Zehringer stated the State is committed to comply with the court ordered purchase of flow easements on properties downstream of the Lake’s spillway. But there has to be a recognition the flooding of the downstream properties is also caused by other sources. It is our money, as tax payers, that is used to buy the easements and the State will fight for the citizens of Ohio to ensure that fair and equitable amounts will be paid for the easements. The State has and will continue to offer the property owners goods settlements reflecting what they are deserved.
Director Zehringer reported the USEPA report on the effectiveness of last summer’s alum treatment has been drafted. It is awaiting approval and is expected to be signed off by USEPA in February. He noted the experts all say that controlling the nutrients coming into the Lake is critical and that the probability of an alum treatment in the Lake in 2013 is slim.
Director Zehringer said the state is looking at stocking walleye in the Lake again. Since there is an issue with the introduction of saugeye into Lake Erie, they will probably not be stocked in GLSM. Director Zehringer stated he plans to come to the Pirates of the Caribbean party and looks forward to seeing us all there.
A member noted home owners are strongly advised to not apply phosphorus to their lawns and questioned why farmers can apply it to their fields up to a level of 300# per acre which is 6 times what is needed for crops. Director Zehringer responded that the farmers in the watershed must follow their NMPs and apply only what is needed for a crop. Due to over application of phosphorus in the past on some fields, phosphorus will not be allowed to spread on them.
There were no further questions for Director Zehringer and President Lovett thanked him for taking time from his very busy schedule to address the membership.
Lake Real Estate
President Lovett introduced Linda May, a supporting member of the Lake Restoration Commission and a local realtor. Linda noted there has been local concern that Lake related home purchases cannot get financed or loan backing from federal agencies. She did some research with local banks, credit unions, and loan brokers. She gave a disclaimer that she is not an attorney, CPA, or banker and her presentation is not legal or financial advice. Linda reported that the number of Lake related sales is coming back up based upon the MLS listings. She noted that if a property is offered for sale or sold but not listed, it will not show up in the MLS listings. 2011 was the low point for Lake related sales.
Properties in the range of $140K to $200K are what are selling, around the Lake, locally, and nationwide. Sold prices are lower than asking prices generally. The federal loan agencies do not have any restrictions on Lake related properties as long as their other requirements are met and buyers can get advertised low fixed rate mortgages. Several local companies indicated they are doing financing on Lake related properties. However, there have been instances where an appraiser has put in the appraisal of a Lake related property that it is located on a “toxic” lake. In those cases, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would not accept the properties for financing. So, if possible, be careful in picking the property appraiser. Comparables are often hard to find for appraising Lake related properties. The comparables must have sold in the past 6 months and Lake related properties are often unique and similar properties do not exist. Many have been added onto and have unusual layouts and features. Second homes are viewed differently and more critically than primary residences.
Conventional loans with a 20% down payment are being accepted as are other loans if the buyer is eligible. If a buyer’s loan is turned down by a company, definitely go to other companies. Companies standards vary it may be possible to place the loan with the second or third company. A buyer may not be able to get the lowest rates but should be able to get a good rate now. Land contracts are another option for sellers, but you have to carefully do due diligence, get at least a 20% down payment, have an attorney review the contract for you, and closely monitor the monthly payments. Leasing the home may also be a good option if you cannot sell it. Again you have to be very careful on who you lease to and monitor the payments. Often, the person leasing the property will attempt to buy it. There are a lot of people coming into the area who lease a house until they are sure they are going to be here for a while.
Linda ended her presentation with the quotation “Life consists of not holding good cards but how you play your cards”. A member asked if sellers of Lake related properties lost more of their value than other local properties in 2010. Linda indicated they have but she has investors who are now buying them, seeing a long term potential for profit. She indicated FHA and other agencies will do Lake related properties and Peoples Bank has accepted Lake related loans for their portfolio, but they are very careful.
A member commented that Lake related property values are down significantly, but property taxes have not declined commensurately. Randy Grapner, the Mercer County Auditor was in attendance. He indicated that the next appraisal cycle will occur in 2014 and it will reflect property values at that time.
Linda noted that many Lake related properties have been added onto or converted into permanent residences and some of the original portions may not be up to today’s standards. To get FHA and other federal backed loans, the entire property must meet their standards and may require expensive upgrades to be eligible.
A member inquired if there is a market for properties valued over $250K. Linda responded that generally across the area, and not just Lake related properties, high end homes are just not selling now. She noted that a non Lake related property valued at $1M a few years ago could not be sold for $500K.
Lake Restoration Committee Presentation
Milt Miller from the LRC reported that the fish are biting in the Lake and we are getting favorable media coverage. He thanked Glen Hux and the Celina Lions Club for stepping up to help improve the Lake. The Lions are purchasing a linear aeration system to be installed in Pullman Bay and the City of Celina will provide power to operate it. The unit will improve the quality of water in the Bay which is a popular local fishing spot. The LRC will use the opportunity to sponsor a study by MAD Scientists to validate the improvements the aeration will provide in the Bay. All of the scientists that have studied the Lake have recommended circulation and aeration to improve the water quality in the Lake. The aeration of Pullman Bay demonstrates the local commitment to improve the Lake. The LRC will be emphasizing circulation and aeration as a means to improve the Lake.
Milt noted that Director Zehringer did not commit to an alum treatment to the Lake in 2013 and that some experts feel the funds spent on alum could be better spent on other activities to improve the Lake. Milt noted the State is still committed to funding activities to improve the Lake. The first 23 acres of the Prairie Creek wetlands, which received major State funding, are essentially complete and will be placed into operation in the spring. The State is providing funding to increase the wetlands by 40 acres. Additionally, the State has provided $1.2 M to build a berm to the North of the Prairie Creek wetlands which will be filled with dredge material and become a littoral wetland. Approximately 770K cubic yards of dredge material will be used to build the wetland inside the berm, about three years worth of dredging.
Milt noted that some complaints have been received about the appearance of the “blue” building which is the control building for the pumping and dosing equipment for the wetlands. Milt assured the membership that the building is going to be painted a neutral color and landscaped in the spring.
Milt reported Brian Miller, the Park Manager, has advised that the pilot testing on the effects of control tubes in the spillway will begin Monday. The Lake level is now 9 inches above normal pool. The plan is to open both tubes for two days and then leave one open until the Lake level reaches normal pool. The object of the testing is to observe the affects opening the tubes has on the Lake level and the streams downstream of the Lake in conjunction with the flow going though the notch in the spillway. This is a winter program and the pilot testing will be completed by March. Milt noted he gets calls from residents complaining that the Lake level is too high and wanting it lowered.
In response to a member’s question, Milt stated that the pipes sticking up near the end of the Aqua View channels will be connected to the Prairie Creek treatment train draw piping and will help maintain circulation in the two dead end channels and hopefully prevent algal blooms in the channels. In response to another question, Milt stated that the pumping from Prairie Creek into the wetlands will not reduce the water level in the Creek since the level of the Creek at that point is controlled by the Lake level. In response to a member’s question, Milt noted the dead end channel at Club Island is one of many on the Lake that could also benefit from aeration or circulation. There have been many dead end channels from the Lake that need aeration or circulation. The LRC has limited resources and the LRC does not have plans for the Club Island channel at this time.
Another member inquired if the dredging is making a dent in reducing the amount of nutrient laden silt in the Lake. Milt responded that the increased dredging is now removing silt about as fast as it is coming in. He noted that the dredging does not have to remove all of the silt in the Lake to reduce the level of phosphorus in the Lake. The top inch has the greatest concentration and most available phosphorus to support algal growth and that is what we need to concentrate on. Tom Rampe added that there is more that 40M cubic yards of silt in the Lake, but agreed removal of the silt with the highest concentrations of phosphorus can improve the water quality in the Lake. Keeping the water at the bottom aerated will help to reduce the phosphorus coming from the silt which is supporting algal blooms.
GLSM State Park
Park Manager Brian Miller reported that dock fees for 2013 on the Lake will remain at the 50% rate thanks to Director Zehringer’s direction. The 50% discount will also apply to camping at the Park and shelter house rentals. Rates on the Park cabins will be reduced 25%.
Brian reported that the winter fishing in the Lake has been great this year and he saw a lot of license plates from Indiana at the West Bank parking lot where a lot of ice fishing occurred. He noted that other winter recreational activities are occurring around the Lake including rabbit and goose hunting as well as jogging on the trails. He stated that the tissue samples were collected by the Ryan Garrision, the local game warden, from the Walleye/Saugeye recently caught and forwarded to the Columbus for analysis and positive identification. The samples will provide information on the type and age of the fish and help determine the effectiveness of previous stocking of the fish in the Lake.
Brian reported the removal of the ash trees infested with the ash borer in the Park is nearing completion. The fire wood was given to the public and the brush will be ground up and given to the public for mulch. He encouraged the membership to donate memorial trees to the Park through the LIA. Memorial trees will be planted in the A memorial plaque will be posted by the donated trees.
The Rustic Haven dredge spoil area is being prepared for reuse. An agreement with Western Ohio Educational Foundation is being finalized that will provide an area just north of the Lake Campus for dredged material from the north side of the Lake. Another banner year is planned for dredging. There will also be stump removal done this spring. Brian noted the Park has 3 new nets as well as the ones used last year and there will be increased removal of rough fish from the Lake this year.
Brian congratulated the Coast Guard Auxiliary for returning to GLSM and noted they are now located in the block building at the entrance to Windy Point. They are looking for more members. Brian supports the installation of linear aeration at Pullman Bay. He encourages members to look into aerating their channels. He noted that the dog park on the East Bank is completed.
In response to a member’s question, Brian reported he has a commitment from Fish and Wildlife for the stocking of yellow perch in the Lake this year. He noted the last time the Lake was stocked was in 2010 when 200K walleye were released. He is hoping that the tissue samples of the walleye and/or saugeye recently caught show the presence of walleye. If so, it will support the stocking of more walleye in the Lake.
A member noted the American Legion has given up their lease at Harbor Point and are removing the docks there that were used by many people. These people will need docks and the member inquired if Brian was aware of any plans for docks for these people or the land that was leased. Brian indicated he does not know of any plans for the land or additional docks.
ODNR – Terry Mescher
Terry noted work is continuing on developing record keeping procedures for monitoring the implementation of the nutrient management plans in the watershed. Laura Walker, the watershed coordinator has gotten a 319 grant extended and the funds for tile control structures and control of silage leakage has been committed. She still has funds for repairing/replacing failing septic tanks.
Terry noted there has been some confusion about the ban on spreading manure in the GLSM watershed. Due to the timing of the implementation of the distressed watershed rules, the ban for this winter is January 19 to March 1. Next winter and in the future, the ban will be from December 1 through March 1. If one observes the improper application of manure, you can call central dispatch in the Mercer County Sheriff’s office at 419-586-6455 during non working hours. During working hours, you should call the Soil and Water Office in Auglaize County at 419-738-4016 or Mercer County at 419-586-3259.
In response to a member’s question about ensuring the soil samples used in nutrient management plans are accurate, Terry responded that there is no verification of accuracy of the samples by Soil and Water. However, the samples must be taken every three years as a minimum and they are taken by certified crop advisors. The advisors take samples across a field, which are then blended into a composite sample for a field. There are guidelines for soil sampling which are followed. Terry noted that crops remove on the average about 50 to 60 pounds of phosphorus per acre per year.
The 50-50 drawing was won by Belinda Froning.
These minutes were prepared by Trustee Tom Rampe
The next LIA meeting is at 10 AM on March 2, 2012, at the Moose Lodge.
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