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2024 BCABLA Annual Meeting

2024 BCABLA Annual Mtg for Posting
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Minutes of the Big Chetac and Birch Lakes Annual Meeting

June 22, 2024

 Birchwood Village Hall, 10 a.m.


The annual meeting of members of the Big Chetac and Birch Lakes Association (hereafter BCABLA) was called to order by Mark Robinson, President. Overheads from the meeting (omitting bank balances) are posted on Readers are encouraged to refer to them along with these minutes.

Roughly 40 members of the association attended along with several non-members.

Mark Robinson’s remarks emphasized the variable nature of weather and its large impact this year on prolific curly leaf pondweed growth over the winter due to lack of snow. As a result, more sunlight than typical reached the plants growing under the ice during the winter. He commented on how there is variability in processes even when we can control them – such as Pringles manufacturing - so it is not surprising to see large-scale variability in natural processes, like weather. [Mark had purchased from a store shelf side-by-side cans of Pringles from the same manufacturing batch and was surprised to find one can was completely inedible – smelling and tasting awful, like chemicals – but one next to it was unaffected and tasted as expected.] Mark contacted the company and was disappointed that they didn’t seem particularly interested in having the products returned to them and sent the perfunctory free coupon. As a product developer on paper towels in his career, Mark appreciated receiving defective products from consumers to help determine and eliminate the cause of the defects.

Mark also emphasized the importance of stories that result when we interact with our families and others at our lake homes, rented cabins or cottages, or in public use of the lake. RootsTech 2024 – a genealogy conference in Salt Lake City – emphasized the value of telling stories of our ancestors and others. Mark’s eldest son piloting an outboard motorboat (photo in posted slides) was a story in the making captured in a photograph. It was mentioned that such stories could possibly be shared on our improved website. [The theft of the 20-hp Evinrude motor over the winter months was a less pleasant story.]

The agenda was reviewed as shown in the slides from the meeting.

Leadership – the BCABLA currently has two openings for at-large directors. The role of directors was explained: they help decide policy and set the direction of the organization. No one volunteered for director positions, so no election was held. Mark Robinson announced that he would prefer to finish his term as president as soon as practical once a successor is identified and an orderly transition of duties can occur. Tyra Robinson would also prefer to step down as secretary. Other positions are occupied as shown in the meeting slides. Mark will remain on the board as Past President once a new president is identified.

Key accomplishments in 2023 were reviewed. The November 2023 meeting at Birchwood School with Max Wolter – WDNR fisheries biologist - was praised as both informative and entertaining. That meeting was sponsored by BCABLA and the Birchwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

BCABLA was deemed a “qualified lake association” by the DNR in 2023. The designation allows it to participate in DNR surface water and other grant programs. It is valid for ten years. A key requirement of becoming qualified was changing the original BCABLA bylaws to emphasize the public benefit arising from the past and future activities of the association. When the bylaws were originally drafted the language of the opening sentence mentioned, association members being the beneficiaries of BCABLA activities. The WDNR specifically wants to emphasize the public benefit of the association’s activities. A wording change reflecting the emphasis on public benefit was approved by the association, added to the bylaws, and communicated to the WDNR.

Two additional future meetings were proposed in response to last year’s request for more – rather than fewer – meetings by association members. An August/September meeting, and a late October/early November meeting are being considered. David Blumer of Lake Education and Planning Services will be invited to discuss how to proceed with the DNR now that our five-year lake management plan is slated to end in 2024. Dave has supported many projects in the past and was a principal author of the five-year lake management plan.

Priorities for 2024 were discussed, including building leadership, forming a Fishery committee, upgrading signage at the Birchwood boat landing, and sponsoring more meetings (described above).

Attendees were asked to complete a survey of potential topics of interest by selecting from a list of twelve topics three of greatest interest, and three of least interest. Responses of the attendees were collected and are being scored. Results will be posted.

The educational component of the meeting was a discussion on wake-enhanced boating and the efforts of many communities in the state to address potential damage to lake resources from wake boats through local ordinances. To date neither the DNR nor state legislators has issued any statewide rules or restrictions. Public interest is building quickly. Much of Chetac Lake and some areas of Birch Lake are vulnerable to damage from wake boats due to lake depth and size considerations. The possibility of an ordinance being developed through local municipalities was mentioned. Members of the association want to be kept informed of progress on this hot-button topic. To date wake boats are not commonly seen on Chetac. Members can find out which ordinances are in force on a given lake by searching for a specific lake on the WDNR web site.

Other WDNR programs such as Healthy Lakes and The Citizen Lake Monitoring Network (CLMN) were mentioned but not discussed in detail. A qualified lake association can help members obtain grant funding for Healthy Lakes “best practices” to their properties. Grantees must agree to maintain the practice for a ten-year period to qualify.

Violators of local ordinances can be reported to the DNR through its 1-800-TIP-WDNR phone line.

There is interest in expanding the improved website to share photos among members. Attendees were encouraged to use the website to join. Postcards from the 2024 mailing were also made available for registration.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:20 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Mark L. Robinson

BCABLA President





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