Our History and By-laws

Canoe
Photo credit: Katherine Naherny
  • Meeting Minutes
  • NSTLRA History
  • NSTLRA By-laws

 

History of North and South Twin Lakes and
The North and South Twin Lakes Riparian Association, Inc.

North and South Twin Lakes are located in Vilas County, in the Town of Conover and the Town of Phelps. North Twin Lake is 2,788 acres with a maximum depth of 60 feet. South Twin Lake is 642 acres with a maximum depth of 43 feet. They are both drainage lakes with an inlet (Military Creek) and outlet (Twin River). The outlet is controlled by a dam, owned and operated by Wisconsin Valley Improvement Corp., headquartered in Wausau, WI. Both lakes are considered to be in the mesotrophic state on the trophic state index. A Trophic State Index is used to group lakes based on water chemistry data and explain the relative age of a lake. Lakes can be classified as oligotrophic – nutrient poor, young; eutrophic – nutrient rich, old; or mesotrophic, which lies between the two. Trophic state is a term that describes the condition of a lake, but is not an exact measure. Mesotrophic, North and South Twins category, has increased nutrients and more plants. North Twin Lake has two public boat landings and South Twin has one.

Early history of the area indicates French trappers arrived among the Ottawa Indians as early as the 1600s. The earliest surveyors were noted in this area in 1840. The Wausau-Ontonagon Trail and the Military Road were used for accessing the area. The Wausau-Ontonagon Trail crossed at the channel between North and South Twin Lakes and then met the Military Road on the east shore of North Twin. From there they both went north toward Land O’Lakes where Military Rd. continued on its journey to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Northern Michigan and the Ontonagon trail went to Ontonagon on the shore of Lake Superior.

Historically, the Twin Lakes area was noted for its great hunting and fishing, making it an attraction for outdoorsmen. As early at the 1880s, many resorts sprung up on the shores of North and South Twin Lakes, also known as Big and Little Twin. One of the original resorts on South Twin Lake is now run as Camp Birch Knoll, a girl’s camp, but most are now private residences.

The Organization of the Lake Association

Incorporation papers were filed with the state requesting that North and South Twin Lakes Riparian Association, Inc. (NSTLRA) become a qualified lake association. In February 1995 that became official. By-Laws were drafted and discussed at the first Annual Meeting, held at the Phelps School in July 1995. After discussion, the by-laws were revised and proposed at the second annual meeting July 6, 1996 at Conover Community Park. They were approved by unanimous vote of the members present at that meeting. Location for the Association annual meetings continues to alternate between Conover and Phelps.

The Association’s mission is to provide education, promote good stewardship, and maintain the integrity and quality of our lakes. NSTLRA is not a regulatory body but is a non-profit, non-stock corporation under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes for the benefit of the general public. The Board of Directors consists of a minimum of 11 and maximum of 13 members in good standing, including president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and directors at large including the immediate past president, who serves as an advisor to the board.

In addition to the Board of Directors, there are ten standing committees that are invaluable in keeping the business of the Association working efficiently. They are: Adopt-A-Highway, AMEN (a separate fund from donations that is used to help with the fight against Eurasian Water Milfoil) Fish, Loon, Safety and Recreation, Lake Planning (including Adopt-A-Lake, a program incorporating Phelps School Students in monitoring projects on the lake), Clean Boats/Clean Water (monitoring boats going in and out of the lake for weeds at the boat landings), Social, Membership, and Water Quality (monitoring).

Since its inception, NSTLRA has published quarterly newsletters to keep lake property owners informed of items of interest and concern. Lately they have been published three times a year. They are often sent to all lake property owners, not just NSTLRA members. Membership directories are provided periodically.

In 1995, the Safety Committee surveyed the lakes and determined where buoys would be beneficial. Buoys have been installed at “ice-out”, removed in mid-October and maintained by the committee ever since. They have been replaced when the need arises and will be replaced by brand new buoys in 2007.

Early in the organization, the fish committee used members’ donated funds to stock North and South Twin Lakes with walleye fingerlings. The committee obtained the necessary permits from WDNR. The new WDNR fisheries coordinator, Steve Gilbert, denied stocking permits. His philosophy differs from his predecessor, Harlan Carlson. When NSTLRA board representatives met with Steve in 2000, he explained that North and South Twin Lakes has good fish reproduction occurring naturally. Introducing other strains of fish is counterproductive and could be detrimental to the healthy fisheries in North and South Twin. We have not stocked the lake since that time.

Representatives of NSTLRA attend many lake related workshops, seminars and conventions to keep up with current lake health issues. NSTLRA is a member of Vilas County Lakes Association and Wisconsin Association of Lakes. These organizations help us have a strong voice and influence state legislators for positive action to benefit lake property owners.

In 1997 the Association received a grant to develop a Comprehensive Lake Management Plan with the assistance of an UW Extension Lake Specialist. The plan included a survey of lake property owners’ uses, fishery, history, geographic information, water quality, and aquatic species growing in the lakes. This plan was completed and published in 2000 with each member at the 2000 Annual Meeting receiving a copy. Pictures and a video were taken of the existing shoreline in 1998. The pictures are in an album and were shared with the membership at the 1999 Annual Membership meeting. A Power Point program of the pictures was shown at the 2005 Annual Membership meeting.

Another grant was received in 1997 to monitor water chemistry at spring and fall turnover. This information will provide a baseline for future water chemistry monitoring. A more visible aspect of this grant was the “Prevention of Exotic Species” sign at each of the three boat landings. These were erected in 1998 and are maintained by NSTLRA.

NSTLRA sponsored a Loon Ranger Workshop organized and coordinated by the Loon Watch Committee and held at the Conover Community Center June 9, 2001. Over 50 interested citizens attended. Members of the Loon Watch committee monitor the lakes for loon activity during the season. The chairmen tabulate and report this information to Loon Watch at Sigurd Olson Institute in Ashland, WI. They also provide informative articles relating to the loon to the NSTLRA newsletter.

In 2001 Eurasian Water Milfoil was discovered on North Twin. On further investigation, beds were also found in South Twin. The Association began an aggressive campaign to manage and eradicate it that summer. Divers were hired and a licensed applicator was hired to apply chemicals to the plants. These activities were too little and too late, so they did not begin to eradicate the aquatic invasive, Eurasian water milfoil.

On July 7, 2002, NSTLRA became a tax-exempt organization under section 501 C (3) of the Internal Revenue Codes. This action was incorporated into the by-laws at the annual meeting. That same year, the DNR conducted a sensitive area survey of North and South Twin Lakes that revealed continued growth and presence of AIS. That publication was available in limited number for members at the 2003 Annual Meeting.

The association spent $20,000, (raised by member donations and the August Fish Boil fund raiser) and contracted with a different licensed applicator to apply 2-4D to 50 acres of infestation on South Twin in August 2003. It has since been determined that the optimal time for chemical application is in the spring before native aquatic vegetation emerges. Because new DNR regulations require permits and an approved plan before any treatment can be taken no chemicals were applied, nor was any diving/pulling done for the next three years.

The consultant hired by NSTLRA in 2004 has completed the Comprehensive Lake Management Plan Phase II and will apply for an AIS grant on behalf of the Association in the February 2007 cycle. To download this plan go to Other Sites and Click: “NSTwinFinalAug2006. Click links to download parts of the document. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view & print documents. Direct Questions/Comments to: thoyman@onterra-eco.com.

The management of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) continues to be a primary focus for the Association. The NSTLRA individual annual membership fee is limited by the state. The combined annual membership revenues and all of the donations received by AMEN since its inception will not cover the costs of one year’s AIS treatment. The Fish Boil was initiated in 2001 as part of the aggressive plan by NSTLRA to raise funds to manage the EWM infestation. In 2001 $322 was raised; 2002 - $1400; 2003 - $1373; 2004 -$2759; 2005 - $2415; and 2006 - $2524. In addition to that about 25% of the lake property owners voluntarily donate funds to the AMEN fund. As the cost to manage the growing AIS problem became increasingly prohibitive the NSTLRA investigated the use of a Lake District as an alternative source for funds. In 2005-2006 NSTLRA began an informational program to promote the adoption of a Lake District for North and South Twin Lakes. Although initially misunderstood by some and opposed by others, it has become apparent to many that the AIS challenge and DNR’s regulations will require some action by property owners if we are to retain the quality of our two lakes. There are approximately 425 Lake property owners on North and South Twin Lakes, and 51% of this number need to agree to a Lake District before the petition can be presented to the County for approval. The Association continues to pursue this goal.

Both lakes have healthy and valuable native plant communities. We need to continually monitor our lakes to assure that they stay that way. The Association looks at a bright future and is dedicated to the continuation of protecting our natural resources.

 

By-Laws accepted as Amended
at the Annual Meeting on July 9, 2016

BY-LAWS

Article I - PURPOSE


Section 1 -- The Association shall be known as North and South Twin Lakes Riparian Association, Inc (NSTLRA, INC)

Section 2 -- The Association shall be organized as a non-profit, non-stock corporation under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes, for the benefit of the general public. No asset of the Association shall benefit any officer or member. The Association shall not participate in partisan political activity. The Association shall not be a regulatory body. (Amended 07/07/02) -- Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state of local government, for a public purpose.

Section 3 -- The purpose of the Association shall be as follows:

a. To educate property owners of North and South Twin Lakes about issues that may affect the quality of life on North and South Twin Lakes and as an Association, to work to protect and improve this quality.
b. To provide a collective voice that will represent the best interests of property owners regarding issues that affect North and South Twin Lakes, the towns of Conover and Phelps, and the surrounding area.
c. To maintain a working relationship with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other organizations that can influence the limnological (physical, biological and other features of the lake) and ichthyological (fish) quality of North and South Twin Lakes.
d. To create a sense of community among property owners resulting in an increased awareness that North and South Twin Lakes are a fragile resource whose reputation, property values and future depends upon the stewardship of its citizens.
To provide a leadership body to whom property owners can direct questions, concerns or suggestions regarding North and South Twin Lakes.
e. To provide property owners with suggested standards of common sense lake stewardship that discourages pollution, excessive noise, reckless powerboat operation and other activities that may adversely effect the property owner's enjoyment of North and South Twin Lakes.
f. To recommend and work for such zoning that will protect North and South Twin Lakes Riparian owners from undesirable land and water use.

Article II – MEMBERSHIP

Section 1 -- Full membership in the Association shall be open to any individual, family, business, or organization that (a) subscribes to the purposes of the Association and (b) owns property on or within one mile of North and South Twin Lakes shoreline, or resides within one mile of the shoreline at least one month a year.

Section 2 -- Associate membership in the Association shall be open to any individual who (a) subscribes to the purposes of the Association and/or (b) is of the immediate family of regular member property owners.

Section 3 -- The annual dues of the Association shall be not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00), the amount determined by the Board of Directors.

Section 4 -- Membership shall be on a fiscal year basis, beginning the first day of July and expiring on the last day of June.

Article III - OFFICERS

Section 1 -- PRESIDENT: The duties of the President shall be as follows

a. To preside over all membership meetings and meetings of the Board of Directors.
b. To appoint all committee members who shall serve until the end of the President's term.
c. To uphold the mission of the Association.

Section 2 - VICE-PRESIDENT: The duties of the Vice-President shall be as follows:

a. To assume the duties of the President should that office become vacant or when the President is unable to officiate.
b. To carry out assignments at the request of the President.

Section 3 -- SECRETARY: The duties of the Secretary shall be as follows:

a. To keep minutes of all Board of Directors and general membership meetings and disseminate same.
b. To conduct the correspondence of the Association and provide notice of all meetings of the general Association membership and board of directors, and in the case of special meetings, to state the business intended.
c. To have and maintain custody of all reports and documents connected with the proceedings of the Association.

Section 4 -- TREASURER: The duties of the Treasurer shall be as follows:

a. To maintain the financial records of the Association; sign all checks following a Board approved process for authorizing the payment of the Associations incurred expenses.
b. Jointly with Membership Chair, to notify the Association membership of annual dues payment/renewal and to collect all monies due the Association.
c. To deposit the funds in the name of the Association in a depository approved by the Board of Directors.
d. To present, at each stated meeting, and whenever so requested by the Board of Directors, a detailed account showing the financial condition of the Association.

Section 5 -- 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organization (amended 07/07/02)
The organization is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and/or scientific purposes under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, trustees, officers or other private persons, except that the organization shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clause hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on:

a. by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or
b. by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
c. Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state of local government, for a public purpose.


Article IV - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 1 -- AUTHORITY: Subject to the directives of annual and special meetings of the Association membership, and of these by-laws, the Board of Directors shall have authority over the activities and assets of the Association. The Board shall make such rules for their own government and for the government of the committees appointed by the President, as they deem proper.

Section 2 -- TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP: A member may be expelled from the Association for cause, on a two-thirds affirmative vote of all members present at a meeting called specifically for that purpose. They are entitled to vote at a membership meeting, provided that the matter shall have been included in notice of the meeting, and provided that the member to be expelled shall have been formally notified in writing at least 30 days prior to the meeting, and given the opportunity to appear and speak on his/her behalf at the meeting prior to the final vote. The motion shall specify the duration of the expulsion, not to exceed five years.

Section 3 -- COMPOSITION: The Board of Directors shall consist of not fewer than eleven (11) nor more than thirteen (13) members in good standing. Within these constraints the number of directors shall be determined from time to time by a majority of the directors. The President, Vice-president, Secretary, and Treasurer are members of the board. The immediate past president shall serve as an advisor to the board.

Section 4 -- FUND APPROPRIATION: All appropriation of the funds of the Association shall be made by the Board of Directors. Expenditures of Association funds in the amount of fifty per-cent or less of the total Association cash assets may be made with majority Board approval. Expenditures in excess of fifty per-cent of the total Association cash asset shall require at least two-thirds approval from members present at the annual membership meeting. Expenditures of one-fifth or less of the total Association cash assets may be made upon approval of the Association President and Treasurer without consent of the Board or the Association membership.

Section 5 -- BOARD MEETINGS: It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to designate the meeting place, date, and time for all Association Board meetings. The newly elected Board of Directors shall meet immediately after the annual election meeting, or within twenty (20) days thereafter. Other meetings shall be held on, or as close as practical to, the last Saturday in May and August. The Secretary of the Association shall notify all Board members of such meeting, at least one (1) week in advance. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called at the discretion of the President or by action of three (3) Directors, upon five days written notice. Six members shall constitute a quorum.

Section 6 -- COMMITTEES: The President with the Board shall appoint such committees as deemed necessary, to support the efforts of the Association.

Section 7 -- COMPENSATION: Directors shall not be compensated for their time and effort. The Board may authorize officers, directors, and committee members to be paid actual and necessary expenses incurred while on Association business.

Section 8 -- ELECTIONS: The Board of Directors shall nominate one or more members for each vacant position on the Board. Additional nominations may be taken from the floor at the annual meeting, provided that the nominated individual is an association member in good standing and has given his/her consent to be placed into nomination. Voting shall be by written, secret ballot, by members in good standing. A majority of votes cast shall be necessary to elect.

Section 9 -- TERMS OF OFFICE: Directors shall be elected for two year terms. Officers shall be elected or reelected by a majority vote of the Board of Directors at the conclusion of the annual meeting. All vacancies in elective office shall be filled promptly by appointment of the Board of Directors.

Article V - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Section 1 -- INDEMNIFICATION OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS: As provided by Wisconsin Statute Chapter 181, the Association shall indemnify any officer, director, employee, or agent who was, is or may be involved in legal proceedings by virtue of his or her good faith actions on behalf of the Association.

Section 2 -- FUNDS AND INVESTMENTS: Funds of the Association shall be promptly deposited at the financial institution designated by resolution of the Board of Directors. Funds not needed for current operations shall be deposited in investment vehicles as authorized by the Board of Directors.

Article VI - MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

Section 1 -- ANNUAL MEETING: There shall be an annual membership meeting each year between June 1st and July 31st.

Section 2 -- QUORUM: No formal business may be conducted at the membership meeting unless at least one-tenth of the members, or twelve members, whichever is greater, are present.

Section 3 -- RULES OF ORDER: All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Roberts' Rules of Order. At each meeting, the following order of business shall be observed:

• Call to order.
• Reports of officers.
• Reports of committees.
• Unfinished business.
• New business.
• Election of directors.
• Adjournment.


Article VII - ADOPTION AND AMENDMENTS

These By-laws, and any amendments thereto, may be adopted at any annual or special meeting of the Association by two-thirds vote of members present and entitled to vote. Amendments to the By-laws must be summarized in the notice of the annual meeting at which the amendments are to be voted on.

CERTIFICATION

These By-laws were adopted by a vote of 85 yes and 0 no at the Association meeting on this 25th day of June, 2006.
Charlie Miller, President and Bonnie Kuhrt, Secretary

Article III Section 4 was amended on July 9, 2016 by a unanimous vote of the members present at the Association's Annual Meeting.
Roger Ganser, President and Susan Pamperin, Secretary