Beaver Island Natural Resources and Eco-Tourism Commission

Beaver Island Natural Resources and Eco-Tourism Commission Draft

March 22, 2010, at 4:30 p.m. at the Peaine Township Hall

In attendance : Sandy Birdsall, Bill Cashman, Doug Tilly, Dan Martell, Brian Mastenbrook, and Pam Grassmick. Jacque LaFreniere and Ken Bruland arrived at 4:50. On conference call: Mike Weede, Jim Jones, and Tom Bailey. Guest on-phone: Seamus Norgaard

Absent: Eric Myers, Krys Lyle, John Fiegen, Carol Burton, and Jim Gillingham

1. Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order by Chair, Sandy Birdsall at 4:30 p.m.

2. Review of the minutes: A motion (Pam/Brian) to accept the second set of minutes from the February meeting dated 3/1/2010. Unanimously passed.

3. March 10 Special Meeting Minutes: Tom Bailey requested that the only change to the minutes be the wording “had proposed a resolution…” A motion to accept the minutes(Dan/Doug). All in favor.

4. Committee Reports: A slight change in the order of the reports was suggested due to personal time limits. Tom Bailey began with the report and status on the action items to support our goals . Those members present had access to a copy of the Action Items; however, those on the phone had not received a copy. It was agreed that a copy be attached to the March minutes for the commission's input. Tom suggested that we continue to solicit additional plans. All members are asked to review and send additional comments or plans to Tom. Bill Cashman commented on the DNR dock and the need for more boat launching sites. Ken expressed concern over access to rescue boat and recreational activities occurring at the same site. There is no plan at present for the old DNR dock. Exploring possible alternative sites such as the St. James Marina docks and the old Chamber site should be considered by the townships and EMS as well as equipment storage sites for EMS/Water Rescue. Bike racks were identified as a need around the harbor area. McDonough's Market has a rack that may serve as a template and we may want to engage the Lighthouse School students in this building project.

Dan Martell updated the group on the brochure/map that is being developed to encourage recreational enjoyment of our island. There will be a decrease in the bird species information and perhaps a space for advertisement. Tilly from Trails, Ken, Dan, and Carol are working together to coordinate trail signage and work. Ken also commented that tri-folds be available for additional information on flora and fauna. Dan said they are considering having 1000 copies printed. Doug invited individuals to attend the next Trail Committee meeting which is the 2 nd Wednesday of every month. Doug will submit minutes of those meetings or give an oral report to the commission so that efforts are not duplicated but that we can support efforts. Keith Cheli from the DNRE, Recreational Department, is coming to the island to meet with the commission in April or May. When dates are confirmed notices will be sent out to all members of the commission. Brian Mastenbrook indicated that he would like to be present during Cheli's visit.

Ken Bruland acknowledged that the Garden Island Clean-up Initiative will be a long term on-going process. Mike Weede, Mastenbrook, and Ken are going out, May 6, to survey Garden and develop a strategy. Ken suggested that if other boats are involved that they concentrate on one area. Sites are yet to be determined but the DNR cabin, Northcut, and Indian Harbor are potential sites. If the townships are to absorb the cost of trash disposal, the Waste Management Committee would like to know the size and anticipated amount of trash. There was further discussion on the need for signage and Brian indicated that funding and verbiage may be obtained through his department for signs. In addition to discouraging individuals from leaving their trash behind, signs are needed for roped-off clean-up areas that identify clean-up of this dump site is in progress. Ken and Mike would like to take a 10-15 clean-up crew over to Garden camping the 3rd week in May.

Jacque reported that Eric Myers is working on the invite list for the Forest and Wildlife Management Symposium. Discussion revolved around values and shared vision of natural areas and the effect on eco-tourism. All were in agreement that the island needed better information regarding the forests and to be managed as a whole between private and state held lands. Mastenbrook suggested that formalized questions be asked of stakeholders for the purpose of moving a forest management plan forward with the hope of building consensus. Jim Jones interjected that people will engage if their property values are impacted. He felt that we needed to address not only protecting the environment but understanding that the very nature of economic growth from building practices, increased tourism, to ORVs will impact the environment. He went onto say that we need to acknowledge that there will be conflict between preserving the island and optimizing the economy. Seamus Norgaard commented on the importance of the planning process and the need to have a plan in place preferably within a year to keep individuals engaged. Tom Bailey mentioned that he felt that it may be advantageous to provide various scenarios and allow individuals to make choices as to their values. The scenarios presented were: what the island would look like under a QDM model, old growth tourist site for birdwatchers, or ORV expansion or elimination. Tom Bailey, who mentioned various hunting trips taken by varying means, discussed that deer did not occur naturally on Beaver Island, having been artificially introduced.  So, in the range of choices to be made about resource management, one option could be to return the island to a more natural state which would include elimination of the deer which would need to be decided by Islanders. All agreed that it would take a series of meetings beginning this summer and continue into the fall. Working collaboratively with the planning commissions was also identified. Ken suggested a survey of the island stakeholders. Dean Solomon from the MSU Extension Service has offered his assistance. A suggestion to rename the first forest and wildlife educational/ management event was proposed since last year's titled Great Lakes Islands Symposium was canceled. Eric has agreed to chair and Doug and Jacque, form the steering committee but other members are invited in planning sessions scheduled for this March. Seamus will contact Eric to participate as well.

5. The Deer Management Meeting is scheduled for March 23 at 10:30 a.m. between the Wildlife Club, BI Conservation Club and NRETC for the purpose of setting antlerless deer permits. Sandy, Jacque and Pam will represent our commission. Jacque stated that the Wildlife Club was going to suggest to the DNR that 200-250 doe permits be issued. Last year, 500 permits were available, 426 sold, and approximately 120 does and bucks were taken. Mastenbrook indicated that the DNR is interested in community input into the management of deer on the island. Jim Jones suggested that recognition of our resources not be optimized for deer but rather that we should be looking at protecting and sustaining other species.

6. It has been suggested that a trip be planned to go to Lansing for the purpose of beginning dialogue with various state departments that are involved with decision making of our archipelago. With the changes to the DNRE staff and boundary, it would be an optimal time to elevate the discussion regarding the uniqueness and fragility of islands. In the future, we will fall under the Lake Michigan region. Karen Vigmostad has offered her assistance with the meeting and willing to present scientific data. All commission members wanting to attend are invited to contact Sandy. Planning conference calling sessions will be scheduled.

7. Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m. (Jacque/Doug).

Respectfully submitted, Pam Grassmick 3/25/10


January 25, 2010, at 4:30 p.m. at the Peaine Township Hall

Draft of Minutes

In attendance : Krys Lyle, Jacque LaFreniere, Sandy Birdsall, Ken Bruland, Bill Cashman, Pam Grassmick, Doug Tilly, and Carol Burton. On conference call: Jim Gillingham, Tom Bailey, Jim Jones, Brian Mastenbrook, John Fiegan and guest, Dean Solomon. Audience: Don Tritsch and Lois Williams.

Absent: Eric Myers and Dan Martell

1 . Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandy Birdsall at 4:30 p.m. and presented the conference calling capability for the first time for those off island.

2. Review of the minutes: A motion (Tilly/Lyle) to accept the minutes of the December meeting was accepted with the addition of Jacque's signature as temporary secretary. Approved unanimously.

3. Presentation by Brian Mastenbrook: Forests and Logging on Beaver Island, Deer Management, Signage on trails, clean-up of Garden Island dumps. Brian explained that the Wildlife's Division management is different than the mainland and High, Garden and Hog are treated differently. Beaver is a Game Area. The compartment map was displayed and covers 10 compartment areas. The years listed are a prescription for management 2 years later. Wildlife and Forestry Divisions are co-managers but the State Game Area falls to the Wildlife Division. The question was asked regarding the State's logging priority to deal with Beech Bark Disease in the identified area starting around the airport and extending south. The compartments/State does not prioritize that issue on Beaver Island. Jim Jones commented on large square clear cutting vs. hub and spoke technique and the need to monitor the response to clear cutting. Sandy asked, “How does the State Forest differ as indicated on the maps from other management?” The State Forest designation is an error on maps. The island priority is wildlife. Off island, it is recreation, wildlife, forest products, ORV use, hiking, camping, etc. Don Tritsch asked about the wildlife management and the timber sale. Brian mentioned the upcoming timber sale of the 94 acres south of Green's Lake. Brian explained that it is to be selective cuts only. Sandy asked if Brian received copies of permits. Yes. Birdsall suggested improvements in communication would be helpful to island community. Tilly commented on his experiences logging in Wisconsin. He remarked that the present skidding practices are scarring many of the younger trees and creating damage to the state and forest roads. Dean Solomon interjected that there is very little regulation on private lands related to logging but control can be achieved through contracts and performance bonds. Bailey asked whether a narrative objective of the game management plan was available. Mastenbrook said the DNRE was working toward a completion of a plan in 2010. The plan will include a cursory examination description, overall management objectives, appendices, facilities report, and recommendations. There will be a component for public review followed by adoption and reviewed every 10 years. Sandy asked, “Does the state have goals for game management?” Mastenbrook's reply, “Not at an island level, there are unique considerations.” Goals are in place for deer, elk, bear, and turkey on the mainland. The state's practices of controlling transmission of invasive species such as garlic mustard between sites were discussed. Currently there is no cleaning or inspection. Bailey mentioned that the LTC requires cleaning of equipment in their timber sale contracts and requires work to occur in the winter to decrease the chance of transmission. Spotted Knapweed is spreading at an alarming rate and threatens deer habitat. The area around the Townships' Airport is a prime example. The DNRE has no plan at present to deal with knapweed. Timber management as a form of quality deer management was addressed. Questions concerning the island's deer carrying capacity and genetics provided the audience with the information indicating that genetics of our deer herd are fine. Mastenbrook asked for numbers of first planted deer. Pam responded with 4 does and 1 buck were planted on two separate boat trips for a total of 10. Birdsall will send a letter to Mastenbrook outlining the commission's concerns regarding timber practices to include: 100 ft setback back from roadways as per local ordinances, restoration of road beds and trails with no expenses to the township's road maintenance budget, expectations to include notification of adjacent property owners and townships, type of logging activity, clean-up and the restoration time frame. Mastenbrook will send a letter to Birdsall including a timber sales map along with the proposed activity to the area. Solomon suggested a property owner meeting for the purpose of educating the public on timber stewardship practices and maintenance. Communities can apply for forestry stewardship grants. Trail Signage: Mastenbrook will submit to the commission the DNRE specifications regarding signs. He asked that the proposed trails be identified on a map and submitted to him. Mastenbrook asked that the commission wait until the 2010 plan is developed before proceeding with the grants from the Recreational Trail Program. Garden Island Restoration: Ken Bruland commented on the dumps on Garden Island with note to the areas adjacent to the DNR building and another dump site toward Indian Harbor that appears to be an old deer hunting camp. Bruland and Mike Weede have offered to coordinate volunteers, equipment and transportation. Mastenbrook committed $2000.00 toward the project but on further discussion it was pointed out that it should include a proper clean-up which may require more funding. Bailey suggested that a fence and danger sign be erected around the sites and this project may entail a multi-year restoration plan. Mastenbrook agreed to come out for a Garden Island inspection in May.

4. Committee Reports: a) Carol Burton, Chair of Maps/Brochure Committee, submitted a brochure to the commission. She anticipates delivery around May 2010. She has compiled a listing of trees, amphibians, reptiles, birds, plant life, and animals. Carol will highlight commonly viewed birds while maintaining a complete inventory list. An interior lake fish list should be obtained from CMU. Bill Cashman offered to scan and e-mail a copy to those on the conference call. First printing will be around 500 copies. Second printing may be 5000. Funding will come from local business and be free to the public. Carol mentioned that the top 20 trails will be highlighted. Coordinated numbers and directional signage will be developed. Tom Bailey suggested reviewing the LTC web site for trail maps at LSB and Barney's Lake. Animal tracks will be displayed in brochure.

b) Tom Bailey, Chair of the Goals Committee, submitted the goals' document which included a mission statement and 3 categories: inventories, resource management, and marketing goals. The action plan was not developed as part of this initiative but future work will be centered on these goals. Motion to accept as presented (Birdsall/Bailey). Unanimously accepted. Ken commented that all future documents mention kayaking.

Sandy asked to receive a brief bio or resume from the commission members. A paragraph on their involvement with the island would be sufficient.

5. Old Business: a) Pam updated the Commission on the Hi-Resolution Aerial Imagining grant. Lead will be the Stewardship Network. The County and the Tribes are pursuing another grant for the county which will include the archipelago. The Tribes have also indicated that they will pursue imagining of Hog, High, and Garden for management planning this year; if alternative funding cannot be found.

5. New Business: a) Pam presented the pre-proposal that was submitted to the USFWS last week for an “inventory of inventories”, gap analysis, recommendation development, and a community action component. The lead will be Karen Vigmostad with U of M. She has recently founded the Great Lakes Islands Institute and information on our project can be viewed at . The project is over ½ million dollars and a $190,000 match has been secured. A 10 member Bi-national Advisory Panel was discussed along with their expertise. 4 white papers will be produced on climate change to the archipelago, cormorants, fish, and governance gaps. Quarterly webinars are expected. The project is expected to run from October 2010 until August of 2013.

b) Sandy responded to the letter sent from a island property owner to Kevin Elsenheimer and the DNRE regarding to ORV use on state held trails. She was pleased at the handling of the letter through the DNRE. ORV enforcement is lacking on the island. Pam suggested that a letter be sent from the NRETC to the county requesting signage related to ORV use and identifying the proper areas for riding, i.e. county roads.

c) Pam suggested that the commission purchase a stewardship manual that was developed by the St. Lawrence Island National Park as a “Landowner's Guide to Island Life” which would be used as resource material.

6. Other: Pam commented on a recent Charlevoix meeting. Scott Kenderski and Larry Levingood from the Health Department discussed that a Charlevoix County township was pursuing an ordinance to require septic tanks be pumped out at the point of sale. It had failed previously within the county due to realtor opposition. Another bill is being proposed in Lansing. They agreed to keep the Commission posted as water quality is important to our island's health and fisheries.

We have received notice that the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources will be bringing their journalism fellows here to Beaver Island the end of August or early September. They will be housed at CMU.

Jacque informed the members that Russ Mason, Wildlife Chief for the DNRE, will be arriving on Beaver Island, March 5 th and leaving early on the 6 th . He will be meeting with the Wildlife Club. Mason will not be attending the evening presentation on QDM on the 6 th . Jacque suggested that she meet with members of NRETC to develop an agenda for a meeting with Mason.

7. Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m. (Jacque/Tilly).

Respectfully submitted,

Pam Grassmick