Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, October 14, 2021
3:30 p.m. at the BWB Building, 201 West 3rd St. Jamestown, NY 14701 & via Zoom
Directors Present: Mary Hutchings (via Zoom), Bruce Erickson, Don Emhardt, David Shepherd, Pierre Chagnon, Mike Latone (via Zoom) and Paul (P.J.) Wendel, Jr. (via Zoom), and Jim Andrews
Directors Absent: Rob Yates
Staff in Attendance: Randall Perry – Alliance Executive Director, Taylor West – Alliance Project Manager (via Zoom) and Jay Young–Communications Coordinator.
I. Call to Order
B. Erickson called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 3:33 PM. A quorum of 8 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present at the start of the meeting.
II. Member Grant Applicant Discussions
The Alliance Board and staff invited member representatives to discuss their 2021-2022 local consolidated funding applications. The 15-minute sessions included the general format of five minutes for opening comments by member applicants, five minutes for Board questions, and five minutes of wrap-up. Discussions centered on the following topics, which were provided in advance to each member:
- Provide an overview of your activities performed to-date (with focus on 2021 programs funded via Alliance).
- What performance measures does your organization use to evaluate its work?
- What challenges have you encountered?
- Describe lessons learned from past work.
- What plans are being considered for improvement in 2022 if funded?
Member discussions occurred as follows:
- ~3:30 p.m. – Alliance Board and staff met with John Jablonski, Whitney Gleason and Carol Markham of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.
- ~3:45 p.m. – Alliance Board and staff met with Doug Conroe, Heather Nolan-Caskey and Debbie Moore of the Chautauqua Lake Association.
- ~4:00 p.m. – Alliance Board and staff met with Frank Nicotra and JoDee Johnson of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership and Pat McLaughlin of the Town of Ellicott.
- ~4:15 p.m. – Member representatives from the Village of Celoron were unable to attend.
- ~4:30 p.m. – Alliance Board and staff met with D. Emhardt of the Town of Chautauqua.
III. Approval of 09/09/2021 Minutes
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes from the 09/09/21 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by D. Emhardt and was approved unanimously.
IV. Alliance Committees
a.) Audit Committee
R. Perry indicated that the Audit Committee has been formed and thanked the Board for approving the nominees. R. Perry indicated that the Committee is currently standing by for direction and engagement from auditor Saxton, Kocur & Associates. R. Perry indicated that P. Chagnon will serve as chairman of the Committee, Bruce Erickson will serve as a Board Member, Jim Andrews will serve as a Board Member, and the two at-large Committee members include Ted McCague of the Village of Lakewood and Greg Lyle from the Audubon Community Nature Center.
b.) Data Analysis & Research Committee
R. Perry thanked DAR Committee members who participated in the review of the Nitrogen and Phosphorus Sensor Program grant application. R. Perry indicated that the DAR Committee does not currently have a meeting scheduled and indicated that the Committee will inform him when they plan to schedule a meeting. R. Perry indicated that Tom Erlandson submitted his resignation to the Committee but that he had no further details at this time. R. Perry indicated that the Charter calls for five standing members to be present on the Committee, so there is not a requirement to fill the vacancy.
M. Latone asked when there would be an opportunity to nominate someone for the seat.
R. Perry indicated that the Board is commissioned to approve any nomination. R. Perry indicated that having a conversation with Mike Jabot may be a good next step.
M. Latone indicated that JoDee Johnson could be included in the Committee in light of her work with Bowling Green State University.
P. Chagnon indicated that was a good suggestion.
R. Perry indicated he was planning to meet with M. Jabot in the future to discuss recent work.
R. Perry indicated that Jay DeMarco’s Master’s thesis had been published recently by Bowling Green State University (BGSU). R. Perry indicated that Dr. George Bullerjahn is still the point of contact for that continuing research, and that G. Bullerjahn continues to serve on the DAR Committee.
B. Erickson indicated he had conversations with Cassie Pinkoski of Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District and Becky Nystrom of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy in which they provided comments regarding the thesis. B. Erickson indicated that some of the comments provided by C. Pinkoski were very technical in nature.
P. Chagnon indicated that when C. Pinkoski provided her comments, apparently Bowling Green State University took notice of them. P. Chagnon indicated that the current version of the thesis is different than what was initially circulated to Alliance members. P. Chagnon indicated that the current version has addressed and clarified a lot of the language in question that was in the prior version.
M. Latone asked if there was an unfinished draft of the thesis that was submitted.
R. Perry indicated that the thesis that was distributed by Alliance staff was posted on the Bowling Green State University public portal which suggested it was the final thesis. R. Perry indicated that he understood the link now contains a slightly different document than the one which was first posted to the public link.
B. Erickson indicated that the exchange he had with C. Pinkoski and B. Nystrom was an example of the high level of scientific expertise available from member representatives.
D. Emhardt asked if C. Pinkoski’s primary concerns were with Dewittville tributary sampling and a nearby farm.
B. Erickson indicated he believed that was the case.
D. Emhardt indicated that new owners of the farm have performed work to clean up it up recently.
R. Perry offered some context on the utility of a thesis as it pertains to future research and the difference between academic research and policy implementation. R. Perry indicated that there is an opportunity to take advantage of the large data sets present in the thesis research.
P. Chagnon indicated he believed that removing the specific name of the farm from the thesis addressed the majority of C. Pinkoski’s concerns.
c.) Lake Management Committee
M. Latone indicated that he had no update from the Lake Management Committee.
B. Erickson indicated he understood the concerns of M. Latone and M. Hutchings about the CLA’s effectiveness. B. Erickson indicated that at the same time it may be fair to question the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of herbicide treatments.
M. Latone indicated that it may also be fair to consider the environmental impact of CLA equipment running on diesel fuel.
d.) Watershed Management Committee
D. Shepherd indicated that the Watershed Management Committee has not met since the previous meeting.
V. 2021-2022 Alliance Membership Drive Update
R. Perry provided updates on three active members who have not yet committed to renewal for 2021-2022. One expressed an intention to renew at their next meeting later in October. One has invited R. Perry to meet with its Board later in October, and the third has requested and received additional information from R. Perry and their intentions are not yet know. R. Perry also provided an update on two Founding Members who opted not to renew their membership last year citing COVID-19 related financial concerns. R. Perry contacted both about the possibility of re-joining as active members for 2021-2022. Both indicated they would not be re-joining as active members but did express their support for the Alliance.
VI. 2021 Alliance Local Grants Updates
R. Perry indicated that he had contacted Matt Moore of the Holmberg Foundation to offer an update on the use of their grant to the Alliance, which provided $5,000 to the Town of Chautauqua for a Mobitrac dredge pump and $10,000 to the CLA for late-season cleanup. R. Perry indicated he had asked if the Alliance could hold the remaining $5,000 of the grant for earlier season contingencies in 2022. R. Perry indicated that M. Moore was supportive of that.
R. Perry indicated that a small scope adjustment had been approved for the Village of Lakewood’s Fairmount Storm Water project.
R. Perry indicated that the Ball Creek stabilization project in the Town of North Harmony is nearing completion. R. Perry indicated that R. Yates had indicated that there may be extra funding left over after the completion of the project. R. Perry reminded the Board that there is a pending New York State Consolidated Funding Application for a larger scale version of this project just upstream of this area.
D. Emhardt indicated that he plans to pick up the Mobitrac dredge pump next week.
VII. 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grants Update
R. Perry indicated that the Chautauqua Lake Partnership’s 2020 grant for the purchase of Phosphorus and Nitrogen Sensors has been closed out.
R. Perry indicated that CLP’s 2020 grant for weed surveys has also been closed out.
R. Perry indicated that Lakewood’s time extension for the Grandview project has already been secured at an earlier Board meeting, and that there is an outstanding NYSCFA for that project.
R. Perry indicated that the Audubon had carried over some funds from its 2020 grant for the water chestnut rapid response pilot program into 2021. R. Perry indicated that the need for those funds has not been present at the level originally anticipated, and that he has been in contact with Audubon staff about the possibility of another time extension or scope adjustment for the project.
R. Perry indicated that in 2020 the Alliance Board approved an earmark of $15,000 from unused 2020 Foundation funds for use in support of The Jefferson Project at Chautauqua Lake research. The Alliance still possesses those funds until such time that a need is identified.
VIII. 2021-2022 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grant Program
a.) Overview of Applications Received and Technical Review
R. Perry briefed the Board on the 2021 Consolidated Local Funding Program process and submissions from members. The Alliance introduced an updated version of the application for 2021, and received 15 submissions representing 10 different member organizations totaling $2,211,791 in funding requests. These applications include $1,414,906.50 for mechanical macrophyte management, $523,141.50 for chemical macrophyte management, $84,000 for watershed programs, $76,020 for macrophyte research and monitoring initiatives, $61,748 for invasive species prevention/early detection/rapid response, and $51,975 for nutrient monitoring.
b.) Review of Applications
P. Chagnon indicated that the Mobitrac funding request from the Town of Chautauqua indicates 15 weeks of cleanup efforts, however the Mobitrac support request from the CLA indicated Mid-June through Labor Day, which is closer to 10-11 weeks.
D. Emhardt indicated that the Town’s Mobitrac crew plans to work until the first week in October once again.
R. Perry briefed the Board on recent conversations he had with individuals from The Lenna Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, and the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation. R. Perry indicated there was a general feeling of positivity about the funding allocation and grant submission process that has been employed in the past. R. Perry indicated that overall there was a decent level of comfort with the amount of consolidated funding allocated in the past.
B. Erickson cited $750,000 as a potential funding request, as a slight increase from last year.
D. Shepherd indicated he was comfortable going higher than that, as funding requests have been granted in the past.
D. Shepherd indicated his desire to develop a more long-term view of the funding needs for lake and watershed maintenance, rather than the perennial ad-hoc approach that has been taken in the past.
B. Erickson inquired if there are any COVID-related funding sources that could potentially be available for funding equipment needs.
P. Chagnon indicated that federal ARPA funding for projects had to be planned out in advance, and that the County had placed some capital projects into the second year of the ARPA budget plan in light of a federal infrastructure bill possible in the future. P. Chagnon indicated that funds are being pursued at several levels for the Phase II sewer extension, and that has the potential to change funding availability.
P. Wendel indicated he had a desire to consider longer-term approaches to lake management as well, citing the differences between annual maintenance and other stewardship of the lake as an economic and environmental resource.
M. Hutchings indicated she supported P. Wendel’s perspective, and would also like to find solutions to improve the effectiveness of maintenance programs.
D. Shepherd indicated that in order to have a long-term view based on scientific data, it may be important to involve the DAR Committee. D. Shepherd indicated that the Foundations may want to see a long-term plan for funding allocation that is based on scientific data and measurable improvement.
J. Andrews indicated that in order to develop a long-term strategic plan it would be useful to have a full equipment inventory from members.
B. Erickson indicated he supported requests to measure CLA efficiency, and that the same should be done for herbicide treatments.
A discussion followed of the intended role of the Alliance, and how that role has changed over time.
D. Emhardt indicated that there is now a larger base of scientific data to draw conclusions from than has ever been available.
B. Erickson asked if The Jefferson Project could be a potential resource for serving some of these roles.
D. Shepherd asked what results have been generated from the use of foundation money over the long term and how might data sets be utilized to better measure and evaluate results.
D. Shepherd indicated that the task at hand currently is to generate a funding request for the lake and watershed next year.
P. Wendel indicated that he hopes the Alliance will look at a more long-term perspective after the completion of this current funding allocation.
c.) Board Discussion on 2022 Recommended Project Funding
B. Erickson outlined the process that lies in front of the Board, which first involves asking for a certain amount of funding from foundations and then will require the Alliance Board to make allocations to members based on the funding received.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Board needs to first develop a proposed work plan with specific allocations that make up the overall consolidated request, and that the proposed allocations may change depending on the amount of funding received from the foundations.
D. Shepherd indicated that the request from the Alliance to the foundations should cover everything that is needed. D. Shepherd indicated that the DAR committee may be able to help with long-term research needs, such as core sampling.
M. Hutchings asked if core sampling had been discussed before.
D. Shepherd indicated that it had, but it was unknown if there was anyone available or willing to do that type of work.
A discussion followed regarding the difficulty of allocating funding for herbicide treatments before it is known how much treatment will be permitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
B. Erickson indicated that it may be sensible to lump all of the herbicide treatment submissions into one pot so that funding can be spread around as needed after permitting is done.
R. Perry indicated that a lump sum request had been done in the previous year. R. Perry indicated that we now have four years of data regarding NYSDEC permitting of herbicides to draw from, and cited past examples to the Board. R. Perry indicated that it may be important to consider the fact that in the past two years the Alliance has funded 100% of herbicide treatment, but generally tends to fund approximately 1/3 of mechanical harvesting operations.
D. Shepherd indicated his support for having Alliance staff, with direction from the Board, come up with a draft proposal that would come to a funding request total agreed upon by the Board, based upon what has been funded in the past and what has been asked for in this year’s applications. D. Shepherd indicated that the Board could return for a special session in a week or so to review the draft proposal.
P. Chagnon indicated he agreed with that suggestion. P. Chagnon indicated that it could be useful to have information about how much funding was provided for individual operations and projects in 2021. P Chagnon indicated that those guideposts in addition to hypothetical funding awards for this round of submissions could aid in decision making.
R. Perry indicated that information was available if the Board would like to discuss it. R. Perry indicated that he would appreciate any feedback on the hypothetical funding award amounts currently in place. R. Perry indicated that it may help with coming up with a draft total consolidated request for the foundations that the Board can review at the next session.
A discussion followed regarding Alliance funding distribution through the foundations in 2021.
M. Hutchings indicated her support for sending the meeting’s PowerPoint presentation as well as a breakdown of 2021 funding awards to the Board. M. Hutchings indicated her support for scheduling a special session, possibly sometime in the next week. M. Hutchings asked if R. Perry was looking for a total funding number to bring to the foundations.
R. Perry indicated that a total number is needed that breaks down line by line, project by project what the line items would be. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance needs to provide the foundations with a plan of work for that total number. R. Perry indicated that there are two weeks to put in a request for funding.
P. Chagnon indicated that if the Board is requesting more detailed budgeting information, Alliance staff would need a total funding amount to aim for.
D. Shepherd indicated his support for an $800,000 total grant amount.
B. Erickson indicated the Board supported that total.
A discussion followed potentially requesting a capital investment plan from the CLA.
R. Perry asked for clarification on the potential of developing a 10-year plan for Alliance goals and operations.
D. Shepherd indicated his support for asking the DAR Committee for information on data that would be necessary in order to be more systematic in annual budgeting, and data needed on nutrient loading. D. Shepherd indicated that an overall question would be: what data is needed in order to achieve Alliance goals.
R. Perry indicated that the DAR Committee request for a 10-year plan is most likely a long-term deliverable. R. Perry indicated that similar questions have been asked of the Committee in the past, with answers that may or may not be tangible or actionable.
B. Erickson indicated that the Board had agreed on $800,000.
R. Perry indicated that the information being requested is available and can be re-organized in a spreadsheet format. R. Perry indicated he would send it to the Board in advance of the next work session so they can review and if desired evaluate alternate funding scenarios.
D. Shepherd indicated that R. Perry should draft a hypothetical funding allocation based on an $800,000 request and present it to the Board at a future special meeting.
M. Hutchings and J. Andrews indicated that they would support this.
R. Perry indicated he could send a Doodle Poll to the Board to determine a convenient time for the special session meeting.
IX. Time and Date of next Board Meeting (currently scheduled for Veteran’s Day – 11/11/21)
R. Perry advised the Board that the regularly scheduled November meeting falls on Veterans Day this year and asked if the Board would like to change the meeting date. After discussion, the Board decided to maintain the scheduled public meeting on November 11, 2021 at 4:30 PM. R. Perry indicated that the location for that meeting is to be determined, due to the need for a hybrid approach including Zoom.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance has been offered an extension of its office space lease with the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency for 2022 for the same price as 2021.
B. Erickson indicated that if it is R. Perry’s suggestion to renew that lease, that a motion be made empowering him to do so. That motion was made by P. Chagnon and seconded by M. Hutchings. The motion was passed unanimously.
M. Hutchings made a motion to adjourn at 6:35 p.m. That motion was seconded by D. Emhardt and passed unanimously.
The Alliance Board of Directors passed a motion to approve these 10/14/21 Meeting Minutes on 11/11/21.