CME Meeting

March 10, 2011

St. Ignatius, MT

 

Present:  Lloyd Irvine, Steve Hughes, Kerry Doney, Walt Schock, Dan Emerson (via phone)

 

FIIP:  Gordon Wind, RaLynn Brown, Reed Anderson, John Morigeau

 

Staff:  Alan Mikkelsen, Mike Brown, CSKT SOD

 

Visitors:  Linda Schure, Mary Stranahan, Bill Howell, Ed Wehrheim, Dick Erb, Ted Hein, Richard Prongua, Rich Gebhardt

 

Chairman Hughes called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm. 

 

A roll call was ordered.  Ron Trahan was absent, attending a meeting in Boise.  Leonard Gray was absent due to health issues.  Leroy Dumontier was absent. 

 

The CME requires five members in attendance, with at least two members from each of the appointing entities, the CSKT and FJBC.  It was ruled that a quorum was not in attendance.  The meeting will continue, but no motions will be accepted. 

 

The minutes of the February 10 meeting were presented but not approved due to lack of quorum. 

 

Gordon Wind presented the FIIP hydrology report.  Similar to last month, the FIIP is forecasting an above average water year.  Most off-stream FIIP reservoirs have been picking up water from valley floor melting events.  Current forecasts are for a water runoff of 123% of normal, and 175% of last year.  Gordon thanked Seth Makepeace, CSKT hydrologist, for his assistance in doing hydrology work while Pete Plant is on administrative leave due to family illness. 

 

Gordon Wind then discussed FIIP operation and maintenance work.  Two crews, with excavators are working on tree and brush removal on the Pablo feeder canal, and one crew is working in the Jocko Division on tree and brush removal from FIIP canals and rights of way.  A crew is continuing to precast structures at the Ninepipes Camp.  Gordon said that headgates are being ordered from Ex-Cad for 55%-60% of the cost of Waterman gates.  30 gates have been ordered, with another 30 to be ordered in the near future.  The FIIP is getting the gates for wholesale cost.  Gordon also said that FIIP was preparing to order Nautique moss control herbicide.  5 more FIIP employees have been certified for pesticide application.  Gordon said that FIIP will be bringing back 8 people from seasonal layoffs in the next two weeks. 

 

Ed Wehrheim asked about FIIP policy on leaks.  Gordon Wind explained that canal leaks are fixed, but seepage areas are inherent in any irrigation project.  He said there were not enough dollars in the FIIP budget to fix seepage areas.  He said that FIIP had to prioritize their work to deal with the largest problems first.  Chairman Hughes defended the work of the CME/FIIP and described how water users could seek fixes to problems.  Ed Wehrheim acknowledged that Crow reservoir and the MA canal should have a higher priority in his area than seepage problems.  He asked about assessing more money to cover other problems, however.  Ed Wehrheim said he did not believe that there should be free rides for anyone, and that everyone needed to pay their fair share of O&M.  Steve Hughes encouraged water users to work up the chain of command as they encountered problems. 

 

Linda Schure criticized the FIIP for what she termed ‘clear cutting’ on FIIP ditches and rights of way in the Jocko Division.  She felt the ‘massive’ cleaning was destructive of bird habitat and criticized the slash piles as sources of insect infestation.  She encouraged the FIIP to do thinning, not removal.  Gordon Wind explained canal construction parameters and FIIP rights of way.  He said that FIIP would either clean up slash piles or leave them for the landowners use, if that was their desire. 

 

Mary Stranahan also discussed removal of trees and brush from FIIP canals and rights of way.  She suggested that the FIIP needed to do a better job of communicating with water users.  Chairman Hughes informed the audience of the annual meeting and newsletter.  Alan Mikkelsen said that he maintained an e-mail list for CME meetings, with meeting notices, agendas and minutes sent to interested people.  He encouraged people to leave their e-mail addresses if they wanted to be on the e-mail list.  Mary Stranahan encouraged the development of a web site for FIIP.  Gordon Wind said that FIIP was working on a web site. 

 

Mike Brown, CSKT Safety of Dams (SOD) coordinator then gave a SOD report.  After several years of limited funding and little or no SOD projects, the CSKT SOD program is again receiving money for specific projects.  Mike then announced the projects that SOD would be working on in 2011: 

             1.  Pablo Dam outlet pipe welding , a 4 week project

             2.  Lowering Hellroaring Dam by 7’

             3.  Black Lake Phase II

                          a.  extend outlet

                          b.  filter sand addition to toe drains

                          c.  add weight to bottom 1/3 of dam

             Mike wants to start Black Lake work on July 15.  The CME asked if that could be moved to August 1.  Mike said that he could accommodate that. 

             4.  Test hole drilling on Mission Dam

             5.  Building a dike within Lower Dry Fork reservoir for fisheries and wildlife purposes.  Uses material borrowed from reservoir.  No irrigation storage will be lost. 

             6.  Tabor Dam raise (3’)

             7.  Crow Dam

                          a.  inspect outlet gates

                          b.  repair as time allows

                          c.  any remaining funds can be used to patch spillway. 

 

Chairman Hughes thanked Mike and invited him to the November CME meeting.  In response to a question from Dick Erb regarding major repairs on Crow Dam, Mike replied that there was no funding for at least 5 years. 

 

             RaLynn Brown gave the financial report.  The current FIIP balance is $1,248,159.61.  FIIP has received the reimbursement from Placid Creek fish screen project and ˝ the reimbursement from the Jocko E canal/Finley creek screen and siphon project.  This was $165, 277.31 in income for the month of February.  RaLynn has also worked with the insurance provider to cut $30,000 from the FIIP workman comp costs. 

 

             In response to a question from Walt Schock, Alan Mikkelsen discussed current grant applications, PERS legislation and GVW fees. 

 

             Reed Anderson and John Morigeau then discussed several areas of concern. 

 

             Reed discussed the Unit 3 disconnects and switching gear mechanisms.  After totally dismantling, cleaning, and reassembling the unit, it is ready for a field test.  Dave Lagerquist from Eastern Electric reviewed FIIP’s work.  While the FIIP pumping plant is operational, FIIP needs to start budgeting for $150,000-$180,000 in modern Air-Vac switching gear for the pump motors.  This may also entail the construction of a new building to house the modern gear.  The current switch gear is 80 years old and totally obsolete.  Reed said that all the impellers had been recoated.  He discussed the possibility of casting stainless impellers, but noted that switching gear was a higher priority. 

 

             John discussed machinery needs.  The Cat 312 excavator has 10,000 hours and needs to be replaced this year with another 312 or 315 machine.  He would like to trade the 312 and the Cat 446 backhoe for the new excavator.  John said that the FIIP wanted to rent a high drive D6 with an angle blade to plow out the Jocko Road.  John said renting a machine for a month would be much cheaper than buying a used machine.  John and Gordon Wind also discussed the purchase of a skid steer loader, with a scoop and mix concrete attachment to assist in precast work and other FIIP needs.  John also said that FIIP would like to acquire a brush hog mower for the excavator, to help in canal clearing.  Gordon Wind said that the machine could also be used in SOD contracts for brush removal on dams. 

 

             Alan Mikkelsen reported on IC issues.  He has prepared a MOU and a resolution for CME approval to set up a discreet bank account for managing IC BiOp mitigation monies.  Due to lack of a quorum, this will be done at a later meeting.  Alan also discussed the need for FIIP to make sure all canals, especially those in the Jocko Division and Mission Division to be demand driven for flows.  He said that BiOp requirements meant that FIIP could no longer afford to simply fill canals and then run them full all season, without regard to demand. 

 

             CME Policy was discussed.  Gordon Wind proposed clarifying language on substance abuse, worksite duty station and disciplinary action.  Due to lack of quorum, no action was taken.  Alan Mikkelsen said that he expected comments from the CSKT on the draft CME operating policy in the next day or so.  He will incorporate those comments into the draft and resend it to the CME for consideration. 

 

             Under public comment, Mary Stranahan asked that the FIIP furnish ‘No Spray’ signs for organic farmers.  She also suggested the use of a cover crop on FIIP roads. 

 

             Dick Erb said that he felt that Moiese should receive water quota on the basis of land duty, if they had the same quota as the rest of the FIIP.  Dick said that he wanted farmers to be treated uniformly in the setting of water quotas and land duties.  He noted that he had land that was considered triple duty. 

 

             Rich Gebhardt questioned the development of FIIP policy and complained that he had a client that was trying to add land to the FIIP, and was not getting a response from FIIP management.  He also asked about the complaint process.  Alan Mikkelsen informed him that the complaint process was outlined in the Transfer Contract. 

 

             Ted Hein asked about moss control and weed control. 

 

             The CME went into executive session at 4:40 to discuss personnel issues. 

 

             The CME resumed open session at 5:30, with no action. 

 

             The next regular meeting of the CME will be April 7, 2011.