Elected officials working
together to positively
manage community
growth.

Meeting Minutes
August 31, 2015

Attendees

  • Kelly Aberasturi
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • Bob Henry
  • Brad Holton
  • Nathan Leigh
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Greg Nelson
  • Jim Reynolds
  • Steve Rule
  • Darin Taylor

Staff and Guests

  • Rex Barrie – Watermaster, Water District 63
  • Kendra Witt-Doyle – Health Manager, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation
  • Bill Shawver – Communications Director, Idaho Power
  • Lynette Standley – Communications Leader, Idaho Power
  • Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership

Mayor Brad Holton welcomed everyone to CASA in Wilder. He indicated that Mayor John Bechtel was not able to be here as he is working on a fire crew.

Brad mentioned we are in the middle of Hop harvest. It is something we take for granted that is a very unique crop across the United States. There are two dryers in the area. They stage the crops as they can’t possibly get to everything at the same time. They cut the vines off, lay them over a truck and bring them into pickers where they are strip the blooms. The dust on the blooms is the product of Hops they really use in beer.

Before the micro-breweries, we produced enough for the brewery needs. Since micro-breweries started up, they use a more proportionate amount of Hops than the regular breweries. So it is a good thing to be in Hops at this time. There are over 1,000 acres of Hops in the Wilder area.

Onions are in various stages of harvest. You will see a lot of plants that are laying down. These are set aside to dry.

Open Discussion

Brad asked Kelly what it was like as a County Commissioner to have such a large range fire that was experienced in Owyhee County recently. Kelly said the fire was near 300,000 acres out of a total of 4.6. Million acres and is really a small percentage. It was in this end of the County where all the small family ranchers are. The way the laws are written and the way it is now, many of these small family ranchers will go away. If they can’t find somewhere to go with their cows, they will probably have to sell out. The problem with selling out is the capital gains taxes. So you lose 33% on capital gains and it makes it hard for them to come back.

Brad said that building relationships with other taxing districts and a valley-wide 911 were some of the topics we have heard in passing the last couple of months.

Valley-Wide 911

Bob said if you are talking about a service, bigger makes sense. A valley-wide 911 is one of those services. Garret couldn’t agree more. There is a huge cost in the equipment. Some of the jurisdictions have made the commitment to purchase next generation equipment. Timing wise, getting all those people in the same room will be difficult. You have 911 fees and the like. If you set a plan up for five years, you may have a strong possibility of making that work.

Kelly asked if there is a deal in the works between Ada, Canyon and Gem Counties, working on a 911 system. Steve said there were discussions a couple of years ago and he thinks they have stopped. Owyhee County just put theirs in and it is expensive. He cautioned the State is going to mandate upgrading to next generation equipment. Eventually, everyone is going to have to work together and it will be mandated to BHS.

Garret stated back when Title 31 was originally created; Nampa chose to keep their-own money, whereas Caldwell created a partnership with Canyon County. Under the new language in Title 31, unless you are a consolidated dispatch center, you cannot get 911 fees.

Steve said he agreed with Kelly. Sooner or later we will all be tied together. You have to have to have redundancy in case you get struck by lightning or another natural disaster.

Just Drive Campaign on Distracted Driving

Brad introduced Bill Shawver the Director of Corporate Communications with Idaho Power. He introduced Lynette Standley, a Communications Leader with Idaho Power. He stated they have been involved for about a year and a half with KTVB and others to bring awareness to distracted driving. It certainly is near and dear to Idaho Power’s interest as they drive, as a fleet, 11 million miles a year.

Bill stated that distracted driving is a preventable problem if we can continue to raise awareness and save lives. He said he will have Lynette explain the Just Drive Campaign and when that is done they will ask the Partnership members to join them and KTVB for an event to saturate the airwaves and raise awareness.

Lynette said that in Idaho Power, one of their key values is safety. In 2013 the company initiated a hands free driving policy for all employees. So employees can only use their phone using a hands free device. She was on Carolyn Holly’s afternoon show at KTVB and was talking about Idaho Power’s new policy and how it came about. The more they talked about, the more Carolyn and Dee Sarton want to get behind this idea.

For Idaho Power, they lose about 350 power poles per year as a result of car accidents. 1/3 of those are typically caused by distracted driving. Those 350 poles cost Idaho Power approximately $1 Million per year. So for Idaho Power, there is a safety reason and a financial reason to get behind this campaign.

Bill said as they look at moving this campaign forward to keep it in front of the citizens of the State of Idaho and the greater Treasure Valley, they would like to get the Mayor’s and County Commissioners in the Treasure Valley to come on board with the campaign. He added that KTVP volunteers air time for this campaign. He said that the voices of the members of the Partnership are very powerful in helping increase the reach of this campaign.

They would like to do a joint proclamation with the Partnership on this Just Drive Campaign. He asked if there was a date that would work for a proclamation signing. The members present unanimously said let’s do it.

Bill L suggested the October 26th Partnership meeting. Everyone agreed this would be a good time to have a joint proclamation and press event.

Darin asked if it made any sense to invite Police Chiefs and others to this event. Tammy said they have been working on getting youth involved with law enforcement with programs such as “Selfie with a Cop” and she felt this would be an awesome opportunity. Steve suggested if we are going to try to involve the high schools, we should try to include the local colleges as well.

Greg said he has seen those announcements with Mayor Tammy and feels they are helping. He feels guilty when the phone rings while he is in the car and feels this continued effort is needed.

Mayors Walking Challenge

Kendra Witt-Doyle said last year they invited members of the Partnership and schools to participate in the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. They encouraged the members to compete against each other in a walking challenge and the provided fit bits. They also invited schools in the area to compete against each other.

Last year they had 35 schools from across the Treasure Valley participate. The kids in those schools walked a little over 100,000 miles. This year they have some changes. St. Lukes and the Dairy Council are coming on board to support this initiative. With that they will be expanding the participation according to St. Luke’s service area.

The prize this year is again going to be $5,000 to the winning Mayor. They have switched it up and will do one winning school per City. That winning school will win $2,000, to help them buy physical activity equipment. They are also going to win another $1,000 to help purchase food service equipment.

This year they are going to do the average miles walked per student for the schools. This is to help the smaller schools participate. She introduced Amy Stall with St. Lukes, Cortney Frost with the Blue Cross, Pohley Richey with the Idaho Dairy Council and Jean Munchie with St. Lukes.

Jean said we all know that childhood obesity is a huge issue in the State as well as nationally. For the first time in history, this next generation is projected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

In our State, childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years. We have a projected obesity rate of 53% in our State by 2018. The health related impact of this is $1.5 billion in Idaho.

As a child, if you are heavy, you may be bullied. There are some real issues these children face. Metabolic syndrome is something they used to see in adults. They are seeing this now in 7-8 year olds. That means this children are showing symptoms of fatty liver disease, hypertension and have had to institute a stroke protocol in the children’s hospital because obesity.

What can be done? Our schools represent an opportunity to identify the higher risk kids. However, because PE is not mandated by our State in Elementary School, they are trying to come up with different ideas to induce physical activity. Hence the Mayor’s Walking Challenge.

Jean encouraged the Partnership members to get out and walk with their schools and encourage local CEO’s to participate with you.

Bob said he has already got his goal set. Last year he walked 218 miles and this will be a baseline and figures all the Partnership members should at least do this. His goal is to do more this year.

Brad said because we are all politicians, is there any plan for validation of Bob’s miles (laughter)?

Jean said the fit bit has changed and you now have an ability to create a community so you can see the progress of the people in the community.

Pohley Richey with the Idaho Dairy Council said they are happy to support youth wellness. She said the link between physical activity and good nutrition is real. Studies have shown that combining good nutrition with physical activity leads to improved academic performance in school. School absences decrease and memory and cognition improve as well.

Jean passed out the information on the Mayor’s Walking Challenge and sign-up forms. She indicated they have fit bits and passed out these to the members. The challenge launches October 1st and members need to sign up by September 30th.

Tammy said walking with the schools is a blast. She had Mayor Tammy’s walking club this spring and they did it in five schools. She runs into children in the community and they run up to her and tell her they have continued to walk.

Bob said this is a lot of fun. If you ever want your ego built up, just start walking with the kids. He said he is going to try to hit all the elementary schools in Nampa this year.

Water Supply Issues

Brad introduced Rex Barrie who is the Water Master with District 63.

Rex thanked everyone for the invitation. He thanked Bill for the heads up with plenty of notice. He did not know if he was going to make it because of the water supply issues that are going on right now. It is what the State is calling Basin Wide 17. It is a refill issue on the reservoirs and it is a big deal. The State says the space holders in the reservoirs don’t have the right to fill after flood control without junior water rights being satisfied first. The irrigators are very concerned about this.

There has been a settlement agreement reached in the Upper Snake Basin in Water District 01. Currently they are working in the Boise and the next step will be in the Payette Basin.

He said he is not going to spend a lot of time on water supply issues he is going to give some information in things he is very familiar with and answer any questions that arise.

There are hearings going on today with the Basin Wide 17 issue. He was required to be there today but was able to be deferred till next week. The Boise Basin is approximately 2,600 square miles. He is the only employee of the Water District. He is responsible for administration of the natural flow and the storage rights.

Most of the irrigators have natural flow rights on the river that date back to 1864. The larger space holders in the reservoirs contracted with the Bureau of Reclamation beginning with Arrowrock Dam to build the facility. In exchange, the Bureau guaranteed to fill up the reservoir so the irrigators have an irrigation supply to last through the summer.

Arrowrock was completed in 1915 and Anderson Ranch Dam was completed in 1945. Then of course Lucky Peak came along in 1955. The interesting part of this matrix is Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch are owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. Lucky Peak is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. So you have two entities. One is in the business of supplying storage water and the other is in the business of flood control.

The Corps of Engineers wants the reservoirs empty when the spring runoff comes. The Bureau of Reclamation wants them full to satisfy the contracts they have with the irrigators. Fortunately we have an operational agreement on the Boise where the Bureau and the Corps communicate to not leave those reservoirs empty and to not flood Boise, Eagle, Star, and Parma.

In 1943, there was 21,000 cfs coming through the City of Boise. This is what prompted them to build Lucky Peak. The Basin, including Lake Lowell, can hold about 1 million acre feet of water. We produce about 1.6 million annually.

Some of the supply issues we are dealing with right now came as a result of the Treasure Valley CAMP a few years ago. It was identified that the Treasure Valley by 2050 could need as much as 300,000 acre feet of storage to supply the projected population growth. How do we get there? We can’t conserve our way to 300,000 acre feet. We are going to have to have additional storage in the basin.

The Bureau and the Corps are looking at a number of different options. The closest one to fruition is to raise Anderson Ranch Dam. They are talking about raising Anderson Ranch 5 additional feet. This would generate about 20,000 additional acre feet of water.

The Bureau of Reclamation is looking at the feasibility of raising Arrowrock Dam. They want to raise it 80 feet which would give us an additional 300,000 acre feet of storage. This would involve the building of a new dam in front of Arrowrock. This would cost well over $1 Billion. The only way they are going to be able to do this is if the Corps would step up and say we need this for flood prevention in the Treasure Valley.

One of the other things we are dealing with regard to supply issues is, two years ago the Director of Water Resources issued a measurement order for the entire Boise River Basin. Until that time, the primary focus was from Lucky Peak to the Snake River. Since they have issued this order, he is now required to go into the upper basin and administer water rights up there.

The administration of these upper basin water rights has included people in the Pine and Featherville area. As the natural flow subsides, these water rights fall out of priority very quickly. Idaho has a prior appropriations doctrine which is first in time, first in right. As of Monday, they were serving 1878. So anybody junior to 1878 is out of priority.

As of today, the reservoir content is at 50%. We have about 40 days left in the irrigation season. As it looks right now, if we get some fall rains, we will be at about 35% carry over. They like to have about 40-44% carried over.

One of the things they did this year is contract with Idaho Power to do some cloud seeding in the Boise Basin. The cost is about$125,000 to hopefully augment the snowfall. Idaho Power says they can get about a 10% increase from a storm as a result of cloud seeding.

Nathan asked what the likely hood of raising Anderson Ranch or Arrowrock? Rex said the possibility of Anderson is pretty good. To get Arrowrock raised we will have to have some rain on snow events that causes some serious flooding in the valley. If that happens, the public pressure will be such that something gets done.

The problem is that Anderson Ranch is the largest reservoir on the system in the smallest portion of our Basin. It is the hardest reservoir to fill.

Rex said the typical residential home will use about an acre foot per year. A lot of the supply comes from ground water. Right now we do not have a conjunctive management plan and looks for this to happen in the future. Conjunctive management is managing the connection between surface and ground water.

Right now from Star up, you cannot drill a well in the river proper unless you go over 200 feet, because, the State has identified that these shallower wells are hydraulically connected to the water in the river. And taking more from the river causes injury to the water right holders downstream.

Conjunctive management is going on right now and is a huge issue in the Wood River Valley. They did the same thing in the upper Snake River basin. He is sure everyone has heard of the ESPA (Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer). This is a very big deal. Basically what happened is the State gave away more water rights than there was water for. This is the same as what is going on in the Colorado River right now.

Kelly asked if the hearings going on in the Boise Basin will take us in the same direction as what happened in Eastern Idaho. Rex said the irrigators are really active in this. The Boise Project all the way down to the small ditch companies are all party to this contested case that is going on with the Dept. of Water Resources. His position on this is that each basin is different. The Eastern Snake is completely different and the Payette is completely different as well.

One of the driving forces on this is United Water of Idaho. They want to be able to take more water and not have to pay for it. So if they can get this junior water right clause invoked, they will be able to take water out of priority. Our irrigators don’t agree with this.

Kelly said the question goes back to what happens in urban areas over time. Originally they had wells then they had to start taking surface water. Are these Cities going to be junior right holders until they get the opportunity to take senior water rights? Rex said the aquifer is tied to the canals. The New York Canal has a 50% loss from top to bottom on average. The largest portion is seepage going into the aquifer.

Kelly said as we do more and more pivot and sprinkler, we will affect the aquifer. Rex said he can see the effect of this today because our drain ditches are mostly dry because we don’t have the return flow to the ditches. A good example is just west of Nampa. The Wilson Drain comes from a fish hatchery that supplies water to the Pioneer Irrigation District and to the Black Canyon Irrigation District through what is called the Notus Canal. In the last 4-5 years they have been experiencing low flows which are not enough to satisfy what the rights call for. It is a direct result of that Ag ground being converted to residential.

Rex said there have been extensive studies and subdivisions actually use as much or more water than Ag ground does.

Jim asked if there has been much talk about aquifer recharge. Rex said in other parts of the State, it is a big deal. They have actually dug canals out into the lava flows and are dumping it. They have seen positive results from this. In the Treasure Valley we only have a couple ground water limited areas. They are Dry Lake south of Lake Lowell and north of Eagle. One of the problems you run into with taking water out for something like this is the canals have to de-water to do maintenance. Typically they shut down by the first of November to do this, so it creates a problem to do aquifer recharge.

Brad asked Rex what the municipalities need to do today as well as long term to be proactive for our citizens. Rex said encourage conservation both inside the home and outside the home. Planning for the future is also needed because eventually, water supply will become an issue.

Tammy said she agrees with Rex on the conservation recommendation. They are the first City to have the Class A water reclaimed water permit. The irrigators want to take Meridian to task on this. This is very conservation friendly. But when we get into a battle with the irrigators on whose water goes on the land first, it seems like you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t. Rex said if you reclaim water and you don’t have a water right to apply it to the land, then technically you are not supposed to. That is the bottom line with irrigation law. Recognizing that what Meridian is doing is great. The City of Boise is looking at taking the water coming out of their waste water treatment plant and putting that water into the Farmers Union Ditch Company to use for irrigation. This would also conserve water for us.

Kelly said the rub is a farmer irrigates his place which fills the drain. But cannot go back and pump from that drain because it is owned by the State. Tammy said they don’t have the problem right now, but they are trying to make it a problem. She disagrees from a certain degree. We can either pull the water out of the aquifer or re use it.

Garret said most of their wells in the city are between 400-500 feet. They don’t encourage irrigation from shallow wells. He asked for guidance from a policy standpoint. Rex said he admires the City of Caldwell for that.

Up until recently, when subdivisions were built, planning and zoning didn’t insist they use the surface water right. There are a number of places in the south Five Mile are of Boise that have a water right, but there is no infrastructure to deliver the water to them.

Bill said as a person who owns property in the Five Mile area, if you want to conserve water then pay United Water to water your yard. It is extremely expensive.

Steve said he has watched the reservoirs and they are filling up with silt. When is this going to become a problem and have to be addressed? Rex said in the Boise System there is quite a bit of sediment that is building up. About 15 years ago, the Bureau of Reclamation went in and sounded Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch. They realized they had lost a certain amount of capacity in these reservoirs. They reduced the space holder’s allocation by a percentage. They lost 10% of capacity in Arrowrock for example. To dredge them, you have to dewater.

Director’s Report

Bill said everyone saw the email with regard to the Eastern Idaho SAUSA getting started. A couple of other happenings include a possible invitation to JFAC this year. Eastern Idaho got $70,000 this year and Bill said this was a direct result of the Mayor of Blackfoot’s meeting with the Governor and the Director of Corrections. This was a one-time commitment from the Governor and the Director. John said it was amazing they had 28 jurisdictions that signed on. Bill said it was jurisdictions from Preston and Soda Springs to Madison County and west to Burley and Cassia County. Bill said it was amazing that Oneida County which has less population than Owyhee County is the Chair of the Eastern Idaho SAUSA Program.

Brad said that we just hired Kootenai’s County Prosecutor for the replacement for Chris Atwood. This is probably going to flip northern Idaho’s attitude with regard to the SAUSA.

Bill said the agenda for the Strategic Planning Meeting is in the packet and wanted to get everyone’s input. Bill stated that Thursday is really full and we will have an open discussion on Friday morning.

Steve said he was not going to be able to make it and the TVP members asked if one of the other County Commissioners could attend in his place. He indicated he will ask. Nathan said his son is getting married that weekend and he would be tied up with wedding activities. Greg said they are sending Council member Joe Stear to the Strategic Planning Meeting.

Bill said he was once again going to pay for the main course on Thursday evening in appreciation for working for the Partnership. He would be sending out a listing of those who have indicated attendance so that people can start thinking about their contribution to the Pot Luck on Thursday evening.

The minutes and financial statement were approved.

Meeting adjourned.