September 28, 2017 Meeting Minutes

 Location: Monroe County Public Library, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Kevin Dogan, Martha Dogan, William Unrue, Alysse Crimmins, Marie Bierman, Dram Primack, Mike Litwin, Michael Cain, Gregor von Laszewski, Cate Reek, Joe Ryan, Amanda Figolah, Howard Webb

Steering Committee Present: Sherry Mitchell-Bruker, Richard Harris, Mary Madore and Dave Simcox (note taker). Absent: Lily Bonwich and Patty Denison.

The meeting was chaired by Sherry Mitchell-Bruker. It opened and closed on time due to the alert timekeeping of Mary Sullivan Madore who was part-time timekeeper for the regular timekeeper Lily Bonwich who was not there to keep time because she had more pressing duties at the Supreme Court.

Introductions: (All) A sign-up sheet is included on the Google Drive listing the 17 persons including the Steering Committee in attendance. Of note was the TIMMY group with Prof Cate Reck of IU. Her students William, Alysse and Marie attended the meeting.

Past Accomplishments: Sherry noted the numerous events FOLM had created/participated in since its inception in April 2016. Included in 2017 was the June Watershed Tour, Bloomington Farmer's Market Tables (3), 50th COB Water Celebration, The Hoosier to Hoosier sustainability fundraiser, water clarity monitoring near Shady Side on Lake Monroe and the wildly successful 4th of July Parade in Bloomington.

Shady Side Update: Michael, a Shady Side resident, provided an update on the logging threat. No easements or permits have been granted to allow access to the major part of the 240 acres. Someone has been tagging a roadway into part of the parcel. Michael thinks the DNR must approve this project (we need to follow up on that).

Treasurer's Report: (Richard)  The largest contribution $352.50 was from the H2H volunteer effort in AugustFOLM has $828.37..

Market Tabling: Mary described the popular tabling activities at the September 16th COB Water Celebration. Children and adults learned how to measure turbidity using a miniaturized version of a secchi disk. Children “fished” for fish bracelets which they decorated before wearing.  Water samples from different parts of the lake were on display to show the difference in water quality. The activities drew nice crowds. FOLM stickers were handed out. Thanks to Howard Webb for the sticker design and production.

Water Fund: (Sherry) The Water Fund is a The Nature Conservancy effort to determine if user fees can be used to aid in conservation and improve LM water quality. FOLM and COB are partners in this effort. A technical committee has been formed to evaluate available data on LM water quality. Recommendations will be made to define a path forward. A report is expected February 2018.

Grants and Interns: (Sherry) Letters of Intent have been filed with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County for two grants to support interns; 1) FOLM administrative support and 2) water quality data analysis.

Water Management Course: Richard described the course he took earlier this year. He recommends the course for those who wants to better understand the science and agencies involved in water management. Grants may be available to help offset the $750 fee at Purdue.

Social Activities: (Mary) We are interested in taking monthly kayaking trips on Lake Monroe starting in the spring of 2018.  We will look into getting a grant to offer discount coupons for the kayak rental.  IU students Alysse Crimmins and Marcie Bierman have volunteered to help organize that.  

Amanda Figolah has volunteered to organize a family outing/picnic.

The idea of gathering for a potluck was suggested for the month of October.  People seemed interested until Sherry asked for a show of hands of how many people would be able to participate.  Decided to hold off on this with only a few people available.

Projects and Volunteers: (Richard) Sunday October 8th is Cleanup Day. Must be 14 or older to sign up. Information is available on the web/FB sites. It runs from 1:00-4:00p.

It is possible that FOLM can adopt a shoreline with DNR. Ranger Jill Vance will be attending the October meeting to talk about this and other DNR subjects.

Amanda is going to check into a creek cleanup for students. MLK $ may be available to provide transportation. Waste Management firms may also be willing to contribute.

Richard has also connected with Bet Savich at COB Volunteer network.

We are in need to helpers in social media, water sampling, policy leadership, marketing, fish hats and grant writing.

FOLM Technical Team: (Sherry) H Webb, A Primack, G Laszewski, C Reck and S Bruker will form a technical team within FOLM. They will support the water fund effort to retrieve and analyze water quality data as well as provide technical expertise for other FOLM efforts.

Other IU Items: Melissa Laney will be leading a Capstone course in the second semester at IU where students will focus on FOLM and LM water quality.

Next Meeting: October 26th 6:30-8:30p in Nashville at the Brown County Library. John Kennard, Supervisor of the Brown County Environmental Health Department will talk about the link between septic tanks and water contamination.  DNR ranger Jill Vance provide our group with the guidelines to adopting a shoreline.

June 22, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Location: City of Bloomington Utilities, Conference Room, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Sherry Mitchell Bruker, Dave Simcox, Richard Harris, Mary Madore, Lily Bonwich, Kevin Dogan, Phil Sharp, Alice Sharp, Howard Webb, Ellen Popodi, Rudy Savich, Bet Savich, Mike Chaveas (guest speaker), Sarah Marvel, Luke Marvel, Jim Tarnowski, Judy Berkshire, Joe Ryan, Clyde Irvine (Lake Lemon Conservancy District).

Sherry MB opened the meeting at approximately 6:35 pm. Attendees introduced themselves and told why they were in attendance.

Watershed Tour: Sherry briefly described the Lake Monroe watershed tour that took place on June 3. The tour was conducted to educate people about features of the watershed, to give a sense of its size (approximately 415 mi2), and to have fun!  A few people at the meeting who attended the tour described their experiences, which were positive without exception.

Water Fund: Sherry briefly talked about FOLM’s meeting with representatives of The Nature Conservancy and the City of Bloomington Utilities (Vic Kelson) to discuss the potential for FOLM to partner with them to pursue a Water Fund. Water Funds are collaborative projects that link downstream water users with upstream land stewards on conservation projects. The meeting was described as a positive step to “begin the conservation” on the potential of completing a feasibility study.

Shady Side Logging: FOLM has been closely following the permit application to cut timber on 244 acres on a peninsula of Lake Monroe near Shady Side Drive. Paul and Alice Sharp (in attendance), who live near the area brought the matter to FOLM’s attention. Monroe County Planning officials recently denied the permit, except for 25 acres, due to existing easement issues. The permit applicant has the opportunity to work with area landowners to modify the easement, or to have the ruling overturned in court. Consequently, this matter is not considered to be resolved. In response to the permit application, FOLM has been monitoring water clarity in two coves near the proposed logging area, and a control cove in an area that would not be subject to sedimentation from logging, to establish a water clarity baseline in the event logging does occur. Secchi disks are being used to record water clarity, and water samples are also being collected and submitted to IU-SPEA for turbidity readings.

Lake Lemon: Clyde Irvine from the Lake Lemon Conservancy District spoke about recent events at Lake Lemon. The lake has been subjected to excessive siltation for decades, which has caused parts of the lake to be filled in over time. The area near the inlet of Bean Blossom Creek is dredged periodically, but only about one-quarter of the annual sediment load is removed when it is dredged. Clyde expressed concern about erosion associated with logging that occurs on state forest property, which makes up part of the Lake Lemon watershed. He stated that logging has occurred in the past, and is scheduled to continue into the future. The watershed includes isolated sections of both Yellowwood SF and Morgan Monroe SF. Clyde also stated that monitoring is occurring to determine where the sediment load originates.

Window Decals: Sherry talked about the possibility of the group purchasing window decals that feature the FOLM logo. The decals could be sold to recover the cost of purchase, or given as tokens to members of the public. Howard Webb volunteered to pursue the cost, etc. of having the decals made, hopefully in time for the July 4 parade.

Treasurer's Report: Richard Harris gave the treasurer’s report. FOLM currently has a balance of $426.68 from donations. The only expenditure to date is to purchase checks from Old National Bank.

Volunteers: Richard briefly discussed volunteer needs/opportunities, including social media coordinator, online data acquisition and management, data analysis, meeting setup and coordination, grant writing, and others.  Bet Savich (in attendance) met with Richard after the meeting to discuss what assistance her office (City  of Bloomington Volunteer Network) may be able to offer. Stay tuned.

Guest Speaker: Mike Chaveas, Hoosier National Forest Supervisor, gave an informative and enjoyable presentation about the HNF, including its history, administration, and presence in the Lake Monroe watershed. The HNF includes approximately 203,000 acres of land in south-central Indiana, in two distinct management areas. Lake Monroe is located in within the Brown County Hills section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. This area includes Indiana’s only congressionally designated wilderness area, The Charles C. Deam Wilderness on the south side of Lake Monroe, which has the highest level of protection of any property owned by the Forest Service. The Forest Service (FS) began purchasing property in the HNF in 1935, in part, because acreage was being abandoned by landowners after failed attempts at homesteading during difficult economic times. Land purchases served the dual purpose of acquiring property and providing economic relief to burdened landowners.  Approximately 105,000 acres were purchased between 1935 and 1951, at which time land acquisitions slowed. An additional 98,000 acres were purchased from 1951 to 2017, with 2200 acres having been purchased since 2007. Recent acquisitions have been made from willing landowners with high priority land. Land is purchased as funds and willing landowners are available.

Mr. Chaveas explained that different management strategies are applied to parcels of land managed by the FS based on their perceived value for habitat protection, watershed protection, recreation, timber management, cultural heritage, and other factors. The Deam Wilderness, for example, has the highest level of protection and is managed for solitude. The FS does allow timber harvesting on parts of the HNF as part of their multi-use mandate from congress. Timber sales are contracted through a bidding process, and strict guidelines must be followed by the contractors when harvesting timber. Timbered areas must be reasonably restored, and follow up studies are done on timbered tracts. As a frame of reference, Mr. Chaveas explained that  0.1%-0.15% of the HNF is impacted by timber harvests each year. He pointed out that over a 100 year time frame, only 10% of the HNF would be subjected to timber harvests. Profits made from timber harvests are divided between the county where the harvest occurred, the HNF, and the U.S. FS. Local counties get approximately 25% of the profit.

Mr. Chaveas pointed out the properly managed forests are among the most protective land uses in watersheds, and that we are fortunate that over 80% of the Lake Monroe watershed is forested. Looking forward, his recommendations to help protect LM are to support public lands, to keep forested land forested, and to add newly forested acres to the HNF.

The HNF management plan was last updated in 2006, and is available on the USFS website.

Sherry made a quick announcement about upcoming events: join Lily and Mary at the Pour House (across from the library) Thursday June 29 from 5-7 PM to help make fish hats that will be worn by July 4 parade marchers, and given out to children. Don’t forget: never run with pointed scissors and don’t eat the crayons.

July 4th Parade, 10-11 AM. Join in the fun and march with Lily, Mary, and who knows how many other enthusiastic participants in Bloomington’s annual parade. Come early to find the group.

July 13, 1:30-3:30 PM, City of Bloomington Utilities, water treatment plant tour. More information is available and you can sign up on the FOLM webpage.

July 13, 6:30-8:30 PM, Limnology 101 Workshop with Melissa Laney, IU-SPEA Senior Lecturer, CBU office 600 E. MIller Drive. This is a great opportunity to learn the basics of the chemical, physical, and biological features of lakes.

Next Meeting: Thursday, August 24 at the Brown County Public Library in Nashville. Since about one-half of the Lake Monroe watershed is in Brown County, it is important to have a presence there. Sherry encouraged as many people as possible to make the trip from Bloomington to show support for FOLM at the Brown County meeting.

Meeting ended at approximately 8:35 PM.

May 25, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Location: City of Bloomington Utilities, Conference Room, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Sherry Mitchell Bruker, Vic Kelson, Dave Simcox, Patty  Dennison, Richard Harris, Mary Madore, Kevin Dogan, Phil Sharp, Alice Sharp, Howard Webb, Ellen Popodi, Barbara Restle, Sara Tracey, Rich Nourie, Mark Gehlhausen, Hans Kelson, Patrick Dunigan

Sherry Mitchell Bruker opened the meeting at approximately 6:35. All attendees introduced themselves and told why they were in attendance.

Treasurer’s Report: Richard Harris gave the Treasurer’s report. FOLM currently has a balance of $240. There were no expenditures in May.

Sherry discussed the Hoosier-to-Hoosier volunteer opportunity and asked if anyone was interested in participating. HtH is an annual rummage sale held in August. Volunteer groups are paid $10/hr for a set number of hours for participating in the sale. Dave Simcox has already begun organizing an effort for FOLM to participate.

Sherry discussed FOLM’s possible interest in partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) in a TNC Water Fund. Water Funds exist world-wide.  In a Water Fund, downstream users pay for upstream improvements of water quality. A Water Fund grant would provide funding for a feasibility study to determine if a Water Fund was viable. One meeting has been held with interested parties, and another meeting is scheduled in June to determine if the timing is right to pursue a Water Fund, and if the prospective partners are a good match for this endeavor.

Sherry briefly discussed the FOLM webpage constructed by Lily Bonwich and mentioned that it is the best place to go for FOLM updates and information.

Stakeholders: Patty Dennison briefly discussed FOLM’s stakeholder initiative. FOLM is currently identifying potential stakeholders and beginning the process of reaching out to potential partners. Mary Madore is assisting, and asked if anyone in the audience might be interested in helping. Mary mentioned that helping out was a good way to meet people. Ellen Popodi mentioned that she may be interested in helping.

Mary mentioned that she has been working with Erin Martin, an IU SPEA grad student, on testing Bloomington tap water to see if there was an observable difference in disinfectant by products (DBPs) between home filtered and unfiltered water. Erin’s results show a reduction of total trihalomethanes (TTHM’s) from 30 ppb to 4 ppb using a PUR faucet -mounted filter. She plans to collect and test more water samples once she's comfortable with the procedure they're using for haloacetic acids (HAA5).

Legislative Update: Dave Simcox wants to start a conversation about what kind of legislative initiatives may be available for protecting the lake. Can we partner with city, county, and state officials to find legislative solutions for lake enhancement? Stay tuned for more…

Logging on Shadyside Drive: Dave Simcox discussed a planned timber harvest on Shadyside Drive near the lake. This area is a broad peninsula of approximately 250 acres just south of the CBU water intake. FOLM, and several in attendance are concerned about erosion that might occur if timbering is conducted on the steep slopes surrounding the lake. The land is owned by an absentee owner (Joe Huff) who lives in Greenwood, IN. Specific details about the harvest and ultimate use of the  property are unknown. Vic Kelsen mentioned that CBU is aware of the harvest and is looking into it, but its ability to intervene is limited. The county has some ability to require a permit for parts of the planned harvest, but similar to the city, its role may be more advisory than regulatory. Howard Webb mentioned that the logging, although a potential threat, might provide an opportunity to study the effects of the timber cut. Several in attendance met after the regular meeting to discuss the situation in more detail, and agreed to meet at the home of Paul and Alice Sharp (who were in attendance and live on Shadyside) on Monday, May 29 to look at the planned timber cut and further assess the situation.

Upcoming Events: (Sherry) Saturday June 3, Watershed Tour. May 29 signup deadline. Sherry described the tour and the planned stops (Stillwater Marsh, Town of Nashville Wastewater Treatment Plant, Stonehead Nature Preserve (lunch), Maumee, and the Lake Monroe Dam). The tour is a good opportunity to help understand the scale of the watershed, and to see some of the significant landmarks.

Saturday,  June 17: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers open house. Dave Cable will discuss lake/dam history, jurisdiction, etc., and give a tour of the dam tower. Sign up on FOLM’s website.

July 4 Parade: Mary Madore and Lily Bonwich (and others?) will march in the Bloomington July 4 parade. FOLM has ordered a banner for the occasion, and participants may wear fish hats. Bring the kiddies.

July 13 City of Bloomington Utilities treatment plant tour: Vic Kelsen will lead a tour of the water treatment plant. What an opportunity! Tour limited to 25. Sign up early. Vic mentioned that CBU would host additional tours in the future.

Sept. 2: CBU will celebrate 50 years of service at the Farmer’s Market. Displays, etc.

Guest Speaker, Vic Kelson, CBU: Vic stated that CBU was glad to work in partnership with  FOLM, and to make their conference room available for meetings. He explained: CBU manages water, wastewater, and stormwater. Facilities include the Monroe Treatment Plant, 420 miles of water mains, 350 miles of sewer mains, 6000 fire hydrants, Blucher Pool and Dillman Rd. treatment plants. His remarks at the meeting focused primarily on water supply.

CBU uses chlorine (hypochlorite) to kill microorganisms and disinfect the water. Giardia and cryptosporidium are the most resistant and of the most concern. A residual of approx. 1 ppm of chlorine is required in the treated water to disinfect.  In the past several years, CBU has encountered disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) that have caused problems and increased monitoring by CBU.  Haloacetic acids (also known as HAA5), and  Trihalomethanes (TTHM) are a group of chemicals that are formed along with other DBPs when chlorine used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water.  The presence of total organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon (TOC/DOC) in Lake Monroe water result in higher HAA5 and TTHM concentrations. Algae and other organic matter in the raw water are sources of TOC/DOC. In general, late summer and warm water conditions result in more algae and higher TOC/DOC concentrations. TTHM has a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 80 ppb, and HAA5 has an MCL of 60 ppb. Consuming water (2 liters per day over the course of a lifetime) that exceeds an MCL can theoretically result in one additional cancer out of one million exposed people. This is considered a one in a million risk. Although HAA5 and TTHM have exceeded their MCL on a few sampling occasions, CBU has never exceeded the MCL on a 12 month rolling average, which is how the U.S. EPA regulates safe drinking water. CBU began quarterly monitoring for HAA5 and TTHM in 2013, and switched to monthly monitoring in 2016.

Vic mentioned that CBU continues to diligently monitor DBPs in the water supply, and that there are ongoing pilot projects to address problems. Other comments: Vic expects raw water organics to continue to increase in the future. He stated that a source water protection program is needed. CBU may consider taking water from different elevations in the lake. If problems persist or worsen,  CBU  may consider using a different disinfectant than chlorine in the future.

Thank you, Vic, for your presentation.

Feedback: Sherry ask for feedback from the group on the meetings. One attendee suggested that the meetings may be too long at two hours. He also asked if the presentations could be made available online. Sherry mentioned that having meetings broadcast on public access TV may be an option. One attendee suggested that making transportation available might be helpful, or at least notifying the public that Bloomington Transit has a bus stop at the CBU facility.

Possible future speakers: Michael Chavez, U.S. Forest Service, manager of the Hoosier National Forest. Richard Harris, to speak about his experience at the Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy.

Meeting adjourned at approximately 8:30.

April 27, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Thomas Gallery, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Ann Connors, Dave Simcox, Richard Harris, Sherry Mitchell-Bruker, Patty Dennison, Mary Madore, Lily Bonwich, Howard Webb, Clint Studabaker, Erin Hollinden, Anne Hedin, Patrick Dunigan,Judy Berkshire,Jim Tarnowski, Cheryl Munson, Carol Miller, Blue Miller, Jeff White, Bill Jones

Sherry Mitchell-Bruker opened the meeting at approximately 6:35. First-time attendees introduced themselves, and Sherry introduced the members of the Steering Committee (Sherry, Coordinator, Science,; Dave Simcox, Policy; Lily Bonwich, Development, Patty Dennison, Stakeholders; Richard Harris, Outreach; Mary Madore).

HB 1089 Dave Simcox discussed the status of HB 1089, the Indiana House bill that eliminated Monroe County government’s ability to require permits for logging on private property.  This bill was considered to be a threat to water quality if timber was cut on the steep slopes in the Lake Monroe (LM) watershed.  Introduced by local representative Jeff Ellington, the bill passed through the House of Representatives, but was ultimately tabled in the senate by Sen. Sue Glick, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, and did not advance to the full senate for a vote. Dave related to the group that he spoke with Sen. Glick, who told him that she considered the issue to be a local concern, and should not be decided by the General Assembly. Dave thanked members of FOLM, and others, who made numerous calls to Sen. Glick requesting that she oppose the bill. He also mentioned that letters of thanks were sent to Sen. Glick, and Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) on behalf of FOLM, thanking them for their opposition to the bill. Dave also expressed appreciation to Carol Kugler, outdoor and food editor for the Bloomington Herald-Times, for the articles she has written about LM and FOLM.

Accomplishments Sherry took the opportunity to tell the group what FOLM has accomplished in the short time it has existed as an organized group. Accomplishments include:

  • Mailing list grows to 88
  • Steering committee formed
  • Mission statement created, approved and posted
  • Worked with press, state and local government to ensure HB 1089 not heard in Senate
  • Accepted by Center for Sustainable Living and obtained 501(c)3 status
  • Treasurer appointed and bank account started
  • Committees formed: Logo (ad hoc) watershed tour (ad hoc). Stakeholder (standing)
  • Member sent to Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy
  • 3 members attended Indiana Lake Management society meeting
  • Joined Indiana Lake Management Society
  • Presentations at meetings from Friends of Yellowwood, Indiana Lake Management Society, Indiana University Professor emeritus, Bill Jones
  • Gathered water quality data from USACE
  • Met with various representatives from local government, academic and funding organizations
  • Increased awareness through newspaper articles
  • Meeting attendance grows to 27 in March

Logo Committee Lily Bonwich reported that the logo committee created and submitted several logo designs to the Steering Committee for consideration. The SC narrowed the designs to four, which were submitted to the full group for a vote. Meeting attendees were allowed to vote. The final logo design was selected and is visible on the website https://www.friendsoflakemonroe.org. The logo will be used on T-shirts and FOLM publications.

Watershed Tour Sherry announced that FOLM will conduct a LM watershed tour on June 3, 2017 from 10 am to 2:30 pm. The driving tour will be open to members of the public, and will drive through Green Valley, and make stops at Stillwater Marsh, the Nashville wastewater treatment plant, the Stonehead Nature Preserve, and the tailwaters below the dam. This outreach activity will be open to the public, and is intended to show some notable features in the watershed, and demonstrate the size of the watershed (approx. 415 sq. miles). Brief presentations will be made at each stop.  Participants can sign up at the meeting or on the webpage.

Field  Trips Richard Harris reported on a conference call by an ad hoc committee consisting of Richard, Dave Simcox, and Stacey Calderon to discuss possible field trips in the LM watershed in the future. The field trips are intended to be an outreach opportunity to grow membership, to conduct educational events, and to have fun! Events considered include a family fun hike and or picnic at a LM watershed location, a “limnology 101” event, and a water quality sampling/education event. Members of the group mentioned that many qualified people at IU, City of Bloomington Parks and Recs, and other local resources may be available to assist. The first event is tentatively planned for early July (location and topic to be determined), with an notice to be placed in the Bloomington Herald-Times newspaper Outdoor section prior to the event.  Jeff White volunteered to organize an August water sampling event on Lake Monroe.  We will try to organize the limnology 101 in advance of the August water sampling event.

LM Dam Tour Sherry announced that Dave Cable, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will conduct a tour of the LM dam facilities for FOLM members on June 17. The tour is limited to 25 people. Details of the tour signup are available on webpage/Facebook.

Water Treatment Plant Tour Sherry has arranged for a tour of the City of Bloomington Utilities water treatment plant, at a date to be determined in mid-May. The tour will need to be during the work week, and will be limited to 15 people. LM provides drinking water for over 100,000 people, and the city has a clear interest in protecting the water quality of LM.  Details will be announced through email and the webpage.

Stakeholders Committee Patty Dennison gave a brief report on LM watershed stakeholders committee. Stakeholders are any people, organizations,  businesses, or government agencies who have an interest in the lake. It should be noted that the interests of stakeholders may sometimes be in conflict. The Stakeholder Committee’s mission will be to identify and reach out to stakeholders as early as possible with the hope of gaining their support in FOLM’s mission of protecting the lake. Patty communicated to the group the magnitude of this effort, and noted that it will require a group effort to be successful.

Development Lily Bonwich briefly discussed her role as Development Coordinator for FOLM. She began by expressing her gratitude for everyone’s attendance at the meeting, and for the past and future support for the group. Lily noted that support can come in the form of volunteer time or financial support. She will be seeking out potential grants to support FOLM, and asked attendees to think about people they know who may be in the position of authority, or have the financial means to support the group. If those names are provided to Lily, she can initiate the conversation on how they can assist FOLM.

Social Media Coordinator Sherry mentioned that FOLM is still seeking a social media coordinator who will to manage the group’s  web presence. Please let Sherry know if you, or anyone you know may be interested in assisting.

 

Bill Jones Report Bill Jones, IU SPEA professor emeritus, gave a presentation on water quality in LM. Much of the presentation was based on the sampling conducted under the Indiana Clean Lakes program.  Findings of the Lake Monroe Diagnostic and Feasibility Study, which was authored by Jones in 1997 were also presented. This study is available on the internet by searching under the document title. The presentation included some history and physical statistics about the lake, and also some water quality findings. Jones noted that the 1997 report made several recommendations for protecting the lake that were, for the most part, never implemented. He stated that this may be in part due to the lack of political will since the lake watershed lies in five counties, and many people in the watershed don’t feel like they have a stake in protecting the lake. He noted that there are also major hurdles in getting several local governments to cooperate in protecting the lake.

Findings in the report showed that there are differences in water quality between the upper basin (east of the Hwy 446 causeway) and the lower basin (west of the causeway). This is due in large part to the fact that the causeway acts as a partial barrier in water movement from the headwaters toward the dam. In general, water quality parameters (transparency, phosphorus, chlorophyll) are worse in the upper basin due to higher levels of sedimentation and associated nutrients. Jones also mentioned that blue-green algae is a seasonal problem in LM (and many other Indiana lakes), and can result in taste and odor and body contact issues. He stated that excess phosphorus in the water is the primary cause of algal growth. In extreme situations, excess algae can reduce oxygen levels and result in fish kills, and be harmful to humans and pets.

Farmer’s Market Sherry mentioned that FOLM intends to have a table at the Bloomington Farmer’s market once a month this summer to serve as outreach to the community. FOLM Steering Committee members will staff the table, possibly with the assistance of other volunteers.

Green Drinks Sherry will speak at the next Green Drinks event, held in the community room at the Upland Brewery on May 24. Green drinks is held the fourth Wednesday of each month, and features a speaker representing a local environmental/sustainable living organization.

Next FOLM Meeting May 25, location TBA.

March 9, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Monroe County Public Library, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Sherry, Dave Simcox, Richard, Mary Madore (remotely), Marti Crouch, Sarah Marvell, Lucas Marvell, Joan Harris, Lily Bonwich, Dean Ford, Dick Rubinger, LInda Baden, Charlie Cole, Tom Gallagher, Dave Cable, Dash Ruthenburl, Martha Dogan, Kevin Dogan, Cheryl Munson, Clint Studebaker, Patrick Dunigan, John Gallman, Howard Webb, Stacy Calderon, Nancy Rutkowski, George Hass, Vic Kelson

Introductions

Action Items

  • Sherry will work with Dave Cable to set up USACE open house/tour
  • Steering Committee will set next meeting date
  • Dave will work with Stacy and Richard to plan field trip
  • Sherry will contact Patty Dension about working with Sarah Marvell and Charlie Cole on outreach to stakeholders

FOLM Outing : The group previously discussed having a social hike at the new Sycamore Land Trust property on Lake Monroe (Weingartner-Branigin Peninsula Preserve). Due to the popularity of the new preserve and logistical issues with parking and trail maintenance, the SLT requested that a group hike not be held at the new preserve at this time. The group discussed other options for an outing, including the Turkey Trot Trail at Allen’s Creek, and trails at the Crooked Creek boat ramp. Richard Harris and Stacey Calderon agreed to work with Dave Simcox to organize an outing.

Center for Sustainable Living: Sherry announced to the group that the Friends of Lake Monroe has been accepted as a project by CSL (Hooray!). Working under the CSL umbrella provides FOLM with 501(c)3 status as a non-profit group. Sherry will be the project manager for FOLM. Mary Madore has agreed to act as FOLM’s interim treasurer (having a treasurer is a CSL requirement). Participation as a non-profit means that lobbying activities cannot be a major part of the group’s function, although advancing FOLM’s mission with elected officials is permitted.

Lake Monroe/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE): Dave Cable (USACE manager at Lake Monroe) talked briefly about the purpose of Lake Monroe (why it was built), and mentioned that the Corp’s primary function is flood control, water supply and water augmentation for downstream users. Those functions are different than, and sometimes at odds with, recreational users of the lake. Some Indiana reservoirs have significant water drawdown during winter months to increase holding capacity during late winter/early spring months. The ratio of Lake Monroe’s surface area to its watershed area is such that winter drawdown is not necessary to insure sufficient holding capacity for flood control.

Mr. Cable mentioned that the USACE could conduct a tour of their facilities at Lake Monroe for FOLM members. Such a tour may need to be part of an “open house”, depending on the number of interested people.

Networking: The group discussed the need to begin identifying and developing a relationship with stakeholders. Charlie Cole and Sarah Marvell agreed to work on this issue. There was discussion about whether to have an meeting open to all potential stakeholders, or a smaller, more focused meeting. The general sentiment was that a more focused group (at least initially) would be more productive. Potential stakeholders identified were: Soil and Water Conservation Service (attend annual meeting?), IU-SPEA, various conservation groups, DNR, USACE, county officials, and others. Dean Ford stressed the need to have a facilitator for these meetings. Dave Cable mentioned the need to have a means for participants to comment on the process (electronic?).

There was some discussion about potential funding sources for future work, including Clean Water Act 319 grants (through IDEM), Lake and Reservoir Enhancement grants (DNR), and the Monroe County Community Fund.

Legislative Update: Dave Simcox provided an update on two pieces of legislation pertinent to Lake Monroe. HB 1089 would take away Monroe County’s ability to require permits for logging on private land in the county. Based on 2005 legislation, Monroe County is the the only county that has this ability. Inappropriate logging in the Lake Monroe watershed could result in increased sedimentation and have a negative impact on water quality. The bill has passed the Indiana House of Representatives and is now in the Indiana Senate.

A second house bill (HB 1132) would change the definition of "urban area" for purposes of a land use provision regarding the use and alienation of mineral resources or forests to include any lands or lots used for residential purposes where there are at least 50 residences (instead of eight residences) within any quarter mile square area. This bill appears to be dead for now.

Guest Speakers: Charlie Cole and Linda Baden from Friends of Yellowwood Lake spoke about their experience as part of a watershed group. The group released a watershed management plan in 2006 in conjunction with IDNR, Division of Forestry (the entire lake and much of its watershed lie within the Yellowwood State Forest). Due to the location of the lake and watershed, the IDNR was the primary stakeholder in the process. The group wrote a grant to hire a watershed coordinator, and commented that IDEM was helpful throughout the process.

The group surveyed the 55 residents in the watershed (30 responded), and also had input from a fly fishing group. An IU-SPEA intern assisted with the management plan.

The group identified four areas of concern for the lake: 1) sustainability; 2) sedimentation; 3) nuisance and invasive species; and 4) biological and chemical contaminants. They also mentioned the forest roads and campground as potential concerns.

Linda commented that getting standing (having a position with power to enact plans) was a problem for them. This was in part due to the DNR’s overwhelming presence with the lake and watershed.

Suggestions based on their experience:

  • Engage stakeholders; figure out how to partner.
  • Document everything
  • Keep goals manageable
  • Problems can seem insurmountable; be persistent; don’t loose patience!

Logo Contest: Sherry mentioned that moving this forward seems to have two options: either someone steps up to take on this project, or the group can ask a volunteer graphic artist to design a logo (there may be a volunteer). Dean Ford and Lily Bonwich agreed to work on the logo with a friend of Sherry’s that is a professional graphic artist.

Social Media Coordinator: FOLM could benefit from having a social media volunteer to improve the group’s social media presence. Otherwise this avenue for engagement is likely to be underutilized. No takers so far.

Watershed Tour: Sherry, Tom Gallagher, Steve Higgs, and Clint Studebaker met to discuss a tour of the Lake Monroe watershed, hopefully for sometime this Spring or early summer. 

Potential stops on the tour were considered and include Stillwater marsh, Jackson Creek/Scarce of Fat Ridge, Nashville treatment plant, Story for lunch, Elkinsville, Maumee, and the Tailwater. A final set of stops will be selected based on driving times.

New Topics for next meeting: Dean Ford and Howard Webb both suggested that discussing water quality issues, and defining what water quality means for the group would be worthwhile.

Upcoming events: Charlie Cole announced an Indiana Forest Alliance event, “Barn Dance for the Trees” will be held April 7, 6:00 pm at Mike’s Music and Barn Dance. The $10 admission supports the IFA.

Green Drinks: Sherry hopes to speak at some future “Green Drinks” event. Green Drinks is a social networking opportunity for people who are interested in helping to provide for a greener world. Green Drinks is held at the Upland Brewery on 11th St in Bloomington on the 4th Wednesday each month. Stay tuned.

Next Meeting: the steering committee will set the next meeting date, time, and location and notify members by email.

January 19, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Monroe County Public Library, 6:30 PM

Special Guest Sarah Powers from Indiana Lake Management Society

Action Items Who uses the water of Lake Monroe tabled until next month

Academy Update There will be some access to the website for all people. Richard has a list of attendees from 2017 and previous years without their specific contact info. Sherry will put info on Google Drive as she gets it.

Cheryl contacted Steve Higgs from Natural Tours regarding his interest in assisting with the FLM tour and he said he would be delighted to help out.

Revisit the question of who owns the water of Lake Monroe and while the Army Corps of Engineers controls the shoreline, the state of Indiana has jurisdiction of the water. Sherry states there would be significant federal hurdles to make any changes.

Field Trip Flora, Geology expert Todd Thompson is suggested, paddle with Tom Gallagher.

Sherry said that Mary has agreed to be the interim Treasurer for Friends of Lake Monroe and if someone else would take this on, she will pass on it.

CSL There has been back and forth with Ryan Conway; a future meeting is in the works. When we are under their umbrella 5% of our raised funding goes to them , but this is negotiable. More details after this upcoming meeting.

Recruitment Sherry suggests Green Drinks Bloomington, recruiting non-environmental folks too. Farmers Market might also be beneficial.

Richard said that Martha Miller was asked if there is a watershed plan for Lake Monroe.

There is a Lower Salt Creek Watershed Study.

Sarah Powers announces that Indiana Lakes Management Society is hosting a conference March 2nd and 3rd. You can find information about this and us, in our newsletter and Facebook. Membership for groups goes to one member from that group. We host workshops, support members’ workshops, gives access to ILMS membership list. SPEA does the lake monitoring and Martha Miller’s student applied for a grant from EPA four years ago but was unsuccessful. File intent by April 1, 2017. Sherry asks about conflicts of interest and Sarah said in those instances, simply abstain. If anyone has further questions, please email her: sara.powers@indianalakes.org

Kevin is arranging a future tour of the water plant

Logo Contest could be announced at farmers markets, newspapers, but we should only attempt this if we have a volunteer to coordinate the effort. Sherry will post call on Facebook for media coordinator

Dave suggests Out and About on WFHB

Watershed Tours Planning Sherry, Tom Patty

Dave Simcox will work on Social Media Coordinator

Sherry is back March 1st

November 17, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Monroe County Public Library, 7:00 PM

Attending: Richard Harris, Mary Madore, Cheryl Munson, Cathy Greene, Dave Simcox, Patty Denison, Steve Ingle, Tammy Behrman, Sherry Mitchell-Bruker (remotely) 7:45 Kevin Dogan, Marc Haggerty,

Introductions

Mission Statement Richard introduced draft mission statement ) (see attachment) prepared by a subgroup of Dave, Richard, Sherry, Kevin and Mary. There was discussion about cultural resources being included however there are federal laws addressing this concern and group agreed these issues are best addressed elsewhere.   We will need to have collaboration of various entities, including municipalities and companies who are using the water and also point sources discharging to the watershed.  If a Lake Monroe commission is formed to include local officials and other representatives, it would be best if each county has its own legislation to commission representatives.  It may be best to start with a less formal working group.

Group agreed to make Mission Statement a living document which can be finalized once updates and changes have stabilized.  

A question was asked about who owns the water in Lake Monroe.  Sherry explained that the state manages the water and recreation through the Division of Water and Department of Recreation. IDEM is involved in assuring water quality.  The Corps of Engineers manages operations and shoreline activities.  

Lake Monroe has enacted zoning ordinances to protect water quality in the lake, such as a 5 acre lot minimum size and septic regulations.  Surrounding Counties don’t have less restrictive regulations.  There was a discussion about forming a Lake Monroe Conservation District.  Conservation Districts are allowed a tax to be imposed to manage the resource.  

Sherry suggested that we should work towards funding a diagnostic study to determine the status of the lake, identify options including types of grants available.  We need a watershed manager important for coordination of the report and implementation of recommended actions. We need counties to be involved with commissioners writing a letter of support

Center for Sustainable Living Mary reported that CSL wants to meet with Sherry and is willing to help FOLM obtain 501C status.  Kevin Dublin is the CSL contact person. Ronda Baird is the CSL board president.  We need to find a treasurer as quarterly reports are part of the requirement.  Sherry asked for volunteers for treasurer but had no volunteers.  Since 5O1C status prevents lobbying, Kevin is going to discover what this limits- He discussed with the board that we can work with elected officials. Discussion was if there are limits to lobbying, we will cross this bridge when we come to it.

Training Richard explained the program he is beginning with the Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy in 2017.  It involves web based distance learning related to science, policy and technology and includes 3 weekend sessions.  He applied for a scholarship and received it for $350.  The other $350 was paid by an anonymous donor.  There is a certification upon completion.  A link was requested so if any materials are available, FOLM can have access to learn more. A request for the list of people who have attended was also made. Richard will provide this to the group.

Steering Committee Sherry proposed a small group be organized to do the leg work for the larger committee with Richard, Dave, Mary and Sherry and others who might be interested in more active involvement.  We need this group to work in a less formal setting to bring draft actions to the formal meetings for approval, just as the mission statement was completed in a smaller group. Sherry asked for others who might be interested in joining steering committee.  No others responded.  Kevin made a motion to accept the four people nominated by Sherry to  become the steering committee and was seconded by Patty. All were in agreement.

Name of Organization There is an issue with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources about calling ourselves Friends of Lake Monroe . DNR wants to also start a group, so we don’t want confusion.  It was mentioned that Facebook is very defining and we already have a Facebook page which was started in April, 2016.   Later in the summer of 2016 Sherry spoke with Monroe Lake naturalist, Jill Vance who suggested that we change our name, since she was going to start a friends group for Monroe Lake State Park.  Sherry suggested she call her group Friends of Monroe Lake State Park which would distinguish the park group, which has a different purpose, from FOLM.  

Further discussion ensued about confusion concerns. Patricia mentioned that she joined the group because of the “friends” name.  Steve made a motion to accept the Friends of Lake Monroe as our name and Sherry seconded and all were in favor.

Fundraising Our short term fundraising goals are funding for the watershed tour and funding for sending Richard to the Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy.  The latter goal has been reached and other fundraising goals will be coming after a more formal action plan and budget are formulated. If we get non-profit status through CSL, we receive funds through CSL.  Non-profit status and association with CSL will help us be more successful in our fundraising. Other ideas for future fundraising and exposure:   Go fund me, philanthropists, wine and cheese event, tabling at farmers market, music event, T-Shirt (Graphic Designer w/contest for winning logo then sell t-shirts).  Idea to have people submit ideas and have voting at the  watershed event in the Spring.  We discussed the possibility of collecting an annual membership fee but Sherry felt we needed to build our base and membership fees would be a deterrent to joining.

Watershed Tour Vision for a watershed tour is understanding what it looks like, how big it is, the waterways contributing….. having different stops with educational events at each such as:  secchi disk demonstration, agriculture and non-point source sources and treatments (soil conservation ---buffer strips), one stop lunch and get people out into the watershed to understand.  We are using this as an outreach activity and to educate people the entire watershed.  A suggestion was made to have a spring and fall event.  Tammy suggested we might learn from a tour given by Monroe County which included a talk and a brochure by the Army Corps of Engineers.  A Lake Monroe Ecotour hosted by Steve Higgs group in 2014.  They might be interested in supporting our tour or doing one of the stops to promote their group (had 7 stops).  We need to schedule at a time when water level is low enough to travel low lying roads. Patti and Cathy  and Sherry would be interested in helping organize the event for early June—Involving other counties through NRCS and Purdue’s Extension Offices.

Mailing List Sherry wants to improve her mailing list by using a form to send a request for information to facebook people and other that are already on the mailing list.  This will allow her to have one mailing list for facebook users and non-facebook users.  

Bloomington United Bloomington United is an umbrella for social work groups locally.  Dave would like information for others who have connections. Is this group a good way to connect with other environmental groups?   

Hoosier Environmental Council Greening of Statehouse this Saturday  --water issues will be part of discussion. Great networking opportunity.

Next Meeting Third Thursday of January , 1/19 /2017 at 6:30.  Will try to have subsequent meeting on third Thursday of the month.

Action Items:

Sherry- Find out who uses water from Lake Monroe including private companies and possible secondary vendors.

Richard- Provide list of Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy former attendees and link to Indiana Watershed Leadership resources.

Tammy:  Provide brochure from watershed tour.  Contact Steve Higgs about involvement with watershed tour