Bob Fanning, who has served two terms on the WACF Board of Directors and several years as chairman, was named the recipient of this year’s award Saturday morning, during the annual WACF meeting. Serving on the board for more than 13 years and having spent a number of years on the land management committee caring for WACF properties, it was noted by Sam Leman, WACF board president, “He received the grant from the DNR to put glacial stone in front of 1,700 feet of lake shore line.”
“I’ve been described as one of the most significant board members … I’ve removed my name in the past because this is a volunteer organization. Every one of us do it because we love it, not because we’re going to receive an award some day maybe,” said Fanning. “I do accept, with great thanks … It’s an important award, not just because we started it when I was chairman of the conservancy and not because I said I’d take it if I could be relieved of my duties,” he joked. “It signifies all the people who come before to receive this award, the commitment they have to Lake Wawasee’s watershed and our families who live here. It’s a very humbling experience to receive it.”
Outgoing board members, Dan Berkey and Fanning were recognized and incoming board members, Larry Baumgardt and Bill Hess were introduced.
The state of the watershed was among the highlights of the meeting. Heather Harwood, executive director, presented information on the watershed, some of the projects and weed treatment. It was noted that 60 percent of the 24,498 acres in the watershed is agriculture and the water from this watershed flows to the northwest, from the southwest. Additionally there is a 90-foot elevation drop between Cromwell and Lake Wawasee.
Projects noted were the shoreline stabilizations, two-stage ditch work, control structures, sediment basins, ponds and the planting of over 15,000 trees in the last two years, to slow or reduce sediment entering the lake.
Invasive weed treatment for starry stonewort, which grows in mucky areas and Eurasian watermilfoil was also noted. Harwood stated the starry stonewort has grown to 160 acres since it was first spotted in 2008. A grant has been received for a study to document its growth.
Diana Castell, ecology education committee chairwoman, reported on how education and documentation has provided proof of what WACF is doing works. Using a photo at Rusted Root where cattle were in the creek, she reported the E. Coli count prior to WACF obtaining the property to present. The E. Coli count dropped from 1,365 in 2011 to 266.5 recently. “We can talk about this all we want, but when you can come up with the numbers to show what we’re doing is working, that’s what it’s all about.”
Reports on the canoe trip indicated more than 144 individuals participated this summer, with a minimum of 10 canoes and several kayaks going out each Friday.
The program for the morning was presented by Matt Kerkhof, Hoosier Aquatic Management, Indianapolis, who explained the purpose and use of the biotechnology available for “lakescaping” and repair of erosion problems. Coir logs or living logs, textile tubes and erosion blankets were shown and discussed. In each case the materials are designed to promote root mass of the native plants used, taking over as the material degrade as well as holding the soil in place until nature takes it’s course.
It was also noted these can be used in locations where concrete sea walls and riprap are used to promote vegetation or fish habitats as well as with glacial rock provide a toe hold for the rock and help with wave action.