The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES May 9, 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.

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.