Sawyer County Land & Water Conservation Committee
February 9, 2010
Committee Members Present: Jim Bassett, Shirley Riedmann, Doug Mrotek, Bernie Kadlec, Dale Thompson
Others Present: Tom Aartila – DNR Basin Supervisor, Warren Johnson – County Board, Carol Larson – Human Resources, Greg Peterson – Sawyer County Forest Administrator, Gary Gedart – Sawyer County Highway Commissioner, Scott Pasanen, Bart Vitcenda, Ron & Kris Vieceli, Dale Olson, Terrell Boettcher.
The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. Motion by Bassett, second by Riedmann to approve the amended agenda. Motion carried.
Motion by Riedmann, second by Mrotek, to approve the January 2009 minutes. Motion carried.
Scott Pasanen DNR permit concerns
Olson gives an overview of the ongoing issue. Mr. Pasanen elaborates, explaining the 2007 drought caused the need for irrigation on his farm, and the DNR requires a permit to pump out of the river (Brunet). Mr. Pasanen hired an engineer to help with the permit, and submitted it to the DNR. He could not get a response one way or the other about the permit from the DNR, so he came to the committee for help. An emergency permit was granted statewide by the governor, but the pivot irrigation system Mr. Pasanen would install is cost prohibitive for just an emergency permit. Mr. Pasanen stated he wants to go through the process in the most legal manner possible. Mr. Tom Aartila, DNR, stated that applying for a permit does not guarantee a permit will be issued. Bart Vitcenda, Mr. Pasanen’s excavator, told the committee there had been a great deal of time and money invested on the farm looking for other sources of water as well. Mr. Pasanen stated he was able to get the list of downstream owners he would need permission from, but the list was outdated. He actually owns the land of one of the listed contacts who has since passed. Bassett proposed a request to take the issue out of district, as has been done in another case. Aartila discussed the river level and water users response. Thompson discussed water levels. Olson encouraged the issue be taken out of district to have a fresh start. Johnson stated there should be adequate control of water levels.
Tiger Cat Dam Failure Analysis
Olson reported that he received an email stating “thanks for the reminder, I will make this a higher priority in 2010”. Discussion on what course of action to take. Motion by Mrotek, second by Bassett to recommend T.J. Duffy, corporate council, take action to get payment back due to unfulfilled contract. Motion carried.
Placid Lake Diversion Canal Permit
Tom Aartila stated the environmental review is being done and there should be a public notice by the end of this week (February 12, 2010). The committee discussed a timeline. Aartila foresaw a spring approval with the project in summer 2010.
Chippewa River Property
Olson reviewed the property status.
Land Sale Concerns
The information will be presented at next months meeting.
Zoning Committee request for POWTS action
Olson presented the committee with the list of items the citizen committee put together. Kris Vieceli spoke about septic haulers being part of farmers nutrient management plans and how pumpers in Sawyer County are running out of places to land spread. Discussion on spreading versus wastewater facility treatment. Bassett stated he would like to see Sawyer County keep ahead of the curve and plan ahead before the issue becomes urgent. Riedmann suggested spreading on public county land that has been clear cut, with signs posted to keep the public out. Thompson stated the actual act of spreading would be difficult. Peterson stated there would possibly be a few sites that would work but public access would be the issue. Motion by Bassett, second by Mrotek to request the land & water department investigate new ideas, reducing runoff problems and address the items brought up by the citizen committee. Riedmann amended the motion to include county forest land possibilities for land spreading. Discussion on waste water treatment facilities and the possibility for expanding existing facilities to meet the needs of the county. Motion carried.
Wildlife Damage Claims
Olson presented the 2009 wildlife damage claims and wildlife damage reimbursement request. Motion by Mrotek, second by Riedmann to approve the claims and reimbursement request. Motion carried.
Town of Sand Lake Resolution/Ordinance for Whitefish Lake boat access
Olson gave the committee information regarding Whitefish Lake’s proposed motorboat prohibition in Schoolhouse Bay for the purpose of reducing the risk of spreading Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM). The Town of Sand Lake will create the ordinance and the county sheriff would enforce it. The purpose of keeping motorboats out of the bay is to keep motors from chopping up the invasive EWM which contributes to its spread. The ordinance would expire on December 31, 2013. This will be an agenda item for the March meeting.
Discussion was held regarding ongoing issues, the working relationship between public service entities, permitting procedures, project concerns and communication issues. Riedmann requested a DNR representative come to the monthly meetings to be a point of contact for communication. Discussion on the working relationship between the DNR and county departments. Reinforcing positive relationships, solutions instead of roadblocks, and common courtesy were talked about. Gary Gedart, Sawyer County Highway Commissioner, outlined his challenges related to permits and communication. Greg Peterson, Sawyer County Forest Administrator, added that the process for permits keeps changing and is not clear. Tom Aartila, DNR Basin Supervisor, stated that the department is working to better define requirements for permitting. Olson suggested a blanket permit for projects that are routine maintenance. Bassett added that other districts have this procedure. Aartila stated that Sawyer County has a large number of outstanding resource waters and is somewhat different than other districts. He went on to explain the upcoming change to permitting which will direct all permits to a central intake in Madison, in an effort to streamline the process. Discussion on efficiency issues. Aartila agreed that good communication is essential.
County Monthly Work Report
Work reports were distributed. Olson reported: 1) Wildlife Damage 2) SNAP-plus training was held in Hayward 3) Dam brush removal 4) Citizen POWTS committee 5) AIS grants
2010 Work Plan
Olson distributed the Land & Water Conservation 2010 work plan. Discussion on seminiar, distribution of information. Topics from the citizen POWTS committee will be added.
Motion by Riedmann, second by Bassett to approve the county monthly work report and the 2010 work plan. Motion carried.
Review and Approve Monthly Expenditures
Motion by Bassett, second by Riedmann to approve the monthly expenditures as presented. Motion carried.
Other Business for Discussion
Bart Vitcenda and Scott Pasanen thanked the committee for trying to illicit a response regarding the irrigation permit. Discussion.
Motion by Riedmann second by Mrotek to convene into closed session, pursuant to section 19.85(1)(c) and (e), Wisconsin Statutes, to discuss department head performance evaluation, and compensation, performance and qualifications of staffing levels as related to union positions. Motion carried.
Motion by Thompson, second by Mrotek to return to open session. Motion carried.
Motion by Riedmann, second by Mrotek to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.
Meeting was adjourned at 11:55 AM.
Kelly Nechuta, Recorder