Horseshoe Lake Public Inland Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District Annual Meeting

Meeting Date: September 16, 2023 at Beaver Town Hall

Call to order at 9:30 AM by President Steve Eichman at Beaver Town Hall with approximately 30 people in attendance and another 5 attending via Zoom.

LEAPS Update
Dave Blumer from LEAPS (Lake Education and Planning Services) gave an update on some of the things we have done and seen on the Lake this year. Link to Dave's update presentation. He has been working with us for many years but will be phasing out of his business in 2024 and 2025.

He shared an example of another lake in the area that just applied for a $120,000 DNR grant because their Eurasian Milfoil infestation has grown to over 25 acres in a 300-acre lake and they also have Curly Pondweed. Our main work on Horseshoe over the past 15 years has dealt with managing the infestations of Hybrid Eurasian Milfoil. We have done a good job of getting and keeping the milfoil under control where it is not negatively impacting the lake use too much. We had gone a couple years without doing any chemical treatment (DNR would not approve of small area treatment, due to our old Lake Management Plan.) As a result, the infected areas have grown, and we decided it was time to treat some key areas in 2023.

We applied for and were approved for a two-year control grant for Milfoil, with a maximum cost-share of just under $30,000 (75% of total cost). Includes control of Milfoil, education and prevention of other invasive species, aquatic plant surveys, water quality testing, lake level monitoring, and purple loosestrife removal. For 2023 - this included $10,000 to do a milfoil treatment with ProcellaCOR (a new liquid product) as well as corresponding concentration testing to measure effectiveness. For 2024 - the grant will not cover any chemical treatments (we don't anticipate needing to treat any large areas anyway) but would cover manual diver removal or DASH removal (Diver Assisted Suction Harvest) to clean up smaller areas or individual scattered plants. To contract someone to do DASH costs about $3,000/day but is much faster and more efficient than manual diver removal. We encourage all owners to manually remove any individual hybrid milfoil plants you see in front of your property. We will continue to have Matt Berg (from Endangered Resource Services) do bed mapping of milfoil levels, so we know what is going on and where.

In 2023 - we also resumed doing CBCW (Clean Boats, Clean Water). Our lake management plan requires us to spend at least 200 hours doing boat inspections at the boat landing (our #1 line of defense against new invasive species). We obtained a $4,000 DNR grant to cover volunteer and paid time. A special thanks to Pam Nelson for being our volunteer coordinator and putting in many hours herself. We have not been able to get enough volunteers to cover the 200-hour requirements. Through LEAPS - Kolton Bader, a Turtle Lake high school student, was hired to put in 160 hours in addition to our volunteer time. Together - they ended up putting in 224 hours, talking to 489 people and inspecting 266 boats.

Dave showed a map of the three ProcellaCOR treatment areas - they were the worst areas. What is special about this liquid is it only requires about 4 hours of contact to kill the plants vs the normal 2,4-D based products, which require 16-24 hours of contact to be effective. It also only took 3.5 gallons of ProcellaCOR to treat 6 acres vs 250-400 gallons required with 2,4-D products for same area size. There are a few other places in the lake with milfoil, especially the entrance into Buckwalls Bay. We hired Dave's daughter to do some manual removal on a couple of these areas. Matt Berg is doing the fall mapping today, so we will know better after seeing those results if and where we might want to treat in 2024 and/or do other removal options.

Treatment results appear to be excellent. In July, we saw very little milfoil growing in the areas we treated. And because ProcellaCOR is a more selective herbicide - it did not affect most of the "good" vegetation. We also did concentration testing to see if we got the amount of herbicide in the right areas and did it stay around long enough to kill the targeted plants. Dave will be comparing the data from these tests to the fall survey results to verify effectiveness,before finalizing treatment/removal plans for spring 2024. The lake district volunteers also will continue to monitor and control purple loosestrife, continue our Clean Boat/Clean Water efforts, water clarity testing and lake level monitoring. We will work to continue to build on the education of lake owners through training, FaceBook and emailings. We did an AIS education event at the boat landing in July and will do that again in 2024. Hopefully we will get more attendance and be able to get out on the lake to look at plants and do some physical removal. Remember - if you see milfoil in front of your property, pull as much vegetation as possible (even if you can't get to the roots) and make sure to also remove any floating fragments.

A big thanks to Dave for all of his work over the years on the lake. He will continue to work with us on our existing projects in 2024, but is not intending to continue his business after that. So he will also work next summer to help train us to do more of our own work and plant surveys in the future. If you ever have questions for him, feel free to email Dave at or contact one of the lake district commissioners.

Additional notes: Matt Berg completed his survey work. As expected, he found milfoil in the bay to the east of the channel into Buckwall's Bay. He also found a small, but dense bed within the treated area near the entrance to Mud Lake. This area appears to have been missed by the applicator, or perhaps the gravel bar that extends from the shore prevented some of the herbicide from reaching the bed. The bed is behind the gravel bar, close to shore in about 2-ft of water.

Herbicide concentration testing showed adequate levels of herbicide in the area that was treated just up the lake from the boat landing. Monitoring sites for the areas treated in Big Bay and up by Mud Lake did not show as high a concentration. This is likely due to the fact that the monitoring sites were not directly in a treated area; they were outside of or adjacent to the treated areas. Regardless, the treatment still seems to have been effective at knocking down nearly all the milfoil, with only a few small individual plants found during fall survey work. More monitoring will be done in 2024 to see how long the positive impacts of the 2023 treatment last. It looks like the milfoil bed up by the channel into Buckwall's Bay will need to be chemically treated in 2024.

Secretary/Treasurer Report
2022 minutes are posted on website and were approved. The current financial report was included in the meeting handouts that everyone was either emailed or mailed with the meeting information. We currently have $13,174.50 in checking (before reimbursement from DNR) plus $12,760.10 in CDs for the Emerging Invasive Species Control Fund (inherited from the Lake Association when Lake District was created). We are finally getting some decent interest on these accounts, compared to the 0.2% interest rates of the past couple years.

Our main expenses in 2023 were $10,909 for treating six acres of milfoil, an additional $7,200 of expenses related to a 2023-24 Milfoil Treatment/Research grant we received (more explained below), $3,488 for boat landing monitoring (CWCB) and $1,234 for our liability insurance. In addition, we had budgeted $6,000 to cover our 50% share of the cost of cleaning up the boat landing. This has been completed and our actual expense will be only around $4,000. We have some remaining 2023 expenses for our grant, but no major cash outlays are planned.

On the revenue side, we received $10,714 from the DNR for final cost-share reimbursement on our 2020-22 Planning Grant, $9300 in tax revenue, a $7,368 advance on Milfoil Treatment/Research grant and a $750 advance on our CWCB grant. We will submit our expenses and volunteer hours for our CWCB grant in November (additional $2,000+ reimbursement due) and should receive reimbursement for an additional $6-7,000 from our treatment grant before year-end for 2023 expenses and volunteer hours as well. We also received $126 in boat landing donations from the box at landing this summer plus a $150 donation from Scott and Kelly DeGross toward boat landing improvements and signage.

Treasurer report and 2022 minutes were approved.

Boat Landing
Roxy King gave an update on the boat landing clean-up and regrading the parking area. The damage to the trees at the boat landing from the tornado has increased the amount of water running into the lake in the landing area. The regrading will direct more of that water to the side of the landing and reduce the amount of sediment going into the lake. The county approved our permit and the work was completed in early September at a total cost of $8,000 (Lake District will pay half). The stumps were removed and filled in, which will make it much easier to mow going forward. They may need some more black dirt next spring after it settles.

The concrete ramps that were installed several years ago also have deteriorated and at least some will need to be replaced in 2024. Joe Waldo will check on pricing again (est. $1,000-$2,000 depending on how many we need) and then maybe the township can pay to have them installed. Steve Eichman will look at pads again to see how many should be replaced. We only spent $4,000 of the $6,000 approved so far, so will recommend keeping the remaining $2000 in the 2024 budget to replace the damaged pads (unless we can get it done this fall while the water is lower).

Comments included: cleanup of the landing looks great, the dock owned by the township has been a nice addition to help get boats in and out but might need some refurbishing, and maybe we consider planting some new trees next spring (Earth Day) for future generations to enjoy.

Additional Notes: It appears that of the nine pads at the boat landing, the top four should be replaced. Cost of the pads will be around $1,500 delivered. The initial thought is the lake district would pay for the pads and Beaver township would pay for the cost of someone to install them. We were hoping to get this project completed this fall but found out we needed a permit from the DNR. This permit process was more complicated than anticipated and we are still working on the permit submission. It now looks like early spring for completion.

Sanitary System Update
Tom Ludy joined via Zoom to give an update on the Village of Turtle Lake's sanitary system project. As previously discussed, the village has been in the final planning process for future expansion of its sanitary system, so we need to be having discussions now if we would ever be interested in tying into that in the future. This concept was brought up 20+ years ago but was not pursued (as most properties were small cabins and small holding tanks were adequate). Now that many places are getting larger and the cost of pumping has gone up dramatically, the decision was made that the Lake District would investigate what sanitary options might be available and then pass that information on to Lake District residents for further discussion.

Tom apologized for not getting this off the ground sooner, due to some family medical issues over the winter. What he has found is that we really need to eliminate the village from the initial sanitary project. Not that we want to shut them out, but it is a Horseshoe Lake project (not theirs). Tom has found an attorney that is willing to help us and the initial $2,000 approved last year for initial planning has not been spent yet. It appears the first step is for the attorney to do a legal review of our general bylaws and make suggestions on how we might consider changing them to allow a sanitary project be part of the lake district vs setting up a separate sanitary district. He also suggested we send out an official survey to lake owners to get a current status of septic systems on the lake on how many properties have conventional septic systems (and how old they are) vs. holding tanks or dry well. We could get this information from the county but it seems to make more sense to get it from owners as this is really about how we maintain the water quality in our lake. To do this, it is equally important to provide education so everyone understands where their wastewater is going, how much they are fertilizing their lawns, how close their lawn is to the lake, and how to keep wastewater out of the lake.

We will still need the volunteers from last year to help keep this project moving forward. Tom asked if we could leave the $2,000 previously approved in place to spend in 2024 for the survey and legal review of our bylaws. It was determined that a motion was not needed as the money was already approved and could just be carried over as part of our 2024 budget. There was a request asking for an estimated cost per household before the project gets started. It would cost much more than $2,000 to come up with that number. At this time, Village of Turtle Lake is still struggling to sort out their own sewer project and we can't assume they will be our best option. We don't really have any idea of what this project would cost or if it will even be feasible. That is why we need to start the planning project now but could be 3-5 years before we would have an idea of actual costs. Nothing is being committed to or will be committed to without full approval. #1 goal is to maintain water quality and if the survey tells us that holding tanks and current systems are working fine - then we may not need to look at other options. Anyone who wants to be on committee or has expertise, please reach out to Tom.

Boating Rules and Enforcement
Over the July 4th weekend and summer - we have had numerous incidents with ski boats, pontoons and jet skis that don't come close to complying with state boating safety laws. A discussion was held regarding what we want to do as a lake district to help monitor or control factors around speed, wakes, high water issues and safe boating practices. It is really a two-pronged issue: establishing necessary regulations vs how to enforce those regulations. We no longer see any DNR conservation patrols on the lake enforcing established laws.

The lake is available for the benefit of all, whether fishing, swimming, skiing, canoeing, or tubing. Ideally everyone would educate and police their own kids and guests, but it is not happening. This spring had record high water levels and we "requested" No-Wake during that period to keep shoreland from being damaged, but Lake District has no authority to make it a legal requirement. We are requesting the town board to grant the lake district the authority to establish ordinances and rules specific to our lake, in addition to state rules.

A motion was made for the Lake District to budget and spend up to $4,000 in 2024 to hire off-duty law enforcement officers to patrol our lake during peak time periods to enforce boating regulations. They would need to have the authority to write tickets for current offenses. It is unclear who would collect these tickets, assuming money would go to whoever these people work for. After discussion, the motion was passed 22 to 8. It was agreed we will not spend the money until we find out if we can get DNR to patrol more and have a plan. The other point made was that we also need to increase our efforts to educate lake owners on boating rules, using FaceBook, website, mailings, and boat landing monitoring. We should also reach out specifically to Airbnb rental owners to be sure they are posting rules. Joe Waldo will check with other lake districts to see how they find and hire these people plus how much they pay. Then the lake district will communicate our plans next spring before implementing them and spending the money.

2024 Budget
The estimated 2023 estimates and 2024 budget are shown below. Our 2023-24 Milfoil grant will not cover chemical treatments for 2024, but it does provide 75% cost-share for other removal methods (DASH or manual). We received an advance on the grant in 2023 and will submit for reimbursement of 2023 additional costs yet this fall (but reimbursement for 2023 and 2024 are built into the 2024 budget). We should continue to budget $6,000 for milfoil treatment for small areas (10-yr average cost) but won't spend it unless we need to.

Our plan is to apply for a CWCB grant again and cover the boat landing monitoring through a combination of paid and volunteer time. We will continue to have some general lake management expenses and plant surveys (some of this may be covered by the grant too). Dave Blumer is willing to train a couple of volunteers on how we can do this ourselves in the future. Our liability insurance is appr $1,200 and we normally budget around $1,000 for mailings, PO Box, website hosting and other basic expenses. The Sanitary District money budgeted for 2023 will be moved to 2024 in addition to the remaining $2,000 for boat landing renovation, plus we will add the $4,000 just approved for lake patrols to the budget (but won't spend unless it makes sense).

With these extra dollars - we will probably spend more than we have coming in. But based on our current cash balances, our proposal is to keep tax assessment at $9300 (same as past 3-4 years). We would maintain our $12,700 Emergency Milfoil Fund in CDs but start utilizing our additional cash reserves. At some point in the future, we will probably need to increase tax revenue amount to cover all annual expenses (once we use up our excess cash reserves), but this would still be under $25/$100,000 valuation. Discussion on final budget numbers reinforced that we shouldn't spend all of the $4,000 approved for lake patrols if possible (at least until we know more on cost and effectiveness).
Motion was passed to approve the 2024 budget as proposed and the $9,300 tax revenue levels.


We have three elected board members: Steve Eichman, Tom Ludy, and Joe Waldo plus Roxy King is our Beaver township representative and Tracy LaBlanc is our Polk County representative. Tom Ludy's board term is expiring. Tom is willing to run for another term and with no other nominations, Tom was unanimously re-elected to a new three-year term.

Other Topics

Meeting adjourned at 11:58 am.

Respectfully submitted by Joe Waldo (Secretary/Treasurer)
Horseshoe Lake Public Inland Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District
P.O. Box 304, Turtle Lake, WI 54889

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