January 2017 Council Meeting Minutes


Meeting Minutes

MCKENZIE WATERSHED COUNCIL

 January 12, 2017

Springfield Utility Board, 223 A St. Suite F
Springfield

 

PRESENT: Council Partners: Diane Albino (Mohawk WP – facilitator), Mike McDowell (Resident Partner), Ralph Perkins (Upper Willamette SWCD), Dave Kretzing (Resident Partner), Randy Hledik (Wildish), Nate Day (McKenzie Schools), Dana Burwell for Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides), Chad Helms (USACE), Rod Fosback (NW Steelheaders) Brian Brazil (International Paper) Sue Zeni (Resident Partner), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser), Dave Kretzing (Resident Partner), Jeff Ziller (ODFW), Karl Morgenstern (EWEB), Ray Rivera for Terry Baker (USFS), Andy McWilliams (Resident Partner), Wade Stampe (Resident Partner), Daniel Dietz (MRT), Todd Miller (City of Springfield).

Staff: Jen Weber, Justin Demeter, Larry Six, Jared Weybright

Visitors: Chuck Tannenbaum (Clearwater Coalition), Nancy Toth (EWEB), Priscilla Woolverton (DEQ), Loren Leighton

ABSENT: Carol Ach (Resident Partner), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews), Steve Raymen (Resident Partner), Bob Bumstead (McKenzie Flyfishers), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner), Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides), Arlene Dietz (Rice Family Farms)

PROXIES: Wade Stampe for Arlene Dietz, Jeff Ziller for Bob Bumstead, Nate Day for Kurt Cox, Larry Six for Mark Schulze.

1. Introductions and Approval of Agenda
Diane Albino, Facilitator
Action Requested: Approved agenda- all partners showing consensus level 3

2. General Public Comment Session

No comments from the public.

3. Approval of December 2016 Minutes

Keir Miller and Wade Stampe need to be added to the absent list.

Jeff Ziller reminded MWC staff of the change from ODFW to ODF under Staff Reports on pg. 2.

Called for consensus on approving the October 2016 Council Meeting Minutes as modified.

Approved- all showing 3.

4. Partner Announcements

Keir Miller – will speak at the Clearwater Coalition meeting on January 23rd from 6-8:00 pm. He will join a panel of legislative speakers to explain proposed changes to FEMA floodplain regulations and answer public questions. The meeting will be held at the McKenzie Fire & Rescue Training Center in Leaburg.

Rod Fosback – the weir has been placed back into Whittaker Creek for steelhead brood stock collection.

Daniel Dietz – the McKenzie River Trust is forming a Friends of Finn Rock Reach group to help guide and inform public use and education-associated activities on the Finn Rock Reach property. The first meeting is being planned and will be held sometime in February or March 2017. If folks are interested in participating, they should contact Mr. Dietz at the MRT.

Jeff Ziller – EWEB will be restricting access to campgrounds at both Smith Reservoir and Trail Bridge Reservoir starting in March. These restrictions will impact planned ODFW releases of hatchery trout into both reservoirs. These fish will be stocked at different locations still to be determined. Mr. Ziller stated that the new 2017 ODFW angling regulations are out. The regulations included revisions that seek to improve consistency and create more year-around angling opportunities, including winter angling and bait options. ODFW is planning on simplifying salmon regulations for the 2018 regulations.

Chad Helms – Willamette Basin Fishery Science Review 2017 will be held on February 7-9th at the LaSells Stewart Center (875 SW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97331). The event is free, attendees just need to register ahead of time. Registration link <http://wfsr2017.ezregister.com>

Larry Six (for Steve Mealey) – The Friends of Leaburg Hatchery met today, 2/11/17, to review design options for the museum. The designs were created by a contractor, The Portico Group, out of Seattle. Price tags for the various designs range from $15-40 million. The next step is for Portico to prepare a final report, followed by a review from the landowner, Lane County. If approved by the County, the land could eventually be leased to Friends of Leaburg Hatchery, which would essentially be the green light for the project to move forward. Mr. Burwell agreed that the design options were very good but very expensive. Mr. Ziller commented that it is likely going to take a big-ticket funder to make the project move forward. Exhibits include drift boat history on the river, natural history, etc.

Andy McWillams – The Wayfarer Resort is completing a new website which will include links to multiple partners active in the McKenzie Sub-basin, such as the MWC, MRT, and the Clearwater Coalition. Mr. Williams is also looking forward to the PWP program in partnership with EWEB, MWC, and others.

Todd Miller – the City of Springfield, in partnership with Willamalane Parks and Recreation, will be opening up the new Mill Race path in south Springfield on January 19th. The 3-mile path will connect downtown Springfield with the Middle Fork Willamette Path. A portion of the path will parallel a riparian restoration project along the Mill Race funded through the Metro Wastewater Management Commission. He also noted that Joe Pishioneri has been appointed by the Mayor to be the Springfield representative on the Council.

Randy Hledik – Wildish has submitted an application to Lane County to rezone 63 acres of Wildish-owned land from Exclusive Farm Use (30-acre minimum) to Sand, Gravel & Rock Products classification. The parcel is located on the north side of the McKenzie River to the west of the city of Coburg. The parcel is directly adjacent to current Wildish gravel mining operations and will be incorporated into planned mining operations expected to begin in the near future. The 63-acre parcel is set back from the river approximately 2000 feet.

5. Staff Reports

Jennifer Weber – working on multiple education projects including lab reports for Springfield and Thurston HS focused on analyzing stream survey results from the Middle McKenzie Side Channel Project. Ms. Weber is currently participating in an OWEB stakeholder’s team, with the mission to help OWEB redesign their Outreach (education) application for the upcoming 2017 fall cycle. She is also assisting with project mapping and GIS work and has been completing limited fee-for-service design work with several private landowners. The fee-for-service work is landscape design on small acreage property done through the Pure Waters Partners program.

Justin Demeter – field education projects over the later part of December and early January have been rescheduled due to weather conditions. Mr. Demeter reported that he is currently completing reporting requirements for 2015-16 OWEB funding and working on 2017 project summaries for Mohawk and McKenzie High Schools. The Salmon Watch Volunteer appreciation party has been postponed twice due to weather conditions and will be rescheduled for a later date. Ninkasi has generously donated two cases of beer for the event.

Jared Weybright – recent work has largely focused on grant reporting requirements for OWEB and other funders. Mr. Weybright is also currently working closely with the USFS to develop a funding plan and complete project designs for the South Fork Floodplain Enhancement project. If funding and design development are successful, the plan is to implement the project in 2018. He attended the Within Our Reach conference in December, along with several other local partners including EWEB and MRT. The conference was sponsored by the Meyer Memorial Trust and was very well done, with good networking opportunities and presentations. The Deer Creek project was a featured in one of the break-out sessions focus on floodplain restoration projects on USFS lands. Mr. McDowell asked what the MWC role would be in the proposed South Fork project. Mr. Weybright replied that the partnership would be structured similarly to previous joint projects between the MWC-USFS with the MWC administering the funding and contracts with the private contractors and the USFS taking the lead on design and permitting. Implementation management would be a partnership.

6. Willamette Basin Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)

Speaker: Priscilla Woolverton,

Willamette Basin Coordinator,

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

 

What is a TMDL? The State of Oregon and DEQ have a number of different programs to address water quality (WQ). TMDL is one of these programs and works to inform other programs.

 

The Clean Water Act requires states to develop a list of water bodies with impaired WQ. Impaired is defined as meaning that the water body does not meet standards for identified uses such as drinking water, fish use, etc. Water bodies with impaired WQ are included on the state 303d list. Once water bodies are placed on the 303d list, DEQ is obligated to develop a TMDL addressing that impairment in that specific water body.

 

The TMDL is essentially a calculated pollution budget, i.e. how much pollution a water body can assimilate and still function. Development of the TMDL follows several basic steps. Polluters are defined as either a point or nonpoint source. Point source pollution can be roughly defined as pollution which comes out of the end of a pipe. Examples include storm water from municipalities such as Eugene and Springfield, wastewater plants and industrial sites. Point source polluters are given allocations and regulated through the permit system. Nonpoint sources are diffuse sources such as agriculture, forestry or run-off from rural residential properties. Nonpoint pollution is regulated through TMDLs.

 

All 19 of Oregon major river basins have streams included on the 303d list and thousands of TMDL’s. Within the McKenzie Sub-basin, there are a number of streams that are on the 303d list for temperature, and a number of TMDLs apply.

Mr. Hledik asked about variables used in TMDL calculations. Ms. Woolverton responded that TMDL development is largely based on modeling. TMDL’s are based on a specific segment of a stream for individual parameters like temperature. Separate TMDLs are created for each separate parameter as needed. DEQ is largely focused on temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, bacteria and certain toxins like mercury. Turbidity is another potential parameter that DEQ may be looking at in the near future.

 

Mr. McDowell asked how assessment is done for TMDL development, i.e. grab-samples vs. continuous monitoring. Ms. Woolverton responded that a variety of assessment methods are used including continuous monitoring. An example is continuous temperature monitoring which is used to calculate a 7-day running temperature average used for TMDL monitoring.

 

Mr. McDowell asked what work, if any, is done to test the accuracy of the TMDL modeling. Ms. Woolverton responded that DEQ has not done a lot of effectiveness monitoring associated with TMDL modeling and that is one area that they are seeking to improve. DEQ is largely focused on implementation. Mr. Kretzing stated that DEQ does try to calibrate their models when they have the opportunity to do so. For example, during the development of the McKenzie temperature TMDL’s, DEQ ran the model and tested results against USFS temperature monitoring completed in the upper McKenzie Sub-basin. When the data is available they do test the models.

 

Mr. Todd Miller asked for an explanation on how DEQ identifies sectors or industries as non-point polluters, and whether specific landowners or individuals are identified? Ms. Woolverton responded that individuals or specific landowners are not identified as non-point polluters. Identification of non-point source polluters is done by Designated Management Agencies (DMA). DMA’s are entities that have decision-making authority over large areas of land. Once identified, DMA’s have to develop an implementation plan to address WQ. These plans largely focus on implementing actions that literature shows will mitigate WQ impact. In most cases, this comes down to managing storm water. Ms. Woolverton stated that large agricultural landowners, for example, are included in the total load, but not specifically identified.

 

The McKenzie River is considered to have assimilative capacity – meaning that it is relatively clean and helps dilute other WQ impacts in the Willamette River. Temperature is the main concern TMDLs address in the McKenzie River Sub-basin. Within the sub-basin, there are many designated uses such as core cold habitat for native fish, bull trout habitat, and salmonid spawning. These uses can be seasonal in nature; the salmonid spawning use is a good example. The majority of the Sub-basin is listed for some kind of fish use.

 

DEQ adopted the Natural Conditions Criteria (NCC) as part of its development of TMDLs. NCCs account for the fact that streams have natural variability which effects parameters such as temperature. Specifically, when DEQ determined that a water body under natural conditions, without human impacts, could not meet the temperature standard, the natural temperatures became the goal for the waterbody. DEQ’s application of NCCs in developing temperature TMDLs was the basis for a lawsuit brought by Northwest Environmental Advocates in 2003 asserting that DEQ temperature TMDL’s violated the Clean Water Act. After ten years of litigation, a final order was issued last week affirming this lawsuit. This means that all of the streams in the McKenzie Sub-basin with temperature TMDL are no longer valid. DEQ will have to go back and reassess all the streams that have TMDLs developed using the NCC. The way that DEQ applied the NCC to the development of the temperature TMDL was the basis for litigation.

 

DEQ recently released the 2012 list of impaired water bodies for public review. The list includes over 700 streams listed for temperature using NCCs. Many of these will have to be redeveloped. All 31 of the McKenzie water bodies listed for temperature will have to be redeveloped. This does not change the implementation of nonpoint sources but may have a big impact on point sources in the McKenzie, i.e., fish hatcheries and International Paper.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is involved in the TMDL review process, adopting WQ standards and the 303d list. The EPA proposal process is now open for public review and participation is encouraged.

 

Ms. Reiter asked if streams that are covered by litigation will be reclassified from category 4 to category 5 (i.e. no TMDL developed). Ms. Woolverton responded yes, that is the case. Ms. Reiter stated that NCCs are more relevant to the laws of physics. For example, for large water bodies like the John Day, it is not possible to meet the cold water temperature standards.

 

Mr. Burwell stated that he was curious about the selection process for identifying water bodies with temperature impairment. For example Horse Creek (very cold steam with headwaters in Wilderness areas) is on the list, while Quartz Creek (a heavily logged watershed) is not. Ms. Woolverton responded that providing comments such as these to the EPA (with data) is an available option. Mr. Stampe stated that this was done 10 years ago during the formation of McKenzie TMDLs and did not seem to have an impact.

 

Ms. Woolverton stated that DEQ uses effective and potential shade as a surrogate measure for temperature. Meeting these effective shade targets is how DEQ tries to address temperature TMDLs.

 

Mr. Rivera asked if there is a way to provide comments on the EPA standards. Specifically are they open to changing the bull trout standards, which are not realistic. The existing bull trout spawning standard is applied to the whole South Fork McKenzie River, rather than just the specific sections that the species utilizes for spawning. The stream will never be delisted based on these temperature standards. Nature can’t meet the listing, and the USFS is criticized for the listing.

Ms. Reiter stated that TMDLs do not account for ecological conditions and emerging science such as primary production associated with open exposed areas of water bodies. Ms. Woolverton agreed that trying to take a mathematical model and apply it on the landscape is difficult and messy.

 

Mr. Kretzing asked what the best way is was to engage in the TMDL review and WQ standards process. Ms. Woolverton stated that developing WQ monitoring is a great way to do that. DEQ can help watershed councils and Soil & Water Conservation Districts expand WQ monitoring efforts. Data can be used by DEQ if it meets quality control standards.

Mr. Morgenstern stated that EWEB partners with the USGS to monitor water quality in the McKenzie River Sub-basin and asked if this data is used by DEQ. Ms. Woolverton stated that in general when it is available, the DEQ does use USGS data, but is not sure that EWEB data was used in this case.

Mr. Morgenstern asked how DEQ sources WQ data from other agencies and organizations. Ms. Woolverton stated that DEQ generally takes a passive approach with an open call for data, and then waits to see what is submitted.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:30 pm.

Next Meeting 5:00 pm, February 9, 2017, at Weyerhaeuser.

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