January 25, 2018 Meeting Minutes

Location: Monroe County Public Library

Attendees: Rae Schnapp, Cheryl Munson, Dave Simcox, Kevin Dogan, Sherry MItchell-Bruker, Lily Bonwich, Richard Harris, Cara Bergschneider, Vicky Getty, Erica Penna, Kate Wiltz, Mary Madore (remotely).

Sherry opened the meeting at 6:35 and attendees briefly introduced themselves.

Guest Speaker: Cara Bergschneider of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, gave a presentation on her agency and its role in conservation.

  • The NRCS is a federal agency with a presence in every county in the county
  • NRCS must partner with the local Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Its role is to educate and provide technical assistance to conserve resources
  • Born out of the Dust Bowl in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service, changed its name to NRCS in 1995
  • The NRCS has no regulatory authority
  • Works primarily on private land with agricultural producers; participants have a resource concern. NRCS works with large and small farmers, but they must be “producers”.
  • Primary goals: increase soil health; provide for continuous living roots; maximize biodiversity and soil cover; minimize disturbance

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is the primary funding mechanism for NRCS programs. The goal is to fund approximately 75% of a project. Primary agricultural conservation projects include: livestock control (keep out of streams); windbreaks; riparian forest buffers; filter strips; grass waterways; wetland restoration; cover crops; residue management; and pest management. Common forestry projects include invasive species management; timber stand improvement, and water bars.

HB 1289: Dave Simcox, Steering Committee member, gave a brief summary of House Bill 1289, which would restrict Monroe County’s ability to regulate logging and development near Lake Monroe. Dave will forward an action plan to our FOLM Steering Committee.

Shadyside Logging: Kevin Dogan, Steering Committee member, gave a brief summary of the Shadyside logging issue:  To enable the Conservation Law Center (CLC) to undertake legal research on a question of whether a particular easement can be used as the route to transport logs taken from up to a dozen adjoining parcels, the FOLM Steering Committee made a formal request to the CLC for this research to be done.  Once the FOLM received a memo from the CLC detailing its research findings, it was sent to an individual who has been coordinating the neighborhood opposition to the logging. The memo supports a legal argument that use of the easement may be limited to parcels that were in common ownership at the time of the easement’s creation.  This information was found to be very helpful.

Treasurer's Report: Richard Harris, FOLM treasurer, provided the treasurer’s report. The FOLM annual financial report was submitted to the Center for Sustainable Living on January 20, 2018. In summary, the group received $1036.39 in contributions and fundraising in 2017, with $173.02 in total expenses for the year. The current balance for the group is $863.37.

Adopt-A-Shoreline: Richard provided an update on the Adopt-A-Shoreline project. FOLM has agreed to contribute a minimum of 45 minutes per month to pick up trash at the Paynetown State Recreation Area. Approximately 10 people have volunteered to participate, and will rotate months among the volunteers. Trash can be picked up at the volunteers convenience any time during the month. Most months for the  upcoming year have a committed volunteer, but gaps are available. Contact Richard Harris if interested.

City of Bloomington Comprehensive Plan: Sherry provided an update on the City of Bloomington Comprehensive Plan. City Councilman Dave Rollo attended the November FOLM meeting and gave a brief summary of the CP, and welcomed input from the group. Amendments to the city of Bloomington Comprehensive plan suggested by Friends of Lake Monroe were proposed by Councilman Dave Rollo and accepted.  The amendments are:

Am 135 (Cm. Rollo), Chapter 3, Overview (p. 44) -- adds language to make it clear that Lake Monroe is the community’s only source of water.

Goals & Policies

Am 136 (Cm. Rollo), Chapter 3, Goals & Policies (p. 47) -- expands the collaborating entities working to prolong the life of Lake Monroe and to improve water quality to include all those that control and participate in protecting the Lake

Outcomes & Indicators

Am 137 (Cm. Rollo), Chapter 3, Outcomes & Indicators (p. 49) -- adds a new Outcome and two new indicators. The Outcome states that water quality is improved. The indicators reflect that, as a consequence of working with state, local, and federal governmental agencies, a management plan will be put in place to protect the lake and that would reduce runoff of fertilizers and sediment that would reduce or eliminate the algal blooms that are commonplace today.

Am 138 (Cm. Rollo), Chapter 3, Outcomes & Indicators (p. 49) -- adds a new Outcome calling for CBU to meet or exceed federal drinking water standards 100% of the time. As we improve water quality, we aim never to deliver water failing at federal standards.

Membership: Sherry announced that FOLM plans to offer memberships ($20/year) as a way for interested parties to show additional commitment to the group. Membership is strictly voluntary, and is not intended to discourage participation in  FOLM meetings or activities in any way. Additional information will be provided as details are fleshed out.

Social Events/Canoe-kayak event-- The group discussed having outdoor activities on the lake in the coming months, including a canoe-kayak outing in June. Ideas include having a boating/safety instructor provide lessons for interested attendees, and reserving a shelter house at the Cutright area for a picnic following boating. People with boats would provide their own, and boat rental (possibly through a sponsor) for a small fee would be available.

Hike: Also discussed was the possibility of sponsoring a hike at the Sycamore Land Trust Property near the causeway at Lake Monroe. FOLM has refrained from having this hike in the past due to overcrowding at the parking area. The group will check with SLT to see if the timing is now right to hold a group hike. Also discussed was the possibility of performing trail maintenance at the property.

SPEA Intern: Sherry announced that SPEA has hired an intern funded by the Nature Conservancy to gather and analyze existing data to determine what are available, and where gaps may exist. She also announced that the City of Bloomington Utilities is hiring an intern for a similar activity, and that FOLM is participating in a SPEA Capstone class, in which FOLM is the client, and students will consider possible strategies for developing a lake management plan. Erica Penna, a member of the class, was in attendance and spoke briefly about the project.

Next meeting: March 22, 2018, MCPL, meeting room 1A. Guest speaker, Rex Watters, DNR.