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September 24, 2017

9/8/2017 7:25:00 AM
Bear Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District holds annual meeting
Beckie Gaskill/lakeland times

Chairman Tom Church addressed a large group of Bear Lake property owners at the Bear Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District annual meeting last weekend.
Beckie Gaskill/lakeland times

Chairman Tom Church addressed a large group of Bear Lake property owners at the Bear Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District annual meeting last weekend.

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer

The Bear Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District annual meeting, held last weekend, was well-attended by many property owners on the lake. Chairman Tom Church started the meeting with an update on the website: www.bearlakeprd.org. The hope is to get more people to check the website with regularity for information that may be of interest or importance to property owners on the lake. A great deal of work has gone into the site of late, Church said, and he urged all in attendance to take a look.

Dale Jalinski gave an update on water quality. Due to heavy rains early in the year, he said, water clarity was somewhat erratic, but overall the quality was about normal. The normal algae bloom came late this year, starting about Aug. 10. He said the bloom lasted until approximately a week before the meeting last weekend. Clarity during the bloom, he said, was approximately seven feet, compared to the normal 10 feet of water clarity on the lake. He saw no issues of concern during his monitoring efforts over the course of the summer.

Treasurer Mick Austin gave a look report. While manning the landing during the Clean Boats Clean Waters program this summer, he was able to get a great deal of information from researchers from The Loon Project, which is headed up by Dr. Walter Piper of Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Austin reported researchers from The Loon Project visited Bear Lake approximately twice per week during the summer. He reported the pair of nesting loons on the lake had a successful brood, with one chick being born alive. Another egg was found on the nest by researchers, however. That egg had a hole in it with predation expected.

Austin was able to learn a great deal of information about the pair of loons from The Loon Project people, he said. The male loon is expected to be more than 21 year old. He was first banded as an adult on Bear Lake in 2001. He has been on the lake for more than 16 years and has had 12 successful broods, he said. The female loon is finishing up her fourth year on the lake and is 12 years old. She has had two successful broods in the past, both singles. She was banded in 2005, but is missing one of her four bands. This has made her identification a bit more difficult, but the research team has narrowed her down to one of two possible birds. She is either from North Nokomis or Buck Lake. Researchers spent a good deal of time over the summer attempting to photograph her silver band, which contains a unique number that will identify her specifically. However, they have been able to photograph only part of the band, leaving her identification still a mystery. The male loon, Austin told the groups, is fairly docile, but the female remains very elusive. All in attendance were impressed with the amount of information Austin was able to learn from the Loon Project researchers. He encouraged all to visit the Loon Project website to learn more about the project as well as loons on other lakes in the area.

Austin also reported on the Clean Boats Clean Waters program, which he and his wife have taken on for the lake group. They put in 502 hours at the boat landing over the summer, inspecting 160 boats and helping to educate 324 people on the dangers of invasive species and what they can do to help stop their spread. He said there will be one more week's worth of data to add to that, but suspected those numbers would be fairly low.

Rick Klein gave an update on the lake management report. He presented the group with a list of goals, activities, tasks, tasks statuses, responsibilities and a timeline or calendar of when each goal or activity was or will be completed.

The consultant's work will be done by mid-year of next year, Church said. At that time, he said, they would be looking for a group of volunteers to help review the reports and make recommendations on what actions, if any, should be taken. Klein asked anyone who would be interested in helping with that project to contact him. He provided cards for interested individuals to provide their contact information and also any questions regarding the lake they would like to see answered in the creation of the management plan.

Other topics

The seat of chairman was up for election during this meeting. Tom Church had served in that capacity and accepted a nomination for another three years. No other nominations were made and he was reinstated as chairman for three more years.

The annual budget hearing was also held during this meeting. Austin explained the district would be changing its fiscal year to a calendar year, which was noted in the budget presented to those in attendance. A question was posed regarding a line item on the budget for fish stocking. Church explained it was a reserve account set up for future fish stocking. Jalinski said no fish stocking had been done since before the comprehensive lake management plan had started, but the reserve account could be used in the future, once the management plan recommendations were made and reviewed, if stocking was deemed to fit with overall lake management goals. The budget passed easily with no dissenting opinions.

The date for the 2018 annual meeting was set as Sept. 1, 2018 before the meeting was adjourned.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at bjoki@lakelandtimes. com.

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