Temecula-Elsinore-Anza-Murrieta Resource Conservation District
Regular Board Meeting
Thursday, August 10, 2017 4:00 PM
41923 Second Street, Fourth Floor
Temecula, CA 92590
I. PRELIMINARY FUNCTIONS
Call to Order, 4:00 p.m., meeting recorded by Rose Corona
Roll Call/Establish a Quorum:
Directors Present: Rose Corona (President); Carol Lee Brady, David Kuhlman, Michael Newcomb
Directors absent: Judy Guglielmana
Associate Directors Present: Rick Neugebauer, Randy Feeney (arrived late)
District Counsel Present: Tawny Lieu (call-in for a portion of the meeting, ending during presentation by Mandy Parkes)
District Counsel Absent: Greg Priamos
Office Manage Present: Dave McElroy
Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCS) absent: Bob Hewitt
Mandy Parkes, District Manager, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District
Stephen Corona, Board Member, Upper Santa Margarita Irrigated Lands Group
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
President Corona called for a motion to approve the agenda with two minor changes: 1) Correction to the amount paid for reimbursement to Mission RCD (Item 6) for crop swap and post audits. There had been a typographical error on acreage in their previous billing, resulting in a prior overpayment of $240. The correction of that error resulted in a total due of $1,180.00 rather than $1,420. 2) There was an address error on a bill for $21.56, which arrived after the agenda packet had been prepared. President Corona asked that it be added to the agenda for approval and payment.
Director Kuhlman moved to approve, and Director Newcomb seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
II. CONSENT CALENDAR, III. CORRESPONDENCE & IV. GENERAL INFORMATION
President Corona called for a motion to approve the Consent Calendar, all Correspondence and General Information.
Director Kuhlman so moved; Director Brady seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0.
V. ACTION ITEMS/ DISCUSSION CALENDAR
Item 1: Discussion and Update for Benton Channel
Ms. Mandy Parkes had not arrived for discussion of Item 1 and had hand-outs for the Board’s review, so President Corona moved to Item 2.
Item 2: Discussion and Potential Approval of MOU with Western Riverside County RCA
President Corona noted that Mr. Jonathan Ingram was going to speak to this item but was not present. Ms. Parkes had arrived, and so President Corona tabled Item 2 until the next meeting and returned to Item 1, turning the floor over to Ms. Parkes who began passing out a spreadsheet and summary of her analysis.
At this point in the meeting Associate Director Feeney arrived. Shortly thereafter two public guests arrived, and President Corona welcomed them and invited them to introduce themselves. Mr. Angel Garcia and his sister Ms. Myra Garcia expressed interest in hearing about TEAM RCD’s work, and took seats to observe the meeting.
President Corona briefly summarized the background of the Benton Channel item, explaining that she had been part of ongoing discussions between Fish and Wildlife, Flood Control, and the developer (Mission Pacific) since December 2016 regarding costs associated with the project. She then re-introduced Ms. Mandy Parkes and turned the floor over to her.
ITEM 1: DISCUSSION AND UPDATE FOR BENTON CHANNEL
Ms. Parkes began by clarifying that TEAM RCD is not the requiring anything of Mission Pacific; the requirement is issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW.) She explained that CDFW asked TEAM RCD to facilitate the negotiation by providing a cost estimate for performing the required work in perpetuity. Ms. Parkes had assisted TEAM RCD in developing the numbers based on her experience in calculating such costs. Mission Pacific had originally offered to provide $17,000; however it did not address the full scope of required work and failed to provide for the work in perpetuity.
Ms. Parkes noted that as mitigation trends are being reviewed, many regulatory agencies are realizing that projects have historically failed because of insufficient funding. Resource losses have been occurring because of this failure to assign correct financials to these projects. Although Mission Pacific had voiced the position that they felt that it was unfair for TEAM RCD to request supplemental funding from them when there are other developments in the area; and CDFW had explained to them that it is not possible to go back and recoup funding after the fact so we need to evaluate current and future costs from this point forward.
The first endowment cost estimate for the Benton Channel project provided by Ms. Parkes was significantly higher than Mission Pacific’s initial proposed contribution of $17,000 vs her figure of $154,000. In addition, because CDFW subsequently added a ramp to the scope of work, that number was then increased to $195,000. She referred the Board to the handout and reviewed her detailed calculations and assumptions used to arrive at the figure.
At this point in the meeting President Corona informed the Board that District Counsel Lieu was having difficulty hearing the discussion over the phone and had advised President Corona that she was disconnecting the call. President Corona said she would send Ms. Lieu a transcript of the meeting along with a copy of the presentation.
Continuing, Ms. Parkes noted that Director Brady had suggested including an assessment of current funding, full funding, and median funding in the presentation, with an overview of how the range of costs aligned with timeline as well as the CDFW requirements. Ms. Parkes provided a diagram in her handout, and there was extensive discussion regarding scenarios that could possibly reduce the requirements and thus lower the estimated costs. However, the Board concurred with Ms. Parke’s analysis of costs in perpetuity, given the risks, variables, and existing CDFW requirements and scope of work as understood.
Director Newcomb noted that TEAM RCD’s source of funding is through these projects, and taxpayers do not contribute funding. TEAM RCD has no bank account as a safety net like other RCDs; thus, it is prudent to ensure that this project is fully funded. Ms. Parkes agreed that this was a good point and added that the difference with this project is that typically there is a concrete list of what tasks must be performed, with a dollar value assigned to each task. In this case, CDFW has expressed a number of things they want done including restoration.
At this point in the meeting, President Rose Corona noted that guest speaker Stephen Corona had arrived.
Ms. Parkes continued, and noted that TEAM RCD has expressed the desire to be reasonable considering the fact that there are other organizations (including Flood Control) and developers who may also have a future impact on the project. During a meeting with CDFW a compromise had been brought to the table for a modified requirement in the scope of work that could result in a reduction in the required contribution from the developer. She said that Mission Pacific had verbally tentatively agreed with that proposed arrangement and a revised figure of $90,000 was being discussed.
Director Kuhlman said that he would like to see a recap of the revised scope and assurance that any changes were indeed acceptable to CDFW. There was extensive discussion regarding the proposed revisions and associated cost reduction. Ms. Parkes said that she could assist TEAM RCD in preparing a dated letter outlining a baseline and scope.
Directors Kuhlman, Newcomb and Brady were in agreement that it is important to document any agreed-upon revisions in scope, and to review costs to be sure that they aligns and all parties are on the same page. Director Brady noted that preserving the integrity and value of the work being performed under the permit held by TEAM RCD also extends to other RCDs also holding that permit; so by ensuring that this project is adequately funded it helps establish a precedent.
Director Newcomb, and commented that he would not vote to accept any agreement that requires TEAM RCD to do something beyond the amount of funding available. Directors Kuhlman and Brady concurred, and it was decided that once a revised offer letter is received from Mission Pacific, Ms. Parkes can begin her updated analysis for the next Board Meeting or a Special Meeting if needed in order to expedite the review.
President Corona thanked Ms. Parkes, who then left the meeting. Agenda Item 2 had previously been tabled, and she moved on to item 3.
Item 3: Discussion of Written Comment Period for Santa Margarita Water Quality Improvement Plan and the Upper Santa Margarita Irrigated Lands Group
President Corona introduced guest speaker Mr. Stephen Corona, who provided information regarding new requirements for all agricultural operations General Order #R9-2016-004 which replaces the previous agricultural waiver. He explained that monitoring and testing for agricultural discharges had not been required in the past, but with the new rules set forth by the State that has changed.
The Upper Santa Margarita Irrigated Lands Group (USMILG) was started in 2010 and growers in the region signed up for monitoring and testing programs in place until the recent aforementioned rule change which imposes additional extensive requirements. Mr. Corona explained the cooperation with other entities and how the goal of the Group is to make it less expensive for growers because to perform the testing is intimidating and in some cases cost prohibitive, especially for small operations.
Director Newcomb asked how Mr. Corona envisions the role TEAM RCD could play in cooperating with the Group. Mr. Corona said that at this point he is trying to share information with people and groups interested in water and soil conservation. President Corona added that TEAM RCD might be getting some questions and could possibly share information about the group. Director Brady noted that she had found out about USMILG thought the Winegrowers’ Association, and had found the information they provided extremely useful in clarifying and navigating the new requirements, the various options, and the process to be brought into compliance. She said that others might find a link on the TEAM RCD website helpful, if the Board decided to partner with USMILG. President Corona asked if that was something Associate Director Feeney could do, and he responded that a whole new website is being set up and that link could be included.
President Corona and the Board thanked Mr. Corona who then left the meeting.
Item 4: Discussion and Potential Approval for RFP from Rancho Water District for GIS surveying for Ag Customers in RCWD District
President Corona briefly summarized the item, explaining that Rancho California Water District (RCWD) had asked TEAM RCD to participate in soliciting bids for a GIS (Geographic Information System) Survey, and TEAM RCD sent out an RFP to partners but received no responses.
She turned the floor over to Office Manager Mr. Dave McElroy who further explained that RCWD is looking to evaluate agricultural acres under irrigation so they can fine tune and plan effectively for additional conservation. Since there were no responses, there was some additional discussion regarding additional options to suggest to RCWD.
VI. NEW BUSINESS
Items 1 & 2: Discussion and Potential Approval of MOU with Rivers and Lands Conservancy, and Discussion and Potential Approval of MOU with Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
President Corona indicated that she had not heard back from the Rivers and Lands Conservancy and needed to table Item 1. She also said that there had been a response from Flood Control and they were very pleased but wanted to take a step further, so at this time Item 2 also needed to be tabled until they got back to her.
Item 3: Discussion and Update on Potential Collaboration with Fish and Wildlife, Various Cities and Agencies on Homelessness in the Watershed
President Corona reported that CDFW seemed excited about the potential collaboration on this item, and had suggested that perhaps all of the RCDs could consider being a part of the project in the “third leg” which would take place after the cities’ task forces address the first two legs of the project. These would include helping move and rehabilitate people and their belongings in a dignified and compassionate manner, then having the appropriate agency address cleanup of any hazardous items or potential health risks left behind such as needles.
She summarized the meeting with CDFW as having been very positive, and she said that they may be helping to spearhead efforts to bring together other entities and perhaps assist with funding opportunities in support of the program.
VII. OLD BUSINESS
Item 1: Discussion and Update on Grant Approval for Consultant for Boot Strap Funding
President Corona turned the floor over to Mr. McElroy, who said that TEAM RCD received the grant for the long range and annual plans of work, bringing the total number of grants received to two. He will update the Board regarding options for a consultant to facilitate as agendized and discussed in previous meetings.
Item 2: Discussion and Update for CDFW Due Diligence
Item 3: Discussion and Update on Crop Swap and Water Audits
President Corona turned the floor over to Mr. McElroy, who reported that he had two new (of each) Crop Swap and Audits; with Crop Swap up to 19 total participants with close to a million dollars in commitment.
VIII. ORAL/WRITTEN REPORTS
NRCS Robert Hewitt – not present
2. District Counsel Gregory P. Priamos/Tawny Lieu – not present
3. TEAMRCD Director Reports Open
Rose Corona – nothing further to report.
Dave Kuhlman – nothing to report
Carol Lee Brady – nothing to report
Judy Gugliemana – not present
Michael Newcomb – nothing to report
3. Associate Director Reports Open
Rick Neugebauer – nothing to report
Randy Feeney – nothing to report
4. SAWA/Fire Safe Reports Rick Neugebauer, Representative – nothing to report
President Corona then acknowledged the Public Guests, and Mr. Garcia and Ms. Garcia provided brief backgrounds on themselves and their interest in hearing about what TEAM RCD is all about. The Board and Office Manager welcomed them and expressed appreciation for them having taken the time to attend.
IX. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Item 1: Update and discussion regarding ad hoc committee for additional content for website and potential approval for process in presentation of content to the Board for approval and approval of content by Counsel.
President Corona asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting; Director Brady so moved; Director Newcomb seconded. Call for vote. Motion passed 4-0
Carol Lee Brady -Secretary/Treasurer Date