Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, January 12, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Linda Barber, Sally Carlson, Pierre Chagnon, Don Emhardt, Ken Shearer, David Spann, David Shepherd, David Wesp.
Absent: Vince Horrigan.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director and Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Frank Witgen.
Founding Member Representatives in Attendance: Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association, John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Cassie Brower (formerly Pinkoski) – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Dave McCoy & Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry.
I. Call to Order:
Ms. Barber called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:01 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (8 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Chagnon made a motion to accept the minutes of the 11/10/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Mr. Spann. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Recently Awarded 2016 Grants for Celoron and Lakewood:
Ms. Brickley gave an overview update on most recent grants that the Alliance has partnered on.
- Improvements to Lucille Ball Memorial Park:
- Entails breakwall removal and replacement and installation of timber boardwalk with rail and ADA compliant kayak/canoe launch.
- Funding (50% of total project) split between 2013 LWRP grant for $82k and 2016 LWRP grant that the Alliance partnered on for $354k. Village of Celoron to bond the other 50% of project costs.
- Two initial Alliance/Village meetings held thus far to discuss next steps. Prime discussion topics included construction timeline and reverting from split construction phases prior to second grant award back to one overarching construction effort now that a more feasible level of funding assistance has been secured. Need to extend initial grant contract in order to proceed with reversion. Conference call with DOS scheduled for 1/10/17.
- Discussion: Ms. Barber commented that the current design for wall replacement is still hardscape and wondered if it’s an environmentally friendly option. Ms. Brickley advised design was done prior to Alliance partnership. However, current plan entails replacement of the failing concrete breakwall with steel sheet pile and rock rip rap on water ward side. In addition, at the cap of the new breakwall there will be additional 60 feet of just rock rip rap and root wad revetment. The rock addition along the entire project site is far better aquatic habitat than currently exists.
- Lakewood / Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study:
- Entails plans to retain the services of a licensed professional engineer to undertake a study of the entire subwatershed within the Town of Busti and the Village of Lakewood that inventories and assesses the condition and capacity of existing stormwater infrastructure, defines surface drainage areas (catchment areas), and models nutrient loads, in order to identify viable future improvement projects that would mitigate potential flooding and have a positive impact on the environmental health of Chautauqua Lake.
- Funding via NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant for $100k. Remaining match funding sourced from the County, Town & Village.
- Since the award letter was received, the Alliance has held conference calls with EFC to clarify process questions and facilitated a group kick off meeting on 1/6/17 whereby anticipated timeline of events was reviewed.
IV. Update on 2015 WQIP Grant Award Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the six WQIP funded projects.
- Bemus Creek (Upper) WQIP update:
- Construction Start: 10/13; Construction Completion: 11/7; Hydroseeded: 11/17
- Installed ~500 linear feet of stone toe protection (3 sections)
- Education & outreach by CWC continues – e.g., press releases (see attached), social media, other
- First invoice from Soil & Water (~$71K) submitted (rock, equipment, personnel, hydroseed)
- Prendergast WQIP update:
- Follow-up assessment/adjustment performed by Soil & Water 11/14 within remaining grant budget
- Education & outreach by CWC continues (see attached press release)
- Awaiting receipt and/or payment of remaining invoices
- About $61,000 paid out to-date for Soil & Water, materials, and other construction costs
- Partial reimbursement request ($42,304.03) submitted to State 12/2/16 (to be paid to County)
- Reporting milestones:
- Next round of technical narrative/schedule/budget Quarterly Reports due Jan 2017 for all 6 WQIPs
- Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) compliance and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) workforce utilization quarterly reports submitted Jan 2017
- First set of quarterly reports submitted Oct 2016 for all 6 WQIPs
- Remaining/Ongoing tasks:
- Receive, process, and pay remaining invoices for Prendergast & Bemus
- Remaining Prendergast & Bemus Creek reimbursement requests to State
- Execute remaining subcontracts with County for WQIPs (Soil & Water, Alliance, CWC)
- Requests for Proposal (RFPs) anticipated release mid-Jan 2017 for design/permitting/construction management consultant selection for Dutch Hollow (Main Stem) and West Dutch Hollow projects
- Then, after final design & permitting, construction bid will occur
- Continued education & outreach by CWC for all 6 WQIPs
- Plan for 2017 construction season and remaining projects – schedules and logistics (e.g., Ball Creek invasive plant management and native planting plan)
- M/WBE utilization goal compliance waivers (if necessary)
- Anticipated schedule:
- Bemus Creek (Lower), Goose Creek, and Ball Creek: Schedule/order is weather-, contractor-, and quarry supply-dependent (Target build dates: Spring to Fall 2017)
- Dutch Hollow Main Stem and West Dutch Hollow Creek (Target build date: Summer to Fall 2017)
- Thanks to project team – great work so far: Soil & Water, CCPED/Other County staff, and CWC.
V. Update on 2015 Invasive Species Prevention $50k Grant:
Mr. Perry reviewed the current draft workplan, schedule and budget for this grant. A major goal of this project will be to provide necessary equipment and training to CLA staff to allow for the establishment of a formal, locally based, routine and dedicated early detection program to fill the gaps left by the helpful, but less-structured, existing efforts. We will use project funds to purchase equipment (e.g., Global Positioning System [GPS] units and/or GPS-enabled cameras), train CLA staff on their use and applicability to the project area, and perform field testing. When possible, we will incorporate existing Regional and State resources such as the iMapInvasives program into our training and field testing program. Other equipment and materials purchased under this workplan may include watercraft, related storage and transportation equipment, and associated design and printing costs for maps and other planning documents. Our proposed project partners, to be engaged by the Alliance as subcontractors, include the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI), and the Audubon Community Nature Center (Jamestown Audubon Society, Inc.). As additional future funding is secured, efforts can continue to build on this initial work plan by bolstering this envisioned framework for early detection and establishing frameworks for assessment and rapid response. Ms. Barber asked Mr. McCoy about process if an invasive species is found. Mr. McCoy advised that he would recommend calling the CLA as a first step.
VI. Ratify Letters of Support for CLA & CWC:
Ms. Brickley advised that based on preferences and discussions with Sheldon, CLA and CWC, a combined letter of support was drafted regarding recent grant applications by CLA and CWC to Sheldon Foundation. The separate submissions by CLA and CWC were forwarded to Alliance Board members of 11/16/16 for review via email. This combined letter of support was drafted and sent to the full Alliance Board as well as CLA & CWC via email 12/7/16 for review and comment. No suggested edits were made and Sheldon requested receipt prior to 12/20/16. On 12/9/16, CWC also asked for a letter of support for their pending grant submission to NYS Conservation Partnership Program which was drafted the same day. This separate letter of support was provided via hard copy at today’s (January 2017) meeting as there was no quorum achieved in December. Therefore, Ms. Brickley requested that the Board ratify approval for these letters of support as dispersed in December. Mrs. Carlson made a motion to ratify approval of both letters of support, seconded by Mr. Emhardt. The motion passed unanimously.
Discussion: Ms. Barber asked if we knew results of those applications yet. Mr. Conroe advised that their request had been approved. Mr. Jablonski advised that their request had been deferred until May 2017. Mr. Jablonski noted that this would leave a funding deficit for their conservationist focused on education and outreach for the 2015 WQIP projects. Ms. Brickley reiterated that CWC could invoice against the WQIPs for reimbursement on personnel costs accumulated so far at any time. Ms. Barber requested that Ms. Brickley and Mr. Jablonski meet to discuss further.
VII. Discussion for Alliance Website Content:
Ms. Brickley advised that there has been ongoing discussion related to Alliance website content. An Alliance member, the Chautauqua –Cattaraugus Board of Realtors have expressed a desire to have one website that can serve as the point of contact or a first stop for information related to all lake related projects, not just the ones that the Alliance is directly involved with. Ms. Brickley and Mr. McMahon met in November whereby a possible path forward is to have brief summaries or abstracts of all lake related efforts and projects be presented on the Alliance website and then offer links to the lead organizations for more in-depth information. Mr. Shepherd advised the group that he had been in contact with the realtors group and suggested that perhaps they could assist in funding to pay for a web consultant to do the work on this concept in a professional way and asked for Ms. Brickley to follow up.
Ms. Barber mentioned that there was a recent PR video for Jamestown (“Hello Jamestown NY 2017”) that was circulating online and on social media that was really exciting to see and was being received very positively by the community at large. Ms. Barber commented that perhaps a similar effort focused on Chautauqua Lake would be a great content for the Alliance site. It could mention/highlight current lake related efforts. Ms. Brickley saw it and noted that it credited to the Jamestown Young Professionals group and Gebbie Foundation in the closing credits. Dr. Wigdahl-Perry noted that Fredonia has a Communications/ Media department and it’s possible a student(s) via this department would perhaps be interested in participating in such a project. It was also noted that reaching out to Jackson Center and Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau might glean some insights.
VIII. Information on Recent Riverfront meeting hosted by Gebbie Foundation:
Ms. Brickley advised that she attended the recent meeting hosted by Gebbie Foundation related to the Jamestown Riverfront. It consisted of a historical presentation of the Jamestown riverfront area followed by a presentation by a non-profit called Riverlife that has coordinated a great deal of riverfront enhancement and programming in Pittsburgh. Mr. Shepherd spoke on several Foundations’ recent walk along the Riverwalk area with Twan Leenders and the potential of this area for the community and noted that there is already funding through the County 2% program for some planned streambank stabilization work. However, the efforts of various groups seems like it would benefit from work on an overall Master Plan for the riverfront.
IX. Review of 2016 Goals – Executive Summary:
Ms. Brickley reviewed the executive summary of the 2016 Goals report with the group and advised it will be added to the Alliance website shortly. Ms. Brickley advised the group that a 2017 Goals report would be drafted and reviewed at the February meeting.
X. Review and Approval of Proposed 2017 Budget:
Ms. Brickley noted that there was a draft budget circulated to the Board via email 11/30/16 but that a revised version was sent via email 1/10/17. The revised budget includes actual versus projected totals for 2016 as well as includes anticipated grant administration income from recently announced CFA awards. Mr. Chagnon advised that as the Treasurer, he had reviewed and commented on the draft budgets and is pleased that we are projected to run in the black another year. Mr. Chagnon stated that he had gotten a couple questions on salary differences for staff year to year and commented that these differences were based on start dates and a partial versus full year of employment. There have been no changes to salaries since initial negotiations at the time of each respective hire. Mr. Shepherd noted that he appreciated the comments section of the spreadsheet as it helped clarify some of his questions upon initial review. He also noted that he observed considerable lag time between grant award announcement and any actual reimbursement occurring for Alliance grant administration services and that we will need to keep our on this when planning annual budgets. Mr. Shepherd made a motion to approve the revised 2017 Proposed Budget, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion passed unanimously.
XI. Review and Discussion of CWC Communication Regarding Approach to Political Leaders:
Mr. Jablonski submitted an email requesting that the Alliance and its members consider a strategy to engage elected officials at all levels to ensure that protective environmental agencies, laws, regulations and enforcement are strengthened rather than being diminished. Mr. Jablonski noted the very real economic impacts of reduced water quality for this County. Ms. Barber commented that our state governor has stated water quality is a priority, though there are pending concerns at the federal level. Mr. Chagnon reminded the group that the County has contracted with a lobbying firm recently in order to amplify our local voices and needs at the federal level. There are currently plans for Mr. Horrigan, Mr. Borrello, Mr. McCoy and Mr. Chagnon to travel to Washington DC in March 2017 through these recent efforts. It is hoped that the lobbyist will facilitate meetings with many including Reed, Schumer, Gillibrand, EPA and US Army Corp.
XII. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Ms. Barber opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Ms. Barber asked about the Goose Creek efforts now that the EQIP federal grant dollars were canceled. A segment of Goose Creek had been a site that received federal funds under an USDA EQIP grant for channelization of a stream segment prone to erosion due to grazing cattle, for which CWC led the effort to find needed local match funding to cement. Due to various reasons, the EQIP contract between NRCS/USDA and the homeowner has been voided as of June 2016 which also negates the federal grant dollars. The local match funding totaling ~$140k was sourced from three separate groups including the County 2% Reserve, Sheldon Foundation and CWC themselves. Mr. Spann noted that Dave Anderson from CWC seems to have the most rapport and contact with landowner and that S&W had walked the site and can suggest some hot spots that would be good for streambank stabilization work as a downsized version of the original project. However, overarching plan for regrouping on this still seems lacking.
- Mr. McCoy spoke on lake levels and recent area wide flooding. He stated it’s a delicate balance between low levels and/or flooding both for properties on the lake as well as properties along the river. He noted the that optimum lake level was set back in the 1970s; however, had recently spoke with the US Army Corp to see if there were resources for additional study. He also approached the US Army Corp about having another stakeholders meeting in Chautauqua County. Mr. McCoy mentioned WIFEA (Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) and recently talking to lobbying group about access as there is many dollars available for green infrastructure. Mr. McCoy also advised the group that the 2013 Round 11 WQIP funded projects for Steinhoff Run and Dewittville creeks now finally have state assistance contracts and that he was now reaching out to the implementing partners, specifically Soil & Water and CWC. Mr. McCoy also noted that the local 2% Waterways grant program has had some changes and will be commencing a few months earlier and will open 2/1/17 with a 3/31/17 deadline. He also noted that he and County PED will be attending the CFA event in Niagara Falls on 2/10. Also, the County PED website has aged and was underfunded for period of time but that PED is currently working on upgrading their website.
- Mr. Shepherd asked about the Scientific Review & Advisory Committee. Ms. Brickley advised that a meeting of that group is in the winter workplan but has not been held yet. Mr. Spann, the committee chair, noted that some of the original thought behind this group was to help prioritize projects but that hasn’t really been needed as vetted projects ready for grant work are not in excess at this time. Ms. Barber noted that our mission is tied directly to the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Plan and perhaps using that, the committee could help in identifying project ideas. Ms. Brickley commented that a methodical approach would be to do a form of a progress report for the watershed plan recommended actions whereby we could assess what has been done, what is in progress and what recommended actions have yet to be achieved. Mrs. Brower (formerly Pinkoski) from Soil & Water noted that S&W /Water Quality Task Force does an annual update for the TMDL for Chautauqua Lake and perhaps that would suffice. Mr. Conroe noted that many watershed plans identify very similar categories for recommended actions and that he is not sure in the value of a progress report rather than just doing the types of projects identified. Dr. Wigdahl-Perry noted that another possible approach that was discussed at the first Science Committee meeting was identifying topics that were not addressed in the Watershed Management Plan such as algae and algal blooms. Mr. Spann advised that he would follow up on setting a meeting for the committee.
- Dr. Wigdahl-Perry from SUNY Fredonia gave an update on her data collecting lake buoy which was briefly deployed for the first time last year. The name for this project has been deemed ChAMP for Chautauqua Aquatic Monitoring Project. The buoy collects measurements every 15 minutes for multiple quality features (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, algal growth, etc.). This year, the buoy will be deployed for the full season for the first time. Ultimately, these data will be shared with groups around the lake to complement existing sampling efforts. 2017 goals for ChAMP include deploying earlier, deploying a weather station to coincide with the buoy which will give context to the data, and adding Chautauqua Lake to GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network) via a November 2017 application. Dr. Wigdahl-Perry also spoke on her graduate students algal experiments run on Chautauqua Lake which looks a species composition and nutrient level impacts. Initial results show that in addition to the common understanding that Phosphorous is often a limiting factor, Nitrogen levels are very important and some cases the combo of P and N. She is hoping to hold a community forum related the algal experiments and results and is currently discussing this with Mr. Jablonski to assist in possibly organizing such a meeting. If you have any questions relating to the new ChAMPs project please contact Dr. Wigdahl-Perry at Wigdahl@fredonia.edu.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – Motion made by Ms. Barber to go into executive session, seconded by Mr. Chagnon. The motion passed unanimously.
The Board came out of executive session and adjourned the meeting at 6:00pm.