Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, January 10, 2019
4:30 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Jay Bailey, Linda Barber, George Borrello, Pierre Chagnon, Bruce Erickson, Ted McCague, Dave Shepherd & Dave Wesp.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. June Diethrick & Tory Irgang – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Linda Swanson – Sheldon Foundation. Becky Nystrom – Jamestown Community College. Eric Zavinski – Post-Journal. Interested citizens: Doug Champ, Jay Kuntz, Sam Hazen, Beverly Hazen.
Member Representatives in Attendance: Loise Ortman – Town of North harmony, John Jablonski, Jeanne Wiebenga, Frank Witgen & Mary Laumer– Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution, Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Doug Conroe, Chris Flanders & Debbie Moore – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Twan Leenders – Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Dave McCoy –Chautauqua County, and Jim Cirbus & Jim Wehrfritz– Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP).
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: N/A
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:30 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (9 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. McCague made a motion to accept the minutes of the 12/13/18 Board work session, seconded by Mr. Shepherd. The motion to approve the October work session minutes was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the eleven state funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total) (2015):
- Next Quarterly progress reports and MWBE reports due to NYSDEC in January 2019
- NYS reimbursement reports tentatively approved by NYSDEC and awaiting payment
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Construction complete at Dutch Hollow Creek Main Stem – now tracking vegetative establishment and project performance.
- Construction substantially complete at West Dutch Hollow Creek – working with property owner to retire final punch-list items.
- Time extension request approved by NYSDEC to utilize surplus funding to address erosion issues at additional nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek; coordination among County/Alliance/contractor/engineer/owners in progress.
- Ball Creek: Site preparation for additional riparian native plant establishment in progress; Site preparation and planting-related work to continue in 2019.
- Goose Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2018) by outside contractor.
- Bemus Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2016-2017) by Soil & Water.
- Prendergast Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2016) by Soil & Water.
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through) (2015):
- Audubon & Evergreen Outfitters work complete; RTPI/Alliance work nearing completion
- Education/outreach materials completed by RTPI & Alliance (rack cards, posters)
- Standard Operating Procedure for Early Detection Framework completed by RTPI & Alliance
- GIS-related tasks nearing completion by RTPI
- Primary Objective: Establish framework for Volunteer enhanced Early Detection program on/around Chautauqua Lake for priority invasive species, as a complement to existing prevention-focused efforts (e.g., CLA Watercraft Steward Program) and monitoring
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study DEC/EFC EPG Grant (2016):
- Final Engineering Report accepted by EFC on 8/1/18
- Grant closeout nearing completion, final reimbursement payment from the state received today.
Celoron Breakwall and Boardwalk LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Phase II post-construction phase nearly complete; Final billing, reporting, & reimbursements underway.
Celoron Park Improvement (Amenities Building) LWRP grant (2017):
- Design meetings underway between Village and LaBella; Target construction ca. 2019
Mayville / Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study NYS DEC/EFC EPG Grant (2017):
- Initial field assessment & preliminary hydrology/hydraulics/loading modeling complete
- Prioritization of six (6) potential projects by Village & Town complete and concept design underway:
|1. Maple Dr. East/Black Creek wetland & drainage system improvements||4. Summer Haven/Potter Rd. stream stabilization and stormwater mgmt. & lake buffer improvements|
|2. Route 394/Memorial Dr./Webb’s upland storage||5. Green infrastructure retrofits at County Complex|
|3. Morris Road and Webb’s Trail stream restoration||6. Area-wide roadside swale and trail stabilization and enhancements|
Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit NYS EFC GIGP Grant (2018):
- Scope: Comprehensive green infrastructure retrofit of Chautauqua Avenue in the Village of Lakewood to transform the existing impervious, over-widened Village Center roadway to improve water quality and quantity conditions by reducing sediment and nutrient loading to lake; increased infiltration and biofiltration of urban stormwater, reduced burden on existing drainage infrastructure, and co-benefits of improved aesthetics, increased public awareness of urban stormwater management and lake stewardship, and reinvigoration of traditional “Main Street” character
- NYS Funds up to $695,000 (90%) and Local match (cash/in-kind) up to $77,724 (10%)
- Initial Village/Alliance coordination in progress
Lakewood Lowe Park NYS DOS LWRP Grant (2018):
- Scope: Enhancement of underutilized neighborhood lakeshore ‘pocket park’ with multiple green infrastructure practices to reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the lake; retrofit of existing drainage infrastructure to increase sediment capture and transform an existing closed pipe direct outfall to the lake to an open channel that allows infiltration and biofiltration of urban stormwater prior to reaching the lake; additional co-benefits include bike shelter and seating for increased active and passive enjoyment of the lakeshore and increased public awareness of urban stormwater management and lake stewardship
- NYS Funds up to $255,951 (75%) and Local match (cash/in-kind) up to $85,318 (25%)
- Initial Village/Alliance coordination in progress
Busti Precision Swales Stabilization NYS DEC WQIP Grant (2018):
- Scope: Approximately 2,100 linear feet of steep gradient and 2,500 linear feet of shallow gradient improvements in Town and Village; to decrease sediment and nutrient loading to lake by decreasing erosion and bank undercutting, increasing infiltration and biofiltration, and reducing stormwater velocities; additional co-benefits include increased biodiversity and habitat for birds and pollinators and improved roadway aesthetics
- NYS Funds up to $202,478 (75%) and Local match (cash/in-kind) up to $67,493 (25%)
- Initial Town/Alliance coordination in progress; awaiting finalization of award by NYS Office of State Comptroller before initiating Town-NYS contracting process
Skimming Capital Equipment NYS DEC WQIP Grant (2018):
- Scope: Purchase of two (2) mechanized ‘skimmers’ for floating vegetation collection by the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) on Chautauqua Lake to improve lake health and usability
- NYS Funds up to $375,000 (75%) and Local match (cash/in-kind) up to $125,000 (25%)
- Initial County/Alliance/CLA coordination in progress; awaiting finalization of award by NYS Office of State Comptroller before initiating County-NYS contracting process
Ms. Brickley noted that the Dutch Hollow / West Dutch Hollow projects both came in under budget and the Alliance is currently working to see if can use the remaining state dollars on third site for additional stabilization as there are additional priority sites identified in the Erosion Mitigation Study for this tributary and there are several likely willing homeowners. The remaining dollars come from two separate WQIP grants and will be a challenge administratively but that we have built a great relationship with our DEC representative and he is working with us to see if we can maximize this existing state investment.
Mr. McCoy commented that the Alliance is doing a great job in securing highly competitive state grants and should be commended.
IV. Report from Science Committee: No Report.
V. Approval of 2019 Budget:
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the 2019 budget as drafted, seconded by Mr. Erickson. The motion was approved unanimously.
VI. Status of Report from Ad-Hoc Committee on Governance Capacity:
Overview: Several local funders were interested in seeing increased governance capacity at the Alliance as we are experiencing an evolving role in the community. In order to ensure full understanding of their expectations, Mr. Chagnon formed an ad-hoc governance capacity committee comprised of Mr. Shepherd, Ms. Barber and Mr. Horrigan at the 6/14/18 board meeting. Mr. Horrigan reported to the board the following month that their committee had met with funders and key lake and watershed members and in general terms they would like to see more stakeholder input. Then at the 8/9/18 board meeting, the ad-hoc committee draft recommendations were reviewed, entitled “A draft framework for strengthening stakeholder input and governance for the CLWMA (as of August 9, 2018)”. Mr. Horrigan requested feedback on the draft from members by the end of August and received some from five organizations that were considered prior to finalizing their recommendations. Final recommendations were presented at the 9/13/18 Alliance meeting where he noted that it is his understanding that the intention of the board is to receive this report but that no action will be taken at this time. The two primary recommendations are 1) to add two additional at-large director positions (from 9 to 11 directors) and 2) to form several working group committees: Watershed Management Committee, Data Analysis Committee and Lake Management Committee
There was initial discussion on the addition of two more at-large director positions at October work session and it was decided that directors will go outbound for in-person meetings with members before any changes to the board composition, as this requires change to the by-laws. As far as the three new proposed committees, interest was expressed at the October work session but we need to further consider defining theses new committee structures and scope of work. Mr. Chagnon commented that to be clear, there will be no changes to the current Science Committee at this time.
Update: Mr. Chagnon advised outbound presentation efforts are complete and include general information on the Alliance, its mission, results of funding efforts and most importantly soliciting member feedback on the ad-hoc committee’s recommendations. Mr. Chagnon will be reaching out to members to schedule outbound meetings.
VII. Status of Alliance Comprehensive Grant Request to Sheldon Foundation & Chautauqua Region Community Foundation:
Overview: Based on a primary recommendation in the Alliance 5 Year Implementation Strategy for the Management of Chautauqua Lake and Its Watershed (May 2018), the Alliance partnered with local foundations in the fall of 2018 to assist in creating a new grant application process for local funding requests related to lake and watershed projects that would be subject to a science based review process utilizing the evaluation criteria and multi-criteria analysis (MCA) project prioritization tool from the Strategy as its basis. The Executive Director sent a summary of the new Alliance Request for Application (RFA) opportunity and the 2019 Comprehensive Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Grant Application form to the full Alliance list serve and all members on 9/25/18 asking members to consider applying for project and/or operational support for 2019 by the deadline of 10/25/18.
In addition to creating the comprehensive grant application template based on the evaluation criteria in the 5 Year Strategy, the Alliance also created an internal Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for 2018-2019 Alliance Project Prioritization & Local Foundation Funding Partnership which defined the timeline, general steps, administrative actions, and key scoring considerations for this RFA. These project/program funding submissions, completed by Alliance member organizations and submitted to the Alliance by the deadline of 10/25/18, were assessed and scored using the evaluation criteria described in the 2019 Comprehensive Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Grant Application for Local Funding Consideration document and following the internal SOP.
The Alliance received 12 completed applications from seven different member organizations plus two direct submissions by the Alliance itself by the 10/25/18 deadline. The Alliance followed its internal SOP which included defining key scoring considerations. Three “groups” participated in scoring individually and independently and provided one final score per group per project. The three groups were: Alliance staff (Note: For Alliance-led projects, this staff group did not participate in scoring); EcoLogic LLC (independent qualified consultants); & Alliance Scientific Review & Advisory Committee. For all 12 projects, individuals in the three identified groups utilized the provided Worksheet for In-Lake Project Scoring or Worksheet for Watershed Project Scoring, noting any assumptions made during scoring. At the end of the scoring process, there were three final composite scores, equally weighted, from each scoring group for each project funding submission received, which were averaged for a final project score. The percentage of points achieved versus the maximum possible points was used for final rankings. A summary database, provided to Alliance directors (along with all 12 individual application submissions), encompassed project ranking, applicant, project title and scope of work, funding request and total budget, and all pertinent reviewer comments. The final scoring and summary database was shared with Alliance directors who reviewed this information independently as well as participating in two discussion work sessions. Given the total requests for all 12 projects was over $1.1 million, Alliance directors took the rankings and pertinent reviewer comments into consideration and provided their recommendation to fund 8 of the 12 (in part or in full) for a total request to the foundations of $330k.
Update: Ms. Brickley advised that she had recently received the great news that Sheldon Foundation will be granting $250k toward these member funding needs and that we should be hearing from CRCF shortly. She commented on how lucky we are as a community to have so many supportive community foundations and the support shown by Sheldon has been greatly appreciated.
Mr. Chagnon advised that once we know what the foundations will be able to fund, the directors will turn to discussion of the county funding that has been redirected through the Alliance and includes the CLA’s previous annual agency allocation from the 2% program. It is still to be determined if the applications that were submitted already for the first RFA by the Alliance last fall will be used or if a second round RFA will be done but this will be discussed at the February work session.
VIII. Development of Plan of Action for Burtis Bay:
Overview: A Chautauqua Lake shoreline homeowner in Burtis Bay attended the public Alliance board meeting on 11/8/2018 advising those in attendance of an extreme conditions event in front of his home. Late season build-up of floating aquatic vegetation, high water levels, and extremely high wind conditions had resulted in a large concentrated deposit of aquatic vegetation and a fish kill in Burtis Bay. Via their connection to the Alliance, county officials called a site meeting with parties involved and NYS DEC on 11/13/18 and determined action yet this fall may be possible via special out of season emergency response services from the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA). The County requested a service proposal and cost estimate from CLA which was received 11/16/18 with estimated costs anticipated to be $73,870. The County then referred the situation to the Alliance as far as an effort to gather the needed local funding since Chautauqua County recommended a remedy whereby the aquatic vegetation and dead fish are removed from the waterside and disposed in the Chautauqua County’s Ellery Landfill, thereby mitigating potential environmental degradation and human health concerns. Since the Chautauqua Lake Association provided a service proposal to remobilize its fleet of specialized lake maintenance equipment and the manpower to implement the County’s recommended remedy, the Alliance then identified several local funding partners that could work together to cover the costs including the Alliance, the County (via emergency legislative resolution to access the 2% reserve fund) and CRCF (via emergency funding request submitted by Alliance).
Based on identified and anticipated funding sources including the Alliance, the County and CRCF, the Alliance directors voted via email to approve a grant for $73,000 to the CLA on 11/19/18. On 11/21/18, CLA advised that after much discussion and consideration, redeploying equipment this time of year and with the current ten day forecast calling for a large snowstorm would not allow for the proposed in-lake action to proceed. They noted they looked forward to working with the Alliance on this in the spring. The pending funding sources will consider their commitments and how to proceed now that the work will have to wait until spring.
Update: Mr. Chagnon expressed that we were all disappointed that winter weather closed in before we could proceed with the remediation of the excessive weed accumulation in Burtis Bay and the resulting fish kill. But we were pleased and appreciative that Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Chautauqua County offered to extend their offers of financial support to deal with the cleanup in the Spring. At this point we don’t know fully the nature and extent of the situation that will be present in the Spring. Therefore, Mr. Chagnon will be convening a meeting in the near future with our Members who have the capability to deal with this type of situation, as well as others who also have the capability, including representatives of the DEC. The objective will be to jointly develop a plan of action that can be executed quickly upon ice-off in the Spring.
IX. County Consensus Strategy for Weed Management in Chautauqua Lake:
Mr. Borrello advised that the County had approved $10k to work with an independent outside consultant (Ecology & Environment Inc. (E&E)) to find common ground amongst community stakeholders when it comes to weed management and use of herbicides for Chautauqua Lake. He noted that in his outbound meetings with relevant groups prior to engaging with E&E, there was indeed a lot of common ground as we all have the same goals: a healthy and usable lake. Mr. Borrello noted that E&E will be gathering information and speaking with relevant groups with the goal of having a strategy in hand by the end of March. It is currently envisioned that this consensus strategy would be summarized in Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that all stakeholders would sign and support going forward. The already existing 2017 Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS) will be the backbone of the County led efforts but Mr. Borrello said he wants to make sure we can use all of the weed management tools in the toolbox identified in the MMS going forward. Mr. Borrello noted that this will involve compromise as no one group will get 100% of what they want but the goal is to have a clear path forward using identified common ground.
X. 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 of recent state DEC grant for Invasive Species as well as opportunities for grant funding for Climate Smart communities. Mr. Chagnon thanked him for always being willing to make sure Alliance staff is aware of grant opportunities. Mr. Champ suggested some mechanism for citizens advisory opportunities and Mr. Chagnon noted that sounded a lot like what County Executive Borrello just formed, a 12 person community advisory committee. Mr. Champ also commented of the importance of reaching seasonal homeowners.
Mr. Cirbus commented that the Alliance 5 Year Implementation Strategy published May 2018 called for proportional allocations in funding between in-lake actions and watershed work by year and asked if there was a report on 2018. Mr. Chagnon advised those percentages were guidelines but will be good to assess 2018 even if it was a partial year as it relates to the strategy. Mrs. Brower commented that that percentage is going to be very difficult because it matters what grant opportunities and funding is available each year from the state and that traditionally there are far more state grants for the causes of impairment (i.e. watershed work to reduce high nutrient and sediment loads) versus grants for in-lake needs (i.e. to manage the resulting symptoms of excessive algae and plants).
Mr. Wesp motioned to adjourn at 5:27 p.m., seconded by Ms. Barber. The motion was approved unanimously.