April 2016 Council Meeting Minutes


MINUTES
McKenzie Watershed Council
Springfield Utility Board (SUB)
April 14th, 2016
Springfield, Oregon

PRESENT: Council Partners: Ralph Perkins, facilitator (Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District), Diane Albino (Mohawk Watershed Partnership), Brian Brazil (International Paper), Bub Bumstead (McKenzie Flyfishers), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner), Nate Day (McKenzie Schools), Arlene Dietz (Rice Family Farms), Rod Fosback (NW Steelheaders Association), Chad Helms (US Army Corps of Engineers), Randy Hledik (Wildish), Mike McDowell (Resident Partner), Andy McWilliams (Resident Partner), , Karl Morgenstern (EWEB), Craig Patterson (Resident Partner), Dave Ralston (City of Springfield), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser), Ray Rivera (McKenzie River Ranger District- alternate for Terry Baker), Wade Stampe (Resident Partner), Mark Stephen (Bureau of Land Management- alternate for Bill O’Sullivan), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews Experimental Forest), Sue Zeni (Resident Partner), Jeff Ziller (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife); Staff: Justin Demeter, Melanie Giangreco, Jennifer Weber, Jared Weybright, Amanda Wilson; Guests: Allen Brody (McKenzie Clearwater Coalition), Phil Brozek, Dave Kretzing (Resident), Taylor Larson (Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council), Virginia Lauritsen (Springfield Utility Board), Todd Miller (City of Springfield), Will Rutherford (Clearwater Coalition), Maryjane Snocker (Resident), Charles Tannenbaum (Clearwater Coalition), Nancy Toth (EWEB), Kathryn Warner (speaker, U.S.A.C.E.), Nate Zeller (restoration contractor)

ABSENT: Carol Ach (Resident Partner), George Brown (Eugene City Council), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Larry Six (MWC Council Coordinator), Keir Miller (Lane County)

 

PRESENTATION
WILLAMETTE RIVER BASIN REVIEW FEASIBILITY STUDY

Kathryn Warner, U.S.A.C.E. – Technical lead of project                       

Ms. Warner gave a description of the Willamette Basin and current operations. The Willamette Valley Project was authorized by FCAs in 1938. It consists of a series of 13 dams/reservoirs, over 100 miles of bank protection work, and multiple fish hatcheries. The Feasibility Study was
authorized in 1988 to support any further important improvements within the basin in the interest of water resource improvements. The Feasibility Study was put on hold in 2000 due to ESA listed species (Chinook listed as threatened). It was re-initiated in 2013 with an example project in the Coast Fork. A full scale project was initiated in 2015 under the SMART planning framework.

Currently, the USACE is evaluating reallocation of joint use storage behind Corps dams in the Willamette basin with Municipal & Industrial (M&I), Irrigation, and Fish & Wildlife identified as users. The planning goals and objectives are to reallocate water to multiple sources with minimal impact on other users. The study takes into account future water demands through 2065 (50 years planning period).

The project looks at entering into agreements with various users to be able to use water.
Part of the process may require removing existing State and Federal policies that constrain reallocation. (For example, the way that water rights are currently divided between consumptive and storage water rights is geared toward irrigation rather than more specific purposes such as M&I activities.)

The process is a SMART Planning Initiative which involves multiple internal and external reviews on the USACE studies. It is currently divided into milestones for reporting to headquarters. July 2017 is the date for deciding on a tentatively selected plan (recommended action). This is a big step which will take place just before public review. (A draft EIA will be needed at this point to cover NEPA requirements. Then, it will be known whether USACE can proceed with EIA or need to move on to an EIS.) This process should be complete and awaiting a decision by October 2017. The agency decision will take place in January of 2018. The Civil Works Review Board will make a decision in May 2018. The USACE Chief’s report will be issued by August 17th, 2018. Congressional approval will then be required to move forward with the project.

In terms of the technical aspects of the Feasibility Study, a hydrological engineering model is currently undergoing internal review. Technical workgroups are meeting to develop demand recommendations for the State of Oregon. The cost share for the project will be 50/50 between state and federal governments. The hydrological engineering model will help determine how much water is needed and how much water is reliably available. (The difference between the two is the deficit.) It will be important to know where the water is being pulled from and also where it is being put back into the stream.

Fish and wildlife demands were initially based on the Biological Opinion flow targets.

USACE is working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to develop irrigation demands (now and for projected crop production).

The model does incorporate climate change, and climate change will need to be addressed throughout the plan. Groundwater rights not looked at in this project, except in terms of supply.
Policy issues include water use prioritization. Who gets water in deficit years? Municipalities need to plan based on the year’s weather, which makes the difference on whether or not the reservoir fills. Stakeholder agreement and consensus on priorities will be necessary to move forward. A risk is that disagreement over priorities may prevent the study from moving forward to implementation.

 

Public participation will include periodic Water User Group Meetings, Stakeholder Meetings, and Public Information Meetings. Meetings will be posted on the USACE website and questions can be directed to wbr@usace.army.mil.Written comments can also be sent to this email address. The public comment period ends April 16th.

BUSINESS MEETING

  1. Introductions and Approval of Agenda
    Ralph Perkins, Facilitator
    Action Requested: Approval of agenda
    Agenda approved unanimously with all Council Members showing Consensus Level 3.
  2. General Public Comment Session and Partner Announcements

Mr. Bumstead announced that the last game will be played at McKenzie River Golf Course (Deerhorn). The area will become a housing development, which could be a future meeting topic.

Mr. Morgenstern announced that the Leaburg canal is down for maintenance for about a week.

Mr. Helms provided an update on Cougar reservoir. The refill is underway. A new clip system was installed on trash racks to prevent the same problem from recurring.

Mr. McWilliams volunteered at the drone flights on Deer Creek.

Ms. Dietz announced that there will be a webinar on April 21st, at 11:00 on drought and flood mitigation strategies.

Mr. McDowell returned from a trip to the Washington DC area and brought up how good the McKenzie River water quality is and that it cannot be taken for granted.

Mr. Stephen announced that the final BLM Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for Western Oregon are now available to the public, and open for a 30 day protest period. More information can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/rmpswesternoregon. Sarah Levy is the public affairs specialist for Western Oregon.

Mr. Cox wants to give a plug for the McKenzie River Trust. The McKenzie Memories event was great, and provided historical background that was helpful for insight for future.

Mr. Miller just came back from a national conference on using poplar trees. There are lots of applications for poplar as buffer crop. If anyone is aware of people in the area with small portable mills, send them Mr. Miller’s way.

Mr. Rivera announced that the ranger staff has been prioritizing projects for the year. As the hike up to Tamolitch is becoming more popular, it is also turning into major human waste issue. Rangers will be putting in a vault toilet at the trailhead, will replace trail bridges, and decrease trail tread. The trails manager has proposed to make a separate bike trail that is a bit further from river.

Ms. Albino wants Council members to know about the OSU Extension Ballot Measure to continue funding for the Extension Service. Also, bleeding hearts, trillium, and lady slippers are all blooming at the moment.

Mr. Patterson stated that his only comments are those submitted for action plan.

Public Comments:

Maryjane Snocker received a copy of the action plan and is unclear on the boundaries of the maps. She is looking for clarification of map boundaries. Mr. Weybright explained that while there may not be specific conservation actions proposed for the area where Ms. Snocker lives, the action plan does take into account the entire watershed and prioritizes areas in watershed for actual projects.

Ms. Toth announced that there will be a Naturescaping workshop on Sunday, April 24th and anyone interested needs to RSVP.

  1. Approval of March 10 Minutes

Mr. Bumstead called for consensus on approving the March 10th Council Meeting Minutes. All partners showed consensus level 3.

  1. Partner Announcements – made earlier during public comment period.
  2. Staff Reports

Ms. Weber reiterated Ms. Toth’s announcement about the Naturescaping Workshop to be held April 24th 1-4 pm. The first workshop was two weeks ago and had low turnout which is why RSVPs are required for the upcoming workshop. Ms. Weber and Mr. Weybright attended the RAC presentation, but were not successful with the application. An Environmental Education grant was submitted last Friday to the EPA, and a LOI for Spirit Mountain Community Fund was submitted. Ms. Weber is continuing to work with Mr. Weybright on the Payco (Deer Creek) and OWEB (Dehne) grants. The Annual Report has been completed and mailed out.

Mr. Demeter reports that the Education Program is getting busier this time of year. He started with Mohawk today, and will be back out with McKenzie HS tomorrow. Restoration Olympics with the Middle School Teams is coming up. Salmon Watch is planning the Salmon Celebration for September and will have a fundraiser. A new Steering Committee member is needed for Salmon Watch.

Mr. Weybright offered a thank you to Mr. McWilliams and Mr. Demeter for volunteering at the Deer Creek drone flight. There have been contracting issues at Deer Creek, but bids are being reviewed and coordination with EWEB regarding a power line is taking place. Another grant application for additional project funding will be submitted and it may end up phasing over two years. There will be a field trip to Cedar Creek with OSU and PSU working with TFT to use drones to monitor riparian projects. The plan is to compare the results from the drones, and to determine cost effectiveness with drones vs. on the ground verification. Project planning for the South Fork project in cooperation with McKenzie River Ranger District is finished. The Berggren Phase II report is done and submitted. The 3-year status report for the Middle McKenzie project is looking very well, particularly rearing habitat. Planting is currently taking place at two sites primarily (Cedar Creek, Berggren).

Ms. Wilson announced that this would be her last Council meeting for a while, so any logistics questions should be directed to Ms. Giangreco at melanie@mckenziewc.org.

  1. Strategic Action Plan
    Action requested:
    Review public comments and provide direction to staff on revisions. Consider extension of public comment period and final action May 12.

Mr. Weybright says he and Mr. Six have been moving forward on incorporating comments received regarding the Action Plan. The Staff is recommending that the comment period be extended to early May, and that final approval of the Action Plan be the topic for the May meeting. This will give more time to meet with other stakeholders, particularly Clearwater Coalition and Mohawk Watershed Partnership and to coordinate with coauthors.

Mr. Hledik raised a question related to the comments provided by Mr. Rutherford and asked Mr. Weybright if there were any comments that he thought could not be incorporated into the plan.
Mr. Weybright responded that most can be directly incorporated and that they were thoughtful comments offering a good perspective. Some comments might be incorporated or presented slightly differently, responses to some of the comments are still unknown, but should be able to be addressed in one way or another. Mr. Weybright will point out substantive changes that were not incorporated at the meeting in May. The Council was asked if there were any issues with the comments or anything they believed should not be incorporated.

Mr. Rutherford stated that he was not expecting the staff to incorporate everything, but that he wanted to express his thanks for the consideration of his comments.

Mr. Weybright and Council members expressed their thanks to Mr. Rutherford for the time he took to edit the Action Plan. In addition to responses to comments, Council staff will refine the majority of the maps within the Action Plan. Per Mr. Rutherford’s comments, staff will draft and add language concerning Department of State Lands managed lands in the sub-basin. Council staff will also be working with ODFW to address several comments regarding spring Chinook salmon.

Mr. Bumstead called for consensus on extending the comment period to May 6th. All Council Partners showed consensus level 3.

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

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