CME Minutes

July 8, 2010

St. Ignatius, MT


Present:  Steve Hughes, Lloyd Irvine, Walt Schock, Kerry Doney, Leroy Dumontier, Ron Trahan, Leonard Gray (via phone), Dan Emerson


Staff:  Alan Mikkelsen, Ranald McDonald


FIIP:  Gordon Wind, Pete Plant, RaLynn Brown


Visitors:  Richard Prongua, Diane Prongua, Bill Howell, Kathy Emerson


The meeting was called to order by Chairman Steve Hughes at 11:00 am.  Roll call was conducted by secretary Alan Mikkelsen, with all CME members reporting present, Leonard Gray participating by telephone. 


At 11:05 am, the Chair called for an executive session to discuss legal issues concerning Crow Dam and FIIP funding issues with Ranald McDonald, Alan Mikkelsen, Gordon Wind and Pete Plant. 


A working lunch was served and the executive session ended at 12:55 pm.  Gordon Wind, Steve Hughes, Ron Trahan and Alan Mikkelsen will meet to discuss and make recommendations for funding option levels.  Ranald McDonald left the meeting. 


The regular monthly meeting of the CME was convened at 1:00 pm.  Walt Schock moved to approve the minutes.  Lloyd Irvine seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


The FIIP report began with Pete Plant giving a hydrology report.  He reported that all Mission Valley and Jocko Reservoirs are full or at restricted levels.  Water has been spilling and non-quota water has been available for the past two weeks, but quota deliveries are expected to begin by July 9.  Pete is expecting another 20,000 acre feet from runoff.  The Mission Valley quota remains at .7 acre foot/acre, until a clearer picture of demand emerges. 


Gordon Wind and Alan Mikkelsen reported on the meeting with Congressman Rehberg and Gordon gave the CME board the same Power Point presentation that was given to Congressman Rehberg on July 7.  Special emphasis was put on Crow Dam needs, as well as the imminent danger of failure of the Camas A diversion, Pablo feeder canal lining, Kicking Horse-Ninepipe drop structure, as well as the Crow Pump siphon.  The failures of the Camas A diversion will result in loss of water for virtually all of the Camas Division, the Pablo Feeder Canal failure will impact 38,000 acres and the Kicking Horse-Ninepipe drop failure will impact 28,000 acres.  Gordon noted that funding for Crow Dam repairs was being sought from outside the Project.  This will be a large and costly repair.  The lower cylinder gate at Crow failed and is inoperable.  It needs repair and the upper and lower gates need regular inspection.  He is advocating in Safety of Dams meetings that pumps be acquired to pass the instream flow and allow inspection of the outlet works and gates. 


Gordon Wind also reviewed ongoing maintenance issues, and discussed two dump trucks that the Project has found and is having inspected in California.  If the trucks pass inspection, he requested permission, via an e-mail poll, to acquire the trucks.  The trucks are 12 yard, 400 horsepower, 13 speed manual transmissions, with trailer hook ups, and around 125,000-145,000 miles.  They have been used by a public agency and have had regular maintenance.  If both trucks are purchased, the seller has indicated that they may be shipped free of charge.  The cost of each truck is approximately $25,000.  The CME will be using money supplied by the FJBC for these purchases.  Gordon said that if the trucks pass inspection, he would notify the CME and seek approval via e-mail to proceed with the purchase. 


RaLynn Brown presented the financial report.  She said she would try to have the report included in the CME mailing for the regular monthly meeting in the future.  She noted that health insurance costs were somewhat skewed because of start-up payments, but that future reports would correct that. 


Ron Trahan left for other commitments.


Gordon Wind discussed a proposed 2011 budget and assessment rate.  He noted that while there was a substantial savings on personnel costs, there was also workman’s comp and liability insurance costs for the new CME organization.  All the personnel savings were offset with those costs, increased fuel, supplies, concrete and materials such as headgates and pipe. 


Kerry Doney and Leroy Dumontier discussed the Jocko N canal and the lack of water available for irrigation after the imposition of instream flows.  They feel that an adjustment in O&M rates for that area is warranted.  There is about 210 acres of private and 40 acres of tribal/trust land involved.  Alan Mikkelsen suggested that there were opportunities for individual reduced rates, depending on water delivery constraints, that could be explored with the Project manager. 


After the presentation by Gordon Wind, Dan Emerson moved that the 2011 O&M assessment rate be set at $25.50 per acre, noting the need for repairs on the Camas A diversion, the Pablo feeder canal lining and the Kicking Horse-Ninepipe drop structure.  Leonard Gray seconded the motion. 


During discussion, Richard Prongua voiced his opposition to any increase, and Leroy Dumontier and Kerry Doney urged that the rate be left the same for the first year and that the CME should proceed slowly.  Leonard Gray said that project needs were very clear and said that good things were being accomplished by the new management and crews and this was not a time to step back, particularly with the pressing needs that were discussed.  Chairman Steve Hughes suggested that perhaps the motion could be tabled for a month.  Lloyd Irvine made a subsidiary motion that the topic of the 2011 rate increase be tabled for one month.  Leroy Dumontier seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-1, Leonard Gray dissenting. 


While there were no technical reports, Alan Mikkelsen noted that he has received several calls on Crow Reservoir and Ninepipe-Kicking Horse Reservoirs from concerned bass fishermen.  He noted that while the focus of the Project was on bull trout and west slope cutthroat trout protection and restoration, a large portion of the public also was very concerned about viable warm water fisheries in other reservoirs.  Chairman Hughes expressed a strong desire for the CSKT fisheries program to have a representative at the regular monthly CME meetings.  Lloyd Irvine and Leroy Dumontier said they would be meeting with the CSKT Tribal Council and would make that request. 


Gordon Wind began a discussion of access and fencing issues for Project facilities.  Alan Mikkelsen distributed CFR policy/rules.  Gordon recommended that the CME identify major canals, then major laterals and finally service ditches that needed to accessed by ditchriders.  The major canal and laterals would be the first priority for the Project to reclaim their rights of way and access on.  Discussion was held on the installation of cattle guards and costs.  Alan Mikkelsen suggested that the process should be to review, then consider solutions, then adopt an action plan.  Chairman Hughes appointed Kerry Doney and Leroy Dumontier to work with Gordon Wind on a policy for access to main canals and laterals. 


Alan Mikkelsen said that he and Gordon Wind would be working on a drug policy.  Chairman Hughes requested that two policies be considered at each meeting until the policy handbook was completed. 


Walt Schock left the meeting for other commitments. 


Alan Mikkelsen presented information on a CME sign, to be placed above the FJBC sign, indicating the CME meeting room.  Dan Emerson moved that the sign be purchased, with a $500 limit on costs.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried, 6-0. 


Richard Prongua requested that enough copies of materials be made to distribute to audience members.  There was a discussion on public comment during the meeting.  It was suggested that it be left to the discretion of the chair, but a large number of public comments could have a time limit placed upon them. 


Gordon Wind requested an executive session at 4:50 pm to discuss a personnel issue with the PERS.  Meeting returned to open session at 5:05 pm. 


The next regular CME meeting will be held on August 5, 2010, at 1:00 pm, at the CME meeting room in St. Ignatius. 


Meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm.