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Meeting Minutes
February 28, 2011

Attendees

  • John Bechtel
  • Dave Bieter
  • Vern Bisterfeldt
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd (Councilman Roundtree)
  • Scott Dowdy
  • John Evans
  • David Ferdinand
  • Vicki Thurber

Absent

  • Brad Holton
  • George Hyer
  • Nate Mitchell
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Craig Telford

Staff and Guests

  • Helen Harrington
  • Mayor Jim Reynolds – Eagle
  • Jason Russell
  • Pete Wagner
  • Bill Larsen

Scott Dowdy welcomed everyone to the Kuna.

He introduced Jim Reynolds, the new Mayor of Eagle. Jim stated that the City of Eagle had been a member of the Partnership for some years and for some reason in their budgeting it was felt by the Eagle City Council that the Partnership provided pretty much the same information as Compass. He is here to find out if that is the case or not.

Idaho Green Expo

Scott introduced Jason Russell who was representing the Idaho Green Expo. Jason indicated he was there to inquire about the Partnership participating in the Expo. Jason stated that he was involved with working on the Partnership’s Treasure the Valley’s Air Campaign and there was some real good results of that work. His reason for being at the meeting is basically a continuation of that effort.

The Idaho Green Expo, Community Action and Involvement track of the Expo has an objective to educate Treasure Valley Residents. Individually, the Mayors do a lot of work in this area like endorsing regional transit, water resources, and a host of green related efforts.

There are a lot of governmental entities involved with hosting the Idaho Green Expo. The City of Boise supports the effort with financial contribution as well as content for the expo. He asked the Partnership, if they would be interested in participating as a sponsor for the expo, thanked everyone for their time and looked forward to working with the Cities and Counties in the future.

Treasure Valley CAMP/RAFN

Scott introduced Helen Harrington with the Idaho Division of Water Resources. Helen stated that she was there to update the members on the Treasure Valley CAMP as well as municipal water planning statutory processes.

The Treasure Valley Aquifer Management Program is a planning document being created under the auspices of the Idaho Water Resources Board. The work on the TV CAMP started about a year ago. The Board appointed an advisory committee for the CAMP consisting of 41 people from throughout the treasure valley. The members of the Partnership are very well represented on the CAMP. Bill is on the committee and Ada and Canyon County, the Cities of Greenleaf, Eagle, Nampa, Boise, Meridian, Caldwell, Parma, Wilder and Kuna all have representatives on the CAMP committee.

The TV CAMP’s primary role is to make recommendations to the Idaho Water Resources Board on water planning issues in the Treasure Valley over the next 50 years. The primary goals for the plan are; (1) Provide reliable sources of water (2) avoid conflicts over water and (3) prioritize future state investment in water for the valley.

She passed out a copy of a brochure on the TV CAMP as well as a current outline of the plan’s recommendations. As you look through this multi page outline, you can tell the plan will be substantive. The plan will contain background about the Treasure Valley Hydrologic system and issues and concerns. This will provide the foundation for the recommendations.

The background will include the surface and ground water systems, the hydrology and the opportunities that currently exist through the water pools and water supply bank. There will also be a discussion about the existing water management administrative status and how it works.

Following the background section of the plan are actions specifically recommended to the Board. As you all know that one of the challenges being faced in the Treasure Valley is the conversion of agricultural land to urban. This is an interesting issue and it stirs a lot of controversy. The advisory committee has really been working on developing a range of management options for the future, given water supply scenarios that may play out in the future.

Another section of the plan will be the implementation and funding section. This is a hard thing to accomplish and she is confident the committee will have some good recommendations. Helen anticipates the final plan will be completed in a couple of months.

This CAMP will be a part of the State’s water plan and will eventually be in front of the Legislature for adoption.

Several studies were undertaken in order to provide some baseline data for this work. One of these was called the Future Water Demand Study. This helped us with what the range might be for future water need. This study identified a future “new” water need of around 80,000 acre feet beyond what our current use is. Other studies that have been conducted indicate this need may be more like 120,000 acre feet up to possibly 180,000 acre feet.

One of the things the CAMP Committee is looking at, are places for additional storage, both surface and ground water storage. They have been looking at opportunities for ground water recharge. There was a study that was done by the University of Idaho identified potential sites and identified that there may be an opportunity to store up to 200,000 acre feet of water in this manner.

As far as surface water is concerned, there are opportunities for building new dams. This is a reality that needs to be considered because there is a lot of surface water that is not captured in this basin. About 2 million acre feet of water flow into the basin and about a million flow out. So one of the considerations is, is it politically, socially and economically feasible to build additional surface water storage.

Vern asked if there are places in the Treasure Valley that we could use store water underground. Helen stated there are a few areas that are advantageous because of geology and carrying capacity to bring water to an underground area. The primary area of the valley that could be looked at for groundwater recharge would be to the East South East. The geology looks good and the water table looks favorable according to the study.

John asked how long after the legislative adoption of the plan, can local municipal systems see impacts. He added that we all have comprehensive plans and other plans. What is the impact going to be to these? Helen stated that the Board and the advisory committee recognize the authorities and responsibilities that Cities and Counties have for comprehensive plans. Part of the plan will be recognizing what those needs might be. The Board does have some funding mechanisms through loans and grants that can be used to maybe leverage the work that the local municipalities need to have done.

John said that in municipal systems you have a capital plan that complies with DEQ guidelines now. There are a lot of those capacity figures he assumes are available. Helen said this is true, that information is available. This TV CAMP plan will look at basin wide needs. For example, the advisory committee has been looking at the Corps of Engineers Interim Feasibility Study and how future storage will be made available for municipal needs.

Vern said in all of his years of service, he has encountered trouble dealing with irrigation districts. For example, refusing to allow people to replace a fence that the irrigation district destroyed? Where are irrigation districts going to fit into this and what is the fight going to be? Helen stated they have several representatives of irrigation entities on the Advisory Committee. The advantage of this is that everyone recognizes the availability and infrastructure of surface water and it has a great potent for meeting future demands for water.

Everyone on the Advisory Committee recognizes that there is a need to work together and find solutions that can utilize the systems we have available. We may have to modify or refine surface water delivery systems to make them more usable in the future. They are constrained by laws and traditions just like municipalities. The irrigation districts have the oldest water rights. They have systems that function for their purposes. Part of the discussion has included how these systems are going to function for basin-wide purposes in the future.

Another of the studies that has been going on involves cloud seeding. There is an existing cloud seeding program in the Boise drainage. It is funded by the Boise Project Board of Control. It is interesting in that this is the only thing that really represents new water.

Under the surface water storage study that the Corps of Engineers undertook, they have narrowed it down to three potential sites for surface water storage. Those three sites include Twin Springs, Alexander Flats, and raising Arrowrock Dam. Twin Springs is a highly controversial site and has been on the list for a long time. It would provide approximately 300,000 acre feet of storage. It is on the main stem of the Boise, just before the confluence of the middle-fork. This is a major fishery and recreation area and this site will be controversial. Alexander Flats is further up stream on the middle fork.

RAFN (Reasonably Anticipate Future Needs). This is a statutory process that the legislature passed in 1996. It is a specific opportunity for municipalities and municipal water providers to do long range planning in the protection of their water rights. It allows a municipal water provider to determine how much future water they need over a certain planning horizon and develop into those rights. Currently, water rights have a 5-10 year development time and at the end of those 5-10 years, that is what you are licensed for.

Under RAFN, municipalities have this opportunity and protection under State law, to develop a water right over a longer period of time. This process allows a municipality to reasonably anticipate what those water needs might be and develop those water rights and put them in place.

This RAFN statute has not been used as fully as was anticipated. The Director, Gary Spackman came and spoke to the TV CAMP and requested recommendations around RAFN. This group has gotten together and it appears that the recommendation will come down that the IDWR develop rules and standards for the RAFN application process. Up to now, the department has struggled and been inconsistent on how they have implemented the RAFN Statute. This has made it hard for municipalities.

A RAFN committee that includes Bill has been wading through how to make this recommendation. The City of Nampa has an approved RAFN application.

David asked if the CAMP committee has looked at inter-basin transfers out of the Snake system. He went on to say that in the spring, there has been no water running through the canal system for awhile and the water table drops till the water is released. The farmers are economizing on their water use and this has had an effect on the water table.

Helen stated the CAMP committee has obtained a lot of information on the interaction of surface and ground water and the incidental recharge that occurs because of agricultural practices. This is very much in the forefront of the discussion. They are going to basically come out with a recommendation that will say something like, be very careful of the consequences of changing uses and the effects of these changes on the hydrologic system.

TMDL Development//BAG/WAG

Scott introduced Pete Wagner from the Idaho DEQ. He handed out a list of the TMDL’s he is working on. To get started, he stated that BAG is the Basin Advisory Group. They look at the watershed from a whole South Western Idaho perspective. WAG is the Water Advisory Group. They focus on the specific water sheds. TMDL is Total Maximum Daily Load. Indian Creek for example, has several different things, temperature, bacteria and sediment.

The biggest issue they have been having is temperature from point sources like cities. They have actually backed up a little bit. They have gone through some modeling studies with Nampa and have identified point sources with regard to temperature.

EPA issues a NPDS permit for point sources. They would issue a point of use criteria for your permit and you would have to meet that with no questions asked. They are providing a little flexibility with what they are doing. For instance, there is a list of about 21 different options for temperature and they will allow a point source to use any of these to get their temperature down to where it is supposed to be. For example, vegetation is one example.

The gist of what he wanted to talk about is there are some streams that are impared and they are working through those documents.

They are developing information specifically for a TMDL. So if you clicked on to the TMDL web page you would see meeting notices, agendas, specific information on that TMDL

Idaho DEQ is also trying to disseminate information. As part of that, you can log on to their web page and sign up for email, links. For example, if there is something about Air Quality that has been updated on their page, you will automatically get an email telling you what has been updated.

They are doing the same thing on the WAG and BAG pages and they are trying to get people to use the automatic email update links.

OG’s Bad Support Letter

Bill said he was approached by OG’s Bad out of Nampa to write a letter of support for one of their grant applications. Bill’s understanding is that they are writing a $500,000 application to the Department of Education for a mentoring program for at-risk youth in Canyon County. Bill pointed to the letter and asked for approval to send the letter along with a signature page. John Bechtel moved and Tom seconded to approve the letter. Motion approved unanimously.

Idaho Legislative Issues

Tom indicated that Urban Renewal Bills have been in front of the legislature. He has been talking to his legislators and hopes everyone has been. He feels that all of the members should be engaging their legislators in urban renewal issues. They seem to be overwhelmed with a bunch of misinformation. He knows there have been some questionable things that have been done in Coeur d’Alene with regards to urban renewal, but that is a local issue and shouldn’t have an effect State-wide.

Tom said that some of these bills did not make sense. For instance, one of them is for a county-wide vote on bonding. People in Middleton are not going to vote on something in Nampa. The second is the principle of voting on a bond that has no impact on property taxes. Urban renewal bonds cannot add to the property tax burden. Therefore you are instituting a whole new level of voting requirements on votes that have no impact on property taxes.

There also a bill on mandating county-wide votes for urban renewal board members. This makes no practical sense. Why would we want someone from Parma on an urban renewal board in Nampa.

Tom said there are two points. When you mention urban renewal, the purpose is to remove blight from an urban area. The Idaho State urban renewal law also includes uses toward economic development. One of the things the legislature continues to put up is that people have no say in the functioning of these urban renewal districts. Urban Renewal Districts and its process has been a central theme with regard to local elections. Candidates that support urban renewal tend to get elected by wide margins.

John Bechtel added that Vicky and him have been involved with a couple of committees dealing with Idaho Power’s transmission lines. He wanted to reiterate to the Partnership that they are being consistent with Idaho Power to get them to use current energy cooridors for these transmission lines. Vicky stated that they are currently in the mapping phase and if City has any concern, they should attempt to sit in on these meetings. Vick stated they meet on the fourth Thursday at the Nampa Civic Center from 9-2?

John added that the Boardman to Hemingway line has been moved completely out of Idaho. It comes into Owyhee County and does not pass through any prime ground.

John said to Jim Reynolds, he hopes he can see from the discussion that the Partnership is not just about transportation, it is about a lot of things. We deal with everything. From his perspective, he learns so much from the Partnership meetings that he would not learn easily any where else.

Directors Report

Bill pointed out a letter in the packed from Director Reinke, thanking us for presenting information to the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission in December. He stated that if you look at the Department of Corrections budget, you will see that the SAUSA Project was not listed out as a supplemental appropriation as it has in the past. In a discussion with the budget analyst, Bill learned that the SAUSA Project state share is now in the Department of Corrections regular budget, and is not split out as a line item.

Tom moved and Vern seconded to approve the minutes and financial report.