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September 18, 2020
Members Approve Bylaws Changes
Updated Articles of Incorporation and a new set of Bylaws were approved over-whelmingly by the membership in early September. These changes were motivated by the need for Diamond Lakers to become a “Qualified Lake Association” under Wisconsin state statute 281.68 in order for us to be eligible to receive grant funding from the WI Department of Natural Resources. New Board member Dave James, an attorney in Stevens Point, who drafted the new documents for us, notes that the new Articles and Bylaws will also enable us to qualify as a tax-exempt organization under IRC 501(c)(3) and thereby be able to receive charitable contributions. See the item on this later in the newsletter.
The principal change required in the Bylaws was to make our membership criteria comply with WI state statutes, opening membership not just to property owners within a mile of the lake (which we did in an earlier change in 2017), but also to include individuals who reside within that boundary for 30 days or more per year. This will now include persons residing in a household who might wish to pay for an additional membership, as well as someone who rents a property for more than 30 days per year.
Another change Diamond Lakers will see is that our officers (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) are no longer elected directly by the members, but are appointed by the Board. As in the past, members will elect 9 persons to the Board, but for three-year terms instead of two, and the officer terms will also be for three years. This conforms more closely with standard procedures of private non-profit corporations, explains Dave James. The officers provide services to the corporation and are responsible directly to the Board which is then responsible to the membership. So the members have ultimate control.
Additional changes in the wording bring much-needed clarity to the Bylaws and make them compatible with WI Chapter 181 for private non-profit corporations. Among these are a clearer description and expansion of the process for making changes to the Bylaws themselves in the future.
The timing of grant application deadlines for the DNR necessitated quick action on the part of the Board and the membership in bringing about these changes, and except for a very generous interpretation of the deadline by the DNR, we were very nearly shut out of the funding cycle for another year. While some Board members felt the process moved too quickly for adequate input, the majority thought the need to move forward immediately based on the deadlines and the very real and growing threat of AIS in Lake Namakagon and other nearby lakes.
Well over 80% of Diamond Lakers members responded within the two-week time window for voting, and the changes received an overwhelming vote of support. “That’s one of the great advantages to having a close-knit and attentive membership with a commitment to a well-defined set of goals, in this case the preservation of Diamond Lake,” said DL Treasurer, Bob Jacobel. Particular thanks are in order to Dave James for lending his valuable expertise and time in drafting the documents; also to the Board members, most of whom met for the better part of a day in two settings to review and refine the documents; and to all of the membership for paying close attention to the need for quick action and voting. More information on our funding and AIS-related activities is in the following items.
Diamond-Lakers Inc Receives DNR Grant Funding
We are pleased to report that our proposal to the Wisconsin DNR to help us with funding for the survey described just above was awarded in February.
Our proposal, Point Intercept Macrophyte Survey of Diamond Lake, was submitted to the DNR’s Surface Water Education and Planning Program which funds up to 67% of costs for the survey and related education activities. Our proposal calls for a community outreach and education workshop to follow the survey, communicating the results and displaying some of the plants that are found. The status of COVID late in the summer will determine some of the details of how we do this, but one possibility is a Saturday morning guided tour (pontoon boats wanted!) of the lake vegetation. A virtual tour might be an alternative possibility.
Plant Baseline Survey of Diamond
Lake to be Completed in August
A complete survey of all existing vegetation in Diamond Lake will be undertaken in late August, 2021. Officially called a point-intercept macrophyte survey, because it
utilizes precise GPS positioning of the sampling sites relative to lake depths, our survey will be done by research biologist Matthew Berg of Endangered Resources Services, LLC of St. Croix Falls, WI. Matthew is an expert on the aquatic ecology of northern lakes and his company has been responsible for doing the recent surveys on Lake Namakagon. He is also the person who
‘discovered’ the first Eurasian Hybrid Milfoil plants in Lake Namakagon in 2016.
The purpose of the baseline survey is to learn the kind and distribution of aquatic plant species in Diamond Lake and specifically to determine if we have exotic milfoil or other non-native invasive species. This is the first step in planning a strategy to keep invasives out of Diamond Lake and to discover if any are here already.
The survey will cost $3350 and we have received funding from the WI DNR for a grant to cover a portion of the costs (see the item below). I was able to visit with Matt briefly in August this past year when he stopped by to look at our lake and give us his cost estimate. There will be opportunities for some Diamond Lakers to be involved in helping with the survey, and we will plan a subsequent workshop for a larger group of us to learn about how to identify exotic milfoil and other species.
January 8, 2021
Buffet on the Bay
On Friday, January 8th, seven Diamond Lakers and 2 Tahkodah Lakers got together to celebrate the New Year. We feasted on brats and several side dishes with various spirits from 3-6 pm. We got together quickly for the photo shots, but kept safely distanced. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the brief respite from isolation. Party-goers included Ruth and Herb Lauritzen, Pat Arndt, Jeanne and Tom Kraker, Monica and Ed Wallen, Maggie Donohue and Steve Hinze.
Submitted by, Ed and Monica Wallen