Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, March 9, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Sally Carlson, Pierre Chagnon, Don Emhardt, Vince Horrigan, Ken Shearer, David Shepherd and David Wesp.
Absent: Linda Barber and David Spann.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director and Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Doug Champ – Jamestown Riverfront Management Council & interested citizen.
Founding Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, Lyle Hajdu – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association, Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County.
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Emhardt 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 (7 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mrs. Carlson made a motion to accept the minutes of the 2/9/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Mr. Chagnon. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the nine funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- Construction status:
- No change from Feb 2017; continue preparation/coordination for 2017 schedule and tasks
- 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 Creek (Main Stem) & West Dutch Hollow Creek (Target build date: Fall 2017; but contingent on engineer selection and permitting)
- CWC invoices pending
- No other changes from Feb 2017
- Procurements & Subcontracts:
- Received 9 proposals for Dutch Hollow Creek & 8 proposals for West Dutch Hollow Creek design/permitting/construction management; Evaluation in progress (Alliance/County); Target Award Notification Date 3/21/17
- Other WQIP Updates:
- Public CWC educational event regarding WQIP projects held 2/28/17 in Stow.
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- State Assistance Contract extension approved by State; awaiting County signature
- Agreement executed between Alliance and County (02/01/2017)
- Agreements between Alliance and partners forthcoming (CLA, RTPI, and ACNC)
- Equipment, training, field testing, and (ACNC) response planned for Spring to Fall 2017.
Lakewood / Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant (EPG)):
- Final Village Resolutions submitted to EFC 2/28/17 per Grant Checklist
- EFC “no-impact” determination by State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
- 4 of 7 Grant Checklist items satisfied (remaining: engineer contract; final budget; M/WBE compliance)
- Agreements for Alliance services and County match: drafts approved by Village Attorney; Alliance agreement awaiting Board/Mayor approval; County agreement still in preparation (e.g., legal/financial)
- Alliance coordinating remaining agreement between Lakewood and Town of Busti (local match)
- Alliance preparing draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for Village engineer (competitive) procurement
- Near-term objective: Facilitate execution of Grant Agreement between Lakewood and EFC to secure initial $50K payment and commence engineering study (Target start: Spring/Summer 2017).
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Contract with Celoron for Alliance services signed 2/14/17
- Extension request for 2013 LWRP in progress of State review
- Working to consolidate/coordinate engineering design and upcoming construction bid under single phase of construction utilizing separate LWRP grants (2013 & 2016)
- Working to establish State contract for 2016 LWRP grant for target implementation in Fall 2017.
General Projects Discussion: Mr. Chagnon inquired about Mr. Perry’s assessment on the learning curve for doing grant administration services. Mr. Perry noted that this is really an evolving practice, not only with local partners but even with the more institutional organizations such as the grantors like DEC. It’s been important to establish good communications with the right contacts and asking the right questions from the start, after applicable research. Mr. Shepherd asked if our local partners had the capacity to do such work or if the services the Alliance is providing are critical in nature to ensuring project completion. Mr. Perry advised that the Alliance is really filling a project management role in addition to grant administration work on all nine open projects and would consider that role to be critical to ensuring fulfillment of project scope, project completion within budget, and complete and timely reimbursement to the grantee. This is through no deficit or lack of support by our partners but rather their attention is devoted to other important matters, limited staff capacity, and/or limited grants experience in many cases.
IV. Decision Proposed Match Assistance Request by Audubon Community Nature Center:
Ms. Brickley reminded the group of the discussion at the February Alliance meeting regarding the new Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control Grant Program and her plans to reach out to members who could benefit, specifically the Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) and perhaps the CLA. After discussion, CLA determined it really wasn’t a good fit for them. However, the ACNC was indeed a good candidate for this grant to assist in funding their efforts to eradicate Water Chestnut from the ponds on their preserve and were already aware of this grant opportunity.
In meeting with ACNC, it was their preference to develop and write their own grant submission in this case rather than using the Alliance for these services but that informal guidance and input from the Alliance was requested. Several in person meetings between Alliance and ACNC staff took place to that end as well as phone and email communications. However, Alliance partnership in the form of cash match assistance for $4,750 was formally requested via written request to the Board. Ms. Brickley noted that thus far, our partnerships included grant writing and submission, match assistance, followed by grant administration services. This would be the first scenario whereby a member was looking for informal grant writing guidance and match assistance only. Given the proximity of the ACNC property to the Chautauqua Lake watershed (within 8 miles) and the dispersal mechanisms of Water Chestnut, Ms. Brickley noted it makes sense to partner on these efforts by our member. Mr. Conroe also noted his recommendation to assist ACNC as a proactive management technique to avoid the spread of Water Chestnut to Chautauqua Lake and outlet. As there were already several plants found in the outlet, though no known reoccurrence, the best management option is prevention as the costs for removal once established are high, as evidenced by ACNC’s efforts to date. Mr. Chagnon noted that he was also on the Board at ACNC and that their goal is to eradicate Water Chestnut and that between hand pulling and herbicide applications, the density of this invasive species has been reduced each year but there is more work to do.
Ms. Brickley advised that there are caveats to accessing funds from the Foundation Local Match Fund managed by the Alliance which include: priority given to capital projects or a study that leads to potential capital projects; covers a maximum of 50% the total needed local match; maximum for any one grant of $50k; & access via Alliance Board approval each time. The Alliance will work with Members on a project by project basis to determine the appropriate level of partnership. If a member would like to access only the match assistance service for a given project, further limitations apply: maximum match assistance amount of $5k, must be used as leverage to secure non-local project funding, and a limit of one match-only request per Member organization.
Based on the defined caveats discussed, Mr. Wesp made a motion to approve ACNC’s request for $4,750 as a portion of their local match funding for their Invasive Species Control grant if awarded, seconded by Mr. Shearer. The motion was approved unanimously. Mr. Chagnon abstained.
V. Status of Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS):
Ms. Brickley advised that the last meeting of the Technical Review Committee was held and a final report dated March 2017 has been completed. The final version of the MMS is already available on the County Planning & Economic Development website at www.planningchautauqua.com. The County Watershed Coordinator will be giving a presentation to the County Legislative subcommittee regarding the final guidance document. It will also be forwarded to appropriate DEC reps for review and reference when needed.
VI. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Mr. Emhardt opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Mrs. Rine advised that she attends as a representative of South & Center but would also like to update everyone on the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP). Per Mrs. Rine, the CLP is no longer sun setting and has merged with the Bemus Bay Property Owners as they were looking for assistance and council because their concerns and efforts are mimicking CLP efforts in the early 2000s. The new CLP has studied the MMS to see what methods and tools are available and have decided a trial herbicide application in Bemus Bay will address their concerns. The CLP has approached the Town of Ellery and the Village of Bemus Point regarding lead agent status on the herbicide permit application. Funding options are being investigated. Mrs. Rine also advised that the CLP was a founding member of the Alliance and now plan on renewing their membership.
- Discussion: Mr. Wesp asked how the last herbicide application by the CLP was organized some fifteen years ago. Mrs. Rine advised in that case the Town of Ellicott was the lead agent on the permit application to cover needed insurance requirements but that the contract required funding to be secured by CLP. Mr. Champ noted that many people have been adamantly opposed to this method over the years and there is a good deal of liability to the lead agent to consider. Mr. Wesp agreed that the Town will need to keep taxpayers liability in mind during the final decision process. Mr. Emhardt noted that the location is unfortunate and prevailing winds play a significant role in these homeowners concerns.
- Mr. Emhardt gave an update on Town of Chautauqua and North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District (NCLSD) efforts. They are moving forward with decommissioning Chautauqua Estates and redirecting flow to NCLSD by using 0% loan funding. Additionally the NCLSD plant upgrades needed to comply with SPDES permit is also moving forward under 0% loan funding. Map Plans & Report for both the sewer and drinking water line additions is in process. Mr. Horrigan advised that Senator Young is set to chair a meeting with DEC to try and strategize funding options for these sewer efforts around Chautauqua Lake in the near future.
- Mrs. Brower advised that Soil & Water as well as CWC are participating in the Conewango Creek Watershed Association’s event focused on cleaning up the Chautauqua Lake Outlet and Conewango River to be held May 20th. They are looking for volunteers. Mrs. Brower also advised that Soil & Water is working with CWC staff to submit a “Blue Marble Project” grant application to NYS P2I for their March deadline and request a letter of support from the Alliance. Mr. Chagnon made a motion to approve the letter of support, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Mr. Conroe advised the group that the CLA is currently evaluating the age, performance, etc. of its fleet of harvesters. Current costs of a new harvester are just under $200k. CLA may be looking for grant assistance from the Alliance on a new purchase at some point down the road. Mr. Conroe also advised that the Boat Launch Steward Program that the CLA manages is looking to hire six full time people for this summer season.
- Mr. McCoy gave an update on recent trip taken with Legislators Chagnon and Borrello to Washington DC. The group met with Congressman Reed, staff from Senator Schumer and Gillibrand, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). The focus of these discussions was centered on the importance of the needs identified for Chautauqua Lake as well as Lake Erie to Chautauqua County. Further efforts along these lines include an upcoming Planning led roundtable meeting with the Pittsburgh ACE and others focused on possible program synergies. Another roundtable is also scheduled to discuss Chautauqua Lake levels via Warner Dam, as the ideal levels were set in the late 1970s. Mr. McCoy also noted that the 2% Local Waterways grant program was open and accepting applications and that the annual Chautauqua Lake Rally date has already been selected at 8/19/17 at the Casino in Bemus Point. Mr. Horrigan commented that in all his years, he had never seen so many lake projects and so many organizations and municipalities involved in such efforts.
Mr. Wesp made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:05pm, seconded by Mr. Horrigan. The motion passed unanimously.