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

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.