Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, December 10, 2020
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Pierre Chagnon, David Shepherd, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Mike Latone, Paul (PJ) Wendel, and Rob Yates.
Absent: Jim Andrews
Staff in Attendance: Randall Perry – Alliance Executive Director, and Taylor West – Alliance Project Manager.
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:31 PM. A quorum of 8 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present.
II. Approval of 11/12/2020 Minutes:
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes from the 11/12/2020 Public Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by B. Erickson and was approved unanimously.
III. Alliance Committees Update
a.) Audit Committee
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance’s 2019 Audit has been completed and filed. R. Perry indicated that the 990 form was sent to the Board by P. Chagnon.
P. Chagnon indicated that the audit went well and was an unqualified opinion.
b.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
R. Perry indicated that the Committee has continued its monthly meetings. R. Perry indicated that the Committee plans to meet on December 15. R. Perry indicated that the Committee is doing a great job.
M. Jabot indicated that the Committee is working on a process to take in technical data and put it in a form that is easily consumable by the general public. M. Jabot indicated that the Committee is making great strides.
D. Shepherd asked if the Committee is discussing other available data in addition to the BGSU data.
M. Jabot indicated that the Committee is going to be busy once The Jefferson Project’s data are available.
D. Shepherd indicated that an important role of the Committee is to help the Board understand existing datasets along with data that we would benefit from having.
B. Erickson indicated that he would be willing to ask the Yacht Club if they had a slip available for a graduate student that is planning on doing research through SUNY Oneonta.
R. Perry indicated that he would relay this information to C. Wigdahl-Perry and thanked B. Erickson for his kind offer.
c.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
R. Perry indicated that the Committee has not had any meetings lately.
M. Latone indicated that the CLP is anticipating receipt of North Carolina State University’s Survey in the near future.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance anticipates contacting the members of the Lake Management Committee with a survey of 2021 priorities to help start the 2021 planning process. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance anticipates hosing a meeting of the Committee in early 2021 to talk about 2021 lake maintenance ideas/plans.
d.) Alliance Watershed Management Committee Update
R. Perry indicated that the Committee does not have any updates at this time as the Alliance is awaiting news about the NYS CFA.
D. Shepherd expressed an interest in compiling a list of best management practices for the watershed.
B. Erickson asked if acid rain was causing impacts locally.
M. Jabot indicated that the Clean Air Act likely helped this issue.
D. Shepherd indicated that this topic should be discussed as well.
P. Chagnon indicated that a member of the DAR Committee spent years in the Adirondacks studying the impacts of acid rain and could be a wonderful source.
R. Perry indicated that there is a stable of projects that are being executed throughout the watershed that may serve to be good examples going forward. R. Perry indicated that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) through its 2% Agency Allocation from the County is working on a stormwater management manual that is aimed at municipalities and could be a good local resource once its published.
IV. Approval to open another account and release restricted funds, as recommended by the auditor
P. Chagnon indicated that he and R. Perry staffed the 2019 Audit. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance went through a full audit this year. P. Chagnon indicated that the auditor recommended that the Alliance open another bank account to help address periods of time when Alliance deposits may approach or exceed FDIC insured levels. P. Chagnon asked if the Board would entertain a motion to authorize the opening of another bank account for the Alliance at Key Bank.
T. McCague made a motion to authorize the opening of another bank account for the Alliance at Key Bank. D. Shepherd seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
P. Chagnon indicated that the auditor recommended that the Alliance release $616.00 in restricted funds that have been restricted and unused for several years (related to Lake Rally and Person of Year Award).
B. Erickson made a motion to release $616.00 in restricted funds into the general fund. T. McCague seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
P. Chagnon indicated that based on a recent communication with one of the local Foundation funding partners, it was recommended that the Alliance consider establishing a Board Reserve Fund to sustain the organization in the event of unanticipated revenue reductions with a target level of approximately one year’s worth of operating expenses. P. Chagnon indicated that it would require specific Board action to access these funds once the reserve is established.
Discussion ensued among Board members regarding the potential creation of a Board Reserve Fund.
R. Yates made a motion to adopt a policy and establish a Board Reserve Fund of $200,000. The motion was seconded by T. McCague.
The motion carried: 6 ayes (Wendel, Yates, McCague, Shepherd, Jabot, Latone), 0 nays, 1 abstention (Erickson).
V. Approval to add Executive Director signature authority to checking account
P. Chagnon indicated that he has been carrying out the back office responsibilities for the Interim Executive Director. P. Chagnon expressed an interest in turning this responsibility over to the Alliance’s new Executive Director in the near future. P. Chagnon asked the Board if they would consider a motion to add R. Perry as a signatory to the Alliance’s checking account.
B. Erickson made a motion to add R. Perry as a signatory to the Alliance’s checking account. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and passed with unanimous support.
VI. 2021 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grant Request Update
R. Perry indicated that the Board approved funding request was converted into applications to The Lenna Foundation, the Sheldon Foundation, and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) and was presented as a consolidated request for the total amount. R. Perry indicated that the Foundations are in the process of reviewing these applications. R. Perry indicated that The Lenna Foundation letter was submitted in early November, the Sheldon Foundation application was submitted on November 16, and the CRCF Letter of Intent was submitted on December 1.
VII. 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grants – Modification Requests
R. Perry indicated that 2 projects have requested no cost time extensions.
a.) Audubon Community Nature Center, Water Chestnut Rapid Response Removal – Time Extension Request: New End Date = 12/15/2021
R. Perry indicated that the Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) received $4,000 in funding to respond to and remove populations of water chestnut that were reported within the Chautauqua Lake watershed. R. Perry indicated that ACNC did not receive as many property owner requests for water chestnut removal as they originally anticipated, possibly due to COVID-19. R. Perry indicated that they responded to multiple water chestnut reports in the Chautauqua Lake outlet in 2020, which is where they majority of their expenditures took place. R. Perry indicated that there is an anticipated need for continued water chestnut rapid response in the outlet in 2021 based on the increased amount of occurrences in 2020. R. Perry indicated that they did not seek funding for this program in 2021 through the Alliance’s RFA. R. Perry indicated that ACNC is seeking a no cost time extension until December 15, 2021 to expend the remainder of their funding with no change to their overall scope of work or budget.
M. Jabot made a motion to approve the no cost time extension for the Audubon Community Nature Center’s Water Chestnut Rapid Response Removal Program. B. Erickson seconded the motion, which was subsequently passed with unanimous support.
b.) Village of Lakewood, Grandview Stormwater Management Project – Time Extension Request: New End Date = 6/30/2021
R. Perry indicated that the Village of Lakewood (Village) received a $20,000 grant from the Alliance for “Phase 1” work relating to their Grandview Stormwater Management Project. R. Perry indicated that the Village has acquired a parcel from the Town of Busti at no cost. R. Perry indicated that the Village is now in the process of defining a new parcel and acquiring it via land swap with the current owner, which would be the future site of the Grandview Stormwater Management Project. R. Perry indicated that the Village is making good progress toward completion, but the Village is requesting a no cost time extension with no impact on the overall scope or budget until 6/30/2021.
R. Yates inquired about the project lead.
R. Perry indicated that T. McCague was very involved with seeking a grant for the project and now the Village Mayor, Randy Holcomb, is serving as the primary point of contact. R. Perry indicated that the Village is working with EcoStrategies LLC who is performing the majority of the site assessment and survey work. R. Perry indicated that they are also working with the Village’s attorney.
M. Jabot made a motion to proceed with a no cost time extension for the Village of Lakewood’s Grandview Stormwater Management Project. R. Yates seconded the motion.
The motion carried: 6 ayes (Wendel, Yates, Erickson Shepherd, Jabot, Latone), 0 nays, 1 abstention (McCague).
VIII. Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data (CLAD) Mapping Program Update
T. West gave a presentation on the Alliance’s 2020 CLAD Program. T. West indicated that the Alliance performed surveys in Bemus Bay along with a few other targeted locations. T. West indicated that the Bemus Bay location was chosen due to its close proximity to a public boat launch and high public use. T. West indicated that staff used a variety of survey vessels ranging from open bow recreational boats and bass boats to the Alliance’s FRIB and a small kayak. T. West provided an overview of the data collection and data processing procedures. T. West indicated that each Bemus Bay survey encompassed approximately 40 acres and generally took about an hour (not including setup or takedown) to execute. T. West indicated that these 5 surveys took place between 6/18 and 11/6 and appeared to capture the spring curly-leaf pondweed peak and early-summer die-off, the rebound of other macrophytes, and the start of the fall macrophyte die-back. T. West indicated that other surveys were conducted at targeted areas in the Village of Lakewood and Town of Busti. T. West indicated that the Alliance hopes to continue and expand the program in 2021 and thanked the Alliance Board for supporting the 2020 program and thanked V. Horrigan for volunteering his time and boat to assist with the survey efforts.
D. Shepherd indicated that he and B. Erickson used sonar technology in the north basin of the lake in June. D. Shepherd asked T. West if he anticipates establishing some form of baseline bathymetry for select creek mouths in 2021 to begin to understand sediment deposition rates.
T. West indicated that he would like to conduct a bathymetric survey in the spring of 2021 at targeted locations and then conduct a repeat bathymetric survey either at the end of the season or in the early spring of 2022 in order to begin to analyze sediment deposition in these areas. T. West indicated that this would be done by comparing the change in bathymetry over time in a targeted area.
IX. The Jefferson Project Updates
a.) 2020 Chautauqua Lake Field Season Update
R. Perry indicated that the initial phase of The Jefferson Project (TJP) on Chautauqua Lake is now complete. R. Perry indicated that TJP team members came to Chautauqua Lake in late-August 2020 and deployed 2 vertical profilers (VPs) that logged weather conditions, current, temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, dissolved organic matter, chloride, and profiles from near the water surface to the lake bottom. R. Perry indicated that the VPs were deployed until around November 18, 2020. R. Perry indicated that TJP also had a field sampling team that came to Chautauqua Lake from late-August to mid-October who collected data about plankton and other water quality parameters. R. Perry indicated that TJP is in the process of reviewing and analyzing the data from Chautauqua Lake. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance hopes to have some updates soon on their initial findings and future research plans.
b.) Update on Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) on Lake George
R. Perry indicated that Lake George experienced their first documented HAB in early November. R. Perry indicated that TJP has been responding to this event in a variety of ways, which has required an all hands on deck approach.
R. Perry indicated that T. West observed a HAB on Chautauqua Lake on the same weekend while fishing on the lake. R. Perry indicated that T. West reported detailed lake conditions to TJP to help aid in their understanding of the Chautauqua Lake and Lake George HABs.
c.) Status of 2021 Proposal for The Jefferson Project at Chautauqua Lake
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance is in communication with The Jefferson Project, who is getting close to finalizing their proposal to the Alliance Board. Their submission schedule has been delayed by the November HAB on Lake George.
D. Shepherd asked if the Alliance was anticipating a budget range from their proposal.
R. Perry indicated that the specific range is unknown at this time.
P. Chagnon indicated that TJP emailed the Alliance staff about the HAB in Lake George and asked if Chautauqua Lake was experiencing similar conditions. P. Chagnon indicated that T. West responded to this request with data and pictures pertaining to point-in-time conditions on Chautauqua Lake. P. Chagnon thanked T. West for providing such a detailed response to TJP’s request.
X. Approval for Job Posting for New Alliance Communications Coordinator
P. Chagnon indicated that filling this vacancy would bring the Alliance’s staff back to full strength. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance would like to advertise the job opening during the holidays to reach potential candidates who may be home over the holidays.
T. McCague asked about the job posting plan.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance would post the job opening on the Alliance’s website and Facebook page, along with sending it to academic contacts, and potentially in print media and online recruitment websites.
D. Shepherd made a motion to proceed with the job posting, which was seconded by T. McCague and passed unanimously.
XI. Approval of the 2021 Alliance Operating Budget
P. Chagnon indicated that he and R. Perry have spent quite a bit of time working on this. P. Chagnon reviewed items relating to the Alliance’s tentative 2021 budget with the Board.
D. Shepherd made a motion to approve the tentative 2021 Alliance operating budget. The motion was seconded by M. Jabot.
Discussion ensued among Alliance Board members regarding the Alliance and the Alliance’s draft budget.
The motion carried: 6 ayes (Wendel, Yates, McCague, Shepherd, Jabot, Latone), 0 nays, 1 abstention (Erickson).
M. Jabot asked if it was possible to discuss the timeline for reporting on the local grants. M. Jabot asked if the final reports could be submitted after the contract year and suggested potentially moving the submission date up to help mitigate this potential issue.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance needs to submit final reports to the Foundations at the same time as submitting the next year’s funding request, which is the reason for the current submission deadline. R. Perry indicated that he’s more than happy to discuss this further detail in the future and is happy to look at alternatives that could be beneficial to everyone.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the December 10, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by R. Yates and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:53 PM.