Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, January 11, 2018
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Linda Barber, Pierre Chagnon, Sally Carlson, Dave Shepherd, Dave Spann, and Dave Wesp.
Absent: Ken Shearer & George Borrello.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director & Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. June Diethrick – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Linda Swanson – Sheldon Foundation. Doug Champ – Jamestown Riverfront Council. Bill Boria – Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services. Interested citizens: Craig Butler & Bill Flandres. Liz Moran – EcoLogic LLC.
Member Representatives in Attendance: John Jablonski, Claire Quadri, & Mary Laumer– Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Craig Seger – CWC & Village of Lakewood, Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County, Jim Wehrfritz, Jim Cirbus & Jennifer Gibson – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), & Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Tom Erlandson, Jane Conroe & Courtney Wigdahl-Perry.
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Chagnon 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:
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 12/14/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the now eleven funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- No significant changes since December 2017 report (except reporting milestones)
- Implementation status:
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek: DEC permits granted Dec 2017; USACE permits in review; Target Construction: Summer 2018; firm(s) TBD via public bid(s)
- Ball Creek: Construction completed Nov/Dec 2017; additional site prep/planting coordination with CWC in progress
- Goose Creek: Target construction Summer 2018; construction contract executed
- Bemus Creek: SWCD-led construction compl. at Upper (2016/2017) and Lower (2017) sections
- Prendergast Creek: No significant change; construction phase of grant appears to be complete
- Implementation status:
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- Coordination among Alliance and implementing partners in progress
- Audubon work largely complete; RTPI/Alliance collaboration in progress
- Draft Alliance subcontract in progress with CLA
- Equipment purchase pending
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Engineering work underway by Barton & Loguidice (Target Completion ca. May 2018)
- Draft report and initial projects list meeting scheduled 1/31/18
- MWBE Quarterly report submitted Jan 2018
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Construction contract executed between Village & Scott Lawn Yard, Inc.
- Pre-Construction conference held 12/18/2017
- Partial completion scheduled for March 2018; final completion ca. Oct 2018
- Quarterly, semi-annual, and reimbursement reports submitted or in progress January 2018
Celoron Park Improvement (Phase IV) LWRP grant (2017):
- Village awarded up to $382,680 in NYS funds to construct Park amenities building and additional Park improvements
- Close connection between this project and shoreline stabilization and boardwalk project described below (2013 & 2016 LWRP grants)
- Coordination between Alliance & Village in progress
- Alliance anticipated to provide project and grant administration services to Village
Mayville / Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Village awarded up to $100,000 in NYS funds to prepare a comprehensive stormwater mgmt. engineering study to evaluate current conditions and ID potential capital improvement projects
- Alliance assistance with award acceptance (complete) & scheduling kick-off meeting (late Jan 2018)
- Other coordination among Alliance, Village, Town, and EFC/DEC in progress
- Similar NYS project team (and same program) as Lakewood/Busti project described above
- Alliance anticipated to provide project and grant administration services to Village
IV. Update: Alliance RFP for 5 Year Implementation Strategy:
Overview: The overall intent of creating a 5 Year Implementation Strategy is to create a neutral way to bring everyone together and gather all relevant stakeholder perspectives, in order to document a strategic way to implement current guidance documents. This is not meant to rehash the efforts already expended on the creation of existing guidance documents but rather a balanced approach for implementation and prioritization. The Alliance Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued 8/16/17 and identified the scope of work as integrating existing Guidance Documents (Watershed Management Plan, Total Maximum Daily Load for Phosphorus, and Macrophyte Management Strategy) into a cohesive and useable Strategy that allows evaluation, prioritization, and proportional funding allocations among both in-lake management techniques and watershed-based management categories. After receipt of four qualified proposals by the September deadline and documented proposal evaluations, the Alliance Board approved the recommendation of the evaluation committee to select EcoLogic, LLC (and identified subcontractor Anchor QEA) for this project based on their overall approach and focus on facilitation and community based inputs at the November Alliance board meeting. An initial kick-off meeting was held between EcoLogic/Anchor QEA and Alliance board and staff on 11/28/17. The initial steps taken by EcoLogic/Anchor QEA team and general next steps include: background data/guidance document reviews by consultant team; development of stakeholder questionnaire and focus group agenda, development of multi-analysis prioritization tool, etc.
Update: Ms. Brickley advised that the stakeholder questionnaires were sent out via email on 1/9/18 and these surveys were qualitative rather than quantitative and were meant to get members thinking about the challenges of prioritization and what was truly important to each of them, prior to small group meetings which will be held closer to the end of January. Questionnaire participants were advised that they are welcome to fill out one questionnaire per organization or they are welcome to disperse internally and have multiple submissions. It was noted how important we consider stakeholder inputs to be and strongly encouraged all to actively participate in this critical portion of the Strategy development. Two different member groups wanted to better understand how broadly to disperse these questionnaires and how the information gathered from them would be tabulated. Mrs. Moran from EcoLogic advised that as a guiding principle, if your group is generally on the same page and answers would not vary too much internally, then one completed questionnaire would suffice. If on the other hand there is a wide variety of concerns and priorities within your organization, perhaps multiple completed questionnaires would better capture that. Mrs. Moran advised that the small group meetings will start with a common understanding presentation so we can focus on people’s perceptions, concerns and priorities rather than to debate the science. More than one attendee commented that these surveys and small group meetings will not include individual inputs from homeowners and the general public. Ms. Brickley advised that we are a top down organization and for project feasibility purposes, we are reaching out to all of our members organizations plus additional pertinent groups for inputs as then that reach grows wider as information disperses internally among the member groups and down the chain of communications. It is considered that member groups such as the Chautauqua Lake Association and the Chautauqua Lake Partnership are comprised of individual homeowners and are considered generally representative of this very important group of stakeholders. Alliance membership itself is a very representative cross section of the overall community and this model will be utilized during this 5 Year Implementation Strategy as well. The group in attendance was also advised that the goal is to have the Strategy presented by the consulting team at the annual Alliance May Member meeting this year.
V. Discussion of New York State led Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Initiative Announcement:
Late in December 2017, Governor Cuomo announced a new program regarding the state’s commitment to protect New York lakes from HAB’s via a new state led initiative that partners state experts with local expertise and resources. The HAB initiative identified 12 priority waterbodies that are vulnerable to HAB and are critical sources of drinking water and vital tourism and Chautauqua Lake was named one of these twelve. The state will commit $500k to each of the twelve waterbodies to collaboratively develop a HAB Action Plan and then make $60 million available statewide, likely via competitive grant process, for action implementation efforts. Mr. Boria from the County Health Department advised that they reached out to their State Health Department to inquire about process and timeline for this initiative and Mr. Spann advised that County Soil & Water also had a conference call with their State Soil & Water leaders. It appears there are still a lot of details being worked out and so there are many local questions remaining. Mr. Boria advised there will likely be four regional summits which will cover all 12 priority waterbodies, grouping them by region, to be held over the next couple of months. The summits will likely provide far more detail on process going forward.
VI. Approval of 2018 Staff Compensation (Budget Placeholder):
Mr. Chagnon advised that he had formed an ad-hoc committee comprised of Mr. Shepherd, Ms. Barber, and Mr. Wesp who were tasked with assessing the budget placeholder and making a recommendation to the full board. This was presented and discussed at the executive session held just prior to the start of today’s public board meeting. It was noted that there had been no compensation changes since original hire dates for both staff members. The final determination was that the executive director will receive a 5% raise and the project manager a 3% raise, retroactively effective to 1/1/2018. Ms. Barber made a motion to accept the determinations made during executive session, seconded by Mr. Wesp. The motion was approved unanimously.
VII. Review of 2017 Goals – Executive Summary:
Ms. Brickley reviewed highlights from the 2017 Goals Executive Summary for those in attendance. It was noted that this report would be published and available for review on the Alliance website as past reports have been.
VIII. Update on Chautauqua Lake Buoy (ChAMP) by Dr. Wigdahl-Perry:
Dr. Wigdahl-Perry from SUNY Fredonia gave an update on her data collecting lake buoy which was briefly deployed for the first time in 2016. The name for this project has been deemed ChAMP for Chautauqua Aquatic Monitoring Project. The buoy collects measurements every 15 minutes for multiple water quality parameters (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, algal growth, etc.). This year (2017), the buoy was deployed for the full season (May-October) for the first time. She thanked the CLA and Lutheran Camp for their continued assistance with deployment and retrieval. She noted that they do see large spikes in blue-green algae, especially in August, that come and go but that the buoy is stationary and so will be looking at spatial implications in the long term. Now that the buoy is pulled for the season, they will be working on identifying factors that contribute to blooms at different times of year. Dr. Wigdahl-Perry advised that she presented on her initial ChAMP efforts at the annual Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) conference in 2017 which can help us tie into much larger data sets. Ultimately, these data will be shared with groups around the lake to complement existing sampling efforts. Dr. Wigdahl-Perry advised that her goal is to get certain summary data onto a publicly accessible website but that is still being worked on for now. If anyone has any questions related to the ChAMP buoy they can reach her via email.
IX. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Mr. Chagnon opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Mr. Champ advised that seasonal residents will not be here during the Alliance efforts to gather stakeholder participation and that this 5 Year Implementation Strategy should be presented on at the August Lake Rally in Bemus Point in addition to the presentation at the Alliance May Member Meeting.
- Mr. Wehrfritz commented that given the amount of property taxes paid by lakeshore residents, they expect to see local resources go where they feel it is important.
- Mrs. Brower commented that the Strategy needs to involve those groups/orgs that are going to be using it.
- Mr. Spann advised of a recent Soil & Water emergency project on Bemus Creek whereby abutments of an old bridge had fallen into the center of the channel and was restricting flow, accumulating debris and could cause potential flooding if left unaddressed. S&W reached out to the Alliance and County and ultimately was approved to use the County 2% Reserve Fund to finance the successful mitigation efforts performed by Soil & Water in December 2017.
Mr. Shepherd motioned to adjourn at 5:06 p.m., seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion was approved unanimously.