Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, November 2, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Pierre Chagnon, Sally Carlson, Vince Horrigan, Dave Shepherd, and Dave Wesp.
Absent: Linda Barber, Ken Shearer, and Dave Spann.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director & Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Randy Sweeney, June Diethrick & Tory Irgang – 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: Robin Anderson, Ralph Tutill, Jean Smith, Craig Butler & Bill Flandres.
Member Representatives in Attendance: John Jablonski & Claire Quadri– Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Jim Cirbus & Jamie Henderson – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), George Borrello (County Executive elect) & Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County, John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution, Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony, & Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Jane Conroe & Twan Leenders.
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:00 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (6 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 9/14/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Mr. Horrigan. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the nine funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- Implementation status:
- See CWC Fall ‘Shed Sheet (WQIP update)
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 50% design complete and NYSDEC/USACE permit applications submitted (Bergmann/County/Alliance)
- Target Construction: Summer 2018; firm(s) TBD via public bid(s)
- Ball Creek & Goose Creek:
- Permitting completed by Soil & Water; Final design & bid specs completed by EcoStrategies
- Construction bids solicited/received by County Sept 2017; awards Oct 2017; contracts in progress
- Construction prep underway; Target Construction: Fall 2017 or Spring/Summer 2018
- Ball Creek site prep/planting (invasive species mgmt.) coordination with CWC in progress
- Bemus Creek:
- Soil & Water-led construction by subcontractor completed at Lower section (Oct 2017)
- Soil & Water-led construction by subcontractor (minor work) at Upper section completed Sept 2017 (majority of Upper site completed Fall 2016)
- Prendergast Creek: inspection and maintenance performed by Soil & Water/Contractor Sept 2017 (primary construction completed Fall 2016); construction phase portion of grant appears to be complete
- M/WBE and Quarterly reports completed Oct 2017
- Outstanding County subcontracts in progress or awaiting bid results
- Invoice processing and NYS reimbursement requests ongoing
- M/WBE-related efforts in progress
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- Coordination among Alliance and implementing partners in progress
- Final Alliance subcontracts with RTPI & Audubon signed
- Audubon work largely complete; RTPI/Alliance collaboration in progress
- Draft Alliance subcontract in progress with CLA
- Equipment purchase pending
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Construction bids solicited/received Oct 2017; Village in process of making selection
- Target Construction Start ca. Nov 2017
- Village-NYS contract for 2016 LWRP grant in progress
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Engineering work underway by Barton & Loguidice (Target Completion ca. May 2018)
- EFC grant agreement with Village executed and initial 50% payment to Village from EFC received
IV. Update on 2017 County 2% Reserve Contingency Funding of Late Season In-Lake Alliance Member Projects:
Overview: This funding of $100k was led by Mr. Horrigan in August to address lake conditions and to prevent issues related to lack of funding and needed services as occurred later in the season last year (2016). It was felt that the Alliance was best positioned to prioritize this funding due to its status as a member organization, whose focus is on a science based adaptive approach to management, and who could quickly mobilize to decision time sensitive project funding requests through Alliance Board review and approval. At the time of Resolution 195-17, County legislators raised some concerns and ultimately added several restrictions on its use prior to approving the final resolution such as: only for 2017, reimbursement only, no funding for herbicides, etc. The Alliance notified its Members in August and since then seven funding requests have been submitted, five of which were approved for four Alliance Members during the August and September Alliance Board meetings.
Ms. Brickley advised of progress for several process steps including confirmation of 2017-2018 Membership renewal and receipt of annual Membership Form, execution of the County-Alliance contract as of 9/27, execution of two subcontracts between the Alliance and funded Alliance Members, a third subcontract out for signature and the fourth subcontract has a draft pending. All four projects have been completed or are underway.
Mr. Chagnon asked that Members provide updates:
- CLA “Floating Vegetation Removal Service Expansion”: Mr. Conroe advised that the funding allowed for 2 shoreline crews to run an additional 4 weeks (plus an occasional 3rd crew) far into September, focused on near-shore cleanup throughout the lake (less Bemus Bay). He stated that was certainly an increased need this year due to extended mild weather and continued recreational use of the lake as well as near-shore conditions. In response to a question from Mr. Horrigan, Mr. Conroe noted that floating mats of vegetation seemed to be in more localized locations as opposed to the previous year when it was more lake-wide.
- Town of North Harmony “Near-Shore Clean-Up for North Harmony Seniors”: Mrs. Carlson advised that she was astonished by the amount of interest as they had received 71 applications for assistance spanning from one side of the township to the other. Most location assistance proceeded without issue though there were a couple of steep inclines with reduced access that were challenging. She stated that older residents were very happy with the help.
- CLP “Chautauqua Lake Near Shore Cleanup Project Extended Cleanup July 31- September 5, 2017”: Mrs. Rine advised that the near shore and shoreline work done this summer in Bemus Bay was successful and looks better than it has in years in her opinion. She advised that even though the second funding request for October weed surveys was declined via this funding option, that CLP went forward with these efforts for eight bays via local Foundation funding and SOLitude as their contractor. Mrs. Rine stated that these surveys would be baseline information for Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) by bay that CLP has plans of pursuing in order to assist in additional herbicide applications in the future.
- JBPU “Chautauqua Lake Outlet / Chadakoin Debris Removal Project”: Mr. Leenders gave an update on behalf of JBPU. He advised that this project involved the BPU, Jamestown Riverfront Council members, RTPI who surveyed the corridor and identified and marked appropriate debris for removal as well as assisted in securing the DEC permit needed for three large submerged debris removals, and the tree removal service who were assisted by CLA (barge with grappling hook and staff) to allow for on-site chipping prior to hauling away. The project is now complete and all expenses invoiced were within budget.
V. Update on 2017-2018 Membership Drive:
Ms. Brickley advised that the initial processing steps for the 2017 County contingency funding reminded her that she has not given the board an update on this year’s membership efforts yet. She noted that the Alliance continues to receive support from all community segments and most have already renewed their membership once again this year. Summary stats below were reviewed.
|2017-2018 Membership Drive Update as of 11/1/2017|
|# of Target Members||# of Completed Membership Forms||# of Known Pending Membership Forms||Total $ Dues Received||Total $ Dues Pending|
VI. 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.
Mr. Chagnon reviewed a comprehensive list of next steps that were summarized in a handout for those in attendance. A condensed version of the handout is below:
- Received four proposal submissions by the September 27, 2017 deadline. Technical Proposals and Cost Proposals were submitted in separate, sealed envelopes, as instructed in the RFP.
- Initial inventory and cursory review of all Technical Proposals (without opening Cost Proposals) and no obvious inconsistencies or other issues were observed. No clear evidence of potential non-responsiveness was identified.
- The Evaluation Committee was comprised of the Alliance Board of Directors and the Alliance staff.
- Technical Proposals and evaluation sheets distributed to the Evaluation Committee on September 28, 2017.
- Evaluation Committee individually reviewed all Technical Proposals and independently assigned initial individual (non-cost) scores using the established Proposal Evaluation & Ranking Form; one evaluation form was completed for each proposal by each member of the Evaluation Committee.
- Evaluation Committee met on October 6, 2017 (Meeting #1) and all initial scores documented in the individually completed Proposal Evaluation & Ranking Forms, which were recorded in the RFP file. After review, all four proposals were considered responsive. The Evaluation Committee then confirmed there was consensus that all four proposing firms were qualified and none were considered non-responsible. It was noted that no potential conflicts of interest existed amongst the evaluation participants and the proposing firms. The committee then discussed all four proposals and then shared their initial individual scores. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that there was consensus by the committee of the top two proposals.
- The Cost Proposals for all four proposals were then opened and distributed to the Evaluation Committee; scoring of the Cost Proposals was performed as a group. We were again pleasantly surprised that the four proposals were all within a very close range, with the highest price only 11% more than the lowest price.
- The Evaluation Committee then discussed the fact that the top two proposals based upon the Technical Proposal reviews were among the lowest three Cost Proposals. It was then confirmed that factoring in the Cost Proposals (30% weight per the Proposal Evaluation Procedure), the top two rated Technical Proposals (70% weight per the Proposal Evaluation Procedure), would be the top two overall proposals.
- The Evaluation Committee then discussed the situation, and agreed that references for the top two proposals were to be contacted by phone and interviewed by the Alliance staff and in-person interviews with the Evaluation Committee would be scheduled with the top two proposing firms. We agreed that Meeting #2 in the Proposal Evaluation Procedure was therefore not required.
- The final aggregate scores for each proposal were calculated by averaging the final individual scores (not rankings) from each reviewer; the Alliance Project Manager performed this calculation, with review and confirmation by the Alliance Executive Director. The top two proposals were then officially confirmed, consistent with our understanding at the meeting on October 6, 2017.
- Alliance staff conducted reference check interviews for top two proposals utilizing the same interview questions for both, with six of seven references interviewed (three references for each top two proposing firms). Results were summarized and shared with Evaluation Committee.
- In-person interviews were conducted on October 30. Dr. Liz Moran, Dr. Linda Wagenet, Dr. Jim Rhea, and Mike Werth represented the EcoLogic team and Dr. Fred Lubnow represented Princeton Hydro. Pierre Chagnon, Vince Horrigan, Dave Shepherd, Jim Andrews, Dave Wesp, Erin Brickley, and Randall Perry represented the Evaluation Committee, with no one participating via teleconference.
Mr. Chagnon noted that all the firms were qualified and that the top two firms were extremely qualified and well represented during the reference checks and in person interviews. In the end, we were excited to partner with EcoLogic based on their overall approach and focus on facilitation and community based inputs. Mr. Shepherd echoed Mr. Chagnon and Mr. Horrigan noted that in discussions prior to the initiation of the Alliance RFP that a successful effort here will require the community and stakeholders to come together. He noted that EcoLogic highlighted their ability to be independent and objective but also focused on incorporating all stakeholder priorities into a usable strategy.
Mr. Conroe commented that he knows this firm and feels they are very qualified but is disappointed as they have done previous projects in Chautauqua County and thought one goal was to focus on a firm with no history here. Mr. Chagnon advised that EcoLogic focused heavily on how and why they would be transparent and independent in this effort in their proposal and that all four firms who submitted proposals had some history here. He also noted that we made sure no conflicts of interests were present.
Mr. Butler asked about the costs. Mr. Chagnon advised all costs were in line with each other between the four proposals and that EcoLogic’s proposal totaled slightly over $85k. Mr. Cirbus asked about timeline and was advised the goal is to have a strategy in the next six months.
Mr. Horrigan made a motion to select EcoLogic/Anchor QEA per the Evaluation Committee process as the top proposing firm, seconded by Mr. Shepherd. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to proceed with entering into contract with EcoLogic, LLC, seconded by Mr. Wesp. The motion passed unanimously.
VII. Approve Proposed Alliance Election Policy & Procedure:
Mr. Chagnon noted that it was pointed out earlier in the year that our by-laws call for the establishment of an election policy and procedure. These were drafted and dispersed to the board via email for review and comment prior to today’s meeting. Mr. Chagnon commented that most of the language was pulled from the by-laws as written.
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to approve the Election of Board of Directors Policy, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to approve the Election of Board of Directors Procedure, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion passed unanimously.
VIII. Discussion on Establishing Process for Amending the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS):
Ms. Brickley advised that it would be good to discuss establishing a process for how to update and/or amend the MMS as the document itself does not define a process. She noted that it would be good to be able to capture the recent data being generated by CLP such as the weed survey of Bemus Bay and the final report for the herbicide 2017 as well as their October weed surveys in various south basin bays. Ms. Brickey commented that it was important to make such data publicly available and it makes sense to add these examples and other data sets as addenda to the MMS as they are generated, allowing for a central collection and publication point. Mrs. Rine commented that the MMS already calls for a winter meeting of all stakeholders to discuss actions for the next year and Ms. Brickley concurred but offered that this is separate topic from that. Mr. Borrello advised that the completed MMS was presented to the County PED legislative subcommittee meeting in 2017 and any updates could be done the same way as he feels it’s a function of the legislature since the MMS was mainly funded by the County. Mr. Cirbus asked if the MMS has been adopted by the County. Mr. Horrigan advised it had been presented, not formally adopted, and therefore it serves its purpose as a guidance document rather than a regulatory document. Mr. Shepherd suggested a committee be formed to discuss this further and make a recommendation to the Alliance Board, which if approved, could then be recommended to the legislature. Mr. Cirbus noted that he would like to see more than just an annual review of the MMS and something more responsive and flexible be established.
Discussion of 2018 Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) Funding Request:
Mr. Chagnon advised that the Alliance received correspondence from the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) which has been circulated to the board prior to today’s meeting. Mr. Conroe advised that the first letter is to inform us that the CLA has submitted funding requests to Sheldon and Lenna Foundations as is normal this time of year to prepare for their 2018 season and has shared their submissions with the Alliance board and hopes that we will communicate our support of these requests to the foundations. Mr. Conroe advised that the second letter is new and officially requests that the Alliance assist CLA with operational costs ($75k) in 2018 as well as find them funding for new equipment ($520k). Mr. Conroe advised that the CLA board has been in serious discussions over the last several months regarding community expectations. It is felt that Chautauqua Lake has always been underfunded and as a result there are perceived expectations of residents that are not being met. CLA would like to ramp up their services going forward to meet these expectations but need increased funding in order to do that. Therefore, CLA is going to every funding sector and advising of increased funding requests to all. The request specific of the Alliance regarding operational funding would allow CLA to increase the number of workers and the number of days work is being done. He noted that near-shore work has become the highest demand by lake residents and CLA wants to meet those demands with new and safer mechanical means. The request specific to equipment would allow for the purchase of multiple near-shore clean up equipment and another dump truck. Mr. Conroe noted that the process to ramp up new equipment for near-shore work will be approached in phases and is not looking for the full $520k right away but rather over time. He commented that his understanding of the primary function of the Alliance was to secure outside grant funding for members.
Mr. Shepherd commented that everyone is interested in doing more in-lake actions and the discussion amongst local foundations is in process. Mrs. Swanson noted that this does go back to the various understandings of the original intent of the Alliance. Mr. Sweeney noted that foundations always wanted help prioritizing among all the watershed and lake efforts and believes the current effort to create a 5 Year Implementation Strategy will help a great deal.
Mr. Horrigan advised that it is his intention to go to the Legislature in December with a resolution to form an agency to look into forming a watershed district. If a district is formed, the key intent would be a dedicated funding source for Chautauqua Lake. He noted that County Executive elect, Mr. Borrello, also supports this as well.
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. Jablonski introduced the CWC’s new conservationist, Claire Quadri and noted her years of experience in environmental consulting.
- Mr. McCoy gave several updates. First, he noted a change in the earlier start and due dates for 2% Lakes & Waterways grant program he administers as the County Watershed Coordinator. The program will now open on February 1st with a due date of April 1st. They are also adding a pre-application step to help assist those looking to apply. Second, Mr. McCoy advised that the Village of Cassadaga had recently passed a local law that allows their code enforcement officer to write a stop order until DEC can assess if there are questionable actions occurring and perhaps the Alliance can research and help encourage similar action by Chautauqua Lake municipalities. Third, he mentioned plans of calling this year’s MMS roundtable for all those proposing to do in-lake work in 2018 soon whereby we can try and work together and if that’s not possible, plan to stay out of each other’s way.
- Mr. Butler commented that forming a lake district will have challenges but he has high hopes this effort will move forward as he would like to see in-lake management actions broadened. He noted however that there seems to be two parallel efforts that are becoming more duplicative in nature and will need to play out in the near future.
- Mr. Champ advised of the NYS Climate Smart Communities program and there is a webinar this Thursday. Perhaps we could come up with a public forum for the webinar.
- Mrs. Rine advised that the CLP is doing a great deal of community outreach and that the lake municipalities seem excited about their efforts. She reiterated that the CLP plans to lead the effort for additional herbicide applications in 2018 and since DEC is requiring an SEIS prior to any new herbicide permits, CLP is working with the municipalities in order to proceed with the SEIS effort.
- Mr. Borrello advised that the County will be continuing to contract for lobbying efforts in Washington, DC on behalf of our precious water resources including Chautauqua Lake and Lake Erie. He noted that he, Mr. Chagnon and Mr. McCoy made a trip to DC in March, meeting with Congressman Reed, Army Corp, EPA and others and feels these recent efforts have had good outcomes and will continue to.
- Mr. Horrigan noted that the county legislature recently unanimously approved the extension of the South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District. The CUD at Chautauqua Institution is close to completion of their WWTP upgrades and North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District is proceeding with their upgrades to meet the TMDL. He commented that the concept and understanding of importance related to sewering the remaining portions surrounding Chautauqua Lake is taking off and funding is starting to come in and these efforts are hitting on all cylinders now.
Mrs. Carlson motioned to adjourn at 5:15 p.m., seconded by Mr. Horrigan. The motion was approved unanimously.