May 2017 Council Meeting Minutes


McKenzie Watershed Council

May 11, 2017

Weyerhaeuser Office Bldg.

Springfield, OR


PRESENT: Council Partners: Carol Ach (Resident Partner), Diane Albino (Mohawk Watershed Partnership), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner), Nate Day (McKenzie Schools), Arlene Dietz (Rice Family Farms), Chad Helms (Army Corps of Engineers), Randy Hledik (Wildish), Dave Kretzing (Resident Partner), Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides), Keir Miller (Lane County), Todd Miller (City of Springfield), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser), Andy McWilliams(Resident Partner), Suzanne Schindler (McKenzie River Ranger District), Emily Semple (Eugene City Council), Mark Stephen (BLM), Nancy Toth (EWEB), Jeff Ziller (ODFW) and Sue Zeni (Resident Partner).


STAFF: Jared Weybright, Justin Demeter, Amanda Gilbert and Larry Six.


VISITORS: Jeannine Parisi (EWEB presenter), Charles Tannenbaum (Clearwater Coalition) and August Jackson (Mt. Pisgah Arboretum).


ABSENT: Bob Bumstead (McKenzie Flyfishers), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Rod Fosback (Northwest Steelheaders), Ralph Perkins (Upper Willamette SWCD), Steve Raymen (Resident Partner), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews), and Wade Stampe (Resident Partner).


PROXIES: Jeff Ziller for Bob Bumstead, Arlene Dietz for Ralph Perkins, Dave Kretzing for Mark Schulze, Chad Helms for Wade Stampe, Kurt Cox for Mike McDowell, Maryanne Reiter for Brian Brazil.


The proposed agenda was approved as written, all members showing consensus level 3.



There were no public comments.


Todd Miller noted that the minutes should reflect that he was present as a guest. Also, Mr. Miller proposed that the following sentence be deleted, under Joe Pishioneri comments on p. 2: “While it was good to have the capacity for that, they are working on increasing capacity further.”

The minutes as amended were approved with all members showing consensus level 3.



Randy Hledik – June will be my last meeting since I will be retiring. Libby Morrison was hired to replace me at Wildish and will be my replacement on the council representing the sand and gravel industry. Ms. Morrison is highly qualified and did her graduate work on reclamation of sand and gravel operations.

Maryanne Reiter – I recently observed the San Juan River in the Southwest which was turbid, and noted the contrast with the clear McKenzie River.

Chad Helms – The reservoirs are full, and the first Chinook showed up at Fall Creek.

Suzanne Schindler – Ray Rivera recently met with DEQ to discuss permits and is working on USACE/DSL for permits to conduct the South Fork restoration work.

Mark Stephen – The McKenzie Landscape EA is out and we are responding to public comments.

Kurt Cox – I recently hiked up and observed the Deer Creek restoration work and suggest that other members take a look.

Nate Day – Thanks to Justin for his work with McKenzie Schools under the SPARC and WATERS programs.

Nancy Toth – The diversion of water into the Walterville Canal will stop for annual maintenance during June 10-23. Construction begins at Carmen/Smith at the end of this month. Several of us, including Jared, participated in a TNC-sponsored workshop in New Mexico recently. The focus of the workshop was creation of water funds, which is a way for downstream water users to pay for conservation and restoration efforts upriver. It was a well-run workshop that provided good information and contacts.

Todd Miller – I co-chair a statewide group of wastewater managers which has been asked by EPA for comments on how to reduce EPA’s regulatory burden. The group urged EPA to give the state more latitude in implementing requirements.

Emily Semple – I was able to get the City of Eugene to add $2,000 to its contribution to the council this coming budget year, for a total of $12,000. This is for one year, and the council will have to submit a report on how the money was used.

Andy McWilliams – The McKenzie Masters meets one week from today at the Wayfarers Inn. The group is expected to contribute $2,000 to Salmon Watch, the Salmon Celebration, and the river cleanup.

Carol Ach – Organic Redneck’s roadside farm stand opened at the end of April.

Jeff Ziller – Spring Chinook returns are pretty dismal so far this year. The water warmed to 56 degrees on May 5, and about 1,500 fish came over the falls. But counts decreased after that despite continued warm water conditions. ODFW conducted rainbow spawning surveys in early May on Deer and Marten creeks. It took five people five hours to wade through lower Deer Creek because of all of the large wood in the system. We counted a dozen redds. We counted 14 redds on Marten Creek, a little more than past years.

Jeannine Parisi – The EWEB Board will meet in a planning session next Tuesday starting at 8:00 a.m. in the North Building. This meeting is open to the public.



Justin Demeter announced that there will be an open house/tour at BWCA on May 25 geared toward the partners of Springfield Public School students participating in the Councils WATER’s program. The Watershed Olympics event for middle schools participating in WATERS will be held June 1 at BWCA. At the June council meeting, students from the WATERS program will be presenting. Next Tuesday, the council will receive recognition from Mohawk High School for its work with students. Seven classes have already been scheduled for Salmon Watch this fall; the early start this year is in response to feedback from participating teachers who have said that it is easier to schedule field trips at this time of the year as opposed to summer or the start of the school year in the fall.


Salmon Watch is considering several different fundraising opportunities after a successful meeting with a representative of Cow Creek Indian Foundation. The first is a Bottle Drop program which allows individuals to return bottles and cans that hold a deposit, with proceeds going to Salmon Watch. The other potential fundraising would focus on asking individuals for automated monthly contributions. The steering committee is exploring how this program would be structured and will report back when the process is clear.


Jared Weybright said that he thought the New Mexico workshop was very useful especially the lessons learned from other places that have implemented water funds in Central and South America. We submitted a grant application to OWEB on May 1 for $323,000 to partially fund the South Fork Floodplain Enhancement Project. The total requested for Phase I of that project is nearly $2 million. We will begin hearing about grant decisions beginning in June. The UO ELP students are working on Deer Creek and Camp Creek to field test monitoring protocols for floodplain enhancement work developed by USFS staff.




Steve Mealey of the Friends of the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery gave a PowerPoint presentation on the status of a proposed interpretive center to be built near the old hatchery. Planning efforts by McKenzie River guides began in 2007. The vision is to build a world-class facility that would showcase the unique hydrologic features of the upper McKenzie River, the history of the development of the McKenzie drift boat, and the ecological features of the Sub-basin, including fish. The center would be equivalent in quality to the High Desert Museum near Bend, but would showcase the wet forests of Western Oregon. The plan is to phase in construction as funds are available. Phase I would cost about $16 million and would pay for some initial exhibits; total cost for the entire envisioned center would be about $43 million. They hope to break ground in 2021.


The Friends met with stakeholders and Jan Coleman in 2012; Jan prepared a proposal document based on that meeting. A feasibility study was conducted by Bob Parker of UO which estimated that about 35,000 – 50,000 would visit each year. Then Portico Group was hired to develop a site plan which is the subject of the PowerPoint slide show. The slides provided some detail on the preferred alternative which would be to build the main structure in the shape of a drift boat. There are several old river channels on the site and these would be reconnected to the river and incorporated into the design. The old hatchery will be restored as part of the proposal and may be operational.


Lane County Board of Commissioners recently approved a lease option for 99 years to allow development of the center. There were several questions including access off Highway 126. Steve responded that the Friends met with ODOT for early planning and feasibility discussions.




Jeannine Parisi of EWEB presented tentative plans for development of a second drinking water source. Most communities have a redundant water source in the event of a disaster but Eugene does not. The sole source is the McKenzie River intake at Hayden Bridge. Options for an additional water source include groundwater, rivers or interties with neighboring water providers. The proposed alternative is to establish a second source on the Willamette River, just below the confluence of Coast Fork and Middle Fork tributaries. The utility has a 20 million gallon/day water right and has purchased property where the intake facilities would be located. All of the restoration and conservation projects associated with the Willamette Confluence Project occurring just upstream of the proposed intake will be beneficial to water quality. The water treatment criteria include 1) the same or better water quality as the McKenzie, 2) ability to treat for special contaminants, including algal blooms, and 3) a treatment process similar to Hayden Bridge. The new source would have a capacity of about 19 mgd, compared to Hayden Bridge capacity of 80 mgd. The new plant would be operated daily or near-daily schedule (4-5 days per week) and about 1-2 mgd would be mixed with McKenzie water. The estimated cost of the new source is about $70 million.



The Executive Committee recommended the reappointment of Carol Ach to another 3-year term as Resident Partner. The council approved the appointment, with all members showing consensus level 3.



             Kurt Cox of the Alliance Board reported that the Board decided to promote Jared Weybright to serve in this capacity after Larry’s pending retirement in September. The council approved the appointment, with all members showing consensus level 3.