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Meeting Minutes 04.19.2017




April 19th 2017

Chairman Hameister gaveled to meeting to order at 7:10 pm and led the group in the Plegde of Allegiance

Member Municipalities Present: Benner, Halfmoon, Harris, College, Potter, Spring, Patton, and Walker

Motion to accept the minutes from the February 15, 2017 meeting was made by Bill MacMath and seconded by Bill Sharp. Minutes were accepted unanimously.

Citizens comments:

Bob Vierck informed the Commission that Trout Unimited had awarded its George Harris Spring Creek Memorial Award to Joe Boston for his integral role in dam removal and other projects over the past several years.

Todd Giddings updated the Commission on the watershed’s Water Level/Water Budget stating that the wet and warm first three months of the year had somewhat replenished the ground water recharge after a dry 2016 that ranked 102nd out of 121 years of precipitation with the 121st year being the driest. YTD 2017 we’ve had 11 inches of precipitation and with the ground being less frozen than it normally is and the trees and grass being dormant, the conditions were ideal for recharge of the aquifer. Even with that injection of water the budget remains in deficit and the groundwater storage is still not back to normal and there are anecdotal reports of people’s wells having inadequate yield. Centre County still finds itself under ‘drought watch’ as we enter the spring when trees and other plants uptake a great deal of water as they produce leaves and transpire moisture into the atmosphere.

Educational Topic:

Dave Yoxtheimer previewed his presentation that will be given in May on water levels and quality as the region grows and adds population.

Old Business:

Spring Creek Watershed Association report: Bill Sharp introduced Tim Gould, the new water resource specialist at Clearwater Conservancy. He also gave a report on the Water Resource Management Project water sampling rain barrel workshops as well as the watershed clean up day this Saturday, April 22nd. He said the Association discussed the Watershed Plan Phase II and ways the Association can support the Commission in implementing an action plan coming out of Phase II.

Spring Creek Watershed Atlas report: Bob Donaldson mentioned the Atlas Group accomplished a good bit at their last meeting to include:

  • Created a Topics Committee chaired by Bob Carline to outline potential articles. Vice chairs will be the chairs of the assorted topic committees;
  • Selected Betsy Blumberg as the editor of articles given her background as a teacher and technical writer;
  • Agreed on guidelines for authors;
  • Talked about the position Lexie holds and provided support to her;
  • Noted that Lexie had requested and the Atlas Group supports the purchase of a dedicated computer for Lexie to use for Atlas and Commission business – estimated cost to be in the $2,500 to $3,000 range for the hardware and software needed.
  • Bob Eberhart is working with the Centre County Planning Office to obtain population projections for the watershed as well as possible measurements of impervious surface across time;
  • Barb Fisher is working on attracting authors for the Atlas from Penn State Environmental Engineering;
  • Denise Wardrop will author an article on climate change and its effect on Spring Creek;
  • Vice Chair Stevenson inquired as to when the Atlas website would go live and open to the public, Mr. Donaldson replied he believes the site will be open as soon as Lexie returns from her convalescence.

New Business:

Mark Stevenson nominated Denny Hameister to serve on the Act 220 – State Water Plan Advisory Committee. Bill MacMath seconded the motion and the Commission approved unanimously.

Mark Stevenson reviewed a spredsheet regarding possible increased per capita contributions by municipalities. He recommended looking at moving from 3.5 cents per capita to 7.5 cents per capita. Others suggested we consider 15 cents or 10 cents per capita in order to properly fund the Americorp position we have committed to into the future as well as other expenditures to support that position. Bill MacMath suggested the Commission detail what we would use the extra funds for so when we take the request back to our municipal boards during the 2018 budget season, we can support the request with facts. Benner township’s population numbers will need to be adjusted down to account for the two sets of prison populations (County and Rockview) since those residents do not contribute to the revenue of the township and therefore should not be included in the assessment.

Denny Hameister gave an update on the efforts of Bill Sharp, Mark Stevenson, and himself over the past month to line up support and funding from various authorities and others (foundation, private companies) to commence phase II of the watershed plan. A target of $32,000 to $36,000 is being sought with possibly $5,000 to $6,000 going to the Facilitator and the balance going to Lexie who will work the project on a full time basis in addition to her other existing duties.

Financial Reports and Vouchers:

Financial reports were reviewed. The Commission has $14,982.38 in its accounts after receiving $243 from Spring and $575 from Ferguson, respeoctively.   There was a website expense of $243 last month.

Once Around the Watershed:

Each municipality reported on water-related news and activities in their respective municipalities as appropriate.

The Chair reviewed the dates for the remaining meetings of 2017 and the CNET air times for this meeting.

A motion to adjourn at 8:40 pm was made and seconded, without objection the meeting was adjourned.