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July 22, 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS

July 22, 2021

 

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:14 p.m. on July 22, 2021 at the MCWD Office, 15320 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, Minnesota.  .

MANAGERS PRESENT

Sherry White, William Olson, Richard Miller, Jessica Loftus, Eugene Maxwell, Arun Hejmadi and Steve Sando.

DISTRICT STAFF AND CONSULTANTS PRESENT

James Wisker, Administrator; Tom Dietrich, Permitting Program Manager; Brian Beck, Research & Monitoring Program Manager; Anna Brown, Planner – Project Manager; Laura Domyancich-Lee, Planner – Project Manager; Becky Christopher, Policy Planning Manager; Kate Moran, Policy Planning Coordinator; Michael Hayman, Project Planning Manager; Janna Jonely, Project and Land Management Technician; Chris Meehan, District Consulting Engineer; and Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Maxwell to approve the Agenda as distributed.  Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.

CONSENT AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi, to approve the Consent Agenda consisting of approval of the July 8, 2021 Board minutes, the General Checking Account consisting of checks 41590 through 41625 in the amount of $358,957.83; electronic funds withdrawals in the amount of $34,518.86; manager per diems and reimbursement direct deposits in the amount of $6,226.30; employee reimbursements - direct deposits in the amount of $0.00; and payroll direct deposits in the amount of $148,340.67; for Total General Checking expenses of $548,043.66; the surety checking account return of Permit 21-129 shoreline stabilization surety and a bank service charge totaling $12,030.00; and electronic fund transfer of $21,091.00; and adoption of the following resolutions:

Resolution 21-048: Approval of Citizen Advisory Committee Bylaws as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers approves the updates to the Citizen Advisory Committee bylaws; and

Resolution 21-049: Authorization to enter Local Trail Connection Agreement with Three Rivers Park District for Six Mile Marsh Prairie trail  as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the Board President, on advice of Counsel, to execute the Local Trail Agreement with Three Rivers Park District for the construction of the Six Mile Marsh Prairie trail.

Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

BOARD, COMMITTEE AND TASK FORCE REPORTS

President’s Report:  President White noted the recent summer presentation event of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts.  The MCWD’s old, proposed resolution concerning property tax recognition of conservation easements should be renewed if the District wishes for MAWD to consider it again, and MAWD also welcomes any suggestions for the 2022 review of its strategic plan.

Policy and Planning Committee:  Manager Miller reported that the committee received a thorough briefing on the design charette for 325 Blake Road, confirming the continued feasibility of both the public stormwater infrastructure and private redevelopment tracks.  Manager Miller expressed his appreciation for the quality of the work performed by staff and consultants.  Manager Miller also noted that the committee received an introduction to the Six Mile Marsh Prairie Trail and Interpretation design briefing, to be continued at the August meeting.

Citizens Advisory Committee:  Manager Sando reported that he attended the July 14 CAC meeting, which included a unanimous recommendation of the CAC bylaws revisions, and a very good discussion of the 2022 budget as presented by Mr. Wisker.  Manager Sando noted that the CAC members had very good questions reflecting a high level of engagement and helpful suggestions for the public budget presentation.

Metro Chapter of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts:  Manager Maxwell reported that the Metro MAWD meeting involved agency updates.

Upcoming Meeting and Event Schedule:  President White directed the managers to the meetings listed on the agenda, including the Board retreat on July 26.

ACTION ITEMS

Resolution 21-050: Authorization to Approve a Contract Amendment for

Permitting Program Alignment Engineering Services

Mr. Tom Dietrich appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  He reviewed the initial contract for engineering services related to the permitting program alignment.  Due to the pandemic, unanticipated work has been required, and further wetland buffer analysis.  To complete this work, Stantec has developed the proposed contract amendment which is within budget.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Hejmadi, seconded by Manager Miller to adopt the following resolution:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator to execute an amendment to the Wenck Associates, Inc. (now a part of Stantec) contract in an amount not to exceed $7,863.10, for a total contract value of $27,537.60.

Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

Resolution 21-052: Authorization to Execute Contract for Assessment for the East Auburn Wetland Monitoring and Feasibility Support

Mr. Brian Beck appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 21-052 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of counsel, to execute a contract with Stantec for an amount not to exceed $48,550.

Upon a question from Manager Loftus, Mr. Beck reviewed the dynamics of phosphorus loading in the wetland.  Manager Olson asked whether it could be feasible to have an alum treatment of the creek bottom, and Mr. Meehan explained the phosphorus treatment options and the purpose of the feasibility work.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.  President White thanked Mr. Beck, Ms. Anna Brown and Ms. Laura Domyancich-Lee for their work. 

Resolution 21-053: Concurrence with Staff’s Recommendation for Project

Opportunities Reviewed Through the Pilot Responsive Program

Ms. Becky Christopher and Ms. Kate Moran appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson to adopt Resolution 21-053 as follows: 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers concurs in the recommendations of District staff as stated above (not committing pilot Responsive Program resources to the private brewery rain garden project in the City of Spring Park,  or the reuse system to be associated with the City of Edina Morningside flood management infrastructure project, and further information gathering before providing a recommendation on City of Plymouth Maple Creek drainage improvements).

Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

Responsive Program Implementation Guidance

Ms. Moran provided a detailed briefing on the implementation guidance for the Responsive Program. She noted the draft guidance included in the materials is intended for adoption in early 2022.  She reviewed the purpose and goals of the program, and the background of key program decisions.  Ms. Moran reviewed with the Board of Managers the staff recommendations for the program scope and eligibility, 2017 Water Management Plan connection and funding mechanism, the range of District services to support the program, process and schedule, staff and board roles, opportunity identification, criteria and evaluation process, program funding, and next steps.  The managers expressed concurrence with the staff recommendations.

Permitting Program Alignment

Mr. Tom Dietrich appeared before the Board of Managers to continue discussion of the permitting program alignment effort from the June 10, 2021 meeting.  Mr. Dietrich reviewed the components of the compliance and partnership frameworks.  The managers expressed concurrence with the staff recommendations. 

STAFF UPDATES

Closed Session: Minnehaha Preserve Boardwalk Update

Mr. Michael Hayman and Mr. Smith recommended going into closed session for the purpose of receiving confidential legal advice concerning the legal strategy in the upcoming mediation on the Minnehaha Preserve Boardwalk matter.  It was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Olson to move into closed session for the purpose described by Mr. Hayman and Mr. Smith.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

The Board of Managers went into closed session.  The Board of Managers returned to open session. 

STAFF UPDATES

Administrator’s Report

Mr. Wisker reported on the following items:

1. The MCWD received a letter from the City of Greenwood as a follow up to the 2020 request from the city for MCWD funding of aquatic invasive species prevention, monitoring and control.  Mr. Wisker recommended responding to the city outlining the reasons why the MCWD has moved away from funding these activities and the Board of Managers concurred with this recommendation;

2. Drought conditions are persisting across Minnesota, with now 72% of the state declared by the Department of Natural Resources to be in severe drought and 19% of the state in extreme drought.  The Grays Bay dam is closed and Minnehaha Creek is flowing at 3 cubic feet per second;

3. The Board of Managers will hold a retreat on July 26 to review what we have accomplished since adoption of the strategic plan, where we sit right now in terms of progress towards our vision of strategic alignment, and the near-term priorities and needs that will assure our ongoing success. 

Adjournment

There being no further business, President White declared the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 10:51p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Eugene Maxwell, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers