April 4, 2013 Meeting Notes

1:00– 4:00 pm
Farm Bureau Board Room
7373 W. Saginaw Highway

Members or Alternates Attending:
Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy; Brian Steglitz, American Water Works Association (AWWA); Paul Zugger, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC); Rich Bowman, The Nature Conservancy; Becky Humphries, 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; Wayne Wood, Michigan Farm Bureau; Jim Byrum, Michigan Agri-Business Association; George Carr, Michigan Ground Water Association; Bryan Burroughs, Michigan Trout Unlimited; Robert Whitesides, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council; Jon White, Southwest Michigan Water Resources Council (SWMWRC); Pat Norris, Michigan State University (MSU); Dave Lusch, MSU; Brian Eggers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Howard Reeves*, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Alan Kehew*, Western Michigan University; Jon Bartholic*, MSU Institute of Water Research (IWR); Jon Allan*, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Office of the Great Lakes (OGL); Jim Johnson*, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); Tammy Newcomb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR); Margaret Bettenhausen*, Department of Attorney General (DAG); Dan Wyant*, DEQ; Dina Klemans*, DEQ Water Resources Division (WRD)

Members Absent:
Pat Staskiewicz, AWWA; Erin McDonough, MUCC; Michael Newman, Michigan Aggregates Association; Dr. Michael Stafford, Cranbrook Institute of Science; Steven Rice, Michigan Wetlands Association; Ben Russell, SWMWRC; Jamie Clover Adams*, MDRARD; Peter Manning*, DAG.

Note: Ex-officio members are denoted by an asterisk.

Others Attending:
Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau; Jim Miller, Governmental Consultant Services, Inc.; Larry Walton, SWMWRC; Frank Ruswick, IWR; Mike Wenkel, Michigan Potato Industry Commission; Abby Eaton, MDARD; Jill Van Dyke, DEQ WRD; Meghan Reeves, USGS; Andy LeBaron, DEQ WRD; Laura Young, IWR.

Wayne Wood, President of Michigan Farm Bureau, hosted the Council at the Michigan Farm Bureau Headquarters. He called the meeting to order and introduced DEQ Director Dan Wyant. Director Wyant thanked Council members for their willingness to participate in the review of Michigan's Water Use Program. He encouraged members to take Council work to the next level.  Director Wyant noted that the Council is a fundamental basis for the Water Strategy, and that the work accomplished by the Council will help position Michigan to be successful in the areas of environmental stewardship and economic development.

Program Related News:
The DEQ received a grant from the Joyce Foundation to help with Council functions. The DEQ signed an MOU with the Michigan State University Institute of Water Research (IWR) to carry out the grant and support the Council. Laura Young from IWR will assist the Council with administrative support. Council members should expect future correspondences to come through Laura’s email (youngla9@msu.edu). The DEQ WRD is also nearly done with hiring a new staff person.

The DEQ is developing a website to post Council updates and related materials. Council members will be notified when the website is up and running.

Lastly, it was noted that this will be a reoccurring agenda item to share program related news. For instance, some Council members at the February meeting expressed an interest in learning about Great Lakes Compact issues and what other states are doing, and this could serve as a potential update under this agenda item.

Public Comment on Agenda Items:
The public comment policy that was established at the February Council meeting was reviewed. Individuals (or a representative of a group) are allotted three minutes at the beginning of the meetings on agenda items, and five minutes at the end on non-agenda items. There was no public input at this time.

Council charge, scope of work and priorities:
Prioritization results
Council members were asked to review the proposed Council charge and SOW distributed on February 26 and prioritize the ten Council priorities by importance and urgency. Thirteen members and three ex- officio members provided feedback to the DEQ. An updated charge and list of seven priorities was passed out (see page 5 for the list).

DEQ staff examined the responses from the thirteen members and created an initial prioritization list. The Quality of Life (QOL) agencies also provided some input to this initial list. This list was then reviewed by the Executive Committee, who narrowed the list down to seven priorities. The Executive Committee felt that some priorities on the Feb. 26th list were not entirely separate issues and would be addressed by the other priorities. This was the case for the "policies, procedures and legislation" priority, which was removed from the new list.

Proposed work plan and subcommittees
The Executive Committee wanted the Council to form subcommittees based on the updated list of seven
priorities. The Council was asked to provide feedback on this list.

Bryan Burroughs, Trout Unlimited, suggested assembling a subcommittee to look at developing a wetlands/inland lakes component of the screening tool. He also commented that from a policy standpoint, fracking is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed. He noted that the University of Michigan Graham Institute is studying impacts of fracking and potential policy options for fracking in Michigan. Learn more about the study at http://graham.umich.edu/knowledge/ia/hydraulic-fracturing. He is concerned that if this issue is not considered now, the Council work will be out-of-sync. Dave Lusch, MSU, explained that Bryan’s concerns are still encompassed by the seven priorities.  For instance, looking at wetlands/inland lakes would fall under priority #1 "technical underpinnings of the tool."

One Council member asked about Director Wyant’s comments regarding the Water Strategy and expressed an interest in the DEQ providing guidance to the Council on its major priorities for the Program. As part of this discussion, Jon Allan, DEQ OGL, said that there are opportunities to bring in aspects of the Water Strategy to the Council’s attention. However, given the timeframe and purpose of both, they can’t be fully combined. Each should influence the other’s thinking to an extent, but the focus of the Council should be on the Water Use Program, not the Water Strategy.

It was discussed if priority #6 (water conservation and efficiency goals) should have its own subcommittee. During the discussion, it was noted that Michigan received a "D" grade for its water conservation and efficiency programs in an NGO report. View the report at http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/uploadedFiles/News/NewsArticles/NewsArticleResources/AWE-State-Scorecard-Report-Final-September-2012.pdf.Some members thought this priority should be dealt with as a full Council, while others thought it deserved its own work group. It was decided to have a separate subcommittee for this priority.

The detailed descriptions of priorities from February 26 were reviewed for priorities #1, 2, and 3 from the updated list (technical underpinnings, environmental monitoring, water user conflicts).

George Carr, Michigan Ground Water Association, asked how priority #3 differs from the Moolenaar legislation which recently became law. It was stated that the Moolenaar legislation deals with small well to high capacity well conflict but doesn’t fully address all the potential conflict pieces. View the legislation at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/publicact/htm/2012-PA-0602.htm. User groups, new users in fully subscribed watersheds, and groundwater quality were all examples brought forth as potential conflict issues.

Pat Norris, MSU, suggested tweaking the language of priority #3 to focus on collaboration instead of conflict. Consensus was not reached to change the language.

It was decided to create subcommittees on priorities #1, 2, 3, and 6. The Executive Committee will draft an initial outline of the subcommittee charges. Further scoping will occur to flesh out the goals, objectives and deadlines for each subcommittee. This will define what the subcommittees are working on and will be circulated via email for Council review and input before the next meeting. Members will then be asked which subcommittees they would be most interested in serving on via email. They will provide their two top preferences and the Executive Committee will form the subcommittees. At the next meeting, there will be a Council discussion and ratification of the charges and appointments.

Pat Norris suggested there was a feedback relationship on priorities #1 and 2, and that #3 is dependent upon the first two. She cautioned that the Council shouldn’t assume that work can be done simultaneously on all of the priorities. Others agreed that the priorities may feed into one another.

There was discussion regarding Great Lakes Compact states and their water use programs. Some Council members felt strongly about Michigan’s role as a leader in this arena. Others mentioned that other states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota have strong water use programs of their own and may not be looking to Michigan for answers. You can find more information on water use programs in the Great Lakes at http://www.glslcompactcouncil.org/Resolutions.aspx#ProgramReports. Jon Allan agreed to ask the Council of Great Lakes Governors staff to develop information on other states’ programs. It was asked where Ontario is on this issue. No proposals are on their table for diversions. Ontario has done the groundwork on their water use program and it’s more restrictive than Michigan’s. Their permitting structure also has significantly lower thresholds than Michigan’s.

There was discussion on the legality of the Program. George Carr agreed to write a detailed summary of his concerns for the Council to review.

Water Withdrawal Decision Making Process:
It was stated that the entire decision-making process of the Water Use Program involves both the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool (WWAT) and the Site Specific Reviews (SSRs).

Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool – Howard Reeves, USGS
Howard Reeves gave a presentation on the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool, which summarized the tool’s history and development, components, interface, underlying models and assumptions. A question was asked about where the watershed and stream data came from in the WWAT. These layers were derived from the USGS National Hydrologic Dataset (NHD) Plus. A follow-up question asked what happens when a stream identified in the tool doesn’t actually exist in the field. He said that discrepancies like this do exist, but are addressed as DEQ is notified about them. Howard added that the WWAT is a screening tool and is not the final say if the withdrawal is flagged for an SSR.

Site Specific Review Process– Jill Van Dyke, DEQ
Jill Van Dyke, Senior Geologist at DEQ WRD, went over the SSR process. There have been 8 total denials. Several SSRs are underway at the DEQ, and Jill commented that it’s becoming harder to get the withdrawals to pass. She’s also noticing that more withdrawals are being flagged by the screening tool for an SSR.

Other Business:
Brian Eggers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, asked if there was other business. Jon Allan said that he’d like to keep these meetings as open as possible, and encourage members to seek input from the stakeholder group they represent. He added that non-members can be added the mailing list.

Public Comment on non-agenda items:
There was no public comment at this time.

Next meetings:
Wayne Wood told Council members that the next meeting will be held on May 23 from 1-4 p.m. in Mount Pleasant. The exact location is yet to be determined.

Wayne Wood adjourned the meeting.

Watch for emails regarding subcommittee charges and provide input to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will then update the charges and ask members to indicate their top two subcommittee preferences via email. Lastly, members are encouraged to seek input from their constituents and let interested parties know there’s a mailing list they can be added to.

Council Priorities– April 4, 2013

The Water Use Advisory Council is established by Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Dan Wyant to provide stakeholder insight and advice to the Quality of Life (QOL) agencies (DEQ, Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) on Michigan’s water use program, which includes the following major elements: Great Lakes Compact; water withdrawal; and water use conflict. Advice from the Council is requested in the following broad areas, which are presented in rough priority order based on feedback from council members and QOL agencies.

1.  Technical underpinnings of the process, tools, data, assumptions and decision end- points used to determine whether proposed water withdrawals can be authorized

2.  Environmental monitoring to identify and help reconcile potential discrepancies between the program’s decision making and data management protocols and the real world impacts of withdrawals

3.  Methods and tools to assist water users in resolving and preventing conflicts

4.  Technical and compliance assistance

5. "New" categories of water use, including fracking and lake augmentation wells

6.  Water conservation and efficiency goals, objectives and voluntary measures

7.  Outcomes and metrics for determining the program success