October 21, 2014 Meeting Notes


October 21, 2014 | 1:00 – 4:00 P.M. Michigan Manufacturers Association
620 S. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933

Members or Alternates Attending

Pat Staskiewicz, American Water Works Association (AWWA); Matt Evans, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC); Dave Hamilton, The Nature Conservancy; 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; Wayne Wood, 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 (SWMWRC); Pat Norris, Michigan State University (MSU); Dave Lusch, MSU; Brian Eggers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Howard Reeves*, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Jon Bartholic*, MSU Institute of Water Research (IWR); Jim Johnson*, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); Abby Eaton*, MDARD; Margaret Bettenhausen *, Department of Attorney General (DAG); Dina Klemans*, DEQ Water Resources Division (WRD)

Members Absent:

Michael Stafford, Cranbrook Institute of Science; Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy; Michael Newman, Michigan Aggregates Association; Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau; Jim Byrum, Michigan Agri- Business Association; Steven Rice, Michigan Wetlands Association; John Yellich*, Michigan Geological Survey; Jon Allan*, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Office of the Great Lakes (OGL); Tammy Newcomb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Note: Ex-officio members are denoted by an asterisk.

Others Attending

Jim Milne, MDEQ WRD; Andy LeBaron, MDEQ WRD; Shayna Petit, MSU IWR; Aaron Rice, PWUG; Val Vail- Shirey, Julian Vail PWUG; Rich Baum, Parjana Green; Sandra Carolan, Parjana Green; Jeremiah Asher, MSU IWR; Erin McDonough, Michigan Oil and Gas Association; Tim Boring, Michigan Agri-Business Association

Program Related News

There was no program related news.

Public Comment on Agenda Items

There was no public input at this time.

Review of updated WWAT interface – DEQ

Andy LeBaron gave a live demo of the new WWAT interface online. There is a new version of the WWAT tool, which previously lived at Michigan State University where it was developed and housed. Jeremiah Asher of the Institute of Water Research at MSU was the go-to person for fixing and maintaining the program. Now the application is housed at the State, which has several benefits.

The picture at the opening screen was replaced by the State of Michigan site layout. The technology itself was updated to be more user-friendly and address issues brought to attention by public feedback. The new version has made it easier to move forward with a new withdrawal and the way for users to notify DEQ of an old withdrawal they need to replace. In the map interface, there are updated map layers that come up automatically and make it easier to navigate sites. The aerial photos were updated and are more accurate, so users can see as close as possible to their site location. Users can search by address still but they have to register by picking a point off of the map. When users click on a point of the map, they will see details about the watershed. One area that has been greatly improved is the ability for users to see original zone lines for legally available water, and current zone lines. If zone values require an SSR, the system triggers the process as usual. If the values pass, the user can register the withdrawal right then.

Educational material is not currently up on the WWAT home page, but is in the “About the Tool” section found in the WWAT map interface right-hand navigation. The application currently still directs to the MSU website for the educational materials, which will change eventually, but the educational material will not be lost from the MSU site. Bryan Burroughs pointed out that the information from MSU would need to be captured before the MSU interface is shut down.

The application shows users how pump scheduling and capacity would affect how many gallons of water they would be registering to use in a year. After verifying the information for a withdrawal the user has chosen to register, the site automatically generates a receipt.

Confirm Tier I recommendation language

Laura Young did her best in capturing friendly amendments to Tier I recommendations from the last Council meeting in Midland. A matrix was sent with the changes for review—let Laura know if there are any language edits or tweaks in wording to the recommendations. Jim Milne emailed Laura to notify her of edits to the language in the Inland Lake ARI, IL 2.1. George Carr said the Technical Underpinnings workgroup would meet to review Tier I changes and may have additional comments to send to Laura after that meeting. Dave Lusch sent final language for the recommendations to Laura, and confirmed that Technical Underpinnings recommendations on the matrix are correct. Pat Staskiewicz will follow up with Laura about a copy and paste error in WC 2.2A of WC 2.2. Patricia Norris sent a couple edits to Laura. Bryan Burroughs met with Dave Hamilton to make working edits for the report’s language and sent them to Laura.

Clarify expectations for Tier II and Final Report

The function of the Tier II recommendations was explained as providing information about the previously agreed upon Tier I recommendations. The Technical Underpinnings group previously requested clarification from the Leadership Committee on Tier II recommendations, which spurred a document of more precise guidelines that was distributed to the work groups. Laura Young sent out a Tier II recommendation template for groups to follow in order to avoid confusion. The point of Tier II is to get more information that will help the Department and WUAC talk about the recommendations and resources needed to implement them. It was added that each group should state if their recommendations closely align with those from other work groups, and if their recommendations require a specific sequencing. Groups only need to list their sequencing once; the goal is brevity so that the final report is not too long. Several Council members expressed concern over the inability to cover some issues due to limited time.

Laura Young has been working on the draft of the final report and plans to get a copy to the full Council before the meeting on November 18th. The primary focus of that meeting is to discuss the final report content to make sure it is conveyed properly. After that meeting, the final report will be given to Dan Wyant at the December 16th meeting. When the report is submitted management will work to figure out funding opportunities for the recommendations. If there is a continuation of the Council, the group will talk further about resources.

Work Group Tier II Discussions

Environmental Monitoring

The group has made a plan for Tier II discussion, and divided the work on stream flow and groundwater recommendations. For stream flow, there are two recommendations that are tricky and require capital investment. The group will discuss acquisition of stream flow data in high use areas, and will approach how much can and should be invested on this. Bryan Burroughs stated that the recommendation with the biggest investment is the creation of a state database on groundwater and glacial drift. He said this would take years and a significant investment of money. The group will finish their Tier II recommendations by the meeting on November 3rd.

Water Users

The group found that as far as resources are concerned, time is very important to consider but can be very hard to estimate. Patricia Norris stated that there is an inherent order with the group’s Tier I recommendations, and connected them to Technical Underpinnings Tier I recommendations 1-3.

For the first set of Tier I recommendations, the principal resource would be staff time for the water user groups. There would need to be a protocol for how to deal with this, and the decision would need to be made at the time of the very first water user group formation. Otherwise, there is a risk of dealing with the water user groups inconsistently. The amount of staff time needed would increase when situations of potential ARI increase. There would be staff time invested in monitoring the people in the system to make sure they continued to comply with the rules as written for water withdrawals. This could end up taking more staff time if the number of non-compliant water users increased. It is important to address this as soon as non-compliant water users are identified. There would also need to be a person distinguished to manage materials online in the system. This set needs to be addressed first before other Water User recommendations. The cost of creating and sending a brochure alerting water users in the area of a zone C or SSR approval was also discussed based on whether it would be done internally or through a contractor.

For the second set of Tier I recommendations, facilitation and technical assistance are the main concern for resources. In order to have information in the database already, there may be need for staff time and a common database. The group feels facilitation may cost $500 an hour or more. There is also the possibility of billing for the project as a whole. They suggested that there could be a fund created for facilitation and support. Another option the group brought forth was to have volunteers available for facilitation, but there is history of this not succeeding in other organizations due to decreased volunteer interest. Cost for a guest to do technical support would be around $2000 a year.

Technical Underpinnings

The Technical Underpinnings work group had a draft of their Tier II recommendations, specifically related to streams and the way of automating conversion. They discussed that some of their recommendations were similar.

The group also brought up several areas that they did not get to discuss in enough detail, and recommended these be carried over to a future Council if there is one appointed. Bryan Burroughs stated that the Environmental Monitoring work group also had items they did not get to discuss in detail, and would be appropriate for a potential future Council. Brian Eggers shared that he felt it would be of great value to capture the information shared in the current Council work groups. Several members suggested the groups include these topics in the report in a concise way to advise a future Council if appointed.

TU 2.1 would need the resources of state technological management, including updates of tools. This could take a year or more to implement, with coding technicalities. In TU 2.2, the group feels the DEQ does not currently have the extent of staff needed as a resource. Anything statewide would need additional research, but the Department could look at home and adjacent watersheds on a case-by-case basis. The revised well drillers form would also need to be distributed. For TU 2.3, the State would need to host additional GIS layers related to bedrock aquifer characteristics. George Carr expressed concerns about the recommendations needing peer review.

In TU 3.1, resources would be needed for the identification process. The Department does have appropriate staff for this, or could bring on extra staff. For TU 3.2, there would be need to collaboration with groups such as the Michigan Groundwater Association, the Michigan Department of Community Health, MSU, MDARD, etc. The collaboration would be done as a process of improvement and re- design, which is most successful when stakeholders are involved. This could be implemented without hiring additional DEQ or MDARD staff, but it would be necessary to evaluate how much educational outreach is possible with the current employees.

Water Conservation

The Water Conservation work group talked today about the sequencing of their Tier I recommendations,
and distributed responsibilities to finish their Tier II recommendations. They thanked the Leadership Committee for the formatting guidelines. They are also looking at other groups’ recommendations to see if any closely align with theirs.

Inland Lakes ARI

The Inland Lakes work group does not have anything currently to report on Tier II recommendations, but will have them done for the November 3rd meeting. They mentioned a presentation that Laura Young and Jeremiah Asher gave to the group on CrowdHydrology.

Other Business

There was no other business to cover.

Public comment on non-agenda items

There was no public comment at this time.

Next meetings

November 3rd: 9:00am – 4:00pm
November 18th: 1:00 – 4:00pm
December 16th: 1:00 – 4:00pm