Meeting Minutes

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES July 9, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: August 27th, 2020

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm

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

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Andrew Felder, Ed Kane, Butch Uhl

Guests:            Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

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

Approval of minutes from June 11, 2020 meeting – Motion by Micka, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Egen discussed Documentary efforts, being stuck onsite, contacting local Potawatomi tribe to obtain a representative, working with Motion Possible. COTE discussed mocked up window stickers/clings and lanyard/waterproof phone pouch logos.  Group selected the mockup logo with a sturgeon such that a Motion was made by Micka to utilize and move to using this logo as the River Raisin Legacy logo going forward and phase out the older one, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed.  Went over proposed fish mounts, a result of the onsite meeting with the contractor, commissioner Kane and LaRoy.  Discussion was held on the potential issues with them that may result regarding damage, vandalism, various uses.  Discussion was also held with an overview of the remaining tasks.

SPAC Meeting – July 23, 2020: COTE discussed the meeting, an invite will be forthcoming, all members can attend, doodle poll issued for topic input by each AOC SPAC representative.

Future Topics: Commissioner Micka discussed the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) work in Port, Port budget, and observation of no funding for fish & wildlife, not in sync with COTE efforts.  Commissioner Stefanski and EGLE guest discussed that ACE has and is excellent to work with and that the COTE is an advisory to City Council, not a regulator of the Port, and it is not possible to transition AOC responsibilities from EGLE to ACE, further discussion occurred on partnerships-past & present, concern with habitat and BUI, ISO 14001.  A goal on what COTE can do to assist the Port as a partner with regard to their overall operations & goals will be needed, a subcommittee to develop ideas will be established to bring to COTE for consideration.

EGLE Items:

  • BUI Overview-4 remaining, discussed details on a remaining BUIs, efforts and extra funding is being put into the testing and monitoring, environment needs time to heal, not additional projects at this time.
  • Sterling State Park-walks & marsh need repairs from high lake levels, application submitted for funding to repair damaged areas.
  • Hot Spot monitoring-addendum to monitoring for the ports on the CAP are to be added, Ford/Anchor QEA work plan to be provided, USEPA input & update for future monitoring.
  • Kevin Goodwin, EGLE representative for Integrated Report-if any questions ask him, purposes, specifics, any questions feel free to get with Kevin via email or phone.
  • BUI-dredging is within navigational channel, guidance based, ACE dredging, sample material for contaminates to determine where it will go (CDF or Taska)., Sampled in 2017, ACE secured funding for 2020 sampling. Expedited dredge, will occur in August/Sept.  If results clean will likely require one more sampling round before BUI removal considered.  Discussion occurred on public notices.

Members Time:

Beaudry-none.

LaRoy –none.

Stefanski–hope for cooler weather, less social distancing.

Micka-thanks to Melanie Foose.

Calder-none.

Egen-while kayaking noticed osprey flying with large fish in talons for several minutes, flowering rush efforts are paying off, significantly less invasive.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:32 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Calder to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES June, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: August 27th, 2020

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:09 pm

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

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Butch Uhl

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Guests:            Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator, Meaghan Kern, USEPA Task Force Lead

Approval of Agenda – Motion by LaRoy to amend the agenda to add item 6d “2020 Invasive Species Treatment” and amend item 5 to read “River Raisin AOC PAC Chairman Nominations and Election”, Seconded by Felder, motion passed.

Approval of minutes from May 14, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Felder, motion passed.

River Raisin AOC PAC Chairman Nominations and Election: Dan Stefanski announced he is stepping down as the PAC Chairman but desires to stay on as a COTE commissioner due to various reasons.  He has been the PAC Chairman since its inception of the PAC being formed in 1993.  He nominated Barry LaRoy as PAC Chairman, seconded by Dick Micka, motion passed.  Barry LaRoy accepted the nomination.

AOC Program Implementation Interviews: The U of M students had completed 3 interviews with COTE members (Stefanski, Micka & LaRoy) so far, one other will be scheduled soon (Egen).  The interviews are very well executed, professionally done, and allow the ability to provide input and thoughts on implementing the proposed recommendations.  The students are driven, ambitious and want to help the AOC coordinate the implementation.  Melanie Foose was also interviewed.  The COTE members each shared some specific details from their interviews.  A followup meeting on the implementation will occur in August/September 2020.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Zoom call was held with a few COTE members back in April but due to COVID 19 tasks have not been worked on much or completed due to lack of access to equipment, scheduling and vendors not being available.  Will work on task ASAP so as to get back on schedule.

Meaghan Kern, USEPA was introduced and her background as Task Force Lead was provided.

2020 River Cleanup Grant: Monroe City Council approved a resolution outlining the cancellation of all recreational programming/activities for the rest of the 2020 season on 6-8-20 such that the River Raisin Cleanup falls into that category as a City related function.  Therefore a request to the County will be made to hold the grant funds until 2021 for scheduling a cleanup event.

2020 Invasive Species Treatment: Due to grant applications/funds on hold for the Detroit River Western Lake Erie CWMA, funds for the River Raisin 2020 invasive species treatment are not available.  A smaller grant application was made to the Monroe County Environmental Fund such that the City was awarded a $3000 grant to apply a smaller treatment in the river and a new section along the Mason Run Drain adjacent to the River Raisin National Battlefield Headquarters along N Dixie Hwy.

Future Topics: Discussion occurred on past events and activities regarding the AOC, discussed promoting revamping / restarting the Monroe Public Schools program on LaPlaisance Rd.

EGLE Items:

  • Contacted by Ray Falsing about high water damage to Heritage Trail at Sterling State Park (SSP), funds approved from DNR for $600,000 for repairs to trail. Detroit AOC are redesigning their projects due to high water levels, using contingencies.
  • Last benthos study was in 2016, monitoring annually, 2019 results coming soon, no monitoring in 2020 due to COVID, Will forward results once received, Lee will be coming down in Sept about future monitoring. Monitoring is for BUI degradation of bethos.
  • Deformities to birds BUI-bald eagles, herring gulls @ DTE, tree swallows, forge fish, pre2019 results not available yet, 2020 samples not going to be obtained, tree swallow and bald eagle samples are ongoing but not in 2020. USFWS genetics study approved, working on, USGS tree swallow study funded for boxes and eggs.
  • SPAC mtg on July 23, 2020 virtual, 1 day only.
  • Discussed Dick Micka request on Port dredging, is it funded for 2020, plans being finalized, Sept start, finish by Nov, July bid, public notice TBD. Spoils testing TBD.  Past test results of turning basin shared.
  • Discussed River Raisin AOC Report Card, will be updated regularly and provided with each agenda.

Members Time:

Beaudry-none

LaRoy –none, thanks for PAC Chair nomination.

Stefanski–none, thanks for allowing him to be PAC Chairman.

Uhl-none

Felder-Thanks to Dan for PAC Chair & congrats to Barry, asked if all COTE members are PAC members, clarification was provided.

Kane-had hip replacement-recovering, thanks to Dan.

Micka-discussed U of M student interview – GLRI spending & watershed.

Calder-left meeting at 7:45pm

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:28 pm a motion made by Stefanski, Seconded by Micka to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES May 14, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: August 27th, 2020

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm

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

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Butch Uhl

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Guests:            Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator, Brittany Santure-Monroe Conservation District-MAEAP Technician, Michelle LaVoy-City Clerk-Treasurer (Zoom Web Licensee)

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

Approval of minutes from April 9, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Felder, motion passed.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: PAC Support Grant executed by all parties, a Zoom call was held with a few COTE members on 4-27-20 to discuss schedule.  Will be revising schedule of tasks to meet when we are able to go back to work due to COVID-19.  Working on quarterly task schedules.  Chairman Egen noted Eric Hathaway of Tribal Affairs will be consulted for input and support for the documentary and other likely tasks.

2020 River Cleanup Grant: City received the grant and the first ½ of the grant amount as seed money from the Monroe County Environmental Fund (Solid Waste).  Due to almost all City functions, recreation activities, and other special events being cancelled through the end of August 2020 due to COVID-19, discussion occurred on whether to cancel the 2020 cleanup and request an extension with the County.  After discussion it was determined that discussion on this topic and decision will be made at the June COTE mtg.

Future Topics: Reoccurring Items

Life After Delisting: Nothing discussed

Non-PAC Support Grant Projects: Will wait to complete some of the PAC grant tasks before pursuing non-PAC support grant projects with local businesses, etc.

EGLE Items:

  • PAC grants are not affected like DNR grants due to COVID 19, no changes anticipated.
  • U of M projects (2 total). 4 U of M students will be contacting COTE at the end of May via Zoom about RR AOC, interviews, efforts, etc as a follow-up to past work, Dr Seelbach students.  A Healing of our Waters coalition project using U of M students to study AOCs may be calling the RR AOC, not sure of the project goals.
  • EGLE layoffs, Melanie affected 1 layoff day per week, TBD either Monday or Friday.
  • Discussed Matt Doss and if GLC work with EGLE will be affected, his history, SPAC involvement.

Members Time:

LaRoy –none

Kane-farm tiles on M-50/Dixon Rd, who regulates this?

Micka-Showed picture of fish, his tree being cut down, discussed Friends of Detroit River survey and Lake Erie Circle Tour

Uhl-none

Calder-none

Stefanski–PAC Chairman nomination in June, held annually, will be on agenda

Felder-His wife Jessica is teaching online summer courses at Purdue University and requests any COTE members who can stay on after the mtg to be interviewed on environmental, political, general questions and input.

Beaudry-researching activities for COTE events to reward volunteers for their efforts, found a St Martin environmental group means and methods, will provide more info when COTE gets ready for events to consider.

Citizen Comments: Brittany Santure, Monroe Conservation District, discussed water quality, SS LaPointe project/grant, outreach, south county watershed councils, farm led efforts & producer efforts, BMPs, drainage management, NRCS/CRP cost sharing, agriculture Monroe BMPs-limited access, GLRA-MDARD advanced nutrient management, STRN grant, and adaptive management plan to meet nutrient 40% reduction load reductions.

Adjournment: 7:55 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES April 9, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: June 3rd, 2020

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm

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

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski (via phone)

Brian Egen

Ed Kane

Butch Uhl

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Excused:          Milward Beaudry

Absent:            Andrew Felder

Guests:            Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator, Paula Whitman-Councilwomen, Jake Perry-County IT

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

Approval of minutes from February 13, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Micka, motion passed. Calder abstained-not at meeting.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: PAC Support Grant received from EGLE, being reviewed by City Administration, will attempt to put on 4-20-20 City Council agenda for acceptance/execution via electronic signatures.  Briefly touched on items included.

2020 River Cleanup Grant: Briefly went over the grant proposal submitted to the Monroe County Environmental Fund (Solid Waste) for the 2020 River Cleanup.  Currently waiting to hear back on whether the proposal has been funded, likely due to COVID-19 closures.

Future Topics: Reoccurring Items

Life After Delisting: Environmental Issues, Information on monitoring, ongoing work by U of M students, River Raisin PAC establishment/evolution, GLRI funding, partnerships, outlining future AOC – lake – river – Port of Monroe goals/activities, NPDES Phase 3-invasive species, and background details discussed by Egen, Micka, Melanie Foose, Stefanski

Non-PAC Support Grant Projects: Discussed partnerships, due to COVID-19 plans have been delayed for outreach-incorporate with cleanup efforts, ongoing work, DDA efforts, include other groups via Zoom calls, hosting an event to update COTE ideas to build coalitions/partnerships

EGLE Items:

  • MDNR plans for sampling fish in 2020 (last sampling 2016 in 3 spots, great lakes fish found and successful, getting upstream of fish passage structures). Resample in 2020 focusing on smallmouth bass at Raisinville Rd bridge.  Data on past fish sampling to be provided & will be distributed to COTE.
  • Ford site upland cleanup-completed, narrative report coming out, Mannik & Smith provided sampling.
  • 4 – U of M students to be contacting COTE this summer via Zoom about AOC, efforts, etc as a follow-up to past work, Dr Seelbach students.
  • AOC conference to be in May 2021, Muskegon, MI
  • Discussed Ford monitoring in depth, COTE to provide comments to EGLE ASAP based on studies completed, report to be sent to COTE.

Members Time:

Calder-welcome to COTE, 1st meeting

Micka-Discussed topics of Western Lake Erie Adaptive Management Plan, Recreational Water Guidelines & limits for microcystin and cylinderspermopsin, and reef balls

Kane-Played song by his friend (Paul Gerweck) that includes the Riverwalk

Uhl-Asked EGLE questions about fish sampling (2013, 2016, and proposed 2020)

LaRoy –stay safe by staying home

Stefanski–stay safe by staying home

Citizen Comments: Councilwomen Whitman commented that this was her first meeting and has a lot to learn.

Adjournment: 8:53 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski to officially end the meeting.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES February 13, 2020 7:00 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room

published: June 3rd, 2020

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.
Richard Micka
Dan Stefanski (via phone)
Milward Beaudry
Brian Egen
Andrew Felder
Ed Kane
Butch Uhl
Barry LaRoy
Absent: Catharine Calder
Guests: Melanie Foose, EGLE AOC Coordinator
Approval of Agenda – Motion by Beaudry, Seconded by Felder, motion passed. Stefanski abstained.
Approval of minutes from January 9, 2020 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Kane, motion passed. Stefanski abstained.
2019-2020 PAC Support Grant: Prices for several tasks were developed and discussed for the PAC Support Grant with EGLE input, the tasks fit within the PAC grant budget limits. Items discussed and that are being considered include:
• Interpretative Sign Maintenance-Redesign & replace panels all 7 signs, City staff to redesign, DPS remove & replace the signs
• Longer Format (Approx 30 Minutes) RR Expanded Documentary Film-3 phases (beginning, middle, end), suggest ½ hr with grant on 1st film, history & community, last ½ hour (future grant) on where we are and future outlook, consultant to complete with COTE.
• River Raisin Posters-describe current AOC monitoring, identify goals, work done/projects, talk to peers, suggest having one geared toward peers & one for public, City staff and print costs.
• Homeowner’s Guide & Field Guide-mesh the two documents into a new document with updates, revisions, new info, City staff to redesign time & print costs.
• Sticker Program/Static Clings-Stickers, outdoor clings & decals considered with RR and facts, City staff and print costs.
• Waterproof lanyards/phone/wallet bags-examples shown, put RR Legacy logo & fun facts on them, City staff and purchase costs, smartphone size emphasized.
• Maintain RR Legacy website-ongoing maintenance cost for site, consultant cost.
• Riverwalk Fishing Post Mounts-on posts at existing benches for fishing-to be evaluated
with City Administration in relation to Riverwalk Masterplan Concept Plan.
• Kayak Crawl / Race / Fun Day-Possible task-Fun day, outreach, kayak race Veteran’s to
FP1, food, joint grant funding MCEF & PAC Grant, promote water trail, advertising,
giveaways, have COTE educate racers before going to next segment, scavenger hunt, have
COTE punch their ticket, plaques/trophies, partner with Battlefield (30), helments &
lifejackets required; Butch & Milward Research, must have qualified watercraft / Possible
Ducky Dash at the end, Andrew to contact Chip DTBN.
Discussion occurred on these tasks and funding for including with PAC grant, corporate partners,
& other grant options (MCEF). The PAC grant max awarded is $75,000 through February 28,
2022, max per year is $35,000, $5000 is the minimum award. A PAC support letter with COTE
motion / approval is required such that a Motion by Micka for the PAC to issue a support letter
and developing a proposal once all items are finalized, Seconded by Kane, motion passed.
Stefanski abstained.
Future Topics:
Life After Delisting-Discussion on partnering, forge with existing grant opportunities, establish
now for outreach and stewardship, build infrastructure, put mechanisms in place, other sources
of funding, keep up with long term contacts to stay current on AOC/EGLE related items including
sampling. Keep conduit in place, will need to determine most important items to stay
current/focused on, importance on what to maintain after delisting. Consider a dashboard with
BUIs status or scorecard, partner with RRWC and RRI more.
Non-PAC Support Projects-discussed 2020 River Cleanup, no funding from GLC, alternative
funding via MCEF, discussed details of grant, Motion by Felder, Seconded by Kane to move
forward with developing a grant to submit to MCEF for 2020 River Cleanup, potentially linking
grant work with PAC grant task for fun day depending on what is determined.
EGLE Items:
• Bird / Animal Deformity Report, updated: discussed bald eagle reproduction, healthy
population, production good, but high level of PCB in blood. Handout provided. Genetic
study being proposed, on babies to determine are they dying too early, are clean inland
birds coming in & having dirty babies or are eagles becoming PCB resistant? Trying to get
funding, working with John Riley, EPA is interested. Successful breeding typically doesn’t
equal high PCB in blood which doesn’t equal high productivity levels. Annual AOC testing
/ assessing to be maintained.
• Fact Sheet Example handout provided-St Clair general info, discussed
• Mink trapper @ Ford Warehouse along the river being sought, must have Ford access,
discussed several alternative ways to accomplish, TBD. RR AOC has eagles, tree swallows,
mink & forage fish as species to track on recovery. Detroit River AOC has only forage fish
& eagles. Consideration of Tom Peters (MSG-Ford) & Jason Morgan (DNR-SSP) for
contacts to complete work. Deformities BUI, will study & compare forage fish 2016 &
2020, consumption 2013 & 2020. Fish consumption comparison, RR AOC 2013
consumption study 7.54, Huron River 0.84, will check in 2020.
• Fact Sheet for Dick Micka, can use for posters and website, discussed CAP sampling;
Review/comments on draft sheet send to Melanie Foose, can brand fact sheet & use for
COTE.
• SSP-High water levels, erosion problem, Hunt Club dike failing, DNR/EPA funding being
sought for stabilizing, make GLRI projects sustainable.
• SPAC Mtg-no date officially set, tentative March 24-26.
Members Time:
Uhl-none
Felder-none
Micka-Need to monitor fish passage @ Veteran’s Park for fish going upstream, Melanie explained
fish studies by DNR revealed great lake species are making it upstream, will contact Sarah Thomas
of DNR about a new study/info.
Milward-will COTE be part of Earth Day 2020, 50th anniversary @ MCCC, contact Dan Rock,
forwarded email on event, sent to all COTE members for consideration.
LaRoy –Mentioned eagle scout interview related to COTE work, Monroe County Collaborative for
invasive species consideration.
Egen-Stefanski & Micka were celebrities at the Thunderbay International Film Festival, Alpena,
MI on 1-25-2020, best edited / narrative
Stefanski–talk to you next month
Citizen Comments: None
Adjournment: 9:32 pm a motion made by Felder, Seconded by Kane to officially end the meeting.
Stefanski abstained.