Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, June 14, 2018
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Linda Barber, George Borrello, Pierre Chagnon, Ted McCague, Dave Shepherd, Dave Spann, and Dave Wesp.
Absent: Ken Shearer.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Linda Swanson – Sheldon Foundation. Interested citizens: Doug Champ, Craig Butler, Paul Swanson, John Ford, and Vince Horrigan.
Member Representatives in Attendance: John Jablonski, Claire Quadri, & Mary Laumer – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Dan Thompson – Town of North Harmony, John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution, Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, and Jim Cirbus, Jim Wehrfritz & Paul Johnson – Chautauqua Lake. Partnership (CLP).
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Tom Erlandson & Becky Nystrom.
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:03 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (8 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Wesp made a motion to accept the minutes of the 5/10/18 Board Meeting, seconded by Mr. McCague. The motion 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):
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek: Construction kick-off ca. 6/18/18; Rock of WNY (Contractor) & Bergmann (Engineer)
- Ball Creek: Site preparation for additional riparian native plant establishment in progress
- Goose Creek: Construction planned Summer 2018; Legend Excavating (Contractor) & EcoStrategies (Engineer)
- Bemus Creek: No significant change; construction phase largely complete (2016-2017)
- Prendergast Creek: No significant change; construction phase largely complete (2016)
- Quarterly progress reports and MWBE reports due July 2018; NYS reimbursement reports under review by NYSDEC
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- Audubon work complete; RTPI/Evergreen Outfitters/Alliance collaboration in progress
- 2018 events underway by RTPI – please see flyer for info on remaining events.
- 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 Engineering Planning Grant):
- Engineering Report submission to NYS EFC/DEC ca. 6/18/18
Celoron Breakwall and Boardwalk LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Phase II Construction underway; Next completion milestone ca. Aug 2018
- Close-out reporting and reimbursement for older grant is in progress
Celoron Park Improvement (Amenities Building) LWRP grant (2017):
- Assistance with State Assistance Contract establishment; Engineer/Architect procurement preparation in progress; Target construction ca. 2019
Mayville / Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Engineering proposals received 6/13/18; under review by Village/Town/Alliance
- Target start date ca. August 2018
IV.Update on New York State led Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Initiative:
Overview: 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 press release noted that the state will commit up to $500k to each of the twelve waterbodies to collaboratively develop a HAB Action Plan and then make $60 million available statewide, likely via its competitive grant process, for action plan implementation work. Ms. Brickley advised that she was in attendance at the March 26th Western Group HAB Summit held in Rochester along with many Alliance member representatives also in attendance from Chautauqua Lake. Many of the presentations and discussions revolved around known factors that typically impact HAB formation such as nutrient load, light penetration through the water column, warm temperatures, calm winds, seed population and possible impacts of invasive mussels. All of these factors can play a role in HAB formation and all are important but we as lake and watershed managers can really only influence or aim to control one factor, which is nutrient levels (both from entering the lake as continual inputs and with-in the lake via episodic internal loading). It was also noted that there was confirmation at this meeting that the state funding described would indeed be part of the existing NYS Consolidated Funding Application or CFA process. The CFA process is a competitive state grant program open once each summer which encompasses multiple types of state funding grants, typically opening May 1st and closing July 31st and generally requires local match funding. The local steering committee for the HAB initiative gathered at the County offices 4/19/18 for further discussion of local priorities.
Update: Ms. Brickley advised that the local steering committee did have a brief window for review and comment of the draft Chautauqua Lake HAB Action Plan in May. As of this meeting, the final Plan report has still not been published but is anticipated very soon.
V. 2018 Sheldon Foundation Funding:
a. Acceptance of Sheldon Foundation Grant to Alliance for $250k:
Mr. Chagnon reminded those in attendance that in January the Sheldon Foundation tabled the four lake-related grant requests they had received, pending the results of the Alliance 5 Year Implementation Strategy. The four tabled requests were as follows:
- Chautauqua Lake Association requested operating assistance for aquatic vegetation control;
- Chautauqua Lake Association requested assistance for capital equipment acquisition;
- Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy requested operating assistance with their “Starve the Algae – Save the Lake” program; and
- Chautauqua Lake Partnership requested assistance with the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
When the Implementation Strategy was finalized in May, Ms. Brickley was invited to the Sheldon Foundation board meeting to present the Strategy and the Prioritization /Decision Support Tool to assist them in their decision making process. The next day, Linda Swanson, Executive Director of the Sheldon Foundation informed Mr. Chagnon that the Sheldon Foundation Board of Directors was very impressed with the Implementation Strategy, the Decision Support Tool, and Ms. Brickley’s presentation. After Ms. Brickley left the meeting, the Sheldon board decided to decline the four tabled grant requests and alternatively refer these files to the Alliance and to allocate their 2018 lake and watershed-related funding to the Alliance, in anticipation that the Alliance would utilize the Implementation Strategy and Decision Support Tool to determine the best prioritization of the funds. The Sheldon Foundation very generously granted $250,000 to the Alliance. They also encouraged the Alliance to retain an allocation for our administration as we do with other grant awards.
Mr. Wesp made a motion to accept the $250k grant, seconded by Mr. Shepherd. The motion was approved unanimously.
b. Member Referral Funding Determinations:
Mr. Chagnon advised that the Decision Support Tool was utilized to score the four grant requests, with analysis and scoring done independently by both the Alliance staff and EcoLogic consultants. The Alliance Board of Directors have reviewed and discussed the four grant request files and the independent scoring results. After much consideration, the recommendation Mr. Chagnon placed before the Board for action is as follows:
- $70,000 to Chautauqua Lake Association for operating assistance with aquatic vegetation control;
- $20,000 to Chautauqua Lake Association as match funding for a CFA grant application to be prepared by the Alliance for capital equipment acquisition;
- $40,000 to Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy for operating assistance with their “Starve the Algae – Save the Lake” program;
- $10,000 to Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy for a new baseline Chautauqua Lake tributary stream water quality analysis program;
- $67,000 to Chautauqua Lake Partnership for assistance with the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; and
- $20,000 jointly to Chautauqua Lake Association and Chautauqua Lake Partnership if they bring an acceptable proposal to implement an in-lake project that they will collaborate and cooperate on to the Alliance for consideration.
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept Mr. Chagnon’s recommendations as summarized, seconded by Mr. McCague. Ms. Barber asked that we separate the recommendations involving the two Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) awards from the rest as she would need to abstain from voting on these due to her position on the CWC board. The motion was modified to reflect the request. The motion to approve all recommended funding awards as presented by Mr. Chagnon with the exception of the two CWC awards was passed unanimously.
Mr. Borrello made a motion to accept the two recommendations for awards to the CWC, seconded by Mr. McCague. The motion was approved unanimously. Ms. Barber abstained due to her position on the CWC board.
VI. Discussion of Governance Capacity:
Mr. Chagnon noted that he has been advised that several local funders are interested in seeing increased governance capacity at the Alliance as we are experiencing an evolving role in the community. Mr. Chagnon commented that he would like to ensure full understanding of their expectations and therefore is recommending that Mr. Shepherd, Ms. Barber and Mr. Horrigan serve as a committee to meet with local funders, glean a full understanding of their expectations and report back to the full board at the July meeting.
VII. Director Vacancy Announcement:
Mr. Chagnon advised that Ken Shearer submitted to the Board his letter of resignation dated June 12, effective as of that date. Mr. Chagnon sent Mr. Shearer an email acknowledging receipt of his letter of resignation, and thanked him for his service on the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance Board of Directors and for all his past and continuing dedicated service to the community.
Ms. Barber made a motion to accept Ken Shearer’s resignation from the Board of the Alliance, seconded by Mr. Shepherd. The motion was approved unanimously.
Mr. Chagnon reminded those in attendance of the next steps per the by-laws as stated:
- “A director may resign at any time by written notice delivered to the Chair or Secretary of the Corporation.”
- “Any vacancy occurring in the Board of Directors and any directorship to be filled by reason of an increase in the number of directors may be filled by the Board of Directors. A director elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor in office”
- Mr. Shearer’s directorship on the Board was one of the four positions we describe as “At-Large”. The by-laws specify the qualifications for these positions as: “All other Directors must be Members or Friends of the Corporation or employees or directors of Members or Friends that are entities.”
Mr. Chagnon advised that any Member wishing to nominate a candidate to this director position on the Board should provide the name to Ms. Brickley by the end of June and then Ms. Brickley will communicate the list of nominees by email to all Members. As directed by the by-laws, the Governance Committee will then review the candidates and provide a recommendation to the Board for action at our next meeting.
Discussion: Mr Shepherd asked when Mr. Shearer’s term is set to expire and Ms. Brickley advised 5/2019. Ms. Barber commented that she would like to consider creating a board development committee who could meet with members periodically to discuss opportunities to nominate director candidates in order to create a more seamless process in the future when board vacancies occur. Mr. Cirbus asked what other formal committees exist and was advised of the science, audit and governance committees. Mr. Cirbus asked who comprised the governance committee and was advised that it is made up of the board officers. Mr. Wehrfritz asked that the Alliance Voting Policy and Procedure be shared with the email list serve and was advised this would be done when Ms. Brickley sends out an email tomorrow asking for nominees for the vacancy.
VIII. 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. Conroe advised removal of 30 truckloads worth of debris during the spring lake maintenance and removal effort this year. Shoreline and near shore work will start in full force next week as well as the summer mechanical harvesting as staff training is occurring this week. Mr. Conroe commented that he feels the current Alliance board is too heavily weighted toward government members rather than other organizations and suggests revisiting the current configuration, especially given its evolving role in local funding. Ms. Barber commented that every director serving on the Alliance board has a fiduciary responsibility and is serving the mission of the Alliance and are not representing their respective member organizations. Having been involved in the CLMC and the creation of the Alliance, she noted that it was felt having more municipal involvement would result in more far reaching funding opportunities. Mr. Conroe commented that he understands but at the same time, the director categories and seats are limited. For clarification, Ms. Brickley advised that per the by-laws there are two Director positions originating from the county level, three from the towns and villages, and four from at-large members. With 27 current member organizations and 9 defined director positions, not every single member participates in a board capacity at any given time.
- Mr. Wehrfritz and Mr. Erlandson voiced agreement with Mr. Conroe and feels the board composition should be revisited. Mr. Erlandson commented that when he served with the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission (CLMC) which sun-setted and evolved into the Alliance, there was seemingly more participation by at-large groups and less municipal and he would like to see a realignment that reflects the past CLMC composition.
- Mrs. Nystrom asked that the Science Committee be on the board meeting agenda every month regardless of specific updates that may be reported on. Mr. Spann, chair of the committee, noted that a monthly placeholder on the agenda would be fine. Mr. Horrigan asked about the results of the Science committee looking into defining a process to update/amend the Machophyte Management Strategy (MMS). Ms. Brickley noted that the science committee was tasked with this last year and Mr. Spann advised they were still working on it.
- Mr. Cirbus asked about the history of the creation of the Science committee. Mr. Chagnon advised that it is a volunteer committee and Mr. Spann commented that he was asked to populate and chair such a committee in 2015. (Note: For reference to Minutes, the board approved the creation of this committee at the 8/2015 meeting and subsequently, Mr. Spann provided the list of participants that represented a comprehensive cross section of skill sets which was approved by the board during the 11/2015 meeting.) Ms. Brickley advised she would send the committee charter out to the email list serve. Mr. Wehrfritz asked what the process is when there are vacancies on this committee. Mr. Spann advised that when the committee was formed, all suggested participants shared brief bio’s which were presented and approved by the full board. Mr. Wehrfritz commented that a lifetime term on this committee seems odd and suggests defined terms such as the by-laws do for the terms of director’s service. Mr. Conroe cautioned against changes to the science committee. Mr. Chagnon committed to further discussion on the topic with Mr. Spann.
- Mr. Champ commented that there are do’s and don’ts in science and that members need to understand the interconnectedness of this complex environment. He feels quantification of project impacts would make for stronger projects. He feels involving area youth is the key to the future. Mr. Champ also asked to be reminded about the originating organizations for the current board members. Each Director named their title and nominating member organization in turn and Ms. Brickley advised of Mr. Shearers:
Director & Nominating Member Affiliation:
Pierre Chagnon (Chair), County of Chautauqua, Legislator
David Spann (Vice-Chair), Soil & Water Conservation District
David Shepherd (Secretary), Holmberg Foundation
David Wesp (Treasurer), Town of Ellery
Jim Andrews, Town of Busti
Linda Barber, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy
George Borrello, County of Chautauqua (ex officio)
Ted McCague, Village of Lakewood
Ken Shearer, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Brickley reviewed again that the current by-laws call for 2 directors from the county level, 3 from the towns and villages and 4 from the at-large category.
- Mr. Borrello asked if the start time for the monthly Alliance board meetings could be adjusted to later in the day. After discussion, it was agreed to move the regular meeting start time from 4pm to 4:30pm going forward.
Mr. Wesp motioned to adjourn at 5:00 p.m., seconded by Mr. Borrello. The motion was approved unanimously.