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Meeting Minutes
October 23, 2013

Attendees

  • Dave Bieter
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy deWeerd
  • John Evans
  • Brad Holton
  • Jim Reynolds
  • Darrin Taylor
  • Rick Yzaguirre

Staff and Guests

  • Hal Anderson – Idaho Watershed Solutions
  • Barry Burnell – Water Quality Administrator, Idaho DEQ
  • Doug Jones – Idaho Watershed Solutions
  • Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership
  • Jeff Lavey – Chief, City of Meridian Police Department
  • Larry Maneely – Ada County
  • Bill Stewart – Idaho EPA
  • Dave Tuthill – Idaho Watershed Solutions

Press Conference

Prior to the meeting on October 23rd, the Treasure Valley Partnership and the Veteran’s Day Parade Committee held a press conference to solicit support and attendance for the Veteran’s Day Parade. There were numerous local TV stations, newspaper and radio station representatives at the press conference.

Trauma Intervention Program (TIP)

Commissioner Yzaguirre welcomed everyone to Ada County. Rick mentioned that a couple weeks prior, he and John Evans attended a meeting at the City of Meridian that was attended by emergency service personnel and representatives of the religious communities. They were given information on the Trauma Intervention Program from TIP National out of California. The three of them felt that the Partnership would be a good venue to discuss moving this program forward in our area.

He introduced Chief Lavey who was there to present this program to the Partnership. Chief Lavey thanked the Partnership for the opportunity. TIP is a program that was started in San Diego in 1985. If anybody has a victim witness coordinator program or a Chaplin program, the Trauma Intervention Program is similar to these types of programs. What is different is, these people are not employees of counties or cities, and they are actually citizen volunteers.

The TIP program is unique in that volunteers respond within 20 minutes of the time called on a 24/7 basis. It benefits the community in a number of ways including saving the emergency response system time and money, involving citizen volunteers in public safety, and providing a valuable service to survivors of a tragedy who are experiencing the worst hours of their lives.

He read a quote from the Mayor of Portland, Oregon. “TIP provides an invaluable service to communities by addressing the emotional needs of persons who have endured tragedies. With emergency responders often unavailable to treat the distress of emotional trauma, I am comforted to know that the victims and survivors can depend on TIP. It is an honor to have TIP volunteers in our midst.”

He showed a video that was an emotionally charged scene of a major trauma. Chief Lavey asked how many people had their heart in their throat at the moment. He added that this is what emergency responders deal with every day. Think about what you just went through and try to imagine what the individuals that are going through the trauma. TIP is a way to prevent what they call the second injury? The second injury is the emotional distress people go through when they face a trauma.

What do I do if I come home and find my wife dead in the bed? What do I do if my son gets hit by a car? We are going to call 911 and deal with that. But when law enforcement leave the problems aren’t over. Having someone lead us through that, is what TIP is all about?

A lot of our jurisdictions have victim witness coordinators. Victim witness coordinators are really designed for people who are going through the court system. They often do this sort of work for us too.

This is something the City of Meridian wants to do. They quickly realized they cannot do it alone. The reason why, is, they do not have enough tragedy. This is a good thing. But they do know that tragedy occurs in Ada, Canyon and Owyhee County. We need to have enough volume to keep these volunteers busy and interested. One of the biggest problems they told us was you are going to have a high turnover rate.

The TIP representatives indicated you need about 400,000 in population for 50 volunteers, to make this work. He was at the meeting to see if there was any interest from the members of the Partnership to see if this is something they would like to do.

Where they are at with this is trying to identify a “Home Organization willing to administer the program”. By default, he thinks that is the City of Meridian and their partners. He is not married to that idea, but we do need someone to push that forward.

Chief Lavey said the number one question he has gotten while trying to garner support for the idea is how the organization obtains their operating funds. The TIP program has a cost of $0.12 per person. All of the set-up and administration comes through the TIP organization.

TIP will train 50 volunteers that will be on call 24/7. The volunteers have to put in three 12 hour shifts a month. The volunteers receive extensive training in trauma intervention.

Rick said the first thing he thought was this would be a good thing to be a part of. How rewarding would it be to help people dealing with a crisis? He continued, you talk about cost, and said there are a lot more savings that could be had. Once these people get engaged and on scene, it is an opportunity for law enforcement to pass the victims on to the TIP volunteer.

Tammy agreed with Rick. Until they started talking about TIP; she didn’t know that their police officers go and give death notices. This is a time consuming process and there is a need to get the police officers out on the road. Certainly, when you have limited people on the road, you want to ensure they are in service.

John added that his Chief’s first response was this could be a real asset to the community and would help emotionally the first responders. His Chief said he would find the money in his budget because it is important for them.

Tom asked how much training is involved. Chief Lavey indicated there are 55 hours of national training and there is a 3 month field training after that. Volunteers also have to attend monthly continuing education training’s. The way it would work is they would bring in their national trainers and we would use our own personal responders in part of the training as well.

Chief Lavey indicated there is going to be a lot of dialogue and discussion long after he leaves, on whether this is the right thing to do or not. He feels he has painted a pretty good picture on why we should be involved. It is a mechanism to help our communities with limited expenses.

Chief Lavey continued…. If you have ever had to give a death notification, the person who gives that notification is the enemy. All the anger is directed toward that person. You need to have that secondary person to transition over.

Dave said that this TIP sounds like something we should look into. What he wasn’t sure of, for the funding we kick in are there employees involved with the local unit? Chief Lavey said, what they have told them is we would have the opportunity to operate under their nonprofit status at the national level. When this thing takes hold and becomes successful, if we want to start our own local nonprofit, we can do that. That board then would decide if we have employees. Right now we are talking about all volunteers running this.

Dave said the other things that come to mind are, you may have a situation where the families are the bad guys. He assumes there is some training where the TIP volunteers can size up the situation and determine if people are grieving or have some other agenda. Chief Lavey said he agreed with Mayor Bieter’s statement. One of the things that brought him to asking about TIP was all the mental health calls they get. Is there some mechanism that can help police officers and he believes this is not it. The safety of our citizens comes first. We can’t bring these TIP volunteers into an unknown situation such as a mental health type call. The police officer will have to look at a situation and determine if it is safe to bring someone in. They do that now with their victim witness coordinators. We do not leave them at the scene if we believe they might be under threat.

Chief Lavey added that bringing a TIP volunteer in is something that has to be what the people want. It would have to be something where the aggrieved person wants their help.

Dave said they have had some success on the fire side where we have the burn out fund. Chief Lavey said this would be a continuation of that burn out fund. It would be another tool in the tool box for the fire fighters and put them in contact with resources in the burn out fund. It would still be a firefighter and a TIP volunteer. The firefighter can’t stay there the whole time. When he leaves, then they would transition over to the TIP volunteer.

Rick said the next steps would be for the members to take this back to their respective councils and have it on the agenda for the next month. He said this seems like a great opportunity for the Treasure Valley Partnership and is something we as a group can get behind.

Legislative Luncheon

Bill indicated 14 area legislators have RSVP’d to the luncheon. He said he Toni Poinelli and Cynthia York were going to do a half hour presentation on Medicaid expansion but beyond that he envisions a free flowing conversation. He has identified several topics and they are indicated on the agenda that was included.

The Municipal Role in Watershed Approach to Cleaning Up the Boise River David Tuthill thanked everyone for the opportunity to speak to the Partnership. This presentation was born as a result of a couple of float trips down the Boise River last summer. In one float trip they floated the upper part of the river and in the other they floated from Notus to Parma. These two float trips were quite different. The lower portion of the river was very pretty with the vegetation and the birds, but in another way it was very sad with respect to water quality. This presentation is how we can work together to clean up the Boise River. David introduced Barry Burnell.

Barry said this was going to be a repeat for some of the attendees as we had discussed this at the Partnership Retreat in September. When we look at pollutant trading, it is a business way of helping to improve water quality by focusing on cost-effective local solution to problems caused by pollutant discharges to surface waters. Trading is a voluntary approach and involves dischargers who are facing high costs to reducing a pollutant. They look to other parties to achieve pollutant reductions that are less costly. Phosphorous and temperature are two pollutants that have the best opportunity for trading.

The components of trading provide a framework for the steps that need to be accomplished in order to have trading in the watershed. The first item is do we have a completed TMDL? This is the allocations that are set of a pollutant in order to achieve the water quality standard for that water body. Next we need to have a trading frame work. Then we have to have a buyer and a seller of a pollutant reduction (phosphorous). In order to trade, we have to have a way to calculate or measure a credit? Part of the program is to look at environmental equivalencies and avoid having “hot spots” in the water body.

In developing a trading framework we have to identify a trading market and the partners to the trade. We can have a point-source to point-source trade or a point-source to a nonpoint-source trade. The credits have to measurable or calculable. There has to be a net environmental benefit or improvement in water quality as a result of the trading activity. Then we have to be sure that trading is authorized in the NPDES permit. The most important part of the trading framework is there needs to be reporting or record keeping, inspection and monitoring of the BMP and the trade must be validated and certified.

Barry showed a map of the Boise River and indicated that from Middleton downstream is the break where they have listed the river as impaired.

Bill Stewart said that Barry did a real good job of illustrating where the State of Idaho is on trading. He said that the people he works for are staunch supporters of water quality trading. Where they run into snags, and this is historically true, “the devil is in the details”. One thing that always happens with Federal Bureaucracies is they are glacially slow in working with something like water quality trading. The reason is they can’t make a misstep. If they do something wrong on a watershed that is going to incorporate trading, and allow something that violates a regulation and they get drug into court, they can upset the apple cart on trades that have happened from Chesapeake Bay all across the country. So they have to be very careful in taking an action that violates regulation.

That is one issue; the other issue is, from their point of view as an agency, this is a State issue. It is the State’s role to develop a trading plan. There is an effort going on in the Pacific Northwest that everyone is aware of the Willamette Partnership and the Fresh Water Trust and the States of Oregon, Washington and Idaho are getting together to determine places where we have commonalities. So if we have water that is going into another State for instance, that we are all talking the same language when it comes to the issue of trading.

Bill Steward said EPA has been invited and involved on this work group and he is one of the people representing the EPA. He reiterated they are involved in and advisory capacity.

So, can water quality trading be done? We have a particularly difficult situation in the Treasure Valley. We are literally awash in nutrients here. There is so much phosphorous in the valley and every individual group of dischargers needs to reduce their nutrient load. He doesn’t care if you are the biggest municipality or you’re the individual homeowner fertilizing his grass, we have all got to be conscious of this or we are not going to get anything done.

We have stormwater questions, we have point source questions and we have agricultural questions. It is just endless. And you combine that with the most complicated hydrology he has ever seen in his career. For example, in mid-summer when irrigation is going full tilt, you could be letting 4,500 cfs out of the dam at lucky peak, but at Parma you might see less than 400 cfs. But in the winter, you might be letting 200 cfs out of lucky peak, but at Parma you might see 900 cfs.

So, EPA’s position on nutrient or temperature trades in this valley is they are very open to it and they are paying attention. There are a lot of different organizations and a lot of different scientists working through this. That means there are a lot of different opinions they are going to have to work through.

He has a concern on what is going on in this valley. He is not pointing any fingers or making any judgments, but people have been trying to get a TMDL done in this watershed for over a decade. He said two people have a worse job than him. That is Lance Holloway and Troy Smith with Idaho DEQ. He believes they are doing a good job and feels they might actually get it done this time.

Bill said he did not know what to say about temperature, but felt it was a good thing that Idaho has a “Natural Conditions” provision in its water quality standards. From all the people he has talked too, nobody is considering putting chillers on wastewater streams. They don’t like that and don’t want to talk about this. They don’t know what the answer is for sure, but they want to work with us to come up with an answer for temperature.

David asked what this all means for the municipalities. He said, he thought you could have a significant role in helping to clean up the Boise River.

David said that Integrated Watershed Solutions was founded in February 2012 as a nonprofit organization. They have a project west of Parma to build sediment ponds and wildlife ponds on a pilot basis. Integrated Watershed Solutions was created and modeled after the Freshwater Trust which is a nonprofit entity in Western Oregon. The Freshwater Trust has an environmental aspect but they also have a business process for trades and, Integrated Watershed Solutions does as well. So David said they see themselves as peers with the Freshwater Trust. David added that their board includes individuals from the irrigation industry and that Hal Anderson and himself have great relationships in the valley and this is their edge on figuring out water quality trading.

All the plumbing at first glance is complex, but when you get down and look at it, there are only a few organizations that own that plumbing on the irrigations side. They think there is opportunity for a watershed approach. There are four components to a water shed approach: 1) Automation of Irrigation Delivery Systems. In other words only take out of the river what you need. This system was built over a hundred years ago and basically is just open up the head gates and take the water whether you need it or not. 2) If we can reuse Ag and drain water, then this is another gallon of water that can stay in the river system. 3) The third aspect is precision agriculture and we can keep a lot of the phosphorous out of the streams and the river. The fourth is riparian activities or building of wetlands. This is the reason they are involved in this project down by Parma.

David showed a map of the Boise River watershed. He went on to point out that we have a few contributors to the river that are the primary sources of the nutrients. For example Indian Creek is a primary contributor as well as Five Mile Creek and Ten Mile Creek that dump into Fifteen Mile Creek. What we can do is take that high nutrient water out and reuse it up above using the plumbing that is in the basin.

This summer they took a float from Linder to Middleton. Fifteen Mile Creek was the first major contributor of nutrients, to what was at that point a clean looking river. He feels that is what we need to fix. If the irrigation district would use that water in place of river water, then we would keep clean water in the river and use the high nutrient water.

Dave said as far he knows, the Dixie Drain is the only trade that has happened, and it really still hasn’t happened. If someone were to ask him if he would do it again, he would have to say it is a 50-50 proposition. The people at the EPA have been very receptive and optimistic from the start. Until something breaks loose, it is a daunting road to get this done. He appreciated the presentation and it is a laudable goal and in many ways it is an achievable goal. Until it gets easier, he doesn’t see it happening much.

Bill Stewart said he was involved in the Dixie Drain from day one. A true statement is the Boise River can be cleaned up by working on these Ag drains. The City of Boise was first out of the box and one of the interests that served is, it totally rekindled interest in the TMDL. This offset was a good thing and he applauds Boise for undergoing the pain to get it done.

Barry added that part of the dilemma that the City of Boise faced is we did not have a nutrient TMDL done and the trading framework needed to be updated. From his perspective, with a nutrient TMDL done and an updated trading framework, the level of effort to get to the trade won’t be as extreme as what the City of Boise faced.

Doug Jones mentioned that there is legislation being drafted to give the State, Primacy over writing the permits. You as Mayors and the Association of Cities will be asked to weigh in on that when the legislature convenes. The legislative office of Performance Evaluations is preparing a report for the legislature.

Tom said that AIC had a big push in 2010. Basically, state-wide we got good buy-in from municipalities for funding their portion of it. It was industry, and other groups that were not in favor. He understands that these groups are now in favor of Primacy. The other thing, Nampa is still the second largest city and where they are going now, after a reality check with DEQ and EPA, is trading is pretty much off the table. They are aggressively pursuing infiltration and reuse. They have some interested farmers south of them and they have some ground they are looking at for infiltration basins. He believes in infiltration and getting the water out of the surface water scenario is the way to go. Tammy added that the Farm Bureau is very interested in this infiltration/recharge issue and this is encouraging.

Directors Report

Bill said he believed we had a good Retreat in September. He was concerned about the attendance and asked if we need to think about changing it up to increase attendance? John and Rick both stated they felt the content was good, the attendance was low.

Bill indicated that he did get his five minutes with the Governor at the recent Capital for a Day event in Potlatch, Idaho. It seemed to go real well and the Governor was strongly aware of how much money the SAUSA Project has saved and seemed to support the proposal to go statewide. But getting together with the Governor to follow up on the conversation has been less than successful.

Darrin moved to approve the minutes and financial report from the Retreat. Brad seconded. Motion carried.

Jail Tour

Rick introduced Major Ron Freeman with the Ada County Sheriff’s department. Ron does a good job of managing the jail on their behalf and Ada County gets kudos from around the country about how well it is run.

Ron said he was going to offer a tour of the jail for those who have not been through it. Recently, they have a new $6 million maximum security addition to the jail that they are excited about. They have seen a trend of an increase of inmate on staff and inmate on inmate violence. They are hopeful the new maximum security addition will have an effect on that trend.

They are the largest law enforcement agency in the State. They have 652 employees at the Sheriff’s Office. 147 of those work in the jail. He was just looking and they have 3 pregnant women in the jail. An interesting trend, when he first started back in 1987, 15% of the population was female. Today the female population runs about 25%. This is higher than most around the nation. This creates challenges because they didn’t design the jail for a whole bunch of female inmates.

As the City of Boise is celebrating its sesquicentennial, they have something on them that they are not aware of. Their very first elected Sheriff was hung. He was a member of the Plummer gang and robbed a stage coach and was hung down around Mountain Home. They are celebrating their 150 years and have new badges designed and passed them around to see.