CME Minutes

September 9, 2010

St. Ignatius, MT

 

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

 

FIIP:  Gordon Wind, Pete Plant, RaLynn Brown

 

Staff:  Alan Mikkelsen

 

Visitors: Paul Hunsucker, Kathy Emerson, Karen Claffey, Richard Prongua, Ted Hein, Wayne Blevins

 

Chairman Steve Hughes called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm.  A roll call was ordered and all CME members were present. 

 

Lloyd Irvine moved that the minutes be approved as presented.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

 

Pete Plant presented the FIIP hydrology report.  He presented reservoir levels, which are above normal for the Mission Valley reservoirs.  He said that irrigation deliveries would cease in most areas of the Project on September 15.  Stock water will still be delivered through October 15, where available.  Stock water deliveries will cease prior to freezeup.  Gordon Wind responded to a question from Leroy Dumontier regarding K canal stock water deliveries.  Gordon said that K canal would operate normally this fall and there would be no early shutoff.  Kerry Doney urged that the Project make sure all people were treated equally in shutoffs. 

 

Dan Emerson asked about carryover water in Pablo reservoir.  Pete said that McDonald water would be sent to Pablo after shutoff and that Tabor water would be moved after November 15 to Kicking Horse and Ninepipe reservoirs.  Pete said that he believed that between the limited operation of the Flathead River Pumping Plant and gravity water, Pablo should have close to 10,000 acre feet of carryover. 

 

Gordon Wind noted that switch gear at the Flathead River Pumping Plant is in need of upgrading.  One pump has not been able to be started all summer because of defective switch gear.  While FIIP is working on temporary fixes, Gordon noted that the only long term fix is to modernize the switching gear, which would cost approximately $180,000. 

 

Gordon Wind begin the O&M report with a discussion of upcoming maintenance projects.  After irrigation shut off on September 15, ditch rider crews will be assigned maintenance duties.  Gordon and Pete will be prioritizing projects in the next two weeks, but Gordon noted that the first two projects for this fall will be the installation of fish screens at Placid Creek and a siphon structure at E canal and Finley Creek.  These two projects are grant funded and have been on the BIA list for installation for five years or more.  The grants are expiring by the end of this year and the work needs to be done before the grants expire. 

 

Gordon noted that Safety of Dams (SOD) is asking BIA money for Crow Dam issues before the end of this fiscal year.  Gordon is hopeful that funding will be supplied to make temporary repairs to the spillway and to fix the lower gate.  Gordon noted that Mike Brown was also asking for a pump to pass instream flows, allowing work on the gates. 

 

Walt Schock asked about the trailer Gordon had e-mailed the CME for purchase approval.  Gordon said that the trailer had been bought and should be picked up in the next two weeks.  Walt also asked about waste water control this year.  Gordon said that it appeared from fisheries information that FIIP still had a long way to go in getting better control of return flows.  Pete Plant said that crews were becoming more aware of the necessity of monitoring, measuring and controlling return flows.  He said that until water measurement and control structures were improved, it would be difficult to see substantial betterment. 

 

Karen Claffey presented her case for reimbursement from a 1991 canal break on the Pablo Feeder Canal on her property.  She has not been able to get resolution of the issue for 19 years and is very frustrated.  Gordon Wind noted that the transfer contract clearly states that past liabilities are a responsibility of the BIA.  Chairman Hughes said that the CME will work with BIA to try to resolve the issue.  He appointed himself, Ron Trahan Gordon Wind and Alan Mikkelsen to work with Chuck Courville to resolve the Claffey issue. 

 

Gordon Wind discussed CME financial issues.  He asked if it would be possible for the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, or in their absence, any other member, to visit FIIP at least every two weeks to sign checks.  Both Steve Hughes and Ron Trahan said that would not be a problem.  Gordon noted that he would prefer that rather than have pre-signed checks in the office. 

 

In response to a question from Walt Schock, RaLynn Brown said that there was a mistake on her part in transferring funds and that it would not happen again.  She said that it had been taken care of.  In response to a question from Alan Mikkelsen, Gordon Wind said that Michelle Littleboy was working on getting the assessment lists to the counties. 

 

Alan Mikkelsen reported on the September 2, 1010 Implementation Committee (IC) meeting. He said that a great deal of discussion had taken place on the IC process and communications.  Process and communications are to be discussed at the next IC meeting.  He said that Gordon Wind emphasized the ability of the FIIP to engineer and construct facilities.  He said that FIIP needed help in permitting, however.  Gordon proposed that the CSKT be approached to see if the services of Rose Leach, CSKT NEPA Coordinator, could be secured to help FIIP with the permitting process.  Les Evarts said he would follow up with the possibility of Rose Leach doing that kind of work.  Alan also said that monitoring issues were discussed and it was noted that this was also something Rose could help with.  He said that financial issues and funding requests were discussed.  Cheryl Finley of BIA is going to follow up on those issues.  Alan said that Les Evarts noted that with the new CME operations and personnel, the need to make changes to the K canal diversion and fish ladder may not be necessary.  He said the new operator was much more willing to work with CSKT fisheries to meet their needs than the former operator.   Alan said there would be another IC meeting sometime around October 15. 

 

Under CME business, Gordon reported on the trailer purchase, and a possible purchase of a small compacter.  He said a new compacter was about $25,000, and FIIP had offered $14,500 for a repossessed compacter.  He said they are waiting to hear from the bank on the offer.  There is approximately $70,000 left in the FJBC $500,000 commitment for new machinery.  Gordon and RaLynn said that the new phone system should be operational by September 15. 

 

The access issue discussed last month was brought up for a decision.  Ted Hein said that he believed that the Camas ditch riders had time to open and shut swinging steel gates.  After CME discussion on the proposed access policy, including comment from Ted Hein asking for a one month delay, Dan Emerson moved that the proposed access policy be adopted.  Leroy Dumontier seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

 

Alan Mikkelsen said that personnel policy will have an initial discussion next month. 

 

Dan Emerson discussed water leasing policy.  After considerable discussion and comment, it was decided that this issue needed research of the CFR’s, contracts and the BIA irrigation manual.  Chairman Hughes requested that Alan Mikkelsen pull together information on the issue for further discussion. 

 

A discussion was held on taking land in and out of the Project, especially trust land.  Gordon said he would respond to the CSKT letters requesting information.  Alan Mikkelsen noted that was also an issue that would require additional research. 

 

In response to the need for CME legal counsel, Gordon said the FIIP budget contained $10,000 for professional services, but he did not budget any money for legal fees. 

 

In public comment, Ted Hein commented on water transfer or leasing, asked about Camas DSL service to the Camas water camp, repair work in the Camas A diversion, and seasonal employment. 

 

At 3:30 pm an executive session was called to discuss personnel issues.  Open session resumed at 4:00 pm. 

 

Lloyd Irvine moved to amend to probationary period for all employees from six months to one year.  Leroy Dumontier seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.  Gordon said that he would be making recommendations by the November CME meeting for year-end bonuses for outstanding employees. 

 

The next regular CME meeting was scheduled for October 7, 2010, at 1:00 pm.  Lunch will be available for CME members at 12:00 pm.