Attending: Pete Bracci, Carl Stuendel, Linda Burkhardt, Bruce Dolph, Bill Layton, Mike McCrary, John Van Benschoten, Catherine Magarelli, Anthony Coiro, Tony Van Glad and Counsel Jeff Baker.
Also in attendance: Jay Braman Jr., Aaron Bennett, Diana Cope, Dave Budin, Dean Frazier
1. Call to order: 6:25 PM
2. Minutes for June 16, 2014- Moved by Linda Burkhardt to approve, seconded by Bill Layton: approved.
3. Privilege of the floor
a. Regulation Position Paper – buyout and relocation – still in process. Kevin will draft that.
4. Volunteer Flood Buyout Program – minutes regarding this matter are incorporated with 5., a., iii. Water Supply Permit Change below.
a. Status of:
i. Contracts – CWC, Stream Programs – nothing to report.
ii. CWC Relocation. Program Rules – Residential rules segment will be considered for adoption at the next CWC board meeting, August 4th.
iii. Water Supply Permit Change
The CWT distributed concerns that Village of Margaretville submitted to William J. Clark of NYS DEC regarding the proposed language changes to the WSP. The purpose of the changes were to enable New York City to purchase land with improvements within the designated areas outlined in the WSP. Jeff was asked whether the proposed language change allows for the outlier acquisitions (the house on the edge of a cliff outside any hamlet area) as proposed in the Flood Buyout Program. In response Jeff felt it would accommodate all aspects of the FBP. In the Revised 2007 FAD the City is required to establish a buyout program and is also required to provide $15 million in funding specifically for acquisitions in Designated Hamlet and Village areas that would otherwise be ineligible for acquisition by NYC as part of their existing land acquisition program strictly related to flood mitigation efforts. Jeff Baker was aware of the concerns raised by the Village of Margaretville and earlier in the day had been in communication with Hilary Meltzer of NYC Corporate Council. He reported that he agreed with concerns noted by Margaretville and discussed those with Ms. Meltzer and that she was open to the concerns that have been raised.
After extensive discussion by the board with input from Mayor Cope and others in attendance, Pete Bracci motioned and Bill Layton seconded the motion directing Jeff Baker to submit language to Martha Bellinger at NYSDEC to amend language in the WSP to clearly reflect that the Flood Buyout Program is a voluntary program and that is only implemented when a municipality indicates it is “opting in” to the Voluntary Flood Mitigation Program by resolution. Motion passed unanimously. He will seek agreement with the DEP and submit comments by August 1, 2014.
b. Relocation Meeting – Carl indicated this meeting will be scheduled for a date beyond August.
c. Kurt Ossenfort proposal – Jeff Baker reported that he had talked to him and will be sending him a contract.
d. Watershed Inspector General (WIG) – Windham – Jeff reported he had discussions with Dan Ruzzo, on the project in Windham. The Company doing the project just submitted their FEIS to the town. There have been discussions with the City regarding the steep slopes and Dan is fairly comfortable with where they are. In light of that, Jeff and Dan decided it would be prudent to not pursue the WIG issues at this time; if they arise later, address them at that point.
e. Outreach – Carl informed the board he has not had an opportunity to discuss this with Dave Warne yet the possibility of more scenic vistas along the reservoirs.
f. Below Dams Activities
i. Delaware – Frazier reported that the conference under development is ongoing for Sept 12 with the next meeting scheduled for July 24. He also reported that there is a meeting scheduled for August 7th at the DEP offices in Grahamsville to learn more about directed releases.
ii. Esopus – The comment period for the Draft Scope for the Modification of the CatAlum SPDES Permit EIS has been extended to 8/22. Currently, NYCDEP is conducting ‘community releases’ (clear and cold water of up to 140 MGD) for the benefit of the Lower Esopus communities and ecosystems as per the Ashokan Release Protocol. A recent news article stated that the Town of Marbletown Supervisor is displeased with the current releases as it is impacting the summer recreation program at the Town Beach. The Supervisor claims that the water is too fast and deep (not safe) and is too inviting because of how clean it is. DEP claims that they had come to a previous agreement with Supervisor Warren that around 140 MGD was ideal. The other down-dam municipalities are very happy with the release it benefits their environment and economy. It is unfortunate that not all Lower Esopus communities welcome the current community releases, and goes to show how you cannot please everyone. The water resource management issues in the entire Esopus Creek watershed are very complex and inter-related. Currently, NYCDEP is able to release water (from the Ashokan) while still meeting their Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective for the reservoir in part due to the recently-held Shandaken Tunnel release weekend (7/19-20) to support the whitewater community and economy on the Esopus Creek. This scheduled water release event diverts water from the Schoharie Reservoir to the upper Esopus Creek (and ultimately the Ashokan) where the void created by the Lower Esopus community releases will be filled by the addition of Schoharie Reservoir waters.
iii. Carl posed to Tony Van Glad that the below reservoir issues on the Delaware and Esopus have been a regular report, would he be interested in reporting the same? Tony, not surprisingly, was happy to report on the Schoharie basin below the Gilboa Dam. Through discussion it became very clear that the sharing of information between the three river basins could be useful to all three. Progress or positive outcomes that have occurred below one reservoir basin could be informative and useful to the other two. Many issues are the same, but as Jeff pointed out the governance structure below the dams are different. Nevertheless there is good reason to collaborate.
6. Warrants and Treasurer’s report.
Tony read the treasurers report. Checking account balance $1011.00: Saving account balance of $95,280.20 then stated the warrant amount and motioned to pay the warrant of $1,330.00 to Young Sommer,.Linda Burkhardt seconded. Passed unanimously.
7. Correspondence – none to report.
a. Septic Hauling. The board discussed the concerns and questions associated with limited access to NYC WWTPs by septic haulers. Tony and Mike reported NYC has reduced the number of locations and days that it will accept septic causing haulers to have to go outside the watershed. Mike reported that businesses are having to keep half their fleet off the road because they are limited on where they can take the waste. Others reported they are having to haul to Albany and other places at a very high cost. Counsel stated that there are four City owned plants in question; Tannersville, Margaretville, Grand Gorge, Pine Hill. All have substantial excess capacity. Tannersville is not accepting any due to an equipment issue that the City says they cannot justify the cost of repairing. There are technical and operational differences between septic hauled in versus that coming directly from the community. It’s critical that the bacteria digesting community waste can handle the septic being delivered. At this time, it is the general understanding that Margaretville and Grand Gorge are taking septic waste 1 time per week.
Jeff reported that the decision to accept septic is up to the individual WWTP manager. They cannot violate their SPEDS permit so they have to control their intake. The MOA limited acceptance at no cost to septic systems under the umbrella of the CWC Remediation program.
DEP is developing or has developed a new operating procedure. Changing rules to restrict residential septic waste. No septic waste is allowed from camps or businesses. Each hauler can go one time per week.
He indicated the CWT has limited capability to push the issues due to conditions agreed to in the MOA.
More holding capacity for residential waste at the WWTPs would help alleviate some problems as the WWTPS have a large amount of excess capacity.
Jeff recommended that the City should be contacted to discuss this and consider what could be done. The CWT needs a clearer picture. Jeff suggested that constituents get the information to Jeff. Mike proposed the CWT needs to know how much they are taking, when and what is the capacity of each plant to take the waste and when can they take it why not other times? Mike felt that the CWT does have leverage in that if the systems fail, then the City is going to have to spend money to fix the individual systems that fail.
b. Cathy addressed the board about section 828 acres around Yankee Town Pond bordering a on a hunting club property and contiguous to 43 properties. Several properties owners contiguous to the hunting club are opposed to hunting on this land. The question came up as to who owns the land? New York City purchased the land. Residents are concerned about the proximity of these homes to the area allowing hunting. Some want a larger setback. City allows hunting of both small and large game. To administer their properties with the idea that each parcel as different criteria would be a nightmare. Cathy said if there is hiking and hunting with little parking access. It is not clear if comments were provided during the local consultation about activities on the land. The City’s regulations now reflect those of the State as a result of the change in direction the City took in the early 2000s opening up more of their lands to hunting. Woodstock prohibits trapping. At the meeting no one could recollect if the City does. Woodstock’s Environmental Commission wants 1,000 foot setback vs state 500 foot. Rifle season is essentially four weeks long. Aaron suggested to Cathy that there are DEP properties that are bow hunting only and possibly she could pursue that.
9. Adjourned 8:20. Moved by Linda Burkhardt, seconded by Bill Layton. Passed.