CME Meeting

February 10, 2011

St. Ignatius, MT

 

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

 

FIIP:  Gordon Wind, RaLynn Brown

 

Staff:  Alan Mikkelsen, Seth Makepeace

 

Visitors:  Oliver Dupuis, Kendall Dupuis, Richard Prongua, Ted Hein, Paul Hunsucker, Dick Erb, Quality Supply (see attendee list) 

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by Chairman Hughes.

 

A roll call was ordered, with all CME members in attendance, Dan Emerson via telephone. 

 

Ron Trahan moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

 

The meeting agenda was changed to allow visitors to make presentations.  Quality Supply presented information on automated/remote gate openers that could possibly be used on Project rights of way, instead of cattleguards.  They have installed a demonstration gate at Project Headquarters and invited the CME to look at it. 

 

Gordon Wind began the Project report by saying that Pete Plant was absent due to serious family illness and that Seth Makepeace had agreed to make a hydrology presentation in place of Pete Plant. 

 

Gordon Wind reported that ditch cleaning and tree and brush removal were going forward with three crews clearing brush and trees.  Two crews are in the Mission Valley working on the Pablo Feeder Canal and another crew is in the Jocko Division.  Gordon said that landowners had expressed some concern about the activities.  The Project is working with the CSKT to ensure that proper clearances have been received on CSKT and trust land, and are working to notify private landowners, also.  Gordon said that the Project had a Categorical Exclusion to clean trees and brush, as long as they stayed in the original disturbance zone of the canal or ditch. 

 

Gordon Wind said there was a small crew doing precast structures at the Ninepipe camp.  Gordon also noted that they had been in contact with a new headgate supplier and the Project may be able to purchase 12” headgates for approximately $378 each, versus over $700 for Waterman headgates.  Gordon said it appeared that the gates were of the same quality as Waterman gates. 

 

Gordon Wind said that the pumping plant crew had finished coating the implellers and were working on hooking power up to proof the switch gear mechanisms that had been taken apart, cleaned and reinstalled.  Ron Lagerquist from Eastern Electric will be here next week to help in the test. 

 

Gordon Wind said that the Project plans to repair the Pablo Feeder Canal liner that was removed last fall, before water starts to run this spring.  He said they also intend to repair the Crow Creek Pump Canal siphon under the railroad tracks this spring.  Gordon said that the Kicking Horse-Ninepipe Feeder Canal spillway chute may have the foundation grouted this spring, pending a more permanent repair. 

 

Gordon Wind said there were 8 employees on seasonal furlough. 

 

Seth Makepeace arrived and presented a Project water supply forecast.  Seth encouraged the Project to send their reservoir elevation levels to NRCS in order to allow NRCS to more accurately prepare a Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) for FIIP. 

 

Seth Makepeace said there was a good chance for above average streamflows.  Project reservoirs are at much higher levels than their historical averages.  Pablo reservoir is 47% full, Ninepipe reservoir is 66% full, Kicking Horse is 39% full, Upper Dry Fork is 71% full and Lower Dry Fork is 47% full.  The SWSI for the Mission Valley is +2.8.  Last year at this same time, it was minus 2.6.  When the SWSI is +3.0 or above, it is considered extremely wet.  +2.8 is considered to be the upper end of moderately wet.  Seth reviewed the SnoTel sites and said they were all significantly above average.  Seth said it appeared there would be excellent opportunities for the Project to release flushing or channel maintenance flows for fisheries this year.  Seth said the season projection for the Pacific Northwest called for a cool, wet spring in the April-June outlook, but cautioned that three month predictions had more variables. 

 

Seth Makepeace then left the meeting.  Gordon Wind and Alan Mikkelsen discussed the CSKT water measurement program and the continual erosion of funding for that program.  Both expressed a belief that it was important to continue cooperation with the CSKT program and to seek additional funding for that program whenever the opportunity arises. 

 

Gordon Wind continued the Project O&M report.  Safety of Dams (SOD) plans to contract for a pump to pass the instream flows on Crow Creek and allow inspection of the failed lower gate at Crow Dam.  SOD will also be purchasing a power chair for dam inspections, that will be available to the Project.  Concern was expressed at the timeliness of the repairs.  If they don’t begin in the next few weeks, the window of opportunity may be lost for the season, and high runoff is expected.  The current reservoir restriction level of 3849’ elevation is still in effect.  Chairman Hughes asked Gordon to invite Mike Brown to the next CME meeting for a briefing on the SOD program. 

 

Gordon Wind said the project was working on securing bids from lighting vendors to change lights in the office building and camps, as well as the shop, to a more energy efficient light.  Mission Valley Power is offering rebates on energy efficient systems.  Gordon said another area of concern on energy costs is the cost of heating the Flathead River Pumping Plant.  Winter heating costs approach $2,000 per month for that building.  Gordon noted that the phone system upgrade has been a source of frustration, but he hopes to have an upgraded phone system in place before the water delivery season starts.  Gordon discussed BiOp and Transfer Contract reporting requirements.  Gordon Wind and Alan Mikkelsen will be reviewing the reporting requirements, and if necessary, discuss them with BIA. 

 

RaLynn Brown presented the Project Financial report.  The current Project balance is $1,244,210.26. 

 

Oliver Dupuis presented and discussed a request to add more land to the Project.  He discussed the history of his request and asked that it be addressed as soon as possible.  Chairman Hughes explained that the CME had met for the past two days in a policy development work meeting.  He said that a draft policy had been forwarded to the CSKT, FJBC and BIA.  As soon as that policy was finalized and adopted, there would be a policy and criteria in place for adding or taking land from the Project. 

 

Alan Mikkelsen presented the IC report.  At the request of the Chairman, he will present the 4 year work plan of the IC, as it presently exists. 

 

The public comment period of the meeting was then held.  Dick Erb suggested that Net Power Revenues could be a source of funding for many of the BiOp projects. 

 

An executive session was called at 3:30 pm to discuss personnel issues. 

 

The executive session ended at 3:50 pm. 

 

Leroy Dumontier moved that Peter Plant be granted paid administrative leave at the discretion of the Project Manager to deal with a serious family illness.   Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

 

The next regular meeting of the CME will be March 10, 2011. 

 

The meeting adjourned at 3:55 pm.