CME Meeting Minutes

October 6, 2011

St. Ignatius, MT


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


FIIP:  Gordon Wind, Pete Plant, RaLynn Brown, Nick Belcourt, John Morigeau


Staff:  Alan Mikkelsen, Les Evarts


Visitors:  Ted Hein, Paul Hunsucker


The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by Chairman Trahan.  A roll call established all members present except Dan Emerson who was on vacation. 


Steve Hughes moved approval of the minutes of the September 8, 2011 meeting as presented.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Pete Plant presented the hydrology report.  Mission Reservoir is at minimum pool.  Tabor Reservoir is at a minimum pool elevation with 2,936 af of storage, for fisheries habitat, until after November 15, when that storage will be moved to Kicking Horse and Ninepipe reservoirs.  Some of that water may be used to supplement Mission Creek instream flows during inspection of Mission Dam.  Lower Crow is being lowered to the restricted level as quickly as possible.  The Jocko Reservoirs are empty of irrigation water.  The Camas reservoirs have some carry over, with 15,300 af in Little Bitterroot and7115 af in Hubbart.  Upper and Lower Dry Fork are at 5% of usable capacity.  Kerry Doney and Leroy Dumontier expressed concern about shutting stockwater deliveries off early in the Jocko Division. 


Gordon Wind informed the CME that a planning grant for piping Polson B&C canals had been submitted to DNRC by the CME and the city of Polson.  Gordon discussed a canal break on the Mission H canal in the National Bison Range.  He noted the canal runs through very unstable soils and the best long term solution may be to pump water from the Flathead River to supply the 300 or so acres that the canal supplies.  Alan Mikkelsen said this should be discussed with the CSKT Water Resources Bureau. 


Gordon Wind recommended that stockwater deliveries in the Mission Valley cease on October 17, subject to availability between now and October 17.   This would include the Moiese area.  Walt Schock moved that stock water deliveries for the Mission Valley cease on October 17, subject to available water between now and October 17.  Lloyd Irvine seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.    Leroy Dumontier moved that stockwater deliveries in the Jocko Division cease on November 15, or freeze up, whichever comes first.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


RaLynn Brown presented the CME financial report.  The current CME operating balance is $1,287,922.17.  The CME has also received $778,984 from the return of Indian Deferred Construction monies from BIA.  This has been placed in an emergency reserve fund, as described in a previous meeting. 


RaLynn Brown and Alan Mikkelsen discussed the PERS issue for the CME.  While CME employees will be treated as current enrollees and not new hires, the CME will still have to complete all the paperwork for enrollment as a qualified employer.  Due to the lengthy paperwork and the need for an employee election to agree to remain in the PERS, transfer to CME employment will not take place until January 1, 2012.  The CME will have to adopt a resolution indicating their desire to become a qualified PERS employer.  The CME will also set up a dedicated payroll account at Eagle Bank, again by resolution.  These resolutions will be presented at the November CME meeting. 


Gordon Wind, Nick Belcourt and John Morigeau discussed Project equipment needs.  Gordon presented a Power Point presentation of specific equipment that the Project was interested in purchasing.  Nick Belcourt detailed the process by which he had shopped and negotiated equipment prices.  The CME has approximately $99,000 remaining from the FJBC equipment fund contribution in 2010.  Gordon has also budgeted approximately $90,000 each in 2011 and 2012 for equipment purchases from the O&M budget.  Nick Belcourt said he estimated that the CME could raise $60,000 in a surplus equipment auction.  Alan Mikkelsen said that the FIIP could also bill up to 52,000 to the FJBC from the Jocko K Canal grant. 


Steve Hughes moved to approve up to $65,000 for the purchase of a used Cat 315C excavator.  Walt Schock seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Steve Hughes moved to approve up to $27,000 for the purchase of a used skidsteer loader.  Kerry Doney seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Walt Schock moved to approve up to $8500 for the purchase of a used water truck.  Leroy Dumontier seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Steve Hughes moved to approve $6000 for the purchase of a cement mixer attachment for the skidsteer loader.  This will be used in the pre-cast shop.  Walt Schock seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Steve Hughes moved to approve the purchase of a roller compacter for up to $30,000.  Walt Schock seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 


Gordon Wind thanked the CME for their support and said that he would also be presenting more information on an excavator mounted Brush Hog or Bull Hog, a boom truck, an angle blade for a D7 Cat, a 12 yard dump truck, and a 20 ton beavertail trailer, as funds become available. 


Les Evarts from CSKT Fisheries Program discussed stock water concerns in the Jocko area.  Upper S Canal diversions are a particular concern in the fall of the year, with bull trout migrating through the area.  He recommended supplying stockwater from Gold, Cold, Agency and Big Knife creeks before tapping the Jocko River at S Canal.  Fisheries would like to see the Upper S Canal diversion shut off after September 15, or the end of irrigation season, depending on the available water supply. 


A discussion was also held on the inoperable Obermeyer gate on the Jocko River at Upper S Canal.  Gordon said the gate has never worked, due to improper construction and installation.  FIIP is continuing to struggle with repairing that gate and would like to work with Fisheries to facilitate any repairs.  Gordon said to effect an appropriate repair would require the construction of a bypass channel. 


Chairman Trahan said he would like to see someone from the CSKT Fisheries Program attend each month CME meeting.  Les Evarts said he would arrange that.  The Fisheries report will be moved further down the agenda, in order to make sure that any fisheries concern discussed earlier in a meeting can be addressed by those in attendance from the Fisheries Program. 


Alan Mikkelsen reported that the draft operating policy has been circulated to CKST legal and Gordon Wind.  Alan, Gordon and Rhonda Swaney will continue to work on the policy for presentation and adoption by the CME prior to the 2012 irrigation season. 


In public comment, Ted Hein questioned the need for full time ditch riders.  Gordon Wind replied that was a management decision, not an employee decision.  Gordon noted that those individuals who were most interested in working during the winter season would have more than adequate work in front of them. 


An executive session was called at 4:05 pm to discuss personnel issues.  The meeting resumed open session at 4:25 pm. 


Leroy Dumontier asked if the rights of way issue with the Christopher family on K-Canal had been resolved.  Gordon Wind said that it had not, but he was interested in doing so, as soon as he had time to meet with them. 


Lloyd Irvine asked for more maps to see specific locations of projects.  Leonard Gray then asked about the possibility of a Project Tour.  After discussion, it was decided that the CME would begin touring specific areas of the Project on the mornings of their meeting days, weather permitting.  The November meeting date will begin with a tour of the Jocko Division.  Gordon Wind will arrange a bus for transportation, so everyone can ride together. 


The next regular meeting of the CME will be on November 6, 2011, at 1:00 pm, in St. Ignatius. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 pm.