Tricounty News

CRWD Work Session Minutes March 26

UNOFFICIAL MINUTES Clearwater River Watershed District Board of Managers Work Session March 26, 2014 6:00 P.M. Kimball City Hall, Kimball, MN

Chair Schiefelbein called the Work Session to order at 6:13 p.m. Managers Jeff Golden, Paul DeGree, Mary Ellen Wells, and Bob Schiefelbein were present. Others in attendance were Dean Flygare, Mike Hankee, Kathy Jonsrud, Orv Jonsrud, Cole Loewen, Engineer Rebecca Kluckhohn, Engineer Norm Wenck, Advisor Merle Anderson and Administrator Dennis Loewen.

Motion #WS14-3-1: Golden/DeGree, moved to adopt the Agenda. As part of discussion, Advisor Anderson gave a brief explanation on the District’s various roles in regards to projects (Lead, Partner, Facilitate and Encourage). All managers voted aye.

Strategic Planning

Engineer Kluckhohn presented on the District’s grant proposal to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Discussion was held.

Cole Loewen presented a draft Data Practices Policy for Members of the Public. This policy makes explicit how a member of the public makes a request for data held by the District, as well as how the District handles such requests.

Motion #WS14-3-2: DeGree/Golden, moved to adopt the Data Practices Policy for Members of the Public. All managers voted aye.

Cole Loewen presented on the question on handling District e-mails in regards to the District’s records retention schedule and the State’s Data Practices Act.

Motion #WS14-3-3: Wells/DeGree, moved to establish e-mail accounts using the domain @crwd.org for Dennis Loewen and Cole Loewen. All managers voted aye.

Cole Loewen presented on the District’s current, unwritten, investment “policy.” After discussion, the Board indicated for this “policy” to remain in effect.

Engineer Kluckhohn gave a brief overview of past planning actions the District Board of Managers has undertaken.

Discussion was held on management priorities, strategies to implement priorities and projects and programs that potentially fall within said priorities and strategies for 2014.

Management Priorities Issues for 2014: Priority issues are identified by the CRWD Board of Managers as those issues which must be addressed in the short term to meet the District’s mission to promote, preserve and protect water resources. The District has focused on achieving state water quality standards at a minimum to meet TMDL goals, and to protect high value resources. The priority issues in the watershed are listed below along with a description:

Management Priority Issues for 2014 Category Description

Agricultural Watershed Loads

Agriculture is a dominant land use in the CRWD and makes up a large portion of the watershed loads to impaired lakes and streams. CRWD will address watershed nutrient (P is primary focus, N is secondary but emerging) loads through Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). CRWD also understands that improperly applied N fertilizer can contribute to excess nitrogen in groundwater. CRWD identified key BMPs to address this issue: targeted fertilizer application, engineered intakes and drainage optimization. Drainage optimization addresses not only drainage, but comprehensive water quality protection as well.

Internal Phosphorus Cycling in Lakes

Many lakes in the CRWD will not meet their goals if internal loading is not addressed, and due to the riverine nature of the CRWD, water quality in downstream lakes depends on upstream lakes meeting their goals. That is to say, managing internal loading in certain lakes is a critical issue for the CRWD and must be addressed.

Ecological Health

Though CRWD’s primary goal is achieving state water quality standards, ecological health is also a consideration. The CRWD will limit its focus to areas where degradation of ecological health significantly impacts water quality. Three priority areas under this issue include:

1. High Rough Fish Populations: Excess rough fish populations degrade lakes, streams and wetlands and make it difficult for CRWD to meet water quality goals, especially in many of the CRWD’s shallow lakes. Effective management of rough fish populations in the CRWD in the past have included an aggressive harvesting program, managing lakes to promote winter kills, and managing migration and spawning of rough fish. CRWD plans to continue managing rough fish populations.

2. Lakeshore and streambank erosion can impact water quality and ecological health. CRWD will focus on stream bank health to maintain healthy stream banks which prevent over-widening and the associated water quality / habitat issues. Riparian buffering will be pursued where possible. CRWD will continue its healthy lakeshore grants as well though it will not be a high priority.

3. AIS is a statewide issue and is generally best tackled on that level. However, in cases where lake associations wish to fund projects to address curly leaf pond weed or other AIS, CRWD will act as the fiscal agent.

Emerging Issues

CRWD recognizes that the environmental landscape changes constantly and though we need to be diligent in achieving water resources goals, we also need to remain aware of and open to addressing emerging issues.

Implementation Strategies for 2014

Strategy

#1. Leverage grant funding to maximum extent possible.

#2. Focus on projects that have highest cost/benefit, as measured by $ / lb. of phosphorus (or other pollutant, such as sediment). Nitrogen may also be considered.

#3. Prioritize upper watershed in order to achieve biggest “bang for the buck.”

#4. Carefully consider “Opportunistic Projects”: projects advanced through citizen support, projects raised by other partners.

#5. Maximize opportunities for civic engagement:

(1) Look for opportunities to improve relations with other governmental units,

(2) Look for opportunities to maximize partnerships to implement civic engagement, when possible leveraging the expertise of other LGU’s to implement civic engagement in the CRWD, and

(3) Enhance outreach through social media and other outlets.

Priority Projects for 2014

Project

Status

Kingston Wetland Restoration
Project

Construction complete, final monitoring in progress

Lake Betsy Internal Load Management

Project development

Kimball Stormwater PH I & II

Phase I finished, Phase II construction in progress

Clear Lake North Soluble P Load Investigation/ Management
(Notch Weir Retrofit)

Project development

Lakes Augusta & Caroline Internal Load Reduction

Project development

Upper Watershed Soluble
Phosphorus Abatement
Opportunities

Project development

Watkins Stormwater Improvement

Project development

Cedar Lake Watershed Protection &
Improvement Project

Construction first component, Summer 2014

Clear Lake South Notch Weir

Complete, monitor

Clear Lake Internal Load Reduction

Project development

Theil Creek Stabilization

Project development

Priority Programs for 2014

Program

Status

Conservation Corps of Minnesota: Streambank Stabilization along the Clearwater River

Annual, on-going

Targeted Fertilizer Application Reduction  Project in upper
watershed

Annual, on-going/ to be expanded geographically and to include N management

Engineered Intakes

Project expansion/ development

Rough fish management

Ongoing

Operation & Maintenance of
District Projects

Ongoing- investigate contracts to manage native vegetation areas

Civic engagement

Ongoing- program development/ expansion to include legislative relationships, social media and broader target audiences

Monitoring program

Annual/ ongoing

Discussion was also held on emerging issues. Several items noted were: 1) Nitrogen, 2) Groundwater 3) Drainage Management and 4) Ecological Management.

District Staff will prepare a summary memo for the Board to review. This memo will detail:

1. The role the District could take for each project and program

2. How each project and program fits within the implementation strategies and management priorities

3. Staff’s opinion on prioritization of projects and programs based on the two points above

Managers’ Plans for 2014

Cole Loewen presented on the draft Managers’ Plans for 2014. Plans were added for the Board to review its governance effectiveness. The summary memo being prepared will also be included in Managers’ Plans for 2014.

Cole Loewen revisited the District’s LCCMR grant proposal.

Motion #WS14-3-4: Golden/Wells, moved to reduce the scope of the LCCMR grant proposal, and to include a 25% local match in said proposal. All managers voted aye.

Motion #WS14-3-5: Wells/DeGree, moved to adjourn at 8:55 p.m. All managers voted aye.

THESE MINUTES ARE AVAILABLE AT: www.crwd.org

CRWD AUDIT REPORTS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE ANNANDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Chair, Bob Schiefelbein

Secretary, Paul DeGree

Published in the Tri-County News Thursday, April 10, 2014.