November 3, 2014 Meeting Notes


November 3, 2014 | 1:00 – 4:00 P.M. Michigan Chamber of Commerce
600 S. Walnut St. Lansing, MI 48933

Members or Alternates Attending

Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy; Pat Staskiewicz, American Water Works Association (AWWA); Matt Evans, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC); Dave Hamilton, The Nature Conservancy; James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council; Wm. Scott Brown, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations; Tom Frazier, Michigan Townships Association; Shada Biabani, Michigan Aggregates Association; Wayne Wood, Michigan Farm Bureau; Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau; George Carr, Michigan Ground Water Association; Bryan Burroughs, Michigan Trout Unlimited; Robert Whitesides, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council; Dave Lusch, MSU; Brian Eggers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Howard Reeves*, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Frank Ruswick*, MSU Institute of Water Research (IWR); Jon Allan*, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Office of the Great Lakes (OGL); Abby Eaton*, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); Margaret Bettenhausen *, Department of Attorney General (DAG); Dina Klemans*, MDEQ

Members Absent:

Gildo Tori, Ducks Unlimited; Michael Stafford, Cranbrook Institute of Science; Frank Ettawageshik, United Tribes of Michigan; Charles Scott, Michigan Golf Course Owners; Andy Such, Michigan Manufacturers Association; Jim Byrum, Michigan Agri-Business Association; Ben Russell, Southwest Michigan Water Resources Council (SWMWRC); Steven Rice, Michigan Wetlands Association; Pat Norris, Michigan State University (MSU); John Yellich*, Michigan Geological Survey
Note: Ex-officio members are denoted by an asterisk.

Others Attending

Jim Milne, MDEQ; Brant Fisher, MDEQ; Angela DeVries, Michigan Oil and Gas Association; Larry Julian, Julian-Vail; Laura Young, MSU

Program Related News

Jim Milne indicated that written comments regarding the draft site specific review (SSR) checklist should be emailed to him by November 18 at
It was shared that a dissenting opinion was received from the Michigan Groundwater Association. Since it does not encapsulate the opinion of the entire Council, it will be added to the final report as an appendix.

Tier II Considerations

Environmental Monitoring

Tier II considerations were brought forward by the Environmental Monitoring work group for all of their recommendations. The work group was unable to send out copies of these considerations ahead of time. Much discussion was generated about Tier II recommendations as a whole. It was clarified that they are not new recommendations, but rather additional considerations that will be appended to the original Tier I recommendations in the final report. Some Council members were concerned that without being specific in terms cost, time, or prioritization, that these additional considerations would not be as meaningful to the Department. Frank Ruswick suggested focusing on providing guidance to the Department that would set overall priorities among the Council's nearly 60 recommendations rather than having very detailed implementation recommendations. He also suggested providing MDEQ with a framework they could use to establish priorities and sequencing among the recommendations.

During this discussion, several Council members noted that they had a difficult time understanding resource needs for recommendations from the Department's perspective. For example, members did not have a sense for the amount of FTEs needed to implement some of the recommendations. It was suggested that a section be added in the final report to further discuss some of these issues. Dave Hamilton noted that an additional staff recommendation made it to the legislature by the previous Council, calling for $1 million to fund 11 staff positions. It included justification for the additional positions and financial resources. The legislature supported this when the program was conceived, but it was cut when the recession hit. Some of this documentation could be utilized in the final report.

The Environmental Monitoring work group brought forward Tier II recommendations on EM 1.1- 1.7 and EM 2.1 and 2.3. Tier II considerations for EM 2.5 will be discussed at the next Council meeting. The majority of Tier II considerations by the work group called for additional resources for the program to implement their recommendations. However, recommendations EM 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, and 2.3 have the potential to be worked on by outside contractors or researchers. Comments related to specific Tier II considerations are listed below. The work group agreed to revise its Tier II materials based upon comments received by the Council.

EM 1.1- DEQ should prioritize and invest resources for strategic acquisition of streamflow data

Jon Allan suggested specifically adding in stakeholder engagement and outreach to the Tier II text. During this discussion, Scott Brown noted that research needs are a common thread among several recommendations. Robert Whitesides suggested structuring stakeholder groups on a regional basis. Laura Campbell noted that their recommendation suggested structuring groups by industry or interest representation. Dave Hamilton was in favor of such a group having a statewide perspective.

EM 1.5 – developing program for streamflow data collection by non-agency persons

Wayne Wood was concerned that this recommendation could lead to inaccurate data being used. Bryan Burroughs indicated that the full Tier I write up states that this would be tied to the development of protocols and standards discussed in EM 1.2. Dave Hamilton added this is called for in the original legislation and that data entered into the USGS database must meet strict quality assurance standards.

EM 1.6 – DEQ and DNR should invest in strategic acquisition of research/monitoring to assess real-world impacts of large quantity water withdrawals

Tier II considerations for this recommendation were discussed for some time. This work would be best accomplished by an entity outside of MDEQ. Dina Klemans suggested removing text that did not directly reference resource needs to alleviate concerns by some Council members about the way it was written.

Inland Lakes

The Inland Lakes work group brought forward Tier II considerations for all of their recommendations. Below is a summary of specific comments regarding the considerations.

IL 1.1 – Developing protocols and procedures for collecting bathymetric data

The work group noted that DNR is beginning to develop a new protocol for collecting lake morphology data which will include the use of new electronic sonar and mapping technology. Dina Klemans asked whether MDEQ is also adopting this new technology discussed in the recommendation. Jim Milne will verify. Scott Brown added that some of this could be accomplished by citizens. He mentioned some equipment only costs about $550 and anglers could quickly expand data on lake morphology with training.

IL 1.2 – Citizen data collection

Dave Hamilton suggested adding in a reference to prioritizing efforts on higher risk lakes for adverse resource impacts (ARI).

IL 2.2a – prioritize additional data collection/research to better classify inland lakes/ponds Implementing this recommendation will be significant in terms of resources needed and will likely take at least five years to complete. Dave Hamilton felt that these considerations are premature until all inland lakes are classified and an ARI in inland lake is clearly defined. He felt without these two things, it would not make sense to implement this recommendation or IL 2.2c.

IL 2.2c – Develop SSR procedure for withdrawals likely to cause ARI in inland lakes/ponds

Dina Klemans asked about an interim SSR process until 2.2c can be fully implemented. Currently, MDEQ does not have a tool to evaluate direct withdrawals from inland lakes and ponds. She asked if the case study attached in their Tier I recommendation would be the proposed process in the interim. The work group felt that the case study would be an appropriate process to use until another procedure can be developed.

Water Conservation

Pat Staskiewicz presented the work group’s Tier II considerations. The work group compiled a detailed sequencing explanation and diagram for their recommendations. He read through all of their Tier II considerations and there were no concerns or suggested changes voiced by the Council.

Technical Underpinnings

Dave Hamilton reviewed Tier II considerations for TU 4.1 – 4.3 (modifying index flow or stream classifications) and TU 6.1 (data analysis criteria). Little discussion was generated on these considerations. He also discussed a future topics document that the work group put together highlighting work that should be considered by a future council.

Water Users

The co-chairs of the work group were unable to attend the meeting, but work group members indicated that the work group is finished with its Tier II work.

Review of Tier I Recommendations in light of new Tier 2 information

This agenda item was intended for discussion on any needed changes to approved recommendations based on new Tier II information (e.g., if two recommendations are essentially the same or are contradicting one another).

Jim Milne proposed reordering TU 2.2 (making the WWAT registration number a required field in Wellogic) to TU 3.1. He reasoned that it logically goes with the other recommendations related to checking compliance with registration. George Carr opposed this change.

Members were encouraged to review the recommendations matrix to propose any other changes. Any other changes will be reviewed at the November 18 meeting.

Other Business

George Carr discussed the Michigan Ground Water Association (MGWA) dissenting opinion. In it, the MGWA highlights core problems of concern for their organization with the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process. Dave Hamilton asked if there were opportunities to counterpoint a dissenting opinion. Bryan Burroughs indicated that this was not discussed by the Leadership Committee. James Clift noted that in his past experiences, dissenting opinions were tied to specific recommendations and felt that this should be required of any dissenting opinion in the report. George Carr noted the difficulty in modifying the MGWA dissenting opinion given the two page limit and having to assemble a special board meeting.

There was much discussion about how to proceed and whether additional guidance was needed for drafting dissenting opinions. Despite concerns about linking dissenting opinions to particular recommendations by a few Council members, it was agreed to leave the current structure as is (i.e., 2 page limit without restrictions on content) and to extend the deadline to submit dissenting opinions by November 10. Dissenting opinions will be included in the appendices of the final report. It was suggested that the report note which recommendations did not receive 100% consensus.

Laura Young asked how the Council would like to handle incorporating Tier II material into the Tier I recommendations. It was agreed that she would copy and paste the Tier II information into each Tier I recommendation.

Public comment on non-agenda items

There was no public comment at this time.

Next meetings

November 18, 1:00-4:00 PM Michigan Farm Bureau, Lansing, MI

December 16, 1:00-4:00 PM Constitution Hall, Lansing, MI