Minutes of the 02/05/2011 Meeting

President Lovett recognized newly elected members of the LIA Executive Committee, Trustee Stan Wilker and Secretary Kate Anderson.  Secretary Anderson was excused from attendance at the meeting.
Treasurer’s Report:
Beginning Balance  $42,181.61
Deposits                      1,130.00
Expenses                     2,113.04
Balance                   $41,198.57
President Lovett announced that he had received a donation from three young girls, Katie Lake, Kristen Denlinger, and Halaigh Groff, of $35.00, which they had earned shoveling snow.  They want to help restore the Grand Lake Saint Marys so they can enjoy it again.  
Larry Baker, of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary announced that training will begin next week for the 10 new members of the local detachment.  More members are needed for the local detachment and he strongly encourages the public to join the detachment.  He noted the will be Auxiliary conducting boating safety classes at Indian Lake and GLSM this spring.  The GLSM class will begin on May 14th and spaces are still available in the class.
Mel Kurtz from the Quasar Energy Group gave a good presentation on manure digesters and the beneficial effects they can have for the Lake’s long term health and the finances of the producers in the watershed.
Quasar is an Ohio based firm with a German partner that produces and installs manure digesters.  Quasar has installed several successful manure digesters in the U.S. and their German partner has installed over 260 in Germany.  Manure digesters are a proven technology, there are more than 4,000 operating in Germany.   The gas they produce can be used for heating, cooling, electricity production or compressed natural gas that can be used to power cars or farm equipment.  They work best with added carbon sources such as food waste from restaurants or grocery stores.  He noted the digesters are eligible for a 30% tax free energy credit and have a 3 to 6 year payback with the energy credit.  Mel indicated Battelle has developed a process that can remove a significant portion of the phosphorus from the effluent from the digester. Quasar is committed to putting a digester in the Lake’s watershed to help resolve the nutrient issue in the Lake and needs a partner in the watershed.  They could have a digester installed within 90 days of getting the necessary site approvals.  In response to an audience inquiry, Mel indicated Quasar’s process works best with cattle manure but could be used with a mixture of swine and cattle manure.  
Laura Walker, the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Alliance coordinator, reported on the designation of the GLSM watershed as distressed.  Effective January 19th, producers must follow NRCS recommended standards for spreading manure in winter.  Producers should not be spreading manure on snow covered or frozen ground within 200 feet of a stream or ditch.  In two years, producers will not be permitted to spread manure during the winter in the watershed and will be required to have approved nutrient management plans on how and when they spread manure.  Further details are available at the Mercer and Auglaize County Soil and Water Conservation offices.
Laura also indicated the Ohio Lake Management Society will hold their annual meeting on March 18th at Romers.  There will be workshop scheduled on actions home owners adjacent to channels can take to improve the water quality.  Bill Lynch, a limnologist (lake expert) from Ohio State University will make the presentation.  Laura noted there are approximately 1,200 acres of channel and backwaters adjacent to GLSM that are particularly susceptible to harmful algae blooms.  
Milt Miller from the Lake Restoration Commission gave a brief presentation of the Commissions recent activities.  Meetings have been held with top appointees of Governor Kasich and firm commitments have been received on activities critical to restoring GLSM including alum treatment of the Lake, rough fish removal, and dredging.  The Commission members have been working hard and are strongly encouraged by the actions to date by the Kasich administration and our state legislators.  Much hard work remains and necessary funding is being sought to keep the momentum.  Milt noted the Commission’s Strategic Plan for the Lake has been completed and is available on the LIA website.  LIA members and the public are strongly encouraged to review the plan and support it.  
Brian Miller, the acting Park Manager reported the Lake level is 1 inch above the spillway for the first time since last summer as a result of the recent rains and snow melt.  He noted the three canal lakes (Grand Lake Saint Marys, Indian Lake, and Lake Loramie) are under the direction of Frank Giancola, and that Glen Cobb is now the assistant director of ODNR.  Both of these officials have strong ties to our Lake.  He reported that the East Bank Marina is reopening in March.  He noted there will be a 3 day Carp Derby in early June.  
Brian noted there was an accident in January where two snowmobilers, driving faster than their headlight range safely allowed, drove into an open patch of water.  Only exceptionally fast action by the St. Marys Township Volunteer Fire Department prevented the death of the two snowmobilers. The Fire Department was commended for their professional response to critical life saving situation.  Extreme caution is required when venturing onto the frozen surface of the Lake.
Brian also reported the three dredges will go to work as soon as the ice melts and will continue until the Lake refreezes in the fall.  A plan is prepared for the dredge work this year, spoil areas are prepared, and a goal set of at least 200,000 cubic yards of mud being removed from the Lake.  Some firewood is still available in the spoil site being prepared near the dog run on the west bank.  In an effort to remarket the GLSM area, camp site, cabin rentals, and dock fees at the Park are being reduced by 50% this year.  Many activities are planned for the Lake this year.  In response to audience questions, Brian indicated the possibility of running the dredges two shifts per day is being investigated and the results of the game fish tissue testing for toxins should be available next week.
President Lovett thanked Mark and Linda Syvert for volunteering to head the Bar Stool Open this year.  Linda is looking for volunteers to help them make this the best Bar Stool Open ever and wants ideas on how to improve it.
Paul Bradley from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s staff reported that the Senator is convinced that manure digesters can significantly help reduce the nutrients coming into the Lake.  They can also be a significant source of fuel for vehicles.  The Senator is working with other political leaders from the state to help restore the Lake.  The Lake’s problems are not Republican or Democratic; restoring the Lake will require everyone to work together.  The Senator will support grants to restore the Lake and use his position on the Senate’s Agricultural Committee to support efforts to restore the Lake.  Paul noted that the Senator inquires about the Lake weekly at his staff meetings.  
In response to questions he has received recently, President Lovett briefly discussed the lawsuit being pursued by some individuals against producers over the condition of the Lake.  Tim noted it is not a class action lawsuit, each individual is filing a separate suit.  Tim stated that the LIA position is to remain neutral on the lawsuit.  There is a better than 50% chance to turn the Lake around this spring.  We are moving forward to restore the Lake.  He noted that the LIA executive board has approved $7,500 to retain a lobbyist to work with the state to seek funding for the treatment of the Lake with alum this spring.  
Tim noted that he and the LIA had met with the Mercer County tax assessor to discuss the possible reduction in the assessed value of their Lake related properties.  The assessor noted that the sales volume of Lake related properties is greatly reduced, but the few that sell are close to their assessed value.
Members are reminded that LIA annual dues are due on April 1st.  Each member is challenged to get one other person to join the LIA.  Our goal is to double the membership to 2,200.  The larger the LIA membership, the stronger our collective voice will be for restoring the Lake.
Next Meeting 5, 2011
Celina Moose Lodge, 10:00a.m.