Rocky Mountain Flycasters - Board Meetings
RMF BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Aug 10 & 13, 2015
7:00 PM - Meeting called to order
8/10: Wil Huett, Dick Jefferies, Linda Jefferies, Dave Piske, Paul Wehr, Phil Wright, Lance Asherin, Domingo Rodriguez, Dave Morse.
8/13: Wil Huett, Dick Jefferies, Paul Wehr, Phil Wright, Lance Asherin, Marc McKenzie, Dennis Cook, Dave Morse.
8/10: Ken Kehmeier, Sr. Aquatic Biologist, CPW 8/13: John Stokes of the Fort Collins Natural Areas
Note: A quorum was not present.
Conversations with Ken Kehmeier and John Stokes re NISP effects on Poudre River
Ken Kehmeier introduced himself and went on to explain some of what his letter will respond to. The information for the letter is still in the process of being put together and once he receives all the information this Friday he has a week to draft his letter to be reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources. He went on to explain that the state requires water development projects to provide an economically reasonable mitigation plan to be provided to the mitigation commission. When approved it becomes the position of the state and he then presents these mitigation measures to the Corps’ of Engineers. The CPW will maintain a neutral position and enter the negotiations with COE and assume that the project will proceed. They will negotiate for the best possible outcome for the resources being impacted.
The draft and supplemental EIS need to be read together to comprehend the full effect of the project.
The main criteria from an aquatic viewpoint that the CPW will be evaluating are 1) low flow information, 2) flushing flows in the spring, and 3) water quality impacts/standards. The water quality impacts must go through a federal 401 certification and can be difficult to obtain. He commented that ultimately the solution to pollution is dilution. So with less water in the river it will cost the city of Fort Collins much more money to treat to standards.
Temperature mitigation will be one of the larger concerns with this project. He mentioned we could have a different looking Poudre river with multi-channeling to help maintain temps during low flow.
Colorado is the only state that still uses the true appropriations doctrine water law of first in time fist in rite. The flushing flows in the mitigation measures proposed has serious flaws, 10,000 cfs vs maybe 3,000 cfs. He asked how do you get Northern Water to pass water to meet the appropriate cfs to flush the river when they can legally take it and then have them pass the water for a long enough time period to be effective.
Northern Water has purchased all of the land that would be in the Glade foot print.
The cumulative effects of the Glade project along with Haligan and Seamen Reservoir projects are not being evaluated together for cumulative effects, even though it’s the same water source.
He discussed ways he might try to get Northern Water to change the way they use their water to have a beneficial use to meet flushing flows.
Dick asked about water return not leaving a section of the river dry so to speak. Ken made the mention of trying to create a true tailwater. He also mentioned that Watson has a senior water write so winter flows are 25cfs.
There was a discussion of fish passage methods and that a new and better system is designed for our local waters.
There was a discussion of moving water to meet future population needs. Ken mentioned that the views of the Fort Collins city council have been changing about Glade.
The Poudre River is not an environmentally healthy river from the canyon mouth down river, rated at C-. Perhaps Northern Water could spend some money prior to any potential upcoming litigation issue and take the wind out of the complainant’s sails so to speak.
Ken felt that a chapter response from a “TROUT” stand point from the canyon mouth to say College Ave or Mulberry would be a good thing to include in our chapters letter. Concentrating on low flow, water quality and flushing flow issues would be beneficial. Ken would like to hear about any ideas we could come up with on flushing flow mitigation that wouldn’t cost Northern Water would be good.
Ken also explained a little about how the NEPA process works, the CPW is considered a cooperating agency and they come into play after the public comment period ends. Ken felt that the water quality is going to be a very contentious part of this project. Ken made a comment about ground water being considered a part of the river in Colorado unlike California.
Ken asked for a copy of our letter for himself and he would send Dave the letter that CPW submits.
John Stokes introduced himself and went on to explain some of what the cities concerns are.
Water quality is the first concern he discussed. He talked about an alternative that is unlikely to happen, mostly dealing with the water being pumped into Horsetooth Reservoir and the effect it would have on the city’s water treatment facility. From a 3 yr. cycle to a 7 yr. cycle and the manganese levels created.
Water in the river was the next concern and temperatures being increased in town. We already have temperature problems and very low winter flows.
The peak flows are a big contention with the Army Corps’ of engineers. There minimum 10,000 cfs is way of the cities estimate of 2500 to 3500. Northern Water does not have any mitigation for this aspect because the corps’ has set such a large minimum. The floods we experienced in 2013 were the 10,000 level. So this will be a major issue.
Northern Water developing their conceptual mitigation measures and attaching it to the Army Corps’ document is very unusual. Northern Water is trying to be proactive. Northern Water gets frustrated with some of the Army Corps’ statements. This will affect the shape and the plant component of the river over time.
There is a question about Northern Water even having the legal write to augment the winter flows to 10 cfs as they have proposed. Phil keeps bringing up the idea of having 20 to 30 cfs being augmented into the river, John agrees this would be obviously better for the fish but again why should Northern Water do this. There has to be a beneficial use or somebody else will take the water.
The city disagrees with the riparian vegetation analysis effects on the river.
The Army Corps’ completed a 2D model of “habitat suitability curves of fish” for the Glade project incorrectly and the city will be asking them to redo this correctly. The model was applied correctly for the Windy Gap project by the Bureau of Reclamation. For the Glade project the Army Corps’ dummied down the model. This is a very good model and says a lot about what flows will support fish in each reach of the river and what shape of river will be supporting fish habitat, so it correlates the morphology of the river with the quantity of water in the river to develop a robust formula for managing the river and the fishery. Currently the corps’ is claiming that the project will provide minor beneficial impacts to the sport fishery related to the winter time base flows.
CPW really wants this model to be done right so that they can then inform the city of recommended minimum instream flows during the low flow periods.
Dick brought up a discussion about Northern Water having a legal right to pursue the development of glade and that once the model is run correctly it will just change the parameters of the mitigation standard. This could go on for a long time period and provide a new base for the mitigation required to meet the new standard. This could eventually lead to a developer saying it can afford to meet this standard.
John then did some rough math to say an acre foot in glade would cost less than half of what we currently pay for Colorado Big Thompson water, his gold standard. He argued that they should be spending about 80 million on mitigation measures (10% of total project costs) and he knows that they are not even close to this currently as proposed.
John also felt that this project is likely to be permitted and that the city will push to try and get the corps’ to do two things. First get the analysis correct for the 2D fish habitat suitability model and the vegetation impacts and then let’s develop a really good mitigation plan.
The city will also be questioning the half need for water that this project is proposing to provide. What else is in the pipe line and how much more are we proposing to take down the road. When is enough, enough? Will an environmental vision ever be proposed for the river and an attempt to get all the water users together to figure out a better way to manage the water?
There was a discussion about dollars invested into developing water projects and the fact that the Poudre is a tributary to the Platt River and their water users.
Then a discussion about water law occurred. The Colorado Water Plan is trying to address the environment but only after water use is addressed. John felt that they need to be addressed concurrently.
We cannot require Northern Water to set aside a bond to deal with possible future impacts. They are required to address issues of impacts in the EIS only. The city is going to provide the corps’ with two things. One is the Poudre river ecosystems response model for environmental impacts and secondly a river assessment frame work, a road map of 10 river health indicators. For every indicator there is a list of metrics to follow to help address the indicator.
Northern Water has a copy of this assessment and likes the overall idea, even if they may disagree with some goals set by the city. But the city feels if they and the corps’ will take it seriously, the framework provides a good way to develop a mitigation plan.
John felt that we could help by commenting about the Army Corps’ analysis. Base you comment’s on your experience with the river not how you feel. He made a pitch that we address the purpose of the project and that it is not enough for future needs and where is the rest of the water going to come from. What is going to happen to this river over the long haul? Dick made a comment about our chapter overlooking a lot more water upstream of the water reach affected by the NISP project.
We all feel like this will get implemented so how do we try to make the best of the situation? Dick asked when someone will address the issue of growth along the Front Range. Agriculture still has a lot of water to access for growth; approximately 85% of Colorado’s water is used for agriculture.
Discussion of NISP response
We discussed some of the items we thought about including in our letter. The issues discussed by Ken and John very similar; water quality, spring flushing flows and low flows. Some of the data numbers we hear about is not Northern Water’s but is actually from the Army Corps’.
Incorrect data analysis. - Did they just use some national standards, it doesn’t apply to us.
Low flow. - A question about Northern Water’s ability to legally augment flows to 10 cfs in the winter. We need to bring this to everyone’s attention. Ken brought up the idea of augmentation being tied to the actual water level in the reservoir. Let’s talk about reservoir capacity and the idea of year round adaptive management that could impact low flow, flushing flows etc.
Water quality. - We discussed the temperature, turbidity, organic carbon and a new low flow channel all impacting the vegetation of the flood plain. Water flow is the key!! Are there mitigation measures to move the cottonwoods down to a lower flood plain level if a low flow channel is created? A question about asking Northern Water for an 80% draw on a “free river” was mentioned.
Peak flow. – The Army Corps’ needs to redo both of the analysis they completed.
10,000 cfs is not a realistic number. Effective volume and duration of flow are the issues in question. The modeling being done by the grad student could inform us about a proper cfs level to transport sediment in the Poudre River.
The 2D fish habitat suitability model and the vegetation impacts models are flawed. The model was applied correctly for the windy gap project, but not for Glade.
Dick, Dave Piske and Wil will work together on our response letter and get together with Northern Water soon to inform them of our issues of concerns.
Dick felt the letter would be a two part document. Discuss our major concerns first and then introduce additional/alternative ways of mitigation to issues of concern. Northern Water is trying to constantly improve their mitigation measures.
- Ken Kehmeier introduced himself and went on to explain some of what his letter will respond to. The information for the letter is still in the process of being put together and once he receives all the information this Friday he has a week to draft his letter to be reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources. He went on to explain that the state requires water development projects to provide an economically reasonable mitigation plan to be provided to the mitigation commission. When approved it becomes the position of the state and he then presents these mitigation measures to the Corps’ of Engineers. The CPW will maintain a neutral position and enter the negotiations with COE and assume that the project will proceed. They will negotiate for the best possible outcome for the resources being impacted.
2.0 Committee Business
- Introductions / President’s Comments
Wil asked that everyone start carrying a couple of the chapter’s business cards with them and look for opportunities to hand them out while they are out fishing. Tell people about our organization and encourage them to join.
- Review Agenda: approved, a few additional discussion items came up see 4.5
- Approve Minutes of Last Meeting: Motion/2nd/Approved with addition of Dave Piskes comments:
- Consent Agenda: Approved, no youth report submitted
- Pulled Consent Items: None
- Introductions / President’s Comments
3.0 Old Business
- Sustain: Strategic Plan – new update. Not discussed
Sustain: September Celebration
Dick has been trying to get ahold of Carla but she is on vacation and he will keep trying. The date is Sept 29th.
- Find the $5k campaign Not discussed
4.0 New Business
Conservation: Protect: Colorado Water Plan
The decision to be made on August 10 is whether RMF will submit comments on the final draft of the Colorado Water Plan directly to CWCB, or instead send RMF’s comments to CTU by August 17 for incorporation into CTU’s comments on the final draft of the Colorado Water Plan. If RMF decides to submit its own comments, they are to be filed with CWCB before September 15, 2015.
Dave explained that in the past CTU wanted all chapters to send them the information and then they would draft a response. This time they don’t want to handle it that way, they see more value in having a number of submissions, so it was decided that we would submit our own comments. The NISP and the CWP have similar issues. Dave and Dick will generate a document from our previously submitted comments along with the NISP project and submit these comments.
These comments will get sent out to the committee members.
Conservation: Restore: North Fork Big Thompson
Revegetation and Cleanup: USFS representative, Chris Carroll talked with us about cleaning up the North Fork of the Big Thompson in July, now Phil is asking for 4-5 volunteers to be a work crew Co-Leader. There will be a half day training session coming up soon for people who might be available on occasion to take a group out for a half day of work over the next several months. Phil said that if you couldn’t make it to this training session that you could still become a crew lead by going out with another trained person on a future work day.
A web application called "doodle" will be used to solicit volunteers and coordinate schedules. Co-Leaders will assist in gathering work crews and will individually lead work crews on the North Fork as their schedules and the schedules of their volunteers permit.
Vice President vacancy
Will asked that everyone please contact anyone who they think might be interested in assuming the role and perhaps becoming the future chapter president.
Sustain: Behnke Scholarship/Behnke Endowment:
The Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, is seeking donations to establish an endowed chair in coldwater conservation, named in honor of Dr. Robert J. Behnke. Our goal of $3 million will fund a full-time professor, but all contributions will be put to use for coldwater conservation in Dr. Behnke’s name.
For information about how to contribute, please contact Jonathan Clifton, Warner College of Natural Resources, at (970) 491-3745 or Jonathan.Clifton@colostate.edu.
- The chapter will receives some funds from Doc Sheets memorial service.
- Get your volunteer hours put together.
- Domingo talked about a couple of speakers for Sept general meeting.
- Dick informed the group that the Raffle Items have been completely depleted. Perhaps we need to reach out to some larger companies and seek out some willing to donate some swag.
- Rod purchases need to occur for this year. Dick will send an email to Elk Horn to duplicate last year’s request.
- Dave Morse talked a little about the upcoming charity event for Healing Waters on Sept 5th, there are two fishing spot’s the chapter can fill with our $300.00 dollar donation for the event.
- Conservation: Protect: Colorado Water Plan
9:15 PM - Meetings adjourned
Submitted by Lance Asherin,
Rocky Mountain Flycasters’ Secretary
Previous meeting reports will be here as they are superceded by newer reports.