January 2020 Newsletter

2019 in Review

See Our Upcoming Events Here 

January 2019

O’Neil School Students Study Lake Economy

FLM president Sherry Mitchell-Bruker and volunteer Dave Simcox began work with Melissa Laney’s graduate students at the O’Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs to assess the value of Lake Monroe to the local economy.

Fishermen Share Experiences at January Meeting

Brandon Barrett, local fishing guide; John Santos, Lake Monroe fishing tournament participant; Kevin Reece and Jason Hartz, Indiana Bass Federation talked about their experience and interest in Lake Monroe, and discussed the value of the lake as a resource.  The speakers were consistent in their opinion that fishing in Lake Monroe has diminished in recent years in terms of size and number of fish, especially bass.

February 2019

Bloomington High School South
Lake Action Committee
Braves the Cold
The group, along with FLM board member Bet Savich, braved the elements for about two hours to pick up trash from the Paynetown State Recreation Area beach peninsula, campground, and boat ramp.
Hiking the Houston South Project Area
Along with with the Sierra Club’s Bowden Quinn, FLM’s Sherry Mitchell-Bruker and Dave Simcox took advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures, for February, to hike part of the Hoosier National Forest’s proposed Houston South Project to get a sense of the terrain and the potential impacts of the proposed logging, clearcutting, herbicide application, and burning.

March 2019

In the spring of 2019, art instructor Ursina Hastings Heinz and her students created this “School of Fish” exhibit at Harmony School.  Students, parents, and teachers learned about some of the actions they can take to both improve and conserve our water.

This project was the first of a series of events Friends of Lake Monroe and the City of Bloomington Utilities created to strengthen the community’s commitment to protect our waterways, especially Lake Monroe.

Bloomington Utilities Director Speaks at March Public Meeting 

Vic Kelson, director of City of Bloomington Utilities, presented a talk about drinking water treatment and costs at our March 27th meeting.

April 2019

Largemouth Bass Released in
Lake Monroe
The Indiana Bass Federation (IBF) released 3,200 largemouth bass into Lake Monroe on the evening of April 27, 2019.  The bass released measured 8-to-10 inches and are part of a program to stock bass in Lake Monroe in 2019 and 2021. Lake Monroe is the third lake selected as part the Indiana DNR Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Program.

May 2019

Sycamore Land Trust Speaker at May Public Meeting
Guest speaker Abby Henkel, Communications Director with the Sycamore Land Trust spoke about their mission and the work they do: Protect and restore the land; maintain nature preserves, environmental education. SLT owns some properties outright or protects the land through a conservation easement.

Water Clarity Monitoring Resumes

In early May, board members and volunteers resumed water clarity monitoring on Lake Monroe.  Howard Webb, Anne Hedin, Mary Madore, Richard Harris, Erica Penna and Sherry Mitchell-Bruker were part of the team that kayaked to three different locations each week to measure secchi depth and turbidity.

Lake Monroe Economic Report Completed

O’Neil SPEA students presented their study of the economic impact of Lake Monroe to  FLM members along with local agency representatives and members of the public.  Their final report can be found here.

June 2019

Audubon and FLM Visit
Houston South Project Area
An FLM outing with members of the Sassafras Audubon Society was held on June 1st in the Hoosier National Forest’s Houston South Project area.  The purpose of the outing was to familiarize the birding enthusiasts with the areas and types of timbering activities in the Project.
Indiana DNR Builds Fish Habitat
in Lake Monroe
In manmade reservoirs like Lake Monroe, fish typically need manmade habitats.  On June 25th, the State of Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources and a dozen volunteers got going on building some 295 structures, of different designs and sizes, to sink into Lake Monroe over the summer and fall.
Water: A Celebration!
Gallery Walk
Talks and Tables
FLM FunRaiser
FLM held its first fundraiser with a silent auction on June 27, 2019 in the Beer Garden at the Upland Brewery on 11th Street.  The music, food, and people were great.  The event pulled in over $3,700 and more than 30 people signed up for memberships, many of them offering to volunteer in the future.
Bloomington High School South
Fish Bracelets

July 2019

Grant Approved for FLM
Watershed Management Plan
Friends of Lake Monroe’s application for a Section 319 grant for a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe was accepted by U.S. EPA.

The award amount of $119,525 comes from the State of Indiana, with matching funds coming from Monroe County Stormwater Board ($37,500), City of Bloomington Utilities Service Board ($37,500), and Sassafras Audubon Society ($2,000).

In addition, the project will receive $83,000 in services from the following organizations:

  • League of Women Voters of Bloomington and Monroe County
  • Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Conservation Law Center
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Indiana University – Media School
  • Jackson County – Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Monroe County – Planning Department and Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Monroe County – Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Preservation Group Salt Creek

Melissa Laney and Sarah Powers of the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs are the leaders of the field investigation, while Friends of Lake Monroe works on education, outreach and watershed plan development.

August 2019

FLM Voices Concerns About Hoosier National Forest Proposed Logging, Burning and Herbicide Use

Friends of Lake Monroe president Sherry Mitchell-Bruker, center, speaks with District Ranger Michelle Paduani at an open house meeting at the Monroe County Public Library Aug. 7. (Beth Edwards / Indiana Environmental Reporter)

September 2019

September Meeting Focuses on Watershed Management Plan
In September Friends of Lake Monroe prepared for developing a watershed management plan for the lake. This work is made possible by a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the US Environmental Protection Agency.  At our September 25 meeting, Sherry Mitchell-Bruker explained what a watershed management plan is and how volunteers can help us develop that plan and reach out to the public to increase awareness.

Human Biology Class Tests Plastics Protocol

Indiana University students from Dr. Heather Reynolds and Dr. Andrew Libby’s class on Human Biology worked with FLM to test a protocol for sampling lake shoreline plastics.  The students sorted the plastics into size, recorded type and weighed the plastics.  They also removed trash at two lake sites as part of their service learning activity.  They presented their work at a poster session on campus and created fact sheets which you can view here and here that summarized their findings.

November 2019

League of Women Voters Hosts a Community Forum on Lake Monroe

Photo courtesy Martha Fox

The Bloomington and Monroe County League of Women Voters coordinated with Friends of Lake Monroe to host a “listening session” at the First United Methodist Church in Bloomington.  About 70 people attended.  After a brief presentation, the participants were asked to list and discuss their concerns about Lake Monroe.  These concerns were recorded and will be reviewed as a part of the Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan.

December 2019

Friends of Lake Monroe Hires a Watershed Coordinator

Friends of Lake Monroe contracted Maggie Sullivan as Watershed Coordinator for Lake Monroe.  Over the next two years, she will coordinate development of a watershed management plan for the lake.  Maggie is a professional engineer and an experienced community organizer. In addition to six years of experience as an environmental consultant, Maggie worked for five years supporting local agriculture and for two years as an environmental educator. Maggie can be found at the Indiana Geological and Water Survey at 420 North Walnut Street in Bloomington.
Thanks to the Monroe County Stormwater Board, the City of Bloomington Utilities Service Board, City of Bloomington Office of Economic and Sustainable Development and Indiana Geological and Water Survey for their support of this important position.

Thanks to Our Volunteers and Supporters

Thank you to those who sampled water, from spring to fall, in rain or shine!

  • Anne Hedin
  • Howard Webb
  • Mary Madore
  • Richard Harris
  • Erica Penna
  • Malia Bruker

Thanks to all of you working on outreach with videos, music, public service announcements, posters, making fish bracelets, and newsletters.

  • Joe Ryan
  • Anna Hopkins
  • Bet Savich
  • Martha Dogan
  • Vickie Dacey
  • Ruth Simcox
  • Mary Reardon
  • Dave Simcox
  • Dave Bruker
  • Forest Gras
  • John Valdez
  • Paul Kirk

A great shout-out to those of you who have volunteered with the Shoreline Cleanup and picking up on your own.  Your work makes a visible (and invisible) difference!

  • Megan Gokey
  • Jessica Fitzpatrick
  • Members of South High School Lake Management Society
  • Members of the IU Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity
  • Bet Savich
  • Mary Reardon
  • Patrick Dunigan
  • Joe Ryan
  • Dash Ruthenberg
  • Linda Lightner
  • Darryl Lucas

And a big Thank-You to all the businesses and individuals that supported us this year!

  • J.L. Waters
  • Dawn Steffey Adams
  • Robert Wrenn
  • Kroger
  • Lowes Home Improvement Center
  • Ted Reeves
  • Indianapolis Children’s museum
  • Kip may photography
  • Upland brewery
  • Rural King
  • Bloomington Valley Nursery
  • Schooner Valley Stables
  • Bloomingfoods
  • Fantastic Sams
  • Most High Adventures Outfitting
  • Melanie Head
  • Lynne Gilliat
  • Carol Miller
  • Don Waters
  • Howard Lodge
  • Kriste Lindberg
  • Amy Dowell
  • Jacquelyn Brice
  • Louis J. Tenney
  • Juliet Frey

Ways To Get Involved With FLM

Become a Member!

For those interested in financially supporting our work, memberships are available at the individual ($20), family ($50), supporting ($100), and sustaining ($250) levels.


Donations can be made on our website at www.friendsoflakemonroe.org.

Come to the Monthly Meetings!

Our next regular meeting is on January 15, 2020, at 6:00pm in the Monroe Public Library (303 E. Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington), Room 1C.  If you missed this great Green Drinks talk, there is another chance!  Jana Pereau will be giving a repeat performance of her excellent plastics presentation.

Join One of FLM’s Committees!

We are looking for volunteers to serve on these committees.

Development: (Co-chairs Mary Madore and Jim Krause) fundraising, membership, volunteer program, marketing, outreach, public relations, media, communications, events.

Governance:  (Co-chairs Cheryl Munson and Kevin Dogan) evaluation, monitoring executive director, succession planning, nominating committee, strategic plan, annual report, by-laws, some contracts.

Finance: (Chair Richard Harris) tracking money spent, some contracts.

Programs: (Chair Sherry Mitchell-Bruker) tracking legislation,  science and other programs.

Clean the Lake!

Get together with friends at the lakeshore for our monthly contribution to picking up harmful plastics and other debris.

Share Your Enjoyment of the Lake!

Share a picture of Lake Monroe to show its beauty and to celebrate people enjoying and maintaining it.

Share events and news on our Facebook page: “Friends of Lake Monroe.”  Over 400 users have “Liked” our page!

Volunteer Opportunity –
Windshield Survey of Lake Monroe Watershed
Would you like to help gather data for the Lake Monroe Watershed Plan?  We are looking for volunteers to assist the watershed coordinator, Maggie Sullivan, with a windshield survey of the watershed.

Working in small teams of 2-3, we will drive to various stream crossings in the watershed and document conditions in the stream using a standardized data form.  Is the water clear or turbid?  Are there signs of erosion?  Is there a vegetated buffer on the stream banks or is the soil bare?  What is the land use?

Training and data forms will be provided.  Each trip will be scheduled for approximately 3 hours and will target different portions of the watershed in Monroe, Brown, and Jackson counties.

If you are interested, please contact watershed coordinator Maggie Sullivan at watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org or by phone at (812) 558-0217.

Thank you!

Upcoming Events

Check FLM’s website for future opportunities, including monthly shoreline cleanup get-togethers.

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