SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA Board of Directors Meeting

January 19, 2010

1.       Executive Committee Actions

Last meeting we passed a 2010 budget that included $5000 to fund a program – name is Stormwater Action Fund.  Guidelines on back of agenda, Betsy motion to pass the SWAF as written.  Don second motion.  Gene why only members of SRA can qualify?  Restricted to communities.  Empower the communities that support SRA.  This may entice them to join.  This replaces Bay Friendly Neighborhood.  Is there competition.    Yes we hope that we have a high interest.  Committee will develop the criteria for community selection.  Committee reports to officers and executive committee.  Motion to accept the SWAF -- all in favor, motion carries.

Identifying Stormwater Issues in you Sub-watershed.  Sub-Watershed Surveys and Taking Action to Fix Problems

2.       EnviroSite Design Services: Mel Wilkins, Spa Creek Conservancy Founder and Anne Guillette, Low Impact Design Studio MLA, LEED AP.

Mel Wilkens gave a talk about the work and grants he has been able to obtain.  This is a summary of his talk accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

Mel and Anne work together and have low impact design development experience – rain gardens, living shorelines.  The Spa Creek Conservancy – has a only been in existence for 5 years – yet put in $5 Million of improvements.  A few dedicated people can make things happen.

Communities – sub watersheds – are a manageable way to deal with Stormwater runoff.  The typical homeowner is not holding their own stormwater and still continue to pollute tributaries, rivers and bay.  Focus in State agencies is to address the source.  Communities are the ones responsible for saving the bay.  We are critical to the solution.  65% is coming off private property.  Government cannot regulate private property owners.  We need to empower them to deal with SW at the source – their property.  Stormwater picks up pollutants and silt to creeks.  Infastruction designed to defeat. 

Sub watersheds such as Carrollton manor are slowly addressing their SW problems.  Info is available thru AACo – to learn very quickly and manipulate. 

Goals – green committees are being formed –we get things going by action – (Mel is the bull dog) and  finesse of partner (Anne).  Need leaders – need a boatload of skills -- everyone can bring something.  Mel has the Quick Win mentality – military saying – way to show people results.  He encourages all to find a spot – a small project to develop a win-win.  Build knowledge in the program.  Measure results.   From there you can get supporting money for bigger projects -- CBT, Unity Gardens, SRA SAF,

Encourage you to have a Master Watershed Plan.  Identify priorities.  Flexible for what can be tackled.   Center for watershed Protection has procedures for doing this.  Mel and Anne can do this.

Needs resources:  Mel spoke in length about how to fund your projects. 

·         Need to know that you know how your project fits into the big picture.  Need to show a design Funders need to see this as part of the program.  Critical first step.

·         Master Watershed Planning – can identify small projects in Communities – like to see folks in Community active.  Can apply to different sources of funds. NFWF likes to see CBT also contribute.

·          Skill set – what is its design, how much does it cost?  The grantee review panel are going to determine if your project is worth funding. 

·          Grant makers – need to see cash and in-kind contributions to your project.   For cash – need at least 5% of the funds.  If you have $100,000 grant need $5000.  NFWF have $100,000 – newsletter article started collected.  Look for all possible sources for funds. When Mel is in his fund raising mode – no one is safe.  Lawyer, CPA, Doctor, Neighbors – have no shame.  He is said “No” to – but also a lot say Yes

·         Involve community outreach – usually community event in planting.  Make it an educational program.  Make it into an event.

·          Project needs to understand how long to take for review process and how much time it will take to do.  Need leaders – hardest to find.  Who will take responsibility to make this happen? 

·         Need a fair amount of time from corporations.  Keep track of all the donations – cases of water, donuts,

·         Landscaping is $19/hour.  That can be your in-kind contribution.  Need to document.  Accountants, lawyers in community that volunteer. 

·         Lessons learned –lack of focus, lack of assigned responsibility, lack to identify technical support

·         Describe what you want to do – consolidate into one page.  Goals.  Low impact development center – one of the benefits for raingarden, acres it treats, pop up the amount of runoff treat, amount reduced. 

·         Call DNR and County to contribute.  Can get match for their services – technical advice.  Qualify what you get from county.  They will possibly match funds.   

·         City – Mel is the 300 pound gorilla standing over you.   Need a ton of gravel – cough it up.  Need mulch etc.,

·         f you do not get the grant – get a check list of why – address those problems and get that addressed.

Old Business

3.       Oyster Restoration Projects: Communication with Chris Judy – one of the bars that the Corp is building – will be designated with oysters grown by Severn River residence.  Chris Judy is working on the details of how to get the oysters there.   DNR may pay watermen to move them.

Sally gave an update on the steel slag used for oyster bars in the Severn River by the Corp of Engineers.  She did have correspondence with folks over the past month – to determine if there is a problem with elevated metals.  Corp did not do any preliminary studies of the slag used.  They asked Sally to come up with a plan for sampling the slag for heavy metals.  Slag has been tested when used for road bed material.  Until we have some data, we are put on notice.

Oyster program at DNR – council meeting.  DNR has drafted a whole new set of regulations for oysters.  Severn River will be off limits to harvesting.  Oysters will be allowed to continue growing for existing aquiculture.  DNR is accepting application for aquiculture.  More likely in Choptank River and Tangier sound.  DNR showed extensive map of sanctuary and public oyster grounds and areas for potential leases.  Story boards of bay and oyster and loss of crop.  Change culture of the bay as far as watermen.   200 some volunteers to do more about the river/bay

Lisa Bender asked if there is another deadline to get oysters for next season?  SRA only got 80% what we asked for.  The participation we go did bring volunteers into SRA> 

Mel commented that we need consideration addressing SW runoff into the Severn River so we do not kill our investment in oysters with sediment.  It is critical to save oysters already planted.   Anne Pearson would say the same thing – via Jake – board should listen to her.  Fred Kelly think oysters are premature.

New Business

4.       Resignation and Replacement of Elected Director

Bob Whitcomb gave reasons for three elected directors having missed 3 consecutive meetings, explaining that he expected them to be active in the future.  He has accepted one resignation – Anne Pearson.  Much thanks were expressed by SRA members and board for all her effort and the many speakers she arranged.   The other two directors may not be seen in meetings – but are active. Bob has talked to both and gave a summary of his conversation.  Matt McGehin is a full time financial advisor with a heavy night time schedule but he is active as a clean stream organizer.  Effort in annual activity justify keeping him as a director.  Mike Robinson is unable to attend meetings and is addressing phragmites (a non-native grass) in our river.   In accordance with the SRA Bylaws, Kurt Riegel made a motion to excuse the past absences of those elected directors.  Motion seconded and
passed. 

Kurt has nominated Don Carren who is willing to replace Anne Pearson’s position.  Seat is held until next election.  Motion was made to accept Don Carren’s nomination, Bob vom Saal seconded -- motion carried.

Look to June meeting when formal election occurs.  Recommend that we add another member to the nomination committee which currently consists of Kurt, Charlotte, Bob vS, Bob W.  If interested in serving on this committee let Bob know. 

5.       100th Anniversary Committees

Howard Ernst is chairing a committee to create a video about the SRA as the 100 anniversary project.  Sally, Anne, Pat Lynch, Jake, Howard met to brainstorm ideas.  Just in formation stage. 

Another committee – is the 100th Anniversary celebration.  Betsy has agreed to work on this.  If you are interested, please contact Betsy Love. 

Next month is a forum of church leaders.  Invite other church members to join. 

Saturday – Jan 30 in Arlington Echo.  Clean water act sponsoring enforcement DNR –Contact Claudia Donagan, cdonagan@dnr.state.gov

(Revised Feb 2010)