Meeting Minutes

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES June 13, 2019 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: July 12th, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Isaac Owens

Richard Micka

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Milward Beaudry

Absent:            Bonnie Finzel-Doster

Guests:            Dan Stefanski, COTE Commissioner via phone, Melanie Foose, EGLE, Ned Birkey, Retired MSU Ag & Consultant to MCCC, Cajetan D’cunha, MCCC grant writer, Butch Uhl-Citizen, Katie Goplerud-Smith, River Raisin Watershed

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Owens, motion passed.

Approval of minutes from May 9, 2019 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Micka, motion passed.

2019 River Cleanup (MDEQ Volunteer River, Stream, & Creek Cleanup Program Grant):  Cleanup scheduled for August 10th, 9am to noon.  Meeting point is Veteran’s Park, area is from IHM Riverhouse to Worrell Park (Cranbrook).  All partners have know committed to assisting on the cleanup & for providing access points.  Purchases will be occurring, Ads are being developed to advertise for the cleanup in coordination with 2018 PAC Support grant media outreach (full page color ads rotating the 3 banners).  Ads will be in Monroe News 6-309, 7-7, 7-14, 7-21, 7-28, & 8-4.  A full buyout of the ad to be on the Monroe News website will occur on 8-6, 8-7, 8-8, & 8-9 with the cleanup occurring on 8-10-19.  Site access coordinators will be needed.  Councilman Felder requested to extend the cleanup to be into the downtown as far downstream as Soldier’s & Sailors Park to engage downtown businesses; it agreed that if volunteers are available they will be guided to clean into the downtown area as requested.

2018 PAC Support Grant:

  • Media Outreach-Is coordinated with River Cleanup with the dates listed above.
  • Portable Banners-All banners have been ordered & will ship soon. Will bring the banners AOC conference & ARC celebration.
  • Website updates are ongoing tasks, cleanup is listed on the site.
  • Documentary Short Style PSA – Discussed the teaser video.

EGLE Items (via email):

  • Went over new department setup / overview
  • PAC Support Grant – EGLE is at the end of their 3 year cycle & need to structure/finalize the workplan. Requested COTE to develop tasks & wording so it’s ready to go once the grant request comes out.  Expect at least a year for the request to come out.
  • AOC Conference-Conference is Sept 10 & 11th, 50th anniversary of Cuyahoga river fire. Dick & Melanie going, others may attend & be funded.  In Cleveland, OH.  Suggested to move Sept 2019 COTE mtg to be Sept 19th
  • If COTE mtg moved to Sept 19th, Mike Alexander of EGLE wants to present & discuss year 2 monitoring results of CAP.
  • Discussed 2 reports issued of U of M students and professor, provide any comments to Melanie on the reports.
  • Dick Norton (PAC researcher, planner & lawyer) may be calling to for a report on the RR AOC.
  • Chris O’Meara email on ARC Celebration & the Henry Ford scheduled for later in 2019. Suggest brining the COTE banners & show the documentary.
  • Discussed numerous items on Dick Micka’s handouts
  • Discussed SPAC packet ppt – Marc Tuchman
  • Torch Lake SPAC mtg-possoble MI AOC Story using a state film maker

Members Time:

Micka-Comments on U of M AOC reports, questioned the writers, provided lots of handouts, noted the COTE & USMC are similar, discussed the Port of Monroe (Dale Brose) offering a tug boat ride later in 2019, DTE flyash application for renewing its permit – suggested submitting comments, for nutrient reduction into lake suggested stormwater retention, reduce infiltration into sanitary sewers, reducing fertilizer on yards, dumping into drains, and paying RR Watershed dues is what the City can do for nutrient runoff reduction.  City provides a homeowners guide to citizens for guidance, noted he is on a board of determination @ MCDC-focuses on public health & convenience.

Stefanski– River Raisin AOC is unique, discussed farmers issues with nutrient runoff, discussed River Raisin Institute (RRI) projects & involvement, U of M reports

Felder-Monroe County Positive Action Network beach cleanup on 6-15-19 @ Sterling State Park, 9am, RRI & River Raisin Watershed sponsored

Owens-Noted a Facebook post on dozens of eagles found dead-likely due to lead poisoning from game they ate, He indicated due to his ongoing back problems and need to focus on his health he will be resigning from the COTE effective after the meeting on 6-14-19.  He was thanked for his efforts and service.

Kane-Questions on algal blooms and increase of nutrient runoff with drain cleanout projects, it was indicated that reduction of nutrient runoff efforts (filter strips) are an option and a req’t currently.

LaRoy – none.

Egen- Discussed RRI Workshop-ended quickly & his time was cut short, he presented the COTE’s efforts/tasks and showed the documentary-he hopes kids learned more about COTE, proposed Monroe County Project grant to fund Lake Erie state marker restoration at Sterling State Park.

Citizen Comments:

Ned Birkey-In MI, optional for reducing nutrient runoff, in OH it is required, farmers are required to follow buyer req’ts for food production-leads to over fertilization, cover crops are a solution, MCCC north campus has a MAEP certified field, presentations on over fertilization occurred 2 years ago in Lenawee & at the Henry Ford, suggests for drain cleanout projects putting vegetation on banks, filter strips & cover crops are hard to get cooperation, farmers are “dumb” & have not improved in 40+ years applying biosolids-land application in the county is a problem, suggests installing a stabilized vegetated shore as an example at a park (i.e. Mill Race), soil & wind erosion a problem in Monroe county, USDA of Monroe has had staff turnover and are customer focused-improvement, filter strips need to be 30’ away from drain to qualify, CRAEP program is a federal program, 2019 harvest time will cause higher food prices in food processing-lack of available produce, Wed Sept 4 is field day @ MCCC 10-3pm, farmers education on practices.

Cajeton D’cunha-MCCC resources are available for COTE, Ag dept coordination of projects at MCCC, collaboration & partnerships, urban farming, community gardens @ Munson park discussed, farmer education/culinary program with Nabisco connecting Ag to culinary & visa versa discussed, invasive species control discussed.

Katie Goplerud-Smith- Reiterated the beach cleanup on 6-15-19, discussed partnership w/farmer-farmer lead meetings @ 7:30am.  Goal is to go after low hanging fruit of to change farm practices to reduce nutrient runoff @ Lenawee County Drain Commissioner (LCDC) office, discussed conservation district training – practices scheduled for Aug 14 @ LCDC-see website.

Adjournment: 8:24 pm a motion made by Felder, Seconded by Stefanski to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES May 9, 2019 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: July 12th, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Bonnie Finzel-Doster

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Isaac Owens

Richard Micka

Absent:            Ed Kane

Guests:            Sharon Venier, River Raisin Institute (RRI), Michelle LaVoy, City Clerk-Treasurer & RRI Board Member, Bill Doster-Citizen, Butch Uhl-Citizen

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed.

Approval of minutes from April 11, 2019 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed.

Noxious Weed Ordinance: Commissioner Felder discussed final version from the City Attorney recommended edits that removed flower, edible, and rain garden from the ordinance.  It was desired to keep in rain gardens based on the Resiliency Monroe documents and with the Monroe County Drain Commissioner endorsement.  Several plant names were removed from the proposed ordinance (712-4A).  State & federal agencies were also updated in 712-1A.  It was moved by Beaudry, supported by Stefanski to support the modifications to ordinance 712 as recommended by the City Attorney, motion passed.

Controlling Nutrient Runoff: Commissioner Felder discussed  Monroe County Drin Commissioner’s presentation on methods they working on for controlling nutrient & sediment runoff with drain cleanout projects in an effort to mitigate nutrients discharging to Lake Erie contributing to algal blooms.  The plan is incorporated into the assessment action of projects as an incentive program for farmers, CRAEP program in Monroe County exists already in which this action is designed to accelerate the program by building into the drain projects.  Farmers are reimbursed via incentive based on the number of 10’ wide buffer strips not farmed and left fallow.  Avg drain cleanout is 30 years.  Woody debris cut is left for property owners use.  It was recommended to support the MCDC efforts via resolution for partnering with fellow agencies in the goal of reducing nutrient runoff.

Chairman Egen discussed a potential program for the City to purchase buffer strips via the Michigan Trust Fund, possibly for public access and return to its natural state.  More details to come.

River Raisin Institute/Monroe Boat Club – Environmental Career Day: Sharon Venier and Michelle LaVoy discussed the upcoming Environmental Career Day, June 4th & 5th.  It will be at the Monroe Boat Club & Monroe County Community College (MCCC).  120 kids expected, split in ½ for groups at each location over the two days.  Goal is to develop citizen stewards, experience water quality testing, outreach & education, allow environmental professionals to educate and inspire kids.  AmeriCorp, MSU Ag, MCCC, MCDC, and Monroe Boat Club will be part of the event.  Water Quality testing includes pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, etc.  Chairman Egen committed to assisting at least one of the days to show the mini documentary and talk, Commissioner Stefanski may be able to cover the other day.  COTE will send field guides to hand out as well.

2019 River Cleanup (MDEQ Volunteer River, Stream, & Creek Cleanup Program Grant):  City rcieved and accepted the grant for the cleanup scheduled for August 10th, 9am to noon.  Discussed the scope items and work areas via the map.  Partners include DPS, IHM, MCDC, YMCA & the County of Monroe.

2018 PAC Support Grant:

  • Portable Banners-reviewed final versions of all banners (Restoration, Remediation, Revitalization). Wording at the bottom of the banners was revised to meet current state and grant requirements with logos.  COTE reviewed and approved the final version so as to order the banners and potentially use for the Environmental Career Days.  Quote by Stefanksi approved, waiting for Cienowski (EPA) quote use, Allan quote approved.
  • Media Outreach-Will be derived on 3 COTE approved banners, will coordinate with Monroe News so the ads are invoiced before June 30, 2019. Will attempt to have the advertising include the 2019 River Cleanup and carry into July & August.
  • Website updates are ongoing tasks.
  • Documentary Short Style PSA – Done. The Social Media movie trailer to communicate the documentary is almost finished and will be built into several media outlets to promote as a call to action to watch the full video.

EGLE Items (via email):

  • EGLE was issued via press releases on 4-22-2019.
  • No update on PAC grants.

GLRI Action Plan III – Chairman Egen mentioned the review period is currently going on for the GLRI Action Plan III and suggested COTE members to review & submit comments online.

Members Time:

Stefanski– glad to be back from Florida.

Finzel-Doster- glad to be back & thankful for COTE members getting the grant work done.

Beaudry-Attended Monroe County Earth Day event & handed out Field Guides.  Banners will help in future to aid in the field guides.  Suggest 2020 Earth Day, include field guides in pre-bagging of items and to participate in Earth Day.  Dan Rock is always looking to add new groups/items.

Felder- Suggest putting up banners in City Council chamber, Libraries, Battlefield Visitor Center, Museum, etc.  Commented that it is okay to delegate COTE duties, comment on our work and submit to City Council for consideration/action.

LaRoy – Discussed the U of M Grad Students Thesis and their visit.

Egen-Handed out and briefly discussed the I-75 interchange study via correspondence from Mark Cochran, Assistant to the City Manager.  Noted the COTE is only an advisory board that reports to City Council, we are not an individual group, board only.  Noted he met with Dale Brose of the Port Commission for breakfast to maintain our relationship as partners, Dale offered COTE to come down for a tour/boat ride.

Citizen Comments: None

Adjournment: 8:24 pm a motion made by Felder, Seconded by Stefanski to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES April 11, 2019 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: July 12th, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Isaac Owens

Absent:            Bonnie Finzel-Doster

Guests:            Melanie Foose, MDNR (OGL), Dan Stefanski-COTE Commissioner (via phone), Katie Goplerud-Smith, RR Watershed Coordinator

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed.

Approval of minutes from March 14, 2019 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed.

Noxious Weed Ordinance: Commissioner Felder reviewed the City Attorney recommended edits to the proposed noxious weed ordinance (chapter 712 of City ordinances). After discussing various elements of the recommended changes COTE will consider alternatives and will table these proposed amendments until the May 2019 meeting due to name changes forthcoming from the state departments and agencies.

2019 River Cleanup (MDEQ Volunteer River, Stream, & Creek Cleanup Program Grant):  Briefly went over the grant application scope and map, will reach out to the GLC on the grant application status. Discussed potential dates including the potential Saturday of the Jazz festival (8-10-19) if it occurs.  Per DPS this date is a good date.

2018 PAC Support Grant: The 4th amendment to the grant was submitted and approved with the amendment being executed.  The amendment is for a short Social Media/Movie Trailer ~30 to 90 second video of the mini-documentary as a lead in for a viewer to watch the entire video and the an extension to June 30, 2019.  Discussed all grant tasks:

  • Portable Banners-reviewed final version of banner 1 & 2 (Restoration & Remediation). Banner 3 wording is finalized and is currently being developed for review (Revitalization).  Wording at the bottom of the banners will be revised to meet the grant requirements, but will wait until guidance is received with the anticipated state department / agency name changes.
  • Media Outreach-Will use portable banners for media outreach series (Restoration, Remediation, & Revitalization – 3R principles) and promote the 2019 River cleanup event (if we obtain the grant), and will also include other ideas: projects completed, activities, water trails, story map, legacy website, recreation, fishing, biking, MS4 stormwater, etc. With the extension to June 30, 2019 using the series can be used to promote the cleanup.
  • Website-ongoing maintenance & updating. Mini-documentary video link is now on the website front page.
  • Documentary Short Style PSA-Done. Added task with grant amendment #4 is to provide a Social Media movie trailer to communicate the documentary, it will be a call to action to watch the full video.

MDNR Items:

  • Shared mini-documentary with a group (Quality of Life Leadership Academy).
  • EGLE will be the new state department MDNR moves into on 4-22-2019.
  • 4th grant amendment is being executed by the state currently.

Members Time:

Beaudry – Will be at Monroe County Earth Day event, Field Guides provided for him to hand out.

Micka – Appeared before Congress a month ago to testify.  While there resolution being developed for by House & Senate combining 103 bills into 1, PA 116-9.  Discussed Dr Hartig link on IAGLR website listing the Raisin AOC as the 1st case study.  Chairman Egen to send an email/thank you.

Felder-Send him a copy of the older Homeowner’s Guide developed previously.

Kane-None

LaRoy – Had 2019 CISMA meeting for flowering rush spray.  Compared 2015 treated areas to 2018 treated areas & it is clear the treatments are aiding in reducing the FR areas/density.

Egen-2 bills from House & Senate-Historic Preservation tax credits-drafted a support letter.  Mentioned the control burn at Sterling Park was done on a high windy day-didn’t appear safe & surprised by the timing, further discussion revealed this practice may have had safety protocol built into it.

Stefanski – none, see you all at the May meeting in Monroe.

Citizen Comments: Katie Goplerud-Smith: Free chainsaw training class on 5-20-19 & 5-21-19 at the Lenawee County Drain Commission Office; Adopt-A-Stream Macroinvertebrate stream search to occur at Adrian College on 4-27-19; Earth Day Cleanup at Tecumseh on 4-22-19.

Adjournment: 8:39 pm a motion made by Felder, Seconded by Kane to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES March 14, 2019 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: May 3rd, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Isaac Owens

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski (via phone)

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Bonnie Finzel-Doster

Absent:            Ed Kane

Guests:            Melanie Foose, MDNR (OGL), Butch Uhl-Citizen, Megan LaRoy-Citizen

Approval of Agenda –Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed.

Approval of minutes from January 17, 2019 meeting – Motion by Owens, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed.

City of Monroe Call-In Policy: Chairman Egen went over the current City policy for calling into a meeting.  Due to lack of guidance from the State Attorney General Office, the City Attorney recommends calling into a meeting be allowed, however the person calling in can’t count toward a quorum nor be able to vote on motions.  This policy is to remain until the City decides how further to address the state’s position on this issue.  After a lengthy discussion, several commissioners indicated they would follow the policy.  Commissioner Stefanski indicated when he calls in he will follow the policy until the City determines their policy and will abstain from voting and not be counted toward the quorum.

2019 River Cleanup (MDEQ Volunteer River, Stream, & Creek Cleanup Program Grant):  Briefly went over the grant application scope and map, will likely hear in April of grant awards.

Noxious Weed Ordinance: Commissioner Felder went through the proposed noxious weed ordinance suggested changes (chapter 712 of City ordinances).  After discussion and suggested amendments a Motion was made by Micka, Seconded by Owens, motion passed, Stefanski abastained.

2018 PAC Support Grant: A revised FSR was received, executed, and approved to amend the grant budget allocations (#3).  Discussed all grant tasks:

  • Portable Banners-discussed banner 1 (done) & will be Restoration themed, draft language proposed by Egen for banner 2 (Remediation themed). Mock up of banner 2 discussed/proposed ideas.  Banner 3 will be recreation themed (Revitalization).  The banners will reflect the 3R principles and will be used as a base for the media outreach series.  Email ideas for banner 2 & 3 to Commissioner Egen ASAP, desired to complete the banners by end of March, so as to finalize purchasing the banners before the end of the grant (April 30, 2019).
  • Media Outreach-Will use portable banners for media outreach series. Series ideas  outreach task discussed (Restoration, Remediation, & Revitalization – 3R principles), will use 3 pages with different subject themes, will promote cleanup event if obtain cleanup grant, and will also include other ideas: projects completed, activities, water trails, story map, legacy website, recreation, fishing, biking, MS4 stormwater, etc.
  • Website-ongoing maintenance & updating. Mini-documentary video link is now on the website front page.
  • Documentary Short Style PSA-Done, viewed by City Council on 3-4-19, excellent feedback, outreach plan being developed with OGL, Monroe County museum will be looping the video at the museum, suggested to enter the video in a competition, several emails/comments affirming the video.

MDNR Items:

  • Jon Allan last day 3-8-19.
  • New governor moving OGL to new agency (Dept of EGLE), executive order by governor issued regarding environmental panels being modified with the new agency proposed.
  • Lesil Clark new director of DEGLE, OGL is abolished. James Clift is the Great Lakes Advisor to Lesil Clark.
  • PAC Support grant opportunities are still available – can add additional tasks & funding, must be done before June 30, 2019, 1 amendment opportunity remaining.
  • State EPA grant for MDNR/OGL is USEPA, covers wages, monitoring, PAC Grants.
  • No new PAC grants to be issued until new State EPA grant issued.
  • EPA Task Force Lead (TFL) -Megan Kern replacing interim John Perricone (retired) & Scott Cieniawski. Will like be invited to attend a COTE mtg when Mike Alexander (MDEQ) comes down to present year 2 monitoring results from the NAPL testing.
  • NOAA grant submitted with OGL/MDNR support for Friends of the Detroit River / River Raisin AOC regional partnership project grant submittal.

Members Time:

Beaudry – None.

Owens-Bypass channel at Veteran’s is clogged with debris, needs to be cleaned out, possibly dug deeper, however concern with flow velocity of the channel may be compromised, cleaning it is suggested.

Micka-Don’t tilt at a windmill~ Don Quixote reference.  River Raisin Institute seems to be more hypothetical than COTE, COTE is grounded and operates to obtain results, hence know what you can change and are capable of.  Goals must be attainable.

Felder-for PI Day brought in pie for the COTE, discussed MSU pre-proposal for Raisin watershed study.

Egen-none.

LaRoy – none.

Stefanski – none, see you all at the next meeting in Monroe.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:41 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Felder to officially end the meeting, Stefanski abstained.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES January 17, 2019 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: May 3rd, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Isaac Owens

Richard Micka

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Dan Stefanski, Bonnie Finzel-Doster

Guests:            Melanie Foose, MDNR (OGL), Butch Uhl-Citizen, Megan Kane-Citizen, Mayor Robert Clark

Approval of Agenda with an Agenda Amendment – Add 3.1 Public Comments, Motion by Owens, Seconded by Kane, motion passed.

Public Comments – Mayor Robert Clark attended the meeting to discuss Citizen Planning Commission member changes from 9 to 7, 1 member from each precinct and 1 member (if interested) from another commission.  Anyone interested can contact the Mayor by Feb 1, 2019.  Discussed recognition dinner planned for boards & commissions coming up during Michigan Week in May 2019 to say thanks.

Approval of minutes from November 8, 2018 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Micka, motion passed.

2019 MDEQ Volunteer River, Stream, & Creek Cleanup Program Grant:  Discussed potential grant opportunity for COTE to submit a proposal to the Great Lakes Commission for a 2019 river cleanup event.  The proposed scope and area was discussed, partners, some elements of the cleanup timeframe as well.  Motion made to apply, pursue, and or submit a grant proposal for a 2019 cleanup event was made by Owens, Seconded by Kane, motion passed.

2018 PAC Support Grant: A revised FSR was received, executed, and approved to amend the grant budget allocations.  The quarterly report was submitted in January 2019 along with all invoices.  COTE likely will request a grant extension and small budget amendment.  Will obtain City Admin input for extension.  Discussed all grant tasks:

  • Portable Banners-discussed mock ups of 2 banners along with proposed ideas & suggested text for one of them. Banners will be used as a base for the media outreach series.  Past developed outreach materials were provided to members for reference.  Email ideas for the banners to Commissioner Egen by Feb 1, 2019 so as to finalize the banners before purchasing.
  • Media Outreach-Will use portable banners for media outreach base. Series ideas  outreach task discussed, will 2 full pages, 2 subject themes per page, promote cleanup event if obtain grant, and will also include other ideas: projects completed, activities, water trails, story map, legacy website, recreation, fishing, biking, MS4 stormwater, etc.  Will work on outreach after banners done.
  • Website-ongoing maintenance & updating.
  • Documentary Short Style PSA-Interviews & filming done, preliminary editing ongoing & will be complete on schedule. Showed pictures of interviees.

MDNR Items: State of the Great Lakes Report, Water Strategy Report discussed.  Some River Raisin pictures used.  New directors in the state (OGL, MDEQ, etc).  A new dept will likely be established – Great Lakes & Fresh Water.

Members Time:

Beaudry – None.

Kane-None.

Owens-None.

Micka-Diner at International Wildlife Refuge, April 6, 2019.  New director Susan White.

Felder-Proposed noxious weeds ordinance changes, will obtain City staff input before pursuing a recommendation to the City for suggested ordinance language changes.

Egen-Next PAC Grant-be thinking of ideas, suggest certification program (stickers), etc.

LaRoy – Water Trails recognized by the state, publicized in media outlets.

Citizen Comments: Megan Kane suggested using other forms of social media – Twitter, etc.

Adjournment: 8:41 pm a motion made by Owens, Seconded by Beaudry to officially end the meeting.