June 26th, 2022 Meeting

President Dennis Pratt called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM at Brule Town Hall.

Officers and Directors: Present – Ed Chaplinski, Paul Helbach, Glen Hill, Mick Killoren, Courtney Johnson, Dennis Pratt, Mike Sierszen, Dennis Smet, Jeff Stollenwerk, Walt Swanson, Jim Waletzko, Dean Wellman, Mike Zicus and Ken Zivic.

Minutes of the May Meeting: The minutes as written in the June newsletter were approved following a motion by Dean Wellman and a second by Dennis Smet and unanimous approval by voice vote.

Treasurer’s and Financial Secretary’s Reports: Financial Secretary Dean Wellman reported that there were deposits of $807.00 into the general fund and the Club had 1 new member. We sold 42 Lower River maps and 37 Upper River maps. We also had donations of $25.00 for the general fund and $75.00 for the NWHS scholarship fund. The Financial Secretary’s Report was approved following a motion by Ed Chaplinski and a second by Glen Hill. Treasurer Jeff Stollenwerk reported that June’s beginning balance was $19,053.99, and the ending balance was $17,910.34 with the following expenses: Katie Thompson (April & May Newsletters – $400.00); Northwestern High School (2022 Scholarship – $500.00); WI DNR (Landing Host Program – $1,000.00); Pro Print (May Newsletter – $44.65); Katie Thompson (June Newsletter – $200.00).  The Treasurer’s Report was approved following a motion by Paul Helbach and a second by Jim Waletzko and unanimous approval by voice vote.

Committee Reports

Habitat: Dennis Pratt – July 23rd and August 6th are the 2 dates for habitat work (Angel Creek and Beaupre Springs Creek).  An email will be sent reminding members. We will meet at the St. Croix Lake Boat Landing (10625 County Rd A, Solon Springs, WI 54873) at 9 AM. Dennis flew his drone over Beaupre Springs checking for beaver – no signs.  Checking on the West Fork, he said the 2 diversions were working well. Newly planted trees also were doing well from what he could see.

Scholarship: Mike Sierszen – Lots of discussion on applicants; however, one stood out.  They nominated Danny McCann for the 2022 College Scholarship. Danny is a graduate student in the Integrated Biosciences Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in the aquatic biology at Bemidji State University. His Master’s Degree research is on the Bois Brule, examining the role of different habitat types and invertebrate prey in the support of salmonids throughout the upper river. Results of that research will be valuable in future fishery and habitat management efforts. Danny is a member of the Sportsmen’s Club and has participated in our work to conserve and augment fish habitat in the Brule. His goals include a career with a natural resource agency to further the conservation of aquatic systems. The selection was approved following a motion by Mike Zicus and a second by Dean Wellman and unanimous approval by voice vote.

Paul Helbach introduced Lily Danz. She is this year’s winner of the High School Scholarship. She talked about her plans to attend UW-Madison in the fall and her college goals.

Membership: Jim Waletzko – Jim suggested to Lily that she should join the Club. Dennis Pratt brought copies of our membership pamphlets. We should probably update these.

Social Media: Mike Zicus/Dennis Pratt – Mike mentioned one inquiry about a lost kayak helmet. Dennis Pratt noted that our scholarship recipients should be mentioned in the next newsletter. Lily will provide a brief bio for the website. Facebook – Dennis posted a series of photos depicting seasonal changes on the Solstice.

Legislative, Education and Audit/Budget Committees: Nothing to report.

Other Business

Private Property Awareness Issue – Dean Wellman said river usage is way down, and he hasn’t heard from his Trout Unlimited contact in Ashland yet.

2022 Family Fun Day – This event has been cancelled for this year.

Hatchery Net Shed Project – Angelica Komarek informed us she has the money for this and other projects; however, she has other projects that we could help with.  She will put a list together on each project and estimated time to complete.

Fly of the Month – Dean Wellman will use a Hex nymph of his own design and dedicated to his brother.

South Shore Grade Update – May 27th email from Paul Piszczek follows:

Though much progress has been made since my February update, the project is not yet ready to go, despite my intended construction this summer and into early fall. Two critical aspects need more time: (1) Planning for construction of Bellwood Pit Road to fortify it to handle the heavy trucking; and (2) procuring flooding easements with landowners. The road’s integrity is a primary concern of the Town of Brule, due to the road’s corduroy foundation. The Town is interested in having the road raised by three feet, though doing so would require new culverts to drain the backwater caused by the raised road. One culvert would need to span around 19 feet, which brings new cost, planning, and design to the project. Further, this would likely incur wetland impacts that I am very much trying to avoid. DNR is looking to federal sources for additional funds and alternatives to the road’s new configuration. The flooding easements are necessary because of the slight increase in flood elevation that will occur at and just downstream from the railroad embankment, which currently retains water at a particular elevation upstream (i.e., the impoundment). Landowners currently have rights to particular flood elevations, and those rights need to be amended relative to the new flood elevations. The rise in elevation also prompts the need for DNR to apply for a federal floodplain map revision. The process can take many months, upward of a year. Fortunately, the process is after-the-fact and will be done after the project is complete. 

The further this project proceeds, the more is learned. I appreciate your and everyone else’s patience as we work toward the finish line. 

Club Store Item Suggestion – We received an email suggesting we add a coffee cup to the Club Store. An insulated tumblers was also mentioned. Possible additions to the Store to be discussed at the next meeting.

Club Representative for Brule Preservation Board –Ken Lundberg has volunteered to serve on. Approved following a motion by Dean Wellman and a second by Ken Zivic and unanimous approval by voice vote.

The business meeting adjourned at 7:04 PM.

Recorded by Walt Swanson