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April 9, 2020 Board Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS 

April 9, 2020

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:10 p.m. on April 9, 2020.  President White noted that this meeting was convened electronically through WebEx, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 13D.021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and her determination that it is not prudent for the Board of Managers, or any committee thereof, to meet in person, and it is not feasible to provide for any member of the Board, or of the public, to meet at the regular meeting location.  For this reason, until this determination is withdrawn by the District’s presiding officer, chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer, the meetings of the Board and its committees will be convened by telephone or other electronic means as the presiding officer determines appropriate.  All such meetings will be noticed and conducted in accordance with §13D.021 and all other applicable terms of the Open Meeting Law.  President White noted that, pursuant to §13D.021, all votes will be by roll call.

President White called the roll to note attendance:

Hejmadi:         Present

Loftus:             Present

Rogness:         Present

Miller:             Present

Olson:             Present

Maxwell:         Present

White:             Present

DISTRICT STAFF AND CONSULTANTS PRESENT

James Wisker, Administrator; Anna Brown, Planner – Project Manager; Grace Barlow,  Permitting Technician; Brian Beck, Research & Monitoring Program Manager; Alex Steele,  GIS Technician; Tom Langer,  Aquatic Ecologist; Chris Meehan, Consulting Engineer; and Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Rogness to approve the Agenda as distributed.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

CONSENT AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Maxwell, to approve  the Consent Agenda consisting of approval of the March 26, 2020 Board Minutes; and the following resolutions:

Resolution 20-022:  Authorization to Execute a Contract with Wenck for Laketown 9th Wetland ACOE Monitoring and Reporting

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator to execute a contract with Wenck for the 2020-21 Laketown 9th Wetland monitoring and reporting for $12,000, and authorizes the District Administrator, in his judgement, to authorize change orders as necessary up to a not-to-exceed amount of $13,200;

Resolution 20-023: Authorization to Execute a Contract with Wenck for 2020 Stormwater Pond Annual Survey and Maintenance

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 Wenck for the annual survey, technical memo, and maintenance recommendation of seven ponds, and sediment sampling and analysis, design and bid documents, and construction oversight for the maintenance of one pond for 40,650, and authorizes the Administrator to execute change orders as necessary in the not-to-exceed amount of $44,715; and

Resolution 20-024: Approval of Contract with SafeAssure 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers: hereby approves  the contract with SafeAssure in the amount of $5,232.93 to provide mandatory staff training and OSHA compliance  consulting for the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. 

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye                                    

White:             Aye

BOARD, COMMITTEE AND TASK FORCE REPORTS

President’s Report:  President White noted that she has discussed with Mr. Wisker  a succession plan in the event that he is incapacitated due to illness, etc.; Becky Christopher is the first designated replacement, and Michael Hayman is the next designated replacement. 

Operations and Programs Committee Report:   Manager Loftus reported that the Committee reviewed planning for the interpretive signage at Wasserman Park; plans for improvements to the District office campus; and an update on due diligence and discussions with the land owner regarding the potential donation of the property located at 2301 Brunswick Avenue S., St. Louis Park. 

Upcoming Meeting and Event Schedule:  President White directed the managers to the meetings listed on the agenda; all of the meetings to be noticed and held via WebEx.  She noted that the Citizens Advisory Committee executive team met with staff and the CAC  will be organizing to work in small work groups during this time of COVID-19.

ACTION ITEMS

Permit 20-088: Wassermann West Park, Victoria- Phase II

Ms. Grace Barlow appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed the request for board action.  She presented an overview of the site and described the two phases of work.  She noted that the Board had requested that this second phase of the work come back to the Board for review.  She noted compliance with the erosion control rule. 

Ms. Barlow noted that with the scope of Phase II construction, restoration of wetland vegetation and temporary wetland disturbances are proposed on the site, triggering review under the Wetland Conservation Act.  She explained staff’s determination that the project met the requirements for a No-Loss Exemption under WCA. She further noted that the District noticed the opportunity for the Technical Evaluation Panel to comment.  The only comment to date was from the Board of Water and Soil Resources agreeing with the No-loss Exemption.  The period for comments extends to April 22, hence the staff recommends a further condition on permit approval that no TEP comments  raising substantive issues are brought forth by April 22.   

Ms. Barlow noted that the project as proposed meets the buffer requirements of the wetland protection rule.  She reviewed the plans for streambank stabilization, meeting the requirements of that District rule.  She noted that the stream restoration project was reviewed by the District engineer to ensure that no change in flood stage will occur.  She reviewed the requirements of the waterbody crossings rule as they apply to the project.  Modeling has been submitted and reviewed by the District engineer to ensure that hydraulic capacity will be maintained upstream and downstream and that there will be no changes in the flood stage.  The sizing of the culvert will allow for aquatic wildlife passage and upland passage is maintained.

As to the stormwater management rule, Ms. Barlow noted that the new entry drive was initially analyzed as meeting the rule’s exception for linear transportation projects, as noted in the report. After further review with legal counsel, the entrance drive is not considered to be within the definition of a linear transportation project.  As a result, this portion of the entrance drive that was thought to be exempted under section 2(d), is now being analyzed under the stormwater rule, and will need to meet the rule requirements.  

Upon a question from President White, Ms. Barlow explained that the correction on the designation of the entry drive as not a linear transportation project does not have an impact on the project design, as all the impervious surface will be treated in accordance with the stormwater rule.  Upon a question from Manager Olson, Ms. Barlow explained the location of the buffer monument signs. 

There being no further discussion, it was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to approve the Wetland Conservation Act No Loss determination on the condition that no Technical Evaluation Panel comments raising substantive issues are submitted by the deadline of April 22.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

It was moved by Manager Hejmadi, seconded by Manager Olson to approve the application for Permit 20-088 as recommended by staff, with the additional condition that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit be submitted.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-025: Determination of Wassermann Lake Preserve as Critical Sector Work

Ms. Anna Brown appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed three requests for board action related to Wasserman Park.  The first resolution related to the determination that construction of the Wasserman Lake Preserve Project is Critical Sector work under the Governor’s stay at home order, Emergency Executive Order 20-20.  Ms. Brown noted that the City of Victoria has determined that these construction activities are exempt and meet the definition of Critical Sector work.  Upon a question from Manager Olson, Ms. Brown explained that the contractor, LinnCo, has affirmed that they are ready and able to work within the relevant safety guidelines.  Mr. Wisker and Mr. Smith noted that this commitment has been documented in an exchange of letters between the District and the contractor. 

It was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-025 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers finds, based on the District administrator’s assessment in consultation with legal counsel, that the Wassermann Lake Preserve project constitutes Critical Sector public works or governmental functions necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to preserve the essential elements of the financial system of government, and to continue priority services, as designated and described in EEO 20-20 and associated DEED guidance; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCWD Board of Managers hereby authorizes the administrator to work with District partners and contractors to facilitate the orderly implementation of this work pursuant to Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines, including but not limited to social distancing, to the maximum extent practicable;

Mr. Smith note that on April 8, Governor Walz issued EEO 20-33, which supersedes his earlier order and extends the stay at home to midnight on May 3.  He recommended a slight adjustment to the text of the resolution to recognize the new order, as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers finds, based on the District administrator’s assessment in consultation with legal counsel, that the Wassermann Lake Preserve project constitutes Critical Sector public works or governmental functions necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to preserve the essential elements of the financial system of government, and to continue priority services, as designated and described in EEO 20-2033 and associated DEED guidance; 

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Maxwell to amend the resolution as recommended by counsel. 

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Upon a question from Manager Maxwell, Mr. Smith confirmed that there is no need to revise the letters sent to contractors about their ability to work.  There being no further discussion, President White called for a roll call vote on the motion to adopt Resolution 20-025 as amended.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-026: Authorization to Enter Contract for Construction Testing for the Wassermann Lake Preserve Project

Ms. Brown reviewed the request for board action.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson to adopt Resolution 20-026 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice from District Counsel, to enter into a contract with Haugo GeoTechncial Services for the amount of $12,840.00, and establishes a not to exceed budget for construction testing of $18,840.00.  

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-027: Authorization to Enter Contract for Interpretive Signage Design for the Wassermann Lake Preserve Project

Ms. Brown reviewed the request for board action.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-027 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice from District Counsel, to enter into a contract with Aune Fernandez Landscape Architects for interpretive signage design and installation oversight in the amount of $12,500.00.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-033: Authorizing Certain Work Outside the Home as Determined  by the District 

Administrator  Pursuant to Executive Order 20‐02 

Mr. Wisker reviewed the request for board action, noting that he continues to work with President White and counsel to determine District work priorities in compliance with the Governor’s stay at home order.  Mr. Smith noted again the new superseding order EEO 20-33 and recommended the Resolution be revised by updating this reference.  It was moved by Manager Hejdmadi, seconded by Manager Loftus to adopt Resolution 20-033 with this revision, as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers: that the District administrator, in consultation with District counsel and the Board President, may authorize other work to occur outside the home when there is a sound basis to determine that such work constitutes Critical Sectors work, and that the work cannot feasibly be performed within the home, and the administrator will inform the Board of such determinations made;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all such work is to be conducted, to the maximum extent possible, in a manner that conforms to the Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines related to COVID-19, including standards for social distancing. 

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-028: Authorization to Renew GIS Software Licenses and Maintenance

Resolution 20-029: Authorization to Purchase and Renew Kisters WISKI Software Licenses and Maintenance

Mr. Brian Beck and Mr. Alex Steele appeared before the Board of Managers to review these two requests for board action in combination.  They provided an update on the implementation of the District’s information technology plan to advance the District’s strategic vision.  Mr. Steele explained how the GIS software forms the foundation of the District’s new system and provided some illustrative examples.  Mr. Beck reviewed the need and use of updated monitoring software. 

It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-028 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby approves the renewal of GIS software maintenance and licenses for an amount of $9,010.62.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

It was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Miller to adopt Resolution 20-029 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby approves the purchase, renewal, and training of Kisters WISKI software maintenance and licenses for an amount of $30,020.00.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Mr. Steele further provided an update on the IT budget and plans to refine the 2021 budget.  The managers thanked Mr. Steele and Mr. Beck for their outstanding work and expressed their enthusiasm for the significant potential of these developments in the District’s IT capacity.

Resolution 20-030: Authorization to Submit proposal to LCCMR for development of 2D watershed model and dam optimization

Mr. Beck reviewed the request for board action and explained that this proposal originates in a concern that watershed organizations and other agencies lack the necessary tools to assess the impending impacts of climate change.  Staff has been working on the proposed use of machine learning to develop a more robust, high-resolution watershed model that could constantly calibrate with updated use of real-time data.  Mr. Beck reviewed the process for seeking funding from the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources.  In response to a question from Manager Hejmadi, Mr. Beck explained the level of diligence to date and the transparent acknowledgment that the initial phases of this work will involve continued discovery and adjustment. 

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-030 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby authorizes District staff to finalize and submit a proposal for 2021 funding to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources in an amount of $883,000, for the development of machine learning an 2D modeling tools.

Manager Miller expressed his compliments on the excellent work to develop this proposal.  Manager Rogness stated that he felt this proposal demonstrated significant value in developing the District’s capacity to analyze and solve serious problems posed by climate change. Mr. Wisker noted the extensive number of letters of support for this proposal from municipalities and other agencies.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-031: Authorization to Execute Agreements for 2020 AIS Cost Share Partnerships

Mr. Tom Langer appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  He noted the District’s general direction to reduce cost share funding in this area, to be phased out in 2021.  He noted that the outreach to District partners to explain this direction began in 2019. 

It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-031 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers: authorize the execution of an agreement with Carver County, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, City of Shorewood, Three Rivers Park District to provide funding support for its watercraft inspection program at a cost not to exceed $13,000, $45,000, $16,000, and $5,355, respectively; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Managers authorize the District Administrator, upon advice of counsel and with such further minor revisions as may be necessary to effect the intent of the parties, to enter into these agreements.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 6-1 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Nay

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-032: Authorization to issue a letter of interest for 8577 Tellers Road, Victoria

Ms. Laura Domyancich appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  She noted that the potential acquisition of this property from a willing seller has grown out of planning discussions with the City of Victoria.  The approval from the board would initiate a due diligence period to perform valuation, natural resources assessment and coordination with the property owners and the city. 

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 20-032 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes staff to issue a letter of interest to Daniel and Trudy Schelitzche regarding their property at 8577 Tellers Road, Victoria.

Upon a question from Manager Miller, Ms. Domyancich located the subject property and explained that it is not directly connected to Halsted Bay.  Manager Olson noted that this property is in an area that is an integral part of the greenway trail system.  Manager Miller noted that his key concern is public benefit. 

There being no further discussion, President White called for a roll call vote.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

Arden Park Construction Update

Ms. Domyancich provided a detailed update on construction of the Arden Park project.  She reviewed efforts to address swale sedimentation issues.  In response to questions from Manager Hejmadi, Ms. Domyancich stated that there had been no delay in the construction due to COVID-19, and that there are discussions underway with city staff to explore the interpretive signage at the site.  She also presented photos illustrating the state of construction completion at the site.  The managers thanked Ms. Domyancich for her presentation.

STAFF UPDATES

Administrator’s Report

Mr. Wisker noted that there has overall been little change to the District staff’s workload.  The permitting department is processing permits on schedule; the research and monitoring department is preparing for spring data collection; and projects are proceeding on schedule.  The posting of a new outreach position has been delayed. 

Mr. Wisker also noted the likely delay of the Hennepin County property tax payment deadline to July 15, and his proactive effort to anticipate any cash flow impacts to the District.  He thanked the Board of Managers and staff for continuing to make forward progress in these challenging times.  The managers noted appreciation for the impactful work.  

Adjournment

There being no further business, President White declared the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 9:49 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kurt Rogness, Secretary

 

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers