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February 28, 2019 Board Minutes





February 28, 2019



The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:10 p.m. on February 28, 2019, at the District office, 15320 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, Minnesota.


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




James Wisker, Administrator; Cathy Reynolds, Operations Manager; Kim LaBo, Education and Engagement Coordinator; Becky Christopher, Policy  Planning Manager; Brian Beck, Research and Monitoring Program Manager; Chris Meehan, District Consulting Engineer; Louis Smith, District Counsel.




It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Miller to approve the agenda as distributed. Manager Miller requested that a discussion of the Zumbra Lake project be added to the agenda as Item 12.2, Manager Olson concurred, and the motion was deemed so amended by unanimous consent.  Upon vote, the motion to adopt the agenda with this addition carried, 7-0.


It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Rogness to approve the items on the Consent Agenda, including the Board minutes of February 14, 2019, and approval of the check register, with the general checking account register, consisting of checks 39578 through 39630 totaling $658,816.59; payroll direct deposits totaling $230,779.54 and electronic fund withdrawals totaling$37,589.95; for total expenses of $927,198.98; and adoption of:

Resolution 19-019, Authorization to Accept Donation

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Board of Managers hereby accepts the donation of $100.00 from Rosemary Holman in the name of Margaret Schiller and authorizes the District Administrator to deposit the donation into the Education Department’s budget to support the continued development of educational materials and displays.

Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.


Board, Committee and Task Force Reports

President's Report:  

President White thanked the staff for assistance with a series of policy meetings.  She also noted that at the meeting of February 14, 2019, the Board conducted a performance evaluation of Mr. Wisker, and provided the following summary: 

Summary of Administrator’s Performance Evaluation


At the February 14, 2019 regular Board of Managers meeting, the managers present convened in closed session with Administrator James Wisker and Counsel Chuck Holtman to evaluate Mr. Wisker’s performance.  The managers and Mr. Wisker mutually noted that a focus of Mr. Wisker’s attention in 2018 was to continue to strengthen the District’s operations and human resources systems, while he also led District progress on several important project and programmatic initiatives.  The Board review was uniformly favorable.  The Board will shift from quarterly reviews to an annual review in 2019, with one or more shorter, interim reviews if Mr. Wisker or a manager should request.  Applying a compensation ratio that is mid-range within the category of outstanding performance, the Board, by unanimous vote, increased Mr. Wisker’s salary by 5.6%, effective March 1, 2019.

Policy and Planning Committee Report:

Manager Miller reported that the Committee met earlier in the evening and received a presentation on the Minnehaha Parkway regional trail master plan.  He noted that it was an impressive presentation by Ms. Schaufler and reflected a comprehensive plan over the next thirty years and reflected exciting cooperation with partners in Minneapolis.  


Resolution 19-020: Authorization to Approve Freshwater Contract Renewal for Watershed Association Initiative 

Ms. Kim LaBo appeared before the Board of Managers and reviewed the request for board action.  She noted that the staff has worked with the Freshwater Society to realign the initiative with the District's strategic priorities, reflecting partnerships in focal geographies, high impact projects, and the integration of land use and water resources planning.  She commented that this approach will lead to closer coordination of the initiative with the District's projects.  It was moved by Manager Rogness, seconded by Manager Shekleton, to adopt Resolution 19-020, authorization to approve the Freshwater contract renewal for the WAI program.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

Resolution 19-021: Authorization to Release RFQ for IT Consulting Services

Ms. Cathy Reynolds appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  She reviewed the goals of the IT plan which was developed following the strategic alignment process of 2017.  She reviewed the timeline for issuing the RFQ and reviewing responses.  It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Rogness, to approve Resolution 19-021, authorization to release the RFQ for IT consulting services.  Manager Miller thanked Manager Shekleton for his service as one of the board liaisons in this process, and asked if he would be willing to continue in a voluntary advisory capacity.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Rogness, to adopt Resolution 19-021 with the additional request to Manager Shekleton for his voluntary advisory service following the completion of his service on the Board of Managers.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.

Resolution 19-022: Authorization to Purchase and Install Two New Workstations

Ms. Reynolds reviewed the request for board action.  It was moved by Manager Shekleton, seconded by Manager Olson, to adopt Resolution 19-021 authorizing the purchase and installation of two new workstations.  Upon vote, the motion carried.

Resolution 19-023: Authorization to Approve Sediment Core Collection for Long Lake Subwatershed Assessment

Mr. Brian Beck appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  He noted the District's partnership with local partners and the need for sediment core work to investigate the nature of internal loading to Long Lake and provide a benchmark for further work that is supported by a Clean Water grant from the Board of Water and Soil Resources.  Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Loftus, to adopt Resolution 19-023 authorizing the sediment core collection for the Long Lake subwatershed assessment.  Upon a question from Manager Olson, Mr. Beck explained that the lab at the University of Wisconsin is the only lab in the Midwest to provide the necessary sediment core analysis.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.


Taft-Legion Project Update

Ms. Becky Christopher appeared before the Board of Managers to present a status report on the Taft-Legion project.  She traced the history of significant under-performance of the project led by the City of Richfield.  She noted a series of issues, including poor historic data on nutrient concentrations to guide project design; chemical selection and filter capacity issues with the best management practices; and mechanical issues associated with achieving the volume goals for the project.  She stated that 2018 saw some improvement in nutrient removal.  Manager Miller noted that this was not supposed to be an experimental project, and that the District is committed to retiring 20 year debt of the City for the project.  In response to questions from Manager Miller and Manager Shekleton, Ms. Christopher noted differences in the design of the upcoming project for Halsted Bay, and better pre-project data.  The managers thanked Ms. Christopher for her presentation.

Zumbra Lake

Manager Miller noted recent discussions in the community which suggested the possibility that the Three Rivers Park District's Zumbra Lake project could have an impact on downstream water levels in the watershed.  Manager Miller stated that he felt it is essential that this question be addressed to assure the Board of Managers and the public that there is no such downstream impact.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson, that the attorney and engineer provide an independent review of this project to assure that it is fully permitted pursuant to legal requirements, and that the engineer confirm whether the project will have any adverse downstream impacts.  Upon vote, the motion carried, 7-0.  


Administrator's Report

Mr. Wisker reported on the following items:

  1. The Arden Park project in Edina is advancing, with completion of the installation of salvaged wood in the creek banks.  Creek channel excavation and work on the bridge abutments will proceed next week and the project is expected to be complete by the end of March;
  2. The Six Mile Creek fish barrier work has started and should be complete in two weeks.  An independent commercial fishing operation is removing carp from Parley Lake;
  3. The Wasserman Lake alum project has not received quotes and will solicit new quotes later in March;
  4. The Bde Maka Ska pond dredging project is receiving publicity on Channel 5 news;
  5. Twin Lakes concerns of area residents in St. Louis Park were addressed in a recent meeting of City and District staff.  District staff will be reviewing information about the proliferation of lily pads since 2014 and develop recommendations;
  6. The District continues its close coordination with the National Weather Service to track snow melt scenarios and flood risks; with 56" snowfall to date, 10" above normal, the District is working on specific communications with local communities to prepare for the potential of spring flooding;
  7. The District congratulates Elizabeth Showalter on her new employment with the City of Blaine.  


There being no further business, the regular meeting of the Board of Managers was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kurt Rogness, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers