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