June Minutes

Whitman Conservation District –Board of Supervisors Meeting

Thursday,   June 11, 2015     7:09 p.m.   601 N Main #A,  Colfax, WA


The meeting of the Whitman Conservation District was brought to order at 7:09 p.m. by David Lange, Chair. 

A quorum was not present:


Supervisors:  Cory Aeschliman   


District Staff:   Nancy Hoobler

Accountant:   Brandy Wigen

Commission Representative:  NA

NRCS Representative: NA


Guests:  Reid Camp (ELR), Bryan Jones, Steve and Fran Maki and Mike Largent

Guest Speaker:  Reid Camp (Eco Logical Research, Inc.) presented a power point presentation on the Penawawa Creek Instream Habitat Rehabilitation proposal which was presented to the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board meeting for consideration for funding.  If funded, the grant will pay for the installation of up to 50 Post Assisted Log Structures (PALS) from the mouth upstream for 1 mile on USACE property.  The primary benefits to adding high densities of large woody debris are to (1) increase instream habitat complexity through the development of pools, bars, and structural refugia for juvenile salmonids, (2) temporarily store fine sediment around the installed structures, and (3) back up water behind structures to encourage hyporheic exchange and provide localized floodplain access.  Landowners/Producers on Penawawa Creek were invited to listen to this presentation and provide comments to the Board as to proceed with project.  After a discussion period with Reid Camp and John Foltz (by phone), the attending participants were in favor of the project and directed the Board to proceed with the project.  Board will vote on the subject at the July board meeting.   


The minutes of the May meeting were reviewed, but could not be approved for lack of a quorum.

Financial Report:

Brandy reviewed each grant explaining what steps need to be taken by the end of June to close each grant out.  Need to finish out the Livestock grant.  Need to check with Casey (Asotin CD) as to status of the CREP grant with the Simpson’s project to make sure all bills are submitted by the end of June.   Brandy reviewed a Profit and Loss sheet for July 2014 through June 2015 with Board members.

Continuation of expense sheet for May was checks numbered 6100-6106. Expense sheet for June were checks numbered 6108-6118 including payroll, three online payments were made, no void checks and 2 EFT were reviewed totaling $24,636.51.

Financial report was reviewed and checks signed for bills to be paid.  Report was not voted on for lack of a quorum. 


Supervisors Report:

Walter Riley: NA

David Lange: Been on a tractor spraying crops

Cory Aeschliman: Been on a tractor spraying crops, but took time to attend the Winter Canola Tour, there were some descent plots, some plots froze out and some were reseeded to spring canola.

Rhod McIntosh NA


Correspondence/District News:  Letter from Cindy White, President of the Upper Columbia RC&D asking for Districts to consider rejoining and a report on past year projects; Letter from Larry Davis, President of the Washington Conservation Society, inviting the District to become a member and stating the benefits of being a member;  A email from NACD with information about the House and Senate Vote to stop Clean Water Rule and  cut environmental funding; Invitation from Palouse CD inviting Supervisors and staff to attend the annual tour and BBQ; a Memorandum from Enduris with an update in coverage changes and estimated property and liability rates for the upcoming year; email from Dave Vogel with WACD comments on Ecology’s draft Nonpoint Source Management Plan; an email from the Whitman County Fair office announcing the 2015 Fair Bulletin; announcement from USDA will be accepting new CRP general signups to be held Dec.1, 2015-Feb. 26, 2016;  email from NSAC with information about NRCS new website for the Farm Conservation Client Gateway is now open for use as another option for participants to sign up or get information about programs; an email from WCIA with an invitation to another world class training;


Natural Resources Coordinator Report:

Reported from May to June wrote 2 spot burn permits, issued one refund for acres not burnt, recorded burn reports on Ag burn account form and reviewed Non-Cereal Crop BMP management practices guidance and responded to Ecology with comments, attended the Burn Task Force meeting; reviewed Commission Grants and Contract policy, reviewed Ecology’s Non-Point Source document; worked on collecting information on pollinators for LaCrosse library presentation; met with DOE team concerning livestock issues on tributaries to the Snake River, they documented top 10 operations of concern and will be sending letters to the top four along with letters to past recipients,  submitted 5 yr and annual plan to the Commission, monitored Big Alkali Creek for two days and drafted a letter to be sent to the participants for the Board to review, attended the Local Work Group meeting in St. John with John Aeschliman, attended wrap up meeting for Women in Ag, attended the Salmon Recovery Board meeting in Dayton, WA as the sponsor for Penawawa Creek project and a tour of the project site will be held on June 19th with attendance mandatory by sponsors, attended the RCPP meeting, assisted 3 livestock producers with projects, assisted Fish & Wildlife with wildlife and State Hwy 26 project, and met with Reid C to evaluate project on Penawawa Creek.  Requested time off the last week of June and the first part of July, board gave permission for leave but not a formal motion was passed due to not having a quorum present.


 Old Business:

  • Alkali Flat Creek letter to producers:  Nancy drafted a letter to be sent to the producers with an explanation of the project accompanied by a statement of explanation and guidelines of each sample taken, map, monitoring sheets and pictures.  Cory and David read the letter and recommended no changes.     
  • RCPP Grant update:  The grant has been signed by NRCS in Washington DC and the Palouse Conservation District.  Nancy explained PCD was the lead District and the rest of the group will need to sign MOU’s with PCD and working partners.
  • Claims for Damages Resolution:  Nancy explained that when the resolution was presented to the County, she was told there was a filing fee that needed to be paid when document was filed.  Check for the filing amount has been written and signed, the document and check will be hand delivered to the County.
  • Penawawa Creek project was discussed again.  The Board will approve the District sponsoring the project at the July meeting.
  • Pollinator/Butterfly Project: Nancy reported that the LaCrosse Library called and asked if Nancy would be interested in doing a presentation.  Their theme is on Local Heroes, the Librarian wanted the children to know there were more heroes then Superman and Batman.  She was excited to have a presentation on Pollinators and Butterflies.


New Business:

  • MOU with Commission:  David Lange and Cory Aeschliman signed the MOU; Nancy will send both copies back to the Commissions for signatures.  Then a signed copy will be sent back to the District.
  • SARE Grant:  Two of the four producers listed as participants on the grant were contacted.  Nancy will check to see why the other two were not contacted and report back.
  • Old Printer:  The District has three extra printers after the purchase of a new printer that does everything with less expense, thanks to a Commission Grant.  Would like to dispose of the other three printers but need guidance from Ray for proper procedure.  Nancy will contact Ray for guidance.
  • MOU with DOE:  The Whitman Conservation District has not had a MOU with DOE for a long time.  The discussion was on the pros and cons of having a MOU with DOE.  The Board decided to wait until more supervisors were present.
  • Policy about call in participation by Board members who physically aren’t available to attend a meeting.  But could be available to participate by phone.  Nancy contacted Ray, who was on vacation, but Bill Eller returned the call with direction that until a policy was in place, attendance by phone calls should not be valid.  The board directed Nancy to do more research to find if such practices could be an option and if so what needs to be accomplished to make it possible.
  • Change of positions on Board and Auditor: tabled until next meeting
  • 2016 Cost Share:  Discussion was on keeping the same, but no action taken because of lack of quorum.
  • State Budget not passed what does Nancy do?  An email was received from Debbie Becker in regards to a possible state shut down.  The email stated that state employees will be on leave without pay until further notice and expenses cannot be incur.  Work on all capital funded projects will have to cease beginning July 1, 2015.  If conservation districts do not have savings in the bank to cover staff and operational expenses, conservation districts would face placing staff on leave without pay and stopping all work on projects.   If the District has money in savings to cover staff time and willing to keep staff on, then staff can continue to work.  If the budget agreement is reached and is signed by Governor Inslee by midnight June 30th deadline and state agencies are provided authorization to incur expenses, the same authorization would be provided to conservation districts.  The board instructed Nancy to keep the office open and expenses would be paid from savings if a shutdown does occur.


 Agency Reports:

NRCS- Rich Edlund emailed a report regarding CSP renewal 2016 evaluations are underway, applications for the new CSP 2015 signup were pre-approved and now seeing verification visits on the farm, 2015 EQIP contracting is wrapping up, July 17 cutoff for the 2016 EQIP signup, the RCPP grant will be signed to allow work to begin on the Palouse River Watershed (WRIA 34).  The USDA Secretary announced a formal CRP General Signup for December and CRP contracts expiring in September will be allowed a 1 year extension.  The Palouse Local Work Group 2016 planning meeting results were put into the program guidance and submitted to the State Technical Advisory Committee.


WSCC- Ray Ledgerwood sent the WSCC District Operations Quick Notes with reminders about: important dates, end of Biennium requirements-New Biennium Draft Capital Budget process, WADE conference attendance, there is a drought resource page for landowners now on SCC website, Commission revised Mission Statement, new CRP handout available for CD use, new supervisor orientation, Commission Good Governance Process/Open Government training, the question of the month pertained to new elected/appointed supervisor Open Government Training and list of items with help is available.


 The next regular Board meeting will be changed to July 16, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the District office in Colfax.  Meeting postponed until after Commission appoints a new supervisor.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:30pm.


Motion Recap: No motions made due to lack of a quorum.




Respectfully Submitted by:


________________________________           _______________________________

Nancy Hoobler, Natural Resource Coordinator                     David Lange, Chair

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