CAYUGA LAKE WATERSHED
INTERMUNICIPAL ORGANIZATION MEETING
6/28/00, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
SENECA FALLS TOWN HALL
SENECA FALLS, NEW YORK

MINUTES


Ed Ide (Town of Aurelius)-R *
Chuck Howell (Town of Scipio)-R*
Eli Shockey (Vill. Of Union Springs)-R*
John Sipos (Towns of Covert and Varick)-R*
Barbara Stewart (Vill. Of Interlaken)-R*
Jeffrey Warrick (Town of Seneca Falls)-R*
Sharon Anderson (Tompkins County)-R*
Kate Hackett (Tompkins County Planning)
Jackie Cassiniti (Town of Caroline)-R
Dooley Kiefer (Village of Cayuga Heights)-R*
Bruce Johnson (Village of Freeville)-R*
Katrina Greeley (Town of Lansing)-R*
Bud Shadduck (Town of Lansing) –RA*
Frank Moore (Village of Lansing)-RA
Linda Tompkins (CLWN)
Dale Mangan, Lansing Community News
Stephen Lewandowski, CLWN
Jose Lozano, (City of Ithaca)-R*
Liz Thorndike, CLWN
J. White
J. Ward
Krys Cail (Town of Ulysses)-R*
Roxy Johnson
Linda Wagenet, Cornell Center for the Environment
David Zorn. GFLRPC
Kathy Bertuch, CNY RPDB
Sylvia Hurlbut (Town of Ledyard)RA*

R=designated representative for municipality
RA=designated alternate representative for municipality
*Municipality has signed and submitted the “Call for Cooperation” (intermunicipal agreement)

1. Welcome, Introductions, Approval of Minutes: Meeting began at 7:05 P.M. S. Hurlbut welcomed everyone. Introductions were made of all attendees. Acceptance of minutes from 5/23/00 meeting moved by J. Sipos. J. Lozano seconded. D. Keifer suggested corrections. All in favor. Motion carried.

2. Watershed Steward: S. Hurlbut introduced Stephen Lewandowski. He briefly outlined his past experiences in watershed management and local government and noted that the Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake watersheds share a complexity of issues. He referred to the Canandaigua Lake Plan notinig that some of the actions taken in the development of that plan might be undertaken in the Cayuga Lake watershed. Specifically, he cited the development of a formula for sharing the cost of watershed management equitably between watershed municipalities. Formula development was difficult and took three years.

After reviewing his stated job duties, S. Lewandowski observed that Cayuga Lake is the most studied of the Finger Lakes. He sees a need for comprehensive education in all areas of the watershed and hopes to see more cooperation and openness throughout. He has been spending time in remote areas of the watershed in an attempt to bring them more into the process. He has also been looking for a permanent office location.

3. Septic Testing Resolution: S. Hurlbut stated that a septic testing resolution must be enacted at the county level as County Health Departments have complete administrative responsibility. Cayuga County has enacted a septic testing regulation. D. Bowen has expressed a willingness to meet with other watershed County Health Department representatives by September 1, 2000 to exchange ideas and talk about the benefits and negatives associated with countywide septic testing regulations.

D. Keifer expected additional information on the testing procedure. She sees this as an issue the IO should be involved in. She noted that counties must have a reason for not enacting septic testing regulations. S. Hurlbut stated that septic testing is a “hot” issue. She asked that any IO members interested in offering direction to D. Bowen regarding his upcoming meeting with Health Department representatives come forward. She noted one of the main problems associated with septic testing is not the test, but the lack of a standardized fee schedule for the test. Fees can range from $35 to $95. L. Wagenet stated that if the high-end fee does not include pumping, it is steep. She added that from a water protection point of view, pumping is a needed component of the regulation.

S. Anderson stated that D. Allee has researched the actions various communities have taken regarding septic testing and offered to contact him or L. Raymond for additional information. E. Shockey asked about enforcement actions and the degree of “grandfathering” in the case of a failed septic. S. Hurlbut explained what actions Cayuga County would take in the case of a failed septic. S. Lewandowski offered to work with S. Anderson to identify standards for septic testing.

J. Sipos stated he prefers increased education to increased regulation and would like to see the IO explore educational opportunities in addition to regulatory requirements. S. Hurlbut agreed.

4. Municipal Priority Ranking: Representatives were asked to return their Priority Issue Ranking sheets if they had not already done so. B. Johnson asked why “Indian land claims” was listed as an issue on the priority issue list. D. Zorn replied that as an issue, it ranked high at the public participation meetings. Additional discussion was had regarding the weight of watershed regulations on Indian land. D. Keifer stated that there are no Indian nations in the watershed. D. Zorn stated that the Technical Committee had earlier requested the Cayuga Nation appoint a representative to the Technical Committee. They have not done so. The offer remains open.

5. IO/Network Joint Strategy Meeting: J. Lozano stated that the “watershed approach” is a new way to fund environmental projects through federal agencies. It requires a multi-jurisdictional, public/private effort. He feels the key element missing under the Cayuga Lake watershed project is a common goal to implement the management plan. He asked that the IO endorse the development of a unified strategy, including the development of common goals, objectives and priorities, between academia, the Network and the IO which will allow the three groups to work together to increase funding. He suggested that the IO Finance Committee be empowered to work in this capacity on behalf of the IO.

B. Johnson stated that the interim project rankings was an obvious way to increase funding opportunities. J. Lozano replied that an independent, scientifically defensible method for ranking and endorsing specific projects is required to access large, federal funding opportunities. B. Johnson questioned why the rankings were completed. S. Hurlbut explained the DOS requirement for preparing interim project recommendations. S. Lewandowski suggested that while it is important to prioritize issues locally, there are funds available from established sources that should be applied for now.

D. Keifer questioned the appropriateness of the Finance Committee to accomplish joint goal setting activities. E. Ide replied that if common goals will ultimately be used to get funding, the Finance Committee is an appropriate choice. E. Shockey suggested forming an ad hoc committee to fill the suggested negotiating group role. K. Cail stated setting goals and strategy will require a multi-year commitment and should not be taken lightly.

J. Sipos does not feel that the Finance Committee is the proper group to fill the role. He wants to know about the ramifications and DOS input relative to what the original DOS grant directs the IO to do. He asked if the IO would continue to pursue original goals. S. Hurlbut replied that the original DOS grant would continue to be used as specified and agreed to. Any additional federal funding resulting from the cooperative actions of the IO, Network and academia would be used for the implementation phase which is not funded by DOS. J. Sipos feels the priority of this union is funding, not the Lake. S. Hurlbut stated that funding is needed to protect the Lake.

D. Grantham stated that the IO was formed as a matter of convenience because DOS does not fund projects through groups like the Network. Many opportunities for citizen involvement will be lost if If the IO is the only focus. The three group coalition will benefit watershed resources and provide more funding opportunities.

K. Greeley supports the coalition. E. Ide stated that the management plan is a good idea, but left unfunded, will not accomplish anything. He stated that a coalition will maximize everyone’s strengths and increase funding opportunities. D. Keifer stated that the need to formalize a relationship between the IO and the Network was recognized at the May IO meeting. She feels that the Network is suitable to act as the public participation arm of the IO and that a contractual arrangement might be worthy of consideration. K. Bertuch stated that a contractual agreement for third-year public participation activities has been developed. DOS has approved the workscope and budget and it is not possible to contract with the Network for public participation services.

The point was raised that the IO and the Network are formal groups, but scientists are not. This makes it impossible for the three “groups” to sign onto anything. J. Lozano replied that individuals from many different scientific disciplines within Cornell have organized themselves and worked with government to form a partnership. L. Wagenet stated that while there is no single named group, there is a group of scientists from several academic institutions willing to work with municipalities and citizens who will endorse, or sign on to work with various projects.

S. Lewandowski stated Cayuga Lake is the most studied of all the Finger Lakes and that there are many practical, specific actions that can be taken without further studies. He suggested that in terms of funding, the IO should ask what group does the funding come to and does that group know how to put practices on the ground? He suggested that the IO not become bogged down in the theory of watershed management, but focus on getting protection practices in place.

R. Johnson stated that more than broad, general studies for the purpose of identifying problems are being conducted. Actual research is being conducted. J. Lozano agreed stating that implementation and follow up activities, not theory based studies, are currently being carried out in the watershed. S. Lewandowski countered that agencies such as SWCD, County DOH, and CCE are in place and ready to deliver existing programs. J. Lozano replied that these agencies have been employed and are currently being employed, however, there is a need to increase communication and develop expanded relationships with other groups in order to expand watershed protection.

L. Thorndike stated that the IO and the Network developed simultaneously and are dependent upon each other. The IO is needed to develop the Management Plan. The Network is needed for citizen support. Both need scientific input. The three groups should move together to get funding and work cooperatively. The point was raised that unbiased, unregulated scientific studies are very important to the lake/watershed. S. Hurlbut stated that the Characterization showed major areas where scientific data are missing.

E. Ide made a motion to forge a joint relationship with the Network for the purpose of pursuing common goals and to officially make the Network the citizen outreach leg of the IO. S. Anderson suggested that the motion be separated. She supports forging a relationship with the Network to pursue common goals. It was suggested that the word “relationship” is too soft as an agreement between the two groups that includes ground rules is needed. S. Lewandowski stated it would be a financial relationship as education is costly. While labor can replace some cost, dollars will be spent.

E. Ide amended his motion to form an IO Committee that will work jointly with the Network to establish and pursue joint goals. J. Lozano seconded J. White suggested it be a joint committee between the IO and the Network.

E. Ide amended his motion. He moved that the IO support the formation of a joint committee made up of IO members and Network members for the purpose of working to develop common goals. J. Lozano seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.

6. Interim Project Recommendations: D. Zorn stated that the DOS requires the development of water quality project lists at the end of contractual years. He outlined the process and criteria used during this round of project rankings. Eleven projects were submitted to the Technical Committee. IO members had an opportunity to ask questions regarding the listed projects. K. Cail stated that IO members already had ample time to learn about the individual projects and moved to accept the ranked list as it. C. Howell seconded. D. Keifer requested that the record show that while it is acceptable to state a project’s general rank (i.e. ranked in the top 3), providing the project’s actual rank can be misleading. She supports not including specific project ranks in endorsement letters, or else providing the rank with qualifications. D. Grantham moved to accept the Technical Committee’s project rankings, and to provide as part of each endorsement letter, the project’s actual rank out of 11, the entire list of rankings with quantitative sum, average deviations and funding source the project was ranked for. C. Howell seconded. All in favor. Motion carried

7. Bylaws: S. Hurlbut moved to accept the draft bylaws presented at the May IO meeting with the following amendment: the timeframe for Village and Town budgets be changed to reflect a more realistic date as budget cycles are different for the two entities. D. Keifer stated the bylaws should read “dues due two months after individual municipality adopts its budget.” D. Grantham seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.

8. Committee Reports : Technical Committee : D. Zorn reported that DOS has funded a streambank/roadbank inventory. The project, being conducted in cooperation with county SWCDs, began in April. A slide show of watershed inventory activity was presented. A summary of the methodology being used is posted on the web page. Information being generated will have many positive uses.

Education/Outreach/Public Participation: S. Anderson provided copies of a grant funded, erosion book targeted toward homeowners and landowners. No-cost copies are available for distribution through Tompkins County CCE. She also solicited IO members to staff a booth at the Network’s Lakefest (8/27/00). Interested members should contact S. Anderson or S. Hurlbut. Feedback on the web page was solicited on behalf of J. Codner, the Cayugawaterhsed.org web master. The next round of public participation meetings will begin in October with a dinner sponsored by Wells College. The second set of meetings will take place in March 2001. S. Hurlbut announced that the October Wells College dinner would be by invitation on 10/26. The guest list is currently being developed but will include board members form all municipalities that have signed the call for cooperation, and supervisors from non-signatory towns. Sandy Treadwell, Secretary of State, NYS has agreed to speak. In addition, a keynote speaker will also be solicited.

Finance Committee: S. Hurlbut stated that she expects an additional $2,200 in municipal cash contributions this month. She will send out letters asking municipalities that have not yet contributed to indicate when their contribution will be made. Members of the Finance Committee were asked to meet briefly at the close of the meeting.

9. Date for Next IO: The IO will next meet on September 20 at the Ledyard Town Hall.

10. Wrap Up Discussion: S. Hurlbut directed those having concerns specifically related to the watershed to contact S. Lewandowski. R. Johnson asked how the joint IO/Network Committee would be manned. S. Hurlbut stated that no action to man the Committee will be taken until the Network passes a resolution to support a joint committee. Those IO members who are interested in serving on the committee were instructed to contact S. Hurlbut or K. Bertuch. D. Kiefer asked when the final Watershed Characterization would be completed. D. Zorn stated that some of the sections are complete now and that the final report will be out before October.

Summary of Votes

Vote

Outcome
Accept Minutes of 5/23/00 with corrections.
Carried
To form a joint committee with the Network for the purpose of developing common goals
Carried
To accept ranked Interim Recommendations List and endorsement letter requirements
Carried
To accept IO Bylaws as amended
Carried


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CLW IO 2002