May 23, 2013 Meeting Notes
WATER USE ADVISORY COUNCIL
May 23, 2013 | 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Charles Park Library Staff Lounge
250 W Preston St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48859
Members or Alternates Attending
Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy; Pat Staskiewicz, American Water Works Association; Paul Zugger, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC); Rich Bowman, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Dave Hamilton, (TNC); Gildo Tori, Ducks Unlimited; James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council; Frank Ettawageshik, United Tribes of Michigan; Charles Scott, Michigan Golf Course Owners; Wm. Scott Brown, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations; Andy Such, Michigan Manufacturers Association; Tom Frazier, Michigan Townships Association; Shada Biabani, Michigan Aggregates Association; Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau; Mike Wenkel, Michigan Agri-Business Association; George Carr, Michigan Ground Water Association; Bryan Burroughs, Michigan Trout Unlimited; Robert Whitesides, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council; Ben Russell, Southwest Michigan Water Resources Council; Steven Rice, Michigan Wetlands Association; Dave Lusch, Michigan State University (MSU); Brian Eggers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Howard Reeves*, U.S. Geological Survey; Alan Kehew*, Western Michigan University; Frank Ruswick*, MSU Institute of Water Research (IWR); Jon Allan*, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Office of the Great Lakes (OGL); Jamie Clover Adams*, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); Tammy Newcomb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR); Margaret Bettenhausen *, Department of Attorney General (DAG); Dina Klemans*, MDEQ Water Resources Division (WRD)
Dr. Michael Stafford, Cranbrook Institute of Science; Pat Norris, MSU
Note: Ex-officio members are denoted by an asterisk.
David Peterson, Helena Township Antrim County; Abby Eaton, MDARD; Jim Johnson, MDARD; Jill VanDyke, MDEQ WRD; Penny Holt, MDEQ WRD; Andy LeBaron, MDEQ WRD; Jim Milne, MDEQ WRD; Leah Clark, MDEQ WRD; Brant Fisher, MDEQ; Laura Young, IWR.
Brian Eggers welcomed everyone and thanked Central Michigan University (CMU) for graciously hosting the Council meeting. Kathy Wilbur, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs at CMU, helped with CMU's accommodations but unfortunately could not attend. Ted Tolcher, Assistant Vice President of CMU's Planned and Major Gifts was there to welcome everyone in her stead.
Program Related News
MDEQ Water Resources Division recently hired Leah Clark, a hydrogeologist, as an Environmental Quality Analyst. She will be helping with site specific reviews (SSRs), water use reporting and stream flow measurements.
The website for the Water Use Advisory Council is up and running. The site is accessible through www.michigan.gov/wateruse or directly at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3684_64633---,00.html. MDEQ will work on getting the website updated more frequently.
The Council of Great Lakes Governors Leadership Summit is taking place between May 31 and June 2 on Mackinac Island. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Compact Council) will be meeting on June 1 at approximately 3:15 P.M. It will be the first time the Compact state governors are sitting as the Compact Council. This meeting will be open to the public and allow for public comment. The Cumulative Impact assessment, which examines withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses and is required every five years under the Compact, will also be discussed. The assessment is being compiled for the first time since the Compact went into effect.
Dave Hamilton alerted the Council to a report he co-authored which details the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process and Tool. It was distributed via email before the meeting, and he passed out additional paper copies at the meeting.
Public Comment on Agenda Items
There was no public input at this time.
Work Group Charges
Review and Approval
The Council reviewed the draft charges for each work group. Extra copies were distributed. Specific comments from these discussions are listed below. Dina Klemans will revise the charges based on the discussions and send out the final versions via email. These will also be posted to the website.
Comments that apply to all work groups
It was noted that the draft charges were not clear about the Council reviewing work group findings and recommendations before they went to the MDEQ. It was clarified that work groups will present their findings and recommendations to the Council first for feedback, revise and finalize the recommendations, and then send them to MDEQ. Note: any recommendations that come out of the work groups that don't necessarily apply to MDEQ will be directed to the proper department (e.g., recommendations concerning water conservation GAAMPs would be sent to MDARD).
Work group charges should be viewed in the context of the entire Water Use Program. Furthermore, it was always intended that the water withdrawal process and screening tool be improved upon and periodically reviewed. This should be kept in mind as work groups move forward.
Technical Underpinnings of Withdrawal Decision Making Work Group
Overlap exists between this group and the Environmental Monitoring work group. Some of the differences between the two groups were clarified. The Technical Underpinnings work group is really about the decision-making process and reviewing data that's already being used in the current process or tool.
A question was asked about the "approved methodology" mentioned in the second background paragraph of this group's charge. It was suggested this sentence include what the methodology is and who it was approved by. As part of that discussion, it was noted that on page 11 of the November 2009 Water Resources Advisory Council final report, there's a table which outlines the decision-making authorities for varying changes to the process and/or tool.
The last sentence in the second background paragraph should read "It is also expected required that the DEQ rely on an analysis of site specific information and not on the tool's determination when making a 3
decision on a site-specific review." It was discussed if the tool was still a significant part of the SSR process. An SSR includes more data and goes above and beyond the capabilities of the screening tool.
There was discussion about specific tasks relating to wetlands under this group and the Environmental Monitoring work group. It was clarified that these specific tasks are not necessarily saying wetlands need to be modeled in the tool. However, many agreed that exploring water withdrawal impacts on wetlands would be an important conversation for these two work groups. It was pointed out that Part 327 does not specifically refer to wetlands and it may be better to address this issue at another time.
It was decided that wetlands would be left in both charges.
It was noted that many of the specific tasks for the Environmental Monitoring work group refer directly to the SSRs. However, this is not the case for the Technical Underpinnings work group. It was suggested to amend the fourth bullet under Specific Tasks to read "Recommend criteria and procedures for site specific reviews, or changes…"
Environmental Monitoring Work Group
In contrast to the Technical Underpinnings work group, the Environmental Monitoring group focuses on new data sources, monitoring strategies, etc. Since overlap exists between these two groups, it was emphasized that both need to be aware of what the other is doing and to possibly coordinate the development of their work plans.
Water Users Groups Work Group
There are three types of committees that can be formed under Part 327. It was noted that this work group should consider making recommendations on all three types.
There was concern that the program is impairing water rights of future water users (i.e., those who aren't registered in the system but may register in the future for a high capacity withdrawal). Others disagreed that the program is impairing water rights but agreed that there may be gaps in how future water users and the public are included in the process. It was explained that the last Council attempted to make the water user committees more inclusive but received opposition to expanding it beyond registered water users. The local unit of government is supposed to be the representative for non-water use registrants on water user committees. It was decided to add a specific task to this work group's charge that deals with engaging those who aren't currently registered water users.
Water Conservation and Use Efficiency Work Group
Concern was expressed over the third bullet under Specific Tasks for this work group, which includes a task to "propose updates to the water conservation practices (generic, sector specific industry standards…)." It was noted that the agricultural sector already has GAAMPs (Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices) in place that address water conservation practices. The work group should review these before making any proposed updates to this sector's water conservation practices.
Members were assigned to their first choice for work groups. Each charge contains a list of members. It was noted that Frank Ettawageshik was accidentally left off of the Water Conservation work group but is a member of that group. It was asked if any other members were left off or if someone thought they were incorrectly assigned. No other members indicated there was an issue with their assignment. One MDEQ WRD staff person will participate on each of the work groups as an ex-officio member. They are there for technical expertise and program background only. 4
Each work group is expected to self-organize. Work groups are responsible for their own note-taking, meeting scheduling and other logistical or administrative matters. Each work group will have co-chairs. Co-chairs are responsible for notifying Dina Klemans of the time, date, and location of any work group meetings that are scheduled. Work groups are expected to utilize their own resources with regards to teleconferencing, meeting spaces, etc. Several members have volunteered space for work group meetings: Michigan Environmental Council, Metroparks, MDEQ, IWR, Farm Bureau, etc. If a work group is having trouble finding a meeting location, they should contact the leadership committee.
Work group meetings are not covered by the Open Meetings Act but should be open to the public and promote a transparent process. However, work group members should ensure that non-members attending meetings are not throwing the work group off course.
Funds provided by the Joyce Foundation are available to bring in a professional facilitator to select work group meetings. Work groups are asked to let Dina Klemans know of any other special needs their work group may have.
At the next Council meeting in June, work groups are expected to report back on the progress they've made with their work plans. Work plans are officially due two weeks after the June meeting. The work plans should identify tasks and their specific sequencing. Work groups were reminded that MDEQ would like findings and recommendations reports as they come in instead of one large report at the end.
Work Group Breakouts:
There was a breakout session for work groups to accomplish the following: select co-chairs, set first meeting date(s) and locations, review charge and identify any questions they may have, look for any overlap between charges, and review previous Council findings and recommendations. At the end of the session, work groups reported back to the Council. These comments are highlighted below.
Co-Chairs: Dave Hamilton and George Carr
June 3, 1:00 PM at Michigan Environmental Council
June 17, 10:00 AM at Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Co-Chairs: Bryan Burroughs and Laura Campbell
June 6, 1:00-3:00 PM at Michigan Farm Bureau Lansing Office
Email Bryan Burroughs to get on mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Water Users Group
Co-Chairs: Andy Such and Pat Norris
June 6, 10:00-12:00 PM
June 19, 1:00-3:00 PM
Meetings will take place at Michigan Manufacturers Association unless otherwise noted.
Email Andy Such to get on their mailing list (email@example.com).
Co-Chairs: Frank Ruswick and Robert Whitesides
June 10, 1:00-3:00 PM at Constitution Hall, Great Lakes Conference Room
July 16, 1:00-3:00 PM at MUCC
Water Depletion and Availability Tracking - Andy LeBaron, MDEQ Water Resources Division
Andy LeBaron presented on how the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool (WWAT) tracks water depletions and availability. Each watershed has a transaction table that keeps track of available water. Sometimes, SSRs can increase the amount of available water in the system. He discussed that a new change is being implemented in the WWAT because it was determined that some wells registered in the bedrock were actually drilled in the glacial aquifer. The WWAT will now calculate depletions for bedrock wells. A well in the bedrock may still be considered Zone A after either an SSR or a verification of a registration (i.e., well log). It was asked how accurate the tool is and what the accumulated error is for the tool. During the discussion, it was noted that the tool functions properly as a screening tool. It can't give a final "no" but it can give a final "yes" to a registrant.
On the WWAT website, there's a user feedback section that hasn't been updated since January 2009. It was suggested that the MDEQ review the comments and provide updates on whether the comments have been addressed.
Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items
There was no public comment at this time.
Council meetings dates have been set for the rest of the year. They are listed below. Andy Such offered to host the June meeting. Other locations are TBD.
June 26, 1:00 - 4:00 PM | Michigan Manufacturers Association, Lansing, MI
August 22, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
October 14, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
December 9, 1:00 - 4:00 PM