There was no meeting held in December.
Present: Bill Layton, Carl Stuendel, Bruce Dolph, Tony Coiro, Linda Burkhardt, Bruce LaMonda, Pete Bracci, Ric Coombe, Michael McCrary, John VanBenschoten and Counsel Jeff Baker.
Others in attendance: Al Rosa, Tim Cox, Phil Eskeli, Graydon Dutcher, Rick Weidenbach, Aaron Bennett, Karen Router, Michelle Yost, Dean Frazier.
- Call to order – 6:17 PM
- Minutes – Minutes were accepted as written. Moved by Ric Coombe, second by Bill Layton. One abstention. Passed.
- Privilege of the floor
- Local Flood Hazard Mitigation Analysis Presentation by Graydon Dutcher, Stream Corridor Management Program Coordinator, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. Graydon Dutcher gave a presentation on Floodplain Mitigation. He discussed the purpose and goals of the engineering analysis and how this would serve communities who participate in the flood mitigation program in the NYC watershed. He differentiated what the EWP program does versus what would be done for practices under the LFHMA. He also discussed how the principles of the LFHMA were merged in the EWP effort with USDA to incorporate additional flood mitigation efforts beyond just repair typically utilized in the EWP. Graydon and representatives from other county stream program members responded to questions and comments. Carl thanked Graydon for his presentation, noting two items that were especially pertinent with regard to the programs to be developed within the context of the FAD midterm review: decisions must be based on the science Graydon was presenting and community involvement/approval is critical.
- Other – none
- Dues notice and discussion – Counsel and the Exec. Committee discussed the status of the letters going out to communities. Carl signed the letters for mailing. Carl also commented on the concerns raised by Stamford and Deposit. After much discussion, it was agreed that Carl and Jeff should consult with both Deposit and Stamford again to make sure full and adequate communication has occurred before making decisions about ongoing CWT service for these towns.
- Revised 2007 FAD comments – they have been submitted. Expressed concerns that a contract be in place for CWC by April 30, 2014 and first check be issued by July 2014.
- WAG – quiet.
- Consent order – Counsel again noted that he will follow the progress of the order.
- Kurt Ossenfort proposal – discussions with Jeff, to be continued.
- Flood Mitigation Program:
i) A meeting with watershed partners will be arranged to discuss the questions/ concerns about how to implement the $15 million buyout addressed in the FAD.
ii) CWC/CWT discussion Carl described the recent meeting and the issues of concern and what the conclusions for communication were. Transparency was an issue of concerns for both. Ric Coombe moved, Pete seconded a motion for Counsel to send a letter to DEP asking that they conduct a Right of Objection for each project in the stream program, as per Article 5, Subparagraph 107d.
iii) CWC Program rules will include the eligibility of homes for moving as well as other businesses and anchor businesses.
iv) The CWC’s position is that the Contract should be completed before the program rules are finalized. Concern over proposed contract language that reads “All reasonable efforts” to pay within 45 days as opposed to current contract that reads “City shall pay”. Also concern over lack of definition for expenses and capital.
- Warrants – Motion by Ric Coombe, Second by Bruce LaMonda, to pay the warrant to Young Sommer in the amount of $2,197.90. Treasurer’s report showed Checkbook Balance of $1,000.15 and Savings balance of $88,590.27 on October 31, 2013.
- Correspondence – no comments
- Other: The importance of outreach of CWT actions was discussed along with the potential value of a website might provide. Carl will explore options such as websites or blogs.
- Adjourn: Motion to adjourn 8:40 PM. Moved by Linda Burkhardt seconded by Bruce Dolph. Passed unanimously.
Attending: Carl Stuendel, Peter Bracci, Linda Burkhardt, Ric Coombe, Bill Layton, Burce LaMonda, Michael McCrary, Stephen Walker, Cindy Donofrio and Jeff Baker, Counsel.
Others: Alan Rosa, Tim Cox, Aaron Bennett, Michelle Yost, Diane Galusha, Dean Frazier, One unknown.
- Call to order: 6:18 PM.
- Minutes: Moved by Linda Burkhardt to approve; seconded by Pete Bracci.
- Privilege of the floor –
Archives – Carl Stuendel sought input and permission to move the CWT archives from Greene County to Delaware County where CWT administrative work is now being done. This lead to more questions and discussions about the management of the archives in general. The committee in general agreed that the best way to archive ultimately is to digitize everything. Jeff Baker reported that all CWT records they have are in electronic form. The existing boxes of hard copies need sorting through to determine what is worth retaining. There are both legal and historical reasons to archive the material. The task of sorting is in question, whether to seek out an intern next year to do the work or hire a company to do the work was discussed. Michael McCrary moved to table the discussion until questions raised above can be answered regarding archiving; Ric Coombe seconded the motion. Motion carried. Michelle Yost volunteered to contact a company to see what it might cost to do digital archiving.
- Revised 2007 FAD
- Regarding the purchase of flood prone properties using the $15 million in the FAD, Jeff Baker will be developing comments for the FAD. More clarity is needed as to how this portion of the flood mitigation program would integrate with other efforts such as the $17 million for volunteer relocation efforts and who would be involved in the implementation of the program. Jeff will work with Alan to clarify items in the CWC program rules as they relate to the September 20, 2012 Flood Mitigation Program Document.
- LAP language clarity – Again Jeff Baker will develop language pertaining to land acq caps etc.
- Other –
- Jeff will check with Congressman Gibson’s office to determine if they have made any effort regarding the movement of $50 million in the FAD out of the LAP into flood mitigation.
- CWC reported that the contract process will substantially delay the finalization of the contract and hence funding. This could push back the implementation of the CWC program for relocation, etc.
- Consent order for the DEP pertaining to turbidity and alum use. $3 million has been allocated to address the issue of turbidity in the lower Esopus. Counsel will monitor the consent process to assure that nothing develops that would have a negative impact above the dams. The consent order will require an amendment to the SPDES permit and an EIS. This process will enable Ulster County to pursue an article 78 if needed to gain the leverage they are seeking. This could be a five year process.
- The committee discussed the Kurt Ossenfort proposal. Diane Galusha gave a summary of the proposal and the benefits it would provide to the CWT. The conclusion is that it fits well into the archive issues noted in agenda items #3 above. It would be an important component of the history of the MOA negotiation process. Pete Bracci moved to accept the proposal with the understanding that repositories will be identified to make accessible to the public; Ric Coombe seconded. Motion passed. Jeff Baker will develop a contract with him.
- Status reports
- WAG update – has been quiet through the government shutdown.
- Article 7 Lawsuits language and TLAP. Agreement has been reached that the resolutions which will settle the claims brought by New York City against the Towns of Tompkins and Roxbury in Delaware County will be allowed, according to Bob Beebe and Kevin Young, to include a stipulation that “DEP acknowledges its obligation to comply with the TLAP program. . . [and] that after the expiration of the three year period (2014, 2015 and 2016), the town may execute an agreement with CWC to participate in the TLAP. If the town does execute a TLAP agreement, the city agrees to comply with its obligations under TLAP.” [In addition, for town tax assessment purposes the City agrees to follow the current template, which utilizes the RCNLD methodology, at the conclusion of the three year period whether the town chooses to execute a TLAP agreement or not; and if the town does execute a TLAP agreement, to use the current template in the subsequent TLAP process.]
- Flood Mitigation Program Status: Contracts nearing an end.
- EWP Project Status. Projects are finishing up. Fifty or more were implemented in 2013
- Gauges: The Walton gauge had been funded by NYS. Both NYS and Federally elected officials are working to try to get funding to keep it on line. It goes off line on November 1, 2013.
- NYC WWTPs in Grand Gorge and Tannersville have been unable to accept septage. These two plants were identified in the MOA as sites that could take it. Due to repairs they have been able to accept if for some time. Carl reported that the Grand Gorge Plant should be able accept septage by the end of November. Tannersville’s issues are more complicated and will not be able to accept it for some time.
- Counsel Jeff Baker sought authorization for Carl Stuendel to sign off as part of the Flood Buyout that the Towns will hold the property. This is necessary to make amendments to the Water Supply Permit. Changes. 1. The FEMA Appraisal process will be used versus the City’s. 2. The towns will convey a Conservation Easement to the State. Ric Coombe moved to agree that the CWT will not challenge the WSP and to authorize Carl to Sign off. Linda Burkhardt seconded the motion. Passed.
- Carl reported that the City is waiting for their licensing from FERC to build the hydroelectric plant on the Cannonsville dam and that DEP has posted a position on their website (https://a127-jobs.nyc.gov/) for a Deputy Chief Hydroelectric Facilities Operations Manager with duty location at Downsville.
- Warrants and Treasurer’s Report
- Treasurers Report:
Savings Balance – $ 95,433.06
Checkbook Balance – $ 1,000.13
Rick Coombe moved to pay the warrants. Bruce LaMonda seconded. Passed.
- Treasurers Report:
- Correspondence – noted, but unclear what the purpose was
- Adjournment: Moved by Ric Coombe; Second Linda Burkhardt. Passed. 8:08 PM.
Click HERE for a PDF of CWT Chairman’s comments presented at Ulster County’s Hearing on the Draft Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD).
Present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce LaMonda, Bruce Dolph, Linda Burkhardt, Tony Coiro, Mike McCrary, Stephen Walker, Ric Coombe, Tony Van Glad, Bill Layton, Pete Bracci, and counsel Jeff Baker
Dean Frazier, Tim Cox, Aaron Bennett, Michelle Yost, Dennis Doyle, Amanda LaValle, Bob Basil and Jay Braman.
1. Call to order 6:17 PM
2. Minutes – Motion to accept Linda Burkhardt; seconded by Ric Coombe. Passed Unanimously.
3. Privilege of the Floor – Dennis Doyle, Director of the Ulster County Planning Department and Amanda LaValle Coordinator of Ulster County Department of the Environment were given the floor. Dennis and Amanda made an oral presentation regarding concerns associated with turbid releases and flooding concerns from the Ashokan Reservoir. They were seeking the development of a dialogue with the CWT on a number items. How might the CWT and the below Dam towns work together on issues related to the FAD and MOA on the premise that reservoir operations are related to the management of turbidity which is a major concern of the FAD? They are seeking a seat at the table with regard to negotiations between the City and the NYS DOH, NYS DEC and EPA on the FAD and ongoing regulatory matters. They posed that it may well be worth the effort and time to revisit the FAD and MOA to attempt to get improvements as it has been in place since 1997 and things have changed. For instance there is no simple appeals process pertaining to regulatory problems. They also stated that since the form of government in Ulster County has changed to that of a County Executive that should be taken into consideration in all these matters as that is a significant change in that the Executive speaks with one voice from Ulster County. They voiced concerns regarding the inability to get access to documents sent between these entities when they are negotiating on critical issues directly affecting the watershed and below dam towns. A thoughtful discussion ensued. Counsel, Jeffery Baker reflected on how and when the CWT has historically been able to make serious headway with the City on issues of concern.
He also reviewed the purposes and jurisdictional limitations involved, pertaining to the MOA, FAD and WSP. For instance, the jurisdiction of FAD only includes above dam matters related to protecting water quality. The framework for opportunities to make changes reside more under the water supply permit renewals related to DEC’s function in that process, rather than the MOA. While the CWT might agree that changes would be helpful it would be a monumental and costly lift to get changes in the MOA as there are no leverage points to make those changes, hence it is not in the CWT’s interest, at this time, to take that on.
CWT agrees that they would like more access during the FAD renewal process, the “seat at the table”. However, the Courts ruled that the CWT does not have standing in the FAD review. Having said that, the CWT has been able to influence what is currently in the FAD and is relatively pleased with the revised 2007 FAD overall. To reinforce Counsel’s opinion he reminded all, that it was through the legal avenue provided via the Water Supply Permit renewal process, that the CWT was able to make gains regarding changes to the permit that benefited the watershed area and equally important the avenue to secure programmatic commitments in the WSP. These assured their incorporation into the Final Draft of the 2007 Revised FAD. Mr. Baker suggested that the DEC Consent Order is where Ulster County should focus as he believes that is a place where Ulster County should have standing in the process. The question of commonality of interests is important. The challenge of the CWT is that it has multiple interests based on a different jurisdictional framework than what is being sought by below dam municipalities. It was felt that would be a real challenge to organize around and be effective all around.
Speaking to Dennis and Amanda, Mr. Baker referenced a statement attributed to Mike Hein from an article in the Times Herald Record – 9/16/13; by James Nani. “Hein said it’s no surprise current watershed communities are now comfortable with the DEP; they’ve become reliant on the DEP’s good graces — money and programs — and are therefore not inclined to criticize the department. ” Mr. Baker suggested that if Mr. Hein is seeking assistance from the CWT, such statements will not engender their support. To suggest the CWT has not taken strong stands on issues and negotiations and continues to do so with the City, or any other watershed partner, he is at best, poorly informed.
The Board concluded that the scope of the discussion was very broad and that they needed a proposal from Dennis and Amanda that more clearly delineates what it is they want. Dennis thanked the Board for their time and indicated that they would be back with a written document.
4. Revised FAD – Counsel indicated there were four areas of interest to the CWT. He said it was very consistent with the elements outlined in the WSP.
a. Land Acquisition:
i) He recommended that the CWT seek to reduce the City’s solicitation requirements by 50%.
ii) There needs to be language in the FAD relative to a cap on the number of acres that can be purchased through 2025 as agreed to in the WSP. This process in now a state one, not federal and that given that, the cap should be included.
iii) Language needs to be included that states where they are at in terms of acres acquired and money expended.
b. The new $15 million dollar program to purchase land for properties. Language needs to be inserted that describes how this program integrates with the overall flood mitigation program. This program will likely require a change to the WSP.
5. WAG update. It was announced that Robert Illjes is no longer with the WAG. WAG has indicated they will be meeting with city officials to discuss some issues.
6. Article 7 Lawsuits and TLAP – The Towns of Roxbury and Tompkins are holding out on signing the Article 7 agreements. They are seeking to have the Article 7 settlement language that enables the settlements to evolve into the TLAP program when they mature. A meeting is set for Tuesday September 17th to discuss this.
7. Flood Mitigation Program Status – nothing new to report.
8. EWP Projects. Greene County reported that things are being done. Delaware County will be seeking an extension on project that has been delayed due to technical difference. This is a major and costly project. Delaware County SWCD is closing in on the finish line. A few of the 30 plus projects, are going to be nip and tuck regarding the 9/30 timeline
9. Warrants and Financial Report.
Pete Bracci moved to pay the warrants and accept the treasurer’s report. Ric Coombe Seconded. Unanimous vote to pay.
10. Correspondence – announced.
11. Adjourned. Motion by Stephen; seconded by Bruce LaMonda. Passed.
Adjourned 8:48 PM
Present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce LaMonda, Bruce Dolph, Linda Burkhardt, Tony Coiro, Mike McCrary, Stephen Walker, Ric Coombe, Tony Van Glad, Bill Layton, and counsel Jeff Baker
Dean Frazier, Al Rosa, Tim Cox, Aaron Bennett, Clayton and Charlotte Brooks.
- Call to order 6:17 PM
- Minutes – Motion to accept with minor changes, Tony Van Glad; seconded by Bill Layton. Passed Unanimously.
- Privilege of the Floor- Clayton and Charlotte Brooks were recognized. Clayton served as one of the original CWT Members. It was a pleasure to see Clayton again.
- Congressman Gibson – WAG Update
Chairman Carl Stuendel and Counsel, Jeff Baker, briefed the CWT board regarding the Congressman’s Watershed Advisory Group –“attorney subgroup” meeting in Kingston earlier in the day. Also present at the early meeting were, Congressman Gibson, Dan Ruzzo, Mike Sterthous, Alan Rosa, Clayton Brooks, Tim Cox, Peter Lopez, WAG Co-chairs Steve Bulger and Robert Illjes. About WAG Carl said the following: for the first time in recent history there exists a US congressional district (the redrawn 19th) that is co-extensive with all the watershed communities east of the Hudson. Chris Gibson currently represents this district and is attempting to familiarize himself with the efforts that have been made over the last two decades to address the issues vital to the communities in the watershed, especially to their often times difficult relations with NYC. He recognizes the leadership role CWT and CWC have taken and is well aware of the importance of the unified voice with which the coalition has spoken and advocated. He is not looking to reinvent the wheel, but does feel the opportunity exists to expand the scope of issues to be addressed (e.g., the effect of water releases on below the dam communities) and to use the his office in the newly drawn 19th district to engender that positive spirit regarding the future that existed among the communities when the coalition was first formed.
Though not discussed explicitly as separate and distinct issue at this WAG subgroup meeting (and certainly not the focus of the meeting), Jeff reported on the merits/opportunities of inclusion of below the dam communities, in some manner, with the Coalition of Watershed Towns. There was also some dialogue about the possibilities of a relationship with the CWC. Possibilities of inclusion in some manner with the CWC is much more complicated and challenging, both politically and legally and hence not given much weight during their discussion. This would raise large questions and challenges with the MOA. The idea of inclusion with the CWT is that it may give the CWT a broader voice and influence, to have in watershed municipalities and below dam municipalities speaking as one voice.
The primary concerns of below dam communities are reservoir releases and flooding events. Warwarsing has large concerns regarding the leaking NYC tunnel in that town, but the largest issue overall is flooding and turbid releases.
All who attended from the watershed expressed a strong conviction that the Congressman will be making the final decisions on what comes from the WAG and will focus on issues that provide a positive outcome for all, not one singular interest of a small number of parties.
CWT board members agreed speaking with one voice would be the ideal, but posed a number of concerns with regard to developing some form of a relationship. All CWT board members are empathetic with the concerns of below dam communities. Some board members reminded the full CWT executive committee, that these towns below the dams that were partially in the watershed along with some of the counties supported the CWT from the beginning. The fact that they did so, should not be forgotten, since portions of their municipalities were not directly or indirectly influenced by the proposed watershed rules and regulations, and the land acquisition program. Not all below dam, interested municipalities, are within a municipality that is partially in the watershed.
It was suggested a number of times that the CWT should review its mission to determine if a merger of sorts was consistent with the CWT mission. The question of commonality of interest, (the common ground) was raised a number of times and resonated with the board in general. Is it, just the City is the bad guy? What do the releases have to do with the FAD?
Regarding the pending FAD — Jeff Baker strongly suggested at the early meeting and reiterated it at the CWT meeting that trying to make a difference at this stage in this review is not realistic and that this is a longer term initiative. He further stated that the Congressman suggested that this be the starting point of below dam issues for the next FAD revision in 2017.
Would the CWT be overwhelmed by the singular interest of flood releases? Most board members voiced that below dam municipalities are not subject to the watershed rules and regulations and direct town impacts of the land acquisition program. The funding at CWC was put in place to offset those impacts. In light of that, board members were wary of below dam communities having access to CWC funds, etc.
The CWT has a multitude of issues it addresses and not the single issue that the below dam municipalities are focused on. The board felt that for a relationship to work, that below dam municipalities would have to accept and recognize the breadth of issues the current CWT has or else a merger would not work.
Counsel commented that he would have to evaluate the legal considerations a formal relationship with the other group. He said that the CWT has no authority to enter into binding agreements.
A number of members pointed out that the flood mitigation efforts in the watershed would have a positive impact on flooding and turbidity below the dams, in the long run.
Also raised, a number of times, were the time, energy and resources it would take to not only figure out a way to partner, but how to operate if combined and what would happen if a lawsuit evolved? What would the new municipalities bring to the coalition? Would this initiative detract from the core mission and ongoing issues given limited resources?
There was discussion at the CWT meeting regarding the closing of the tunnel for repair and how that might affect the releases from the Delaware System. No conclusions were drawn, but points to the fact more education is needed.
There was general consensus that the below dam municipalities need to come to the CWT to explain what they are looking for and what are their expectations from the CWT were the two to merge?
A great deal of discussion ensued regarding how the CWT might be organized, who would be on the CWT and how would this group vote or influence any CWT actions? Who would report to whom and how? Suggestions were made that a secondary coalition be formed of below the dam communities, that these communities would be represented at the CWT by a liaison position, etc. This discussion pointed to the need for a great deal more discussion.
Chairman Stuendel requested feedback on supporting a press release the WAG wants to put out that would potentially have language such as “Watershed Interests Converge”. No decision was made, but several board members suggested that it was premature to make such a statement as it would misrepresent the reality of the current status of where things are.
The board granted Carl and Jeff permission to continue a dialogue regarding this issue.
- FAD status – Still anticipating imminent release.
- Flood Mitigation Program Status – It was suggested that some SWCD’s/ Ulster CCE , may be near to or have completed negotiations for flood mitigation contracts.
- EWP projects – Tony Van Glad reported 6 Schoharie projects are pending construction.(??). Delaware County reported that, as of August 9th the SWCD had completed 13 projects, 7 projects were under construction, 9 are under contract with construction pending and 3 projects were left to go to bid. Two of which are larger and complex. The total includes 9 projects outside the watershed. Ulster, Greene and Sullivan no reports, at this time.
- Warrants and financials –
Bruce LaMonda moved; Ric Coombe seconded that warrants from Young and Sommer for $1,907.50 and Greene Count Soil and Water Conservation District for $385.48 for a total of $2292.98 be paid. Passed Unanimously.
Treasurer Tony Van Glad reported the checking account balance is $1,000.11 and the savings account balance is $94,003.22.
- Correspondence –
Notice of Preliminary decisions of the CWC was provided.
- Adjourned 7:57 PM. Motion to adjourn Bill Layton; Seconded Bruce Dolph. Unanimous.
Began: 6:17 PM
Present: Mike Mullen, Stephen Walker, Bruce Dolph, Bill Layton, Bruce LaMonda, Michael McCrary, Linda Burkhardt , Cindy Donofrio and counsel Jeff Baker.
- Minutes for the June 17, 2013 meeting were moved by Cindy Donofrio and seconded by Bruce Dolph. Passed unanimously.
- No privilege of the floor was requested.
- Transition to new board and administrative support is near complete. Finance matter should be reportable the next meeting.
- Linda Burkhardt: Linda was elected as an alternative. Counsel advised that absent any other representatives from Ulster County Linda could and should be moved to a primary representative for Ulster County. Stephan Walker moved and Bill Layton seconded a motion to make Linda a primary member of the executive committee. Passed unanimously.
- Congressman Gibson’s Watershed Advisory Group. Jeff reported that he and Carl met with Congressman Gibson and WAG co-chairs Steve Bulger and Bob Illjes. The discussion revolved around the role of CWT on this group. Carl will be a member and Jeff will attend as counsel to the CWT. Jeff indicated that he explained the history of the watershed negotiations, the parties involved and how the dynamics of watershed parties involved in negotiations affected this complicated agreement and the accomplishment of the CWT over the past 20 years. The Congressman was very attentive with many questions for Jeff and Carl. Four subcommittee Chairs have been established. Jim Thomson – Economy; Alan Rosa – History, Bob Stanley – Municipalities and Robert Bishop of Hamden, NY – agriculture. A meeting is planned for July 29th. Location and times TBD. On behalf of the CWT Carl and Jeff filled out the questionnaire circulated by the WAG.
- FAD Status – Anticipated to be released at any moment. Money still being discussed.
- Flood Mitigation Program Status. Contract discussions etc are still underway with Districts, CCE’s, Counties and CWC. Scope of CWC activities is being discussed. Jeff recommended that opportunities be retained in their suite of programs to assist homes in critical areas.
- Emergency Watershed Program EWP – This was briefly explained to raise awareness of the Executive committee members to they are informed as possible about this flood mitigation effort in response to Irene and Lee. Bruce advocated for the CWT to become more aware of all the efforts underway so if it is discovered there are any common problems across the watershed relative to the various mitigation programs, even beyond EWPs that the CWT can take action to support actions to resolve the problems. Jeff briefly discussed CRZ and other funding headed to this area for flood mitigation. IT was also discussed that there are some more bumps in the road with regard to funding for second homes under the FEMA buyout.
- Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park – Comments are due July 24th.
- Correspondence: Carl’s informative letter to CWT all members, the CWC and East of Hudson Reports.
- No financials to report.
- Adjourned 7:15. Motion by Bill Layton. Second Bruce Dolph. Unanimous.