July 13, 2009,
Peaine Township Hall
1. President Paul Glendon called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
2. Board members present were Avery, Dashiell, Glendon, Grassmick, Igoe, and Jacobson.
3. Annette Dashiell gave the financial report. Net Income for the year was $787.33 bringing the associations net assets to $10065.32. In addition, there is a balance of $1,898.90 remaining in the grant for “The Beaver Island: A Great lake Jewel” video,
brochure and website.
4. Jim Jones was presented by the nominating committee of the board to replace Dan Wardlow, who declined nomination for a second term due to family responsibilities. There were no other nominations from the floor. Jim was elected by unanimous acclamation. Pam Grassmick and
Ken McDonald, incumbents, were reelected to the board. (Paul Glendon noted that the Association bylaws were modified last year to allow board members to serve three terms).
5. Paul Glendon introduced Don Uzarski, the Director Designate of the CMU Biological Station. Don comes from Grand Valley State University where he was Director of Great Lakes Research and Director of Great Lakes and Environmental Research. He spoke of various ecological and environmental research projects he has led. Don also mentioned that the 65-foot W.G. Jackson research vessel will arrive at Beaver Island on July 29 and will undertake three 1-½ hour research tours for Islanders so interested. (Don’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.) In response to a question from the floor, he indicated that longer-term plans for the Beaver Island Coast Guard Station include complete refurbishment of the interior of the facility as a boathouse, with additional office/lab space for coordination of aquatic research projects.
6. Paul Glendon introduced
Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Williams. In response to questions concerning ORV violations, he stated that he did not have resources to enforce the law. He suggested that citizens observing violations should report these to him by telephone. He will log them, and if the offender is identified, he will call the offending person(s) and alert them to the violation. Since the violation is a civil offense, prosecution requires that the deputy personally observe the offense and this is unlikely, as he does not have a vehicle to patrol off road. He did state that ORV use in posted wetland sites is a misdemeanor and could be prosecuted with evidence provided by witnesses. In addition, trespassers who cause damage to property can be similarly prosecuted.
7. Tim McDonough, Beaver Island Fire Chief, spoke about fire prevention initiatives, including a series of warning sirens on the various towers on the island (this will take time and money). He also mentioned an initiative to install warning signage describing fire risk (low, medium, moderate, high and very high) to be posted at campgrounds and other sites around the island (the association has offered to help with the cost). Volunteers are being trained to accurately assess fire risk in order to maintain the signs.
8. Tim then introduced Dan Jones from the DNR (Gaylord) who has 25 years experience in Michigan. Dan showed a video and discussed the “Fire Wise” program to reduce the
vulnerability of homes to rapidly moving wild fires. The overall goal is to make a home defensible without the assistance of the fire department, which will be stretched beyond help
in the event of a major fire. The program includes installation of non-flammable materials in building construction and the removal of brush and trees from the immediate vicinity of a structure to create a defensible area. The program also recommends covering wellheads and water pumps with a non-flammable protective covers to insure the availability of water to fight a fire. He suggested that the Island governments should work with the DNR to plan and develop a series of roads (and fire breaks) to allow fire fighters and equipment access to potential areas of major fires. In addition, evacuation routes, separate from fire equipment access roads, need to be identified (or created) for residents in the event of a major fire. Dan also mentioned that the DNR is currently conducting the required 10-year Compartment Review of the state lands on Beaver Island. This process is open to public comment and is an opportunity to present the island position of a variety of related subjects such as fire prevention, wildlife maintenance, forestry and logging practices, rivers, etc. The process for public / government comments was not identified, but Pam Grassmick will obtain a “link” for submitting such comments by email.
9. Pam Grassmick updated the association on several environmental issues. The survey of Beaver Island for Phragmites has just been completed. The survey was positive with only minimal stands found. High and Garden Islands have small infestations while Hog Island is heavily infested. There is minimal evidence of avian botulism this year. Jacque LaFreniere is now employed by the townships and has assumed responsibility for future Phragmites control efforts, including coordination of the contractors.
10. Bruce Jacobson reported for the Wildlife Club. There will be an open house with the Seney National Wildlife Refuge organization, which manages Hat, Gull and Shoe islands in the Beaver archipelago from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on July 22nd at the Peaine Township Hall. They are looking for public comment on the management of those islands. The wildlife club is encouraging attendance regarding the cormorant issue in particular, and generally for input regarding a 15-year conservation plan for Great Lakes islands under the dominion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was stated by an Association member that, although down, the population of area cormorants still approaches 50,000, each of which consumes more than a pound of small fish daily. The Wildlife Club’s control efforts have at this point been modestly effective. It was also noted that there is evidence that cormorant’s diet includes round gobies, which is probably a good thing.
11. Paul Glendon reported that an effort to establish a Beaver Island
Natural Resources and Eco-tourism Commission is underway. There will be 11 members including one from each township, one from the Wildlife Club and one from the Beaver Island Association.
12. The Great lakes Island Symposium at CMU is scheduled for August 28-30. It is hoped that we will have 100 attendees from various Great Lakes Island stakeholders, researchers, and policy makers (note: there are 32,000 islands in the Great lakes!). The purpose of the symposium is to help define priorities and to facilitate communication amongst the various organizations. Limited attendance by the public is possible if there is room, and a video of all presentations is planned.
13. Paul Glendon reported for Ken McDonald that the annual beach cleanup is scheduled for Labor Day weekend.
14. It was noted that the annual Beaver Island Blood Drive is scheduled for July 30. Members are encouraged to sign up and give (call Lars Larsen 448-2470).
15. The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Peter Igoe, July 14, 2009