Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Friday, August 14, 2015
1:00 p.m. at CCIDA Conference Room
Directors present: Pierre Chagnon, Lyle Hajdu, Linda Barber, Don Emhardt, Mark Geise, Cecil Miller and Randy Sweeney.
Absent: Marty Bova, Tad Wright
Others in Attendance: Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance Executive Director, Erin Brickley.
Founding Member representatives in Attendance: Craig Butler – Chautauqua Lake Association, Dave Spann – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Hugh Butler – Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, Ken Shearer – Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Karen Rine – Chautauqua Lake Partnership and South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region and David Shepherd – Holmberg Foundation.
I. Call to Order:
Interim Chairman Pierre Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 1:03 pm. He noted for the record that there was a quorum (7 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
A motion to accept the minutes of the 6/18/15 Board Meeting was made by Mr. Emhardt and was seconded by Mr. Miller. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Review of Founding Members:
The inaugural Membership Drive closed as of 7/1/15. A finalized list of 29 groups who committed to Founding Membership with the Alliance was reviewed and includes:
|Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance – 2015 Founding Members|
|Chautauqua – Cattaraugus Board of Realtors|
|Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce|
|Chautauqua County Government|
|Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District|
|Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau|
|Chautauqua Lake Association|
|Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association|
|Chautauqua Lake Partnership|
|Chautauqua Property Owners Association|
|Chautauqua Utility District|
|Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy|
|Jamestown Audubon Society|
|The Lenna Foundation|
|Mayville – Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce|
|NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region|
|North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District|
|Roger Tory Peterson Institute|
|South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District|
|Town of Busti|
|Town of Chautauqua|
|Town of Ellery|
|Town of Ellicott|
|Town of North Harmony|
|Village of Bemus Point|
|Village of Celoron|
|Village of Lakewood|
|Village of Mayville|
Ms. Barber asked about whom the remaining target members were who had not accepted membership and the reasons offered as to their decline. Ms. Brickley advised that all groups approached for membership were very supportive of the Alliance’s mission. However, some of the reasons for decline that were expressed were concerns over possible conflict of interest, lack of membership in similar organizations historically, limited geography within the watershed, smaller membership within their own organizations and ability to pay annual dues. It was noted that although we did not bring in all identified target members, that this inaugural membership drive was extremely successful from a participation standpoint and that it speaks to the importance of Chautauqua Lake and its watershed to our community as well as the community’s interest, involvement, and support for initiatives involving the lake. Mr. Chagnon also noted that the Executive Director had done a good job explaining what the Alliance is and what we are looking to accomplish when going outbound during this first membership drive.
Ms. Brickley noted she had received some membership drive process questions recently and wanted to address them. This inaugural Membership Drive took place the end of April through July 1st of 2015 and that the Alliance is no longer actively pursuing membership until next year’s drive which will occur April through July 1st of 2016. However, if an organization approached the Alliance to join between now and then, that they would be welcome to do so. It was also discussed that the target membership list would be reviewed again next year for appropriate deletions or additions prior to going outbound.
IV. Welcome to new Founding Members:
Mr. Chagnon extended a sincere welcome to representatives from the Founding Members in attendance and opened the floor at any questions, concerns, or topics of discussion. None were brought forward.
V. Review of Executive Summary:
The Executive Director sent out an Executive Summary for review on 8/12/15 via email to all Interim Board Members and Founding Member representatives. The structure of the summary is a list of Alliance goals, each with a status update documented. Ms. Brickley noted that there was a decrease in the number of individual and small group meetings held July-August versus March-April and May-June due to a shift in focus for writing a large group of state grant applications. Due to limited employee capacity in this initial year, there will likely be continued cyclical impacts whereby some months will be focused on outbound networking and meetings and some months whereby more office time will be required for grant writing, paperwork maintenance, etc. However, the next phase of work over the next several months for the Executive Director will include going back outbound to assess potential member projects. Further explanation of this next phase of work occurred under topic X: Upcoming Business.
VI. Review grant applications year to date:
Ms. Brickley advised that there have been eight grants identified to date and that the first seven, one written on behalf of the Village of Celoron and six Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) grants dealing with tributary stabilizations through the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process have now been completed and submitted. The eighth application is pending on behalf of the CWC regarding a federal funding opportunity for wetland conservation. Two more projects / grants need identified to meet the goal of submitting ten grants for 2015.
More details of the recent six WQIP applications were reviewed for the group in attendance. Ms. Brickley advised that these were a collaborative effort between the Alliance, the County, the County Planning Department including the Watershed Coordinator, Soil & Water and the CWC. The six proposed projects are located along six different tributaries in the Chautauqua watershed, located in three separate Townships. The total costs for all six projects were approximately $1.4 million. Since the WQIP program covers 75% of project costs, slightly over $1 million of state grant funding was requested with a required local match of over $287k plus ~$70k as in-kind match from the 2014 Barton & Loguidice Erosion Diagnosis and Mitigation Engineering Study. Via County Resolution 146-15 approved 7/22/15, half of the local cash match of ~$144k was secured via the Alliances’ reallocated CLMC funds (Resolution 131-15), specifically reserved for such a purpose and the other half of ~$144k was secured via the County 2% Waterways Reserve account. It was noted that the County was the applicant for all six applications mainly because if the timing of the CFA deadline and its established infrastructure needed if some or all of these grants are awarded. The County was also the main contributor for securing local match requirements. This will not always be the case and that as the Alliance matures, additional grants will be written under a more diverse list of member organizations and that sources for local match requirements will also need to expand.
When discussing the Alliances’ $225k of reallocated CLMC funds now designated for local match dollars for Alliance Member project grant applications (documented in the 6/18/15 Interim Board Meeting Minutes), Ms. Rine asked about whether any of the unexpended CLMC funds were held for purposes of completing the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS) which is currently being finalized and also if the Alliance was focused on grants specific to mitigating or preventing invasive species. Mr. Geise advised that there was indeed a portion held back specifically to help finalize the MMS, as the MMS was initially undertaken with CLMC support two years ago. He also advised that grants pertaining to funds for invasive species preventatively would likely be hard to find as many grant opportunities regarding invasive species are for funds to deal with an invasion once established. Mr. Emhardt mentioned the recent Chautauqua Lake Association’s (CLA) efforts, in concert with Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM), to hand pull small numbers of invasive Water Chestnut recently found near the outlet of the Lake.
VII. Discuss and approve the recommended slate of candidates for the permanent Board of Directors as submitted by the Governance Committee:
Mr. Hajdu advised that per the By-Laws, Section 2.3 Election, the Governance Committee was tasked with reviewing all nominees submitted by the Founding Members and providing a recommended slate of 9 candidates. In addition to the County, four of the nine Municipalities submitted a nominee for the three available positions and ten of the 19 at-large members submitted a total of 12 nominees for the four at-large positions. The Governance committee found that all nominees were highly qualified to serve. The committee developed a slate that it felt would provide continuity, diversity, experience and a balanced approach to management. The committee also noted that it expected the Board would be supplemented by a Scientific Review & Advisory Committee to ensure knowledge of current lake and watershed conditions.
The slate as recommended:
Vince Horrigan: The County Executive is an ex-officio Board position, as stipulated in the By-Laws.
Pierre Chagnon: The Legislator Board position is appointed by the Chairman of the County Legislature, as per County Resolution 130-15.
Sally Carlson: Town Supervisor, Town of North Harmony. Active member of Mayors and Supervisors Association, Sewer project Stakeholders Committee, County Sewer Agency and the former Chautauqua Lake Management Commission (CLMC).
Donald Emhardt: Town Supervisor, Town of Chautauqua. Operations Director for the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA). Active member of Mayors and Supervisors Association, Sewer project Stakeholders Committee and the former CLMC. Interim Director and Treasurer of the Alliance.
David Wesp: Town Council member, Town of Ellery. Past President and current member of the CLA. President of the Lawson Boating Heritage Center.
Linda M. Barber: President of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC). Director of the CLA. Member of the former CLMC. Interim Director and Secretary of the Alliance. Retired lawyer with experience managing hazardous waste and toxic tort claims.
Ken Shearer: President, Owner of Chautauqua Marina. Director on a variety of community based boards, such as the CLA, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Mayville – Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.
David Shepherd: President of the Holmberg Foundation. Former policy advisor to NYS Assembly District 150.
David Spann: District Field Manager for the Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District. 17 years’ experience securing grants and implementation of conservation practices.
Discussion: Mr. Miller asked a question regarding which term trumps the other, the elected officials’ term in office or the assigned term as a Director for the Alliance. For example, if a Town official has a Town or Village elected term that ends prior to the end of their Alliance Director term, would he or she continue to serve as an Alliance Director? Mr. Chagnon stated that this was not specified in the By-Laws but his opinion was that for consistency, once an elected official starts the term as an Alliance Director, he or she would complete the Alliance Board term regardless of when their respective Town or Village elected term ended. The exception would be the County Executive as this is an ex-officio position so whoever was acting or sitting County Executive would fill this assigned Board position; so in this case, the Alliance Director role would end when the elected county term ends. Mr. Craig Butler asked if this would be true for the At-Large category as well as the Towns/Villages. Many were in agreement that it would be. Once an At-Large Director starts their term, he or she would fulfill the term regardless of stepping down or timing out of participation with the associated Member organization. Ms. Barber stated that there were a number of topics that were ambiguous in the By-Laws and that once the permanent Board is elected, that some of these topics would need to be further discussed and defined.
A motion was made by Mr. Miller that the slate be accepted as recommended and seconded by Mr. Sweeney. The motion was approved unanimously.
A second recommendation was made by the Governance Committee regarding how best to stagger the initial terms. Each Director may serve up to three consecutive terms. To maximize continuity, the Governance committee recommends the following format for assigning the initial staggered terms:
|1 Year Term||2 Year Term||3 Year Term|
|County (Legislator)||County (County Executive)||Towns/Villages|
Specific recommendation based on the above format:
|1 Year Term||2 Year Term||3 Year Term|
|Pierre Chagnon||Vince Horrigan||Sally Carlson|
|David Wesp||Donald Emhardt||Linda M. Barber|
|Ken Shearer||David Shepherd||David Spann|
A motion was made by Mr. Geise to support the recommendations related to the initial staggered terms and seconded by Mr. Sweeney. The motion was approved unanimously.
Mr. Chagnon thanked the Governance Committee for their efforts thus far and specifically for the time and effort taken to fulfill their duties regarding the recommended slate of 9 candidates for the permanent Board of Directors, which will be voted on by the Membership.
VIII. Discuss and approve the motion to establish a Scientific Review & Advisory Committee as recommended by the Governance Committee:
Ms. Barber described the concept of a Scientific Review & Advisory Committee as an option to optimize available local scientific expertise. It also recognizes that not all Directors would be experts in the sciences but that it would be important to be informed and advised on pertinent science and lake conditions in their role as Directors of the Alliance. A draft proposal describing this committee’s purpose, membership and responsibilities was handed out to the group in attendance on 6/18/15 and that edits had been made based on feedback.
As proposed, in order to ensure a balanced scientific approach to lake and watershed issues, the Committees responsibilities would be:
- assess conditions of Chautauqua Lake and its watershed;
- report on conditions and present data;
- report on scientific developments pertinent to the lake and watershed;
- recommend future actions and projects;
- provide technical guidance to the Corporation’s Executive Director and Board; and
- report to the Corporation’s Board of Directors at each regularly scheduled Board meeting.
Discussion: Mr. Emhardt asked if there was a specific need to establish this new Committee now or would it be more appropriate for this to be handled once the permanent Board of Directors was in place. Mr. Hajdu stated that both he and Ms. Barber felt this was a critically important Committee to establish and that it really should have been in the By-Laws in addition to establishing a Governance Committee, which is why it needs addressed now rather than later. Mr. Hajdu also expressed that this would be a motion to create such a committee but that it could be populated once the permanent Board was in place. Mr. Hugh Butler asked about the definition of a balanced scientific approach. Mr. Hajdu discussed the fact that with so much broad stakeholder participation in the Alliance, there will be a need to balance the scientific and environmental considerations with other considerations such as economic, recreational, aesthetics, etc. when prioritizing the Member projects in the lake and its watershed. In order to make good decisions in the future, there must be a balance of sound science, economic viability and broad community support.
A motion was made by Ms. Barber that the Scientific Review & Advisory Committee be established as recommended and was seconded by Mr. Emhardt. The motion was approved unanimously.
IX. Discussion of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) 35th International Symposium to be held in Saratoga Springs, NY from November 17-20th, 2015:
Ms. Brickley advised the group that this conference had been brought to her attention on more than one occasion. Per the NALMS website, their mission is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster management and protection of lakes and reservoirs from a broad and inclusive focus. These annual meetings have been held in many states over the years and this years’ meeting is relatively close in Saratoga Springs, NY. Some highlights of the Agenda were noted such as workshops on topics like “GIS applications for Water Resource Professionals” and “Zebra and Quagga Mussels – Key Elements of Prevention, Early Detection, Rapid Response, and Management Plan” in addition to many speakers on topics such as Invasive Plant Management, Harmful Algal Blooms, Nutrient Reduction and TMDL Studies, Stormwater Studies and Management, as well as case studies from several lakes here in NY. Total cost for attending, lodging, and mileage reimbursement is roughly $1,500. Ms. Barber noted that the Executive Director from the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy would be attending as well as perhaps herself.
A motion was made by Ms. Barber that the Alliance Executive Director attends this symposium and was seconded by Mr. Miller. The motion was approved unanimously.
x. New / Upcoming Business:
Ms. Brickley highlighted the “Celebrate Chautauqua Lake” Summer Rally to be held Saturday, August 15th at 9a.m. at the Bemus Casino. Topics for the Rally to include: upcoming mandatory septic inspections within 250 feet of local water bodies by the Health department, an update on the progress being made for the Integrated Sewer Management Plan, a state of the lake update from the CLA, an overview of the Alliance, as well as several lake topics to be covered by the County Planning Department.
Ms. Brickley reviewed the Member Voting Form and advised that since the motion to support the slate as recommended passed earlier in the meeting, that this form would be emailed to Member representatives after this meeting adjourns, with a deadline for response of September 15th. It was noted that Members would have the option to vote for the recommended slate in Section A or to vote for individual candidates in Section B.
Ms. Brickley advised those in attendance that her next phase of work over the next several months will include going back outbound to Member meetings to assess potential member projects, listen for and note each members concerns and areas of focus, and continue to build on foundational community relationships. The main result should be a vetted spreadsheet of projects, listed by Member, which will be a useful tool for grant opportunities in the upcoming year. It should also help identify the final two project / grants out of the ten promised, that can be submitted this year.
Mr. Chagnon opened the floor to any member updates or upcoming events.
- Mr. Geise gave an update on the progress made via its technical review committee on the MMS. The document is almost fully completed and the last chapter of the document identifies the Alliance playing a facilitation role to implement the plan. Mr. Chagnon stated that once the Alliances’ permanent Board of Directors is established, one of the first tasks should be to ratify the Alliance’s role as it relates to the MMS and its implementation.
- Mr. Spann advised that Soil & Water recently completed two 2% stream stabilization projects.
- Mr. Craig Butler gave an update on current lake conditions. This season has been excellent with really no excess weed growth except for the annual occurrence of curly pond leaf in the South Basin in the spring which naturally dies off prior to the busy summer season. Mr. Emhardt noted that harvested tonnage of plant material remains low again this year. Mr. Butler advised the group that they were in the process of purchasing a new harvester as replacement for a 30 + year old harvester currently part of the fleet, financed by a generous grant from the Johnson Foundation. CLA also recently partnered with Cummins Foundation to install informative signs at public access ramps regarding the proper ways to prevent transporting invasive species into the lake. Ms. Rine asked about reduced workload for the CLA and if there were any planned adjustments based on this. Mr. Butler advised that there are certain fixed costs for the summer regardless of workload that cannot be altered once the season is in swing. Possible alternatives for CLA summer staff were discussed such as Boat Launch Stewards.
- Mr. Shearer, owner of the Chautauqua Marina, noted that while Zebra mussels, an invasive species, have not been prevalent for several years, they have seemingly returned and are being found at increased levels this year.
Upon motion by Mr. Emhardt and seconded by Ms. Barber, the Board adjourned the meeting at 2:15 pm.