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Board of Managers Meeting Minutes May 11th 2017

May 11, 2017

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was called to order by Vice President Brian Shekleton at 6:45 p.m. at the District offices, 15320 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Sherry White, Brian Shekleton, Richard Miller, Kurt Rogness, William Olson, William Becker, Jessica Loftus. 


Lars Erdahl, Administrator; James Wisker, Planning and Projects Director; Telly Mamayek, Communications and Education Director; Laura Domyancich, Project and Land Technician; Anna Brown, Planner-Project Manager; Eric Fieldseth, AIS Program Manager; Sarah Bhimani, Communications Specialist; Chris Meehan, Consulting Engineer; Chuck Holtman, Counsel.

Ms. Mamayek introduced new employee Sarah Bhimani, Communications Specialist. Ms. Bhimani reviewed her background. The Board welcomed her to the District

Manager Loftus moved, Manager Becker seconded approval of the agenda. Upon vote, the motion carried 6-0.

Manager Olson moved, Manager Rogness seconded approval of the consent agenda, consisting of the April 27, 2017 minutes, and adoption of Resolution 17-031, Carver County Water Management Organization Boundary Change, as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Managers supports a boundary adjustment as described in Exhibit A, and authorizes the Board President, on advice of counsel, to sign a petition to BWSR in accordance with Minnesota Statutes to adjust the common boundary of the CCWMO and MCWD.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCWD Administrator is authorized to fulfill all responsibilities of the MCWD to implement the boundary adjustment as approved by BWSR.
Upon vote, the motion carried 6-0.

REGULAR AGENDA Board, Committee and Task Force Reports 
Manager Shekleton moved President's and Executive Committee Reports to later in the agenda pending President White's arrival. 
Manager Shekleton noted he will attend a scheduled meeting with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board concerning Lake Hiawatha next Thursday.
Manager Miller attended last night's Citizens? Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting.  The CAC intends to present recommendations regarding the awards program, including the District's traveling to schools to make awards to youths and youth groups. Manager Miller asked the extent of CAC engagement in the development of the District's watershed management plan. Mr. Wisker replied that the CAC has received a series of presentations and will receive draft materials in parallel to the Board's engagement.

Manager Shekleton reviewed the upcoming meeting and event schedule on the agenda. Mr. Erdahl reminded the Board of the June 1 Board/CAC Watershed Tour.  

Resolution 17-034, Grant of Temporary Easement to City of Minnetrista
Ms. Domyancich presented the proposed grant of temporary easement to the City of Minnetrista. The City requires 12,717 square feet of temporary easement on the District's former Halverson and Dimler properties for right-of-way work on Halstead Drive.  The City also will construct back or slope embankment within the area. The agreement provides for seed specifications for reseeding. In addition, the City will construct an area that will accommodate two school buses that may be of use to the District with respect to educational visits to its property. Ms. Domyancich noted that the City has valued the easement and offered a $400.00 payment but staff recommends declining the payment in the interest of cooperation.

Manager Miller moved, Manager Rogness seconded adoption of Resolution 17-034 as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby authorizes the District administrator to execute the proposed easement, with non-material changes and on advice of counsel, granting the City of Minnetrista a temporary easement over District property to complete improvements to Halstead Drive.
Upon vote, the motion carried 6-0.

Resolution 17-035, Approval of Cooperative Agreement with City of Victoria, Wassermann West Park Improvement
Ms. Brown presented the proposed cooperative agreement. She reported that the Victoria City Council unanimously approved the agreement on Monday evening.
Ms. Brown reviewed the Board's discussion at its February 23, 2017 meeting concerning District acquisition of the property riparian to Lake Wassermann and its authorization of the District entering into a purchase agreement for the acquisition. One contingency of the agreement is that the District and City enter into a cooperative agreement by May 16, 2017, providing for collaboration in the design of park and natural resource improvements on the property, a purchase agreement for the District to convey the property to the City once a design is completed, and District reservation of a wetland easement for water quality and habitat restoration purposes. 
Ms. Brown noted that in a memorandum of understanding the District and the City designated Lake Wassermann as a priority waterbody. She reviewed the concept plan for the park improvement that both the District Board and the City Council have supported. The property is the last opportunity on Lake Wassermann for public access at a reasonable scale. Ms. Brown noted that the potential water quality improvement from the District's work amounts to about 75 pounds of phosphorous removed each year from the external load to Lake Wassermann.
Ms. Brown reviewed the proposed cooperative agreement. It provides for the parties to share the park improvement design cost, estimated at $100,000 to $150,000, which will include a phased construction plan, a financing plan for the improvements and an operation and maintenance plan. The City would be responsible for construction at its cost except as to any elements for which the District should choose to assume responsibility. The District would bear the cost of the water quality and restoration work within the wetland easement. The parties would cooperate to seek grant support. 
Ms. Brown then reviewed the proposed payment schedule, providing for the City to purchase the property for $850,000, with half of that sum at closing, one quarter paid in five annual payments, and a balloon payment after five years in the amount of $212,500.
(President White arrived at 7:10 p.m.)
Finally, Ms. Brown noted that the District is scheduled to close on the property on June 16, 2017, and proposes to enter into a contract for deed with the City about a month after that and to complete the design for Board and City Council approval by December 31, 2017.
Manager Miller stated that he finds this to be a high quality project. On his inquiry, Ms. Brown confirmed that the City would own the land and maintain the improvements, while the District would management the easement area.
Manager Olson, who has been active in working with the City to develop the concept, noted that for the last three years the City has wanted a ?lake park? and that Lake Wassermann, at the center of the City, has been a prime focus. Ms. Brown thanked Manager Olson for his involvement and for bringing residents together. She noted that the City Council received 30 emails in support and that lake association members have attended meetings and tracked the development of the collaboration closely.

Manager Olson moved, Manager Miller seconded adoption of Resolution 17-035, 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 Cooperative Agreement with the City of Victoria for the acquisition of and park planning for the Wassermann West property, with any further non-substantive changes and on advice of counsel; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the District administrator is authorized to develop, and execute on behalf of the District, a purchase agreement materially consistent with the Cooperative Agreement and incorporated letter of intent, for the conveyance of a contract for deed with the City of Victoria, and take all administrative steps to fulfill the terms to prepare for closing on the conveyance; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the District administrator, in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement and in coordination with the City as provided therein, will solicit one or more consultants for park design and water quality/wetland restoration design and bring proposed scopes of work forward for Board consideration.
Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.

Resolution 17-036, Authorization to Request Lessard-Sams Funds
Ms. Brown presented the proposed resolution authorizing District staff to apply for funds from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LHOSC) for its multi-year carp management program. Ms. Brown reviewed the Six-Mile Lake system. She identified drivers of water quality issues as carp, the shallow lake ecology, internal loading, altered wetlands and runoff. The implementation strategy involves carp management, alum dosing, wetland restoration and stormwater management. The carp management element is the precursor to the additional elements and will require a concerted multi-year effort.
Ms. Brown said that the District would apply by the end of May and in doing so would present its concept of a corridor restoration focused on carp management, a shallow lake strategy, waterfowl and fisheries habitat enhancement, upland management and wetland habitat improvement. The program cost is estimated at $1 to $1.5 million over three to four years. 
Ms. Brown noted that the work would produce a restoration plan for further funding requests. She highlighted that the District has been building support with existing partners and reaching out to new partners, including resource agencies, habitat associations and the Six Mile-Halsted Bay partnership, all of whom will support the District's application. District staff also has met with Department of Natural Resources fisheries and hydrology people to assess any regulatory obstacles. There do not appear to be any. 
If the funding is successful, the District would begin work in September 2017 with a grant period running until 2021.
Mr. Fieldseth reviewed the strengths of the District's application, including its innovative, large-scale nature involving fifteen lakes; the District's having established a foundation for good measurable results; regional support; and the programmatic approach. The focus will be on habitat improvement, with water quality as a secondary goal. The application also would meet LHOSC priorities for urbanizing areas. 
Mr. Fieldseth reviewed predicted outcomes including restoration of 1,262 littoral acres in ten lakes; protection of 383 acres of littoral habitat in four lakes; sustainable, long-term carp management; improvement of game fish populations; and an increase in waterfowl. Responding to Manager Shekleton, Mr. Fieldseth stated that the project area is a combination of shallow and deeper lakes. Responding to Manager Olson, he affirmed that the District's foundational work with the University of Minnesota would be prominently presented in the application. 
Manager Becker noted that most successful LHOSC applicants have met with key members and he recommends that the District do the same. Mr. Fieldseth replied that this is the intent. He then reviewed the work plan consisting of aeration, barriers, seining and trapping, and monitoring for both effectiveness and fish and ecological response. He noted that there are several different grate designs and the District will work with its engineers to design grates for specific locations. Mr. Fieldseth than reviewed the schedule and budget, with a total proposed budget of $1,210,000 over the years 2018-21.
Ms. Brown concluded by affirming that staff will be finalizing the application, building support through its partner organizations, and making judgments on overhead management in order to present a competitive application. Mr. Fieldseth reviewed potential options for allocating equipment and staff time.
Manager Olson suggested that using the University of Minnesota study, staff develop figures for lake biomass existing and removed to present effective quantitative estimates of potential benefits. Manager Miller suggested that the work be designed to fund existing staff with grant funds. He expressed some frustration with respect to his sense that the work would be somewhat siloed. He asked if other District staff are not fully utilized and could assist in the program. He noted that a risk of large grants is ending up with more overhead at the end of the project. Manager Shekleton asked as to the status of the human resources strategic plan and whether its outcome would be important for understanding District staffing of this grant-funded program. Mr. Erdahl noted that grant funds must be used to 'supplement not supplant.? Manager Becker suggested that staff also can be used to supply matching resources.  

Manager Olson moved, Manager Miller, seconded to adopt Resolution 17-036 providing as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes staff to apply for FY 2019 funds through the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.
Board and staff continued to discuss the broader question of District staffing in a realm of substantial grant-funded work. Mr. Wisker offered that Board and staff need to consider the question of whether the District staffs up as it becomes more successful in obtaining larger grants. Questions include whether staff salaries are programed from grant funds or not. Mr. Erdahl noted that the challenge is aligning the District's levy assumptions with grant funding uncertainties such as legislative decisions and LCCMR funding. Mr. Wisker added that the challenge pertains not just to staffing but also to cash flow given that grants typically are reimbursement-based. Manager Becker noted that LHOSC grants are reimbursement-based, but reimbursements can be requested frequently. 

President's Report
Manager White noted that she has been to the District's first two 50th Anniversary events, and both have been very well done. She recently attended the Six Mile-Halsted Bay partnership meeting as well a meeting with the Orono City Council. 
Manager White reported on the Executive Committee meeting by presenting the following recommendation:
?On April 27, 2017 the Executive Committee held a meeting in closed session for the purpose of discussing the performance evaluation of District Administrator Lars Erdahl. The Executive Committee voted to recommend that Mr. Erdahl receive a salary increase to $115,300 effective February 9, 2017.? 
Manager Becker moved, Manager Miller seconded to adopt the committee recommendation. Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0. 

Mr. Erdahl noted the next 50th Anniversary events occur on June 3 and 11. The human resources strategic planning report is due from the consultant at the end of May and he hopes to schedule a Board presentation for June 22. The report will be emailed to the managers. 

Manager Miller moved, Manager Shekleton seconded that District counsel establish a protocol for managers to be able to review the initial consultant material submitted to the Board liaisons. Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0.
Mr. Erdahl continued that staff is working through the 2018 budget process and will present to the joint committee on May 25. In June, staff will develop work plans. Mr. Erdahl also met with a City of Orono councilmember regarding the City's Big Island planning committee. Mr. Erdahl advised that the District is focused on preservation rather than programming and suggested that the City proceed with its programming discussion before involving the District. 

Manager Miller added that at the CAC meeting, it was reported that there is mention of developing a 501(c) (3) organization to take over management of the City's interest, though he is not sure what that would facilitate. He questioned how the State is represented in the issue in light of the state bonding dollars involved in the acquisition. 
Manager Loftus suggested that the committee at this time is a body of individuals selected by the Mayor, including veterans, to generate new ideas but there has not yet been outreach to partners. 

Discussion on Halsted Bay Acquisition
Ms. Brown reviewed the proposal of the Three Rivers Park District (TRPD) to enter into an agreement with the District to subdivide a property the TRPD is acquiring on Six Mile Creek for trail connection purposes. Ms. Brown reviewed the District's recent history of examining alum treatment feasibility for the outlet into Halsted Bay. A 2013 feasibility study presented ?western? and ?eastern? options for siting such a facility that would withdraw waters from the Six Mile Creek channel, and treat and discharge them. Since then, the western option has been judged to be less useful and the eastern option more effective. The District engineer and staff have reviewed siting options for the east option and the proposed property is an attractive option. 
The District was approached by the TRPD about 45-60 days ago. The TRPD has entered into a purchase agreement with the private landowner for the property, which consists of six contiguous tax parcels riparian to Six Mile Creek. The TRPD also has arranged with the Metropolitan Council for 75 percent funding from the Park Acquisition Opportunity Fund. The TRPD has appraised the property and established in the purchase agreement the price to be paid on an upland- and wetland-acre basis. The District would pay at that rate for its subdivided part of the property. 
Responding to Manager Olson, Mr. Meehan stated that the channel flow varies from 10 to about 100 cubic feet per second, and that the alum treatment system would be designed to intake up to 15 cubic feet per second. Manager Olson noted that the channel area is notorious for clogging. Mr. Meehan replied that the intake would be protected through potentially active screening. 
Ms. Brown reviewed the intended agreement under which the TRPD will close on its acquisition in mid-August, the parties would collaborate to define the subdivision boundary, the TRPD would obtain the subdivision and the District would pay the TRPD per the land value formula. Also, the TRPD has indicated it can accept a payment schedule if the District wishes.
Ms. Brown emphasized that the potential alum project has many moving parts at this point. It is an estimated $7-10 million project that will need multiple sources of funding. On Monday, staff will present to the Minnetrista City Council to gauge the City's support. The District should evaluate the proposal based on the contingency of a resale on the private market if the alum treatment project does not go forward. District staff will work with City staff over the next two weeks to assess the development prospects in that event. 

Manager Shekleton moved, Manager Olson seconded to convene in close session to discuss an offer and counteroffer for the acquisition of real property located at 3910/3940 Farm Hill Circle, Minnetrista. Upon vote, the motion carried 7-0, and the Board convened in closed session.

The Board reconvened in open session. 

There being no further business, the regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,

Kurt Rogness, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers