Blog post by Patti Ferry, Newport Chamber of Commerce
This month’s Partnership meeting was held at the Center for Health Education at Samaritan Pacific Hospital in Newport. Partners were greeted with the smells of lasagna and warm cookies! The walls were covered with charts and graphs from the four study groups. We welcomed twelve new timers to our midst! Click here to read the notes from our facilitators.
The meeting began at 4:00 with welcome and around the room introductions. We reviewed the agenda, our mission statement and meeting guidelines. Harmony Burright reminded us of our reason for being: for building partnerships, planning for our water future, and identifying water needs and solutions. Tim Gross welcomed all and said it was great to see so many from the community, including landowners, who want to help shape our water destiny. He gave a quick recap of speaking with various Legislators this week to update them on where we are and to acknowledge that we recognize we don’t have all the answers but are using our open forum model to come up with a plan. We are one of four groups in this process across the state.
There were clappers and whistles on the tables to help us celebrate we were ending Step 2 of our 4 Step process tonight with the reports from the study groups! In Step 3 we will work on identifying current and future water needs.
Our last Field Trip for 2017 is scheduled for November 30th led by Adam Denlinger and covering Built Systems in South Lincoln County. Be sure to RSVP if you plan on attending at bit.ly/mwpprsvp.
On to the reports from the 5 study groups: Context, Water Quantity, Water Quality, Ecology, and Built Systems. Below are the reports given by some of the members of each study group. The reports can be found online at: http://midcoastwaterpartners.com/working-group-meetings/.
Context: Adam Sussman, GSI Water Solutions
Adam provided the backdrop for the other presentations, including basic information about population, industry, and climate. We live in a mild, wet climate and get a lot of rain relative to the rest of Oregon (no surprises there). Our major industries are fish, timber, and tourism. The growth rate will peak in the next few years, but the population will continue to grow and age over time!
Water Quantity: Caroline Bauman, Economic Development Alliance
Caroline was informative, brief, and entertaining as she got the whole group involved with the topic of water quantity using props and trivia. What is surface water? It starts when the rain falls form the sky and lands on the earth. What is ground water storage? Areas that act as sponges to soak up/in surface water. These sponges can be variable depending on geology and rainfall. How do we get the ground water out? Wells. Who owns the water? The public, but people have a right to use it through water rights. The watermaster determines who gets to use the water. Our group is studying 6 watersheds of importance. The report includes surface water monitoring and groundwater monitoring.
Water Quality: David Waltz, OR DEQ, Jacqueline Fern, OR DEQ, Mike Powers, OR Dept. of AG, Audrey Sweet, Lincoln Soil Conservation District.
David started the report talking about regulatory programs regarding pollutant sources and distribution across landscapes, The Clean Water Act and Coastal Zone Plan, and finishing with permitting of point sources.
Next was Jacqueline who talked about Drinking Water Protection through DEQ and OHA. They look for data gaps, and identify risks, set priorities, offer technical assistance and grant funding.
Mike talked about voluntary actions taken through soil conservation districts and how agricultural property is regulated by the OR Dept of Ag.
Audrey finished up the results from this study group with how they look for projects to match with partners and find grant funds. Riparian projects are an example.
Ecology: Wayne Hoffman, MidCoast Watersheds Council
Here we learned about habitats of streams, riparian areas, and estuaries and what can cause habitat degradation. Flow/temperature in stream, summer healthy stream flow, sediment/turbidity, , landscape capacity, effects of land-use, marine nutrient transport, the abilities for streams to clean themselves, connectivity of streams to their floodplains, landslides that deposit gravel, channel migration and its overall effects on stream health.
Built Systems: Tim Gross, City of Newport, Adam Denglinger, Seal Rock Water District, Scott Andry, City of Waldport.
Adam took on age of infrastructure showing us original wooden pipes used for water transport and a section of the HDP pipe used today. We need to be aware that newer systems are coming out that are even better and include fully automated water flow systems.
Scott talked about waste water treatment which includes using micro-organisms then chlorine and uv treatments. He talked briefly about the challenges of a sewer pipe break (harder to determine) versus a water line bursting.
Tim finished up their report talking about storm water and how we have little information /data collection on the Mid-coast systems as it relates to stormwater runoff. The challenge is this area receives less attention and historically storm water and waste water traveled in the same systems – they are finding many cross systems still in existence. There may be increasing attention paid to this over time.
We then took 30 minutes to visit each of the study groups displays and write on a sheet any questions or data gaps. We reconvened in our table groups to discuss aha moments. We were reminded to go to the website to make comments to GSI regarding the 5 studies (all on-line for review) by November 27th. A final draft will be presented in January so we can then move on to Steps 3 & 4. There were many ideas and observations which will be listed on the web site.
Tim Gross and Tia Cavender gave us an update on grants and fundraising. Tia noted that her group is changing names from Chase Park Grants to Dig Deep. We were recently awarded funds form the Meyer Memorial Trust which in combination with Oregon Community Foundation and the US Army Corps brings us to the $275,000 needed to carry us form November 2017 to December 2018. Tia said she will be bringing us in to more involvement with fundraising as we need another $255k raised in the next 10 months. Contributions could be in the form of letters of support, in-kind donations, matching grants, cash contributions, etc. If you have a group she or Tim should present to, please let them know.
Next we heard from Harmony with a brief report on what the Communications Outreach Committee has been doing. She said we are brainstorming ways to recruit, engage, and retain partners by raising awareness. We are looking at how to measure this and how to keep water issues front of mind. Joyce Sherman provided a draft copy of a hand-out the committee is working on to get the word out about the Partnership (great looking hand-out Joyce!). Maryann Bozza, HMSC, has suggested we look at doing Panel of Peers in a public forum and is working to get a template for what these panels would look like. Hatfield Marine Science Center and Surfrider are both looking to co-host a panel.
Field trips will continue in 2018. Ideas are:
- May-a boat trip to look at local ecology?
- July-a visit to fish processing plants?
- September-a visit with the hospitality industry?
Harmony closed with a comment to partners. Please be open with your feedback! We want to hear the both the positive and the negative to help us grow and be better.
More celebration for coming to the end of Step 2!!!
Step 3: Identify current and Future Water Needs
Kick-off at the next Partnership Meeting January 24th
Don’t forget to RSVP for the Nov. 30 Field trip!