OFFICIAL MINUTES
Clearwater River Watershed District
Board of Managers Work Session
March 25th, 2015 - 6:30PM
City Hall, Kimball, MN

Chair Schiefelbein called the special meeting to order at 6:09pm. Managers Paul DeGree, Jeff Golden, Kathy Jonsrud, Robert Rocheleau and Robert Schiefelbein were present. Also in attendance were: Ron Graham, Chris Uecker, Engineer Rebecca Kluckhohn, Engineer Norm Wenck, Advisor Merle Anderson, and Acting Administrator Cole Loewen.

Motion #SM15-3-1: Golden/DeGree, moved to adopt the agenda, with the change of switching item #4 – Managers' Plans for 2015, with item #3.4 – Rules & Regulations, Policies. All Managers voted aye.

Strategic Planning Discussion
Acting Administrator Loewen presented an overview of several topics, which included:

  1. Problems facing the District's waters
  2. Progress made to address these problems
  3. Review of District activities for the past five years
  4. Review of last year's strategic planning session
  5. Comments received from solicited groups on District strategic planning
  6. Potential Projects & Programs for the District to undertake and/or continue
  7. Managers' Plans for 2015
Open discussion was held throughout, with extra time given for discussion after each topic.

Ron Graham left the meeting at 7:56pm.

Manager's Plans for 2015

Motion #SM15-3-2: Golden/DeGree, moved to adopt the following tables as the District's 1) priority issues, 2) implementation strategies, and 3) managers' plans for 2015. All Managers voted aye.

Management Priority Issues for 2015

Category

Descriptions

Agricultural Watershed Loads

Agriculture is a dominant land use and makes up a large portion of watershed loads to impaired lakes and streams. CRWD will address watershed nutrient 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.

Civic Engagement

CRWD recognizes that civic engagement is a key strategy to accomplishing water quality improvements. As such, the District continues to evaluate and invest in civic engagement, leveraging resources from other entities and sources when possible.

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.

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 District waters, making it difficult to meet water quality goals (especially in many of the CRWD's shallow lakes). Effective management of rough fish by the CRWD in the past has included: aggressive harvesting programs, managing lakes to promote winter kills, and managing migration and spawning of rough fish. CRWD will continue to manage rough fish populations.
  2. Lakeshore & Streambank Erosion: Erosion impacts water quality and ecological health by speeding up eutrophication. The CRWD will focus on maintaining healthy banks by preventing bank destabilization and its associated water quality / habitat issues. Riparian buffering will be pursued where possible. The CRWD will continue its healthy lakeshore grants as well.
  3. Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS): While an issue generally best tackled on a regional level, the CRWD is involved when lake associations wish to fund projects to address AIS by acting as the fiscal agent. The CRWD will also seek to support lake association's efforts to control and prevent the spread of AIS when possible.


Implementation Strategies for 2015

Leverage grant funding to maximum extent possible.

Focus on projects that have highest cost/benefit, as measured by $ / lb. of pollutant (such as phosphorus or sediment)

Prioritize upper watershed in order to achieve biggest "bang for the buck."

Carefully consider "Opportunistic Projects": projects advanced through citizen support, projects raised by other partners, etc.

Maximize opportunities for civic engagement:

  1. Look for opportunities to improve relations with other governmental units,
  2. Consider undertaking additional activities, such as 1) public opinion surveys, 2) mailers and newsletters, 3) hiring journalist or communications firm, 4) develop items for school students to take home to parents after attending District programming


Managers' Plans for 2015

New Project / Program / Activity

Plan and notes

Clearwater River Restoration & Protection Phase II

Plan: Update existing bacteria and sediment source inventory in the upper watershed through desktop survey and field reconnaissance; prioritize and implement BMPs to address sources based on this inventory
Notes: Clean Water Partnership Grant has been applied for; targets reduction in total suspended solids concentrations of 20% and E-Coli concentrations of 50%

Lake Betsy Internal Load Reduction Project

Plans: On hold for 2015
Notes: Feasibility study completed; additional water monitoring to better quantify internal loading completed; this is the last priority project to be implemented from the District's WMP

Theil Creek Stabilization

Plans: Assist Stearns County SWCD as this project moves into next phase
Notes: Work is focused on hydrological assessment and implementing BMPs to help to control flow and minimize erosion

District Incentive Program Review

Plans: Conduct a review of the District incentive program to determine changes to improve program's effectiveness

Clear Lake North Weir Retrofit / Upper Watershed Soluble Phos. Abatement

Plans: conduct feasibility study to retrofit this v-notch weir with a soluble phosphorus treatment element; conduct feasibility study to implement several soluble phosphorus treatment BMPs at other locations; upon completion of feasibility studies, implement recommended retrofit actions
Notes: Similar to sand-iron filter at Clear Lake South Notch Weir

Current(Active) Project / Program / Activity

Plan and notes

AIS Control Projects

Plans: Work with partner lake associations to conduct treatment of AIS as needed (where District projects have been established); support partner lake associations' efforts to control and prevent the spread of AIS

Alternative Tile Intake Project

Plans: implement cost-share program to replace open tile intakes with alternatives that result in removing surface connection
Notes: Lowers amount of pollution export while maintaining drainage

Cedar, Albion, Swartout, Henshaw P#06-1

Plans: Maintain Segner Pond (including limestone berm) as needed; rough fish seining as needed (from lakes and temporary trap); maintain fish barriers as needed; treat curly-leaf pondweed as needed; complete construction of Cedar Lake Watershed Protection & Improvement Project

Civic Engagement

Plans: Attend civic group and LGU meetings; update general brochure; update event displays; attend Annandale Business Expo; install signage for Kimball Stormwater projects; conduct watershed tour; continue to implement social media outreach; oversee school outreach being conducted by third-party consultant for the Kingston Wetland Project
Notes: Other than school outreach, remainder of activities are subject to change

Clearwater River Chain of Lakes (1980) Restoration Project

Plans: conduct operation and maintenance on components as needed
Notes: work includes 1) rough fish removal, 2) vegetation control on wetland system berms, 3) aerator building maintenance, 4) repair breaches / low spots in berms, 5) fencing, and other items not noted

District Annual Inspection Program

Plans: Inspect components of each on-the-ground District project; undertake efforts to maintain operational effectiveness; conduct in-depth analysis on the District's wetland treatment systems, starting with Annandale Wetland
Notes: Normally done in the spring; inspection report created

Kimball Stormwater Treatment

Plans: complete outstanding construction items; draft project report and O&M plan; host celebration event; closeout project
Notes: This is an O&M activity for the Chain of Lakes Restoration Project

Kingston Wetland Feasibility Study & Restoration

Plans: Finish maintenance activities; implement school education program; draft project report and O&M plan; closeout project
Notes: This is an O&M activity for the Chain of Lakes Restoration Project

Mississippi River (St. Cloud) Watershed

Plans: Continue partnership to develop agricultural working groups in the 8-digit watershed

Special Project

Notes: As opportunities / needs arise, the District may implement (or may be petitioned) a special project. In either case, work plans are then developed; MN Statutes 103D governs the steps the District must take to implement a special project, including petitioned projects

Targeted Fertilizer Application Reduction

Plans: Continue partnership with agricultural cooperatives in enrolling producers in program; soil-testing and GPS-aided application; continue civic education; begin drafting final project report
Notes: around 14,000 acres have been enrolled so far

Water Quality Monitoring Program

Plans: Conduct lake, stream and additional supplemental monitoring to establish trends, set goals, determine targeted implementation of programs and projects, and evaluate their effectiveness
Notes: Number of sampling sites, frequency, the type of monitoring and supplemental activities are determined annually before spring

Watkins Area Stormwater Treatment

Plans: Develop concepts; host Technical Evaluation Panel; develop designs and begin permitting process
Notes: This is a priority project in the District's WMP


Rules & Regulations, Policies
Acting Administrator Loewen reviewed the draft amendments to the District's Rules & Regulations received from the District's Attorney. After discussion, the Board instructed staff to revise the amendments by removing any sections and verbiage related to a permitting program, and to present the revised copy at the Board's April 8, 2015 regular meeting.

Other Items
Under other items, Acting Administrator Loewen and Engineer Kluckhohn reviewed the technical memo drafted by engineering staff to review the City of Annandale's Stormwater Improvement Project being undertaken as part of their street improvement work along Cherry Ave. The Board instructed staff to contact the city to review the memo's suggestions with city staff.

Also under other business, Acting Administrator Loewen posed the question of whether the District-owned property in and east of the City of Watkins should be rented out for farming for 2015, given that this property is the site for the future Watkins Area Stormwater Treatment Project, which is now underway. Since construction at this site is very unlikely this year, the Board instructed staff to rent out the land for 2015.

Motion #SM15-3-3: Rocheleau/DeGree, moved to adjourn at 9:16pm. All Managers voted aye.

THESE MINUTES ARE AVAILABLE AT: www.crwd.org
CRWD AUDIT REPORTS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE ANNANDALE PUBLIC LIBRARY

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Chairman, Bob Schiefelbein

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Secretary, Paul DeGree