Meeting facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities. If you require special assistance to participate in the meeting, notify the Conservancy’s office at (916) 649-3331 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Executive Session (Closed to the Public)
1. Executive Session
Executive Session is scheduled for real estate matters pursuant to Government Code 54956.8.
Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors (Open to the Public)
2. Call to Order of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors
The Board Chair will call the meeting to order if a quorum is present. Announcements by the Board Chair or Executive Director may be made at this time. Board members may make announcements at this time as well.
3. Public Comments
Opportunity for members of the public to address the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.
4. Approval of consent items including the minutes
All items listed under the Consent Calendar, including minutes, are considered and acted upon by one Motion. Any Board member may request an item be removed for separate consideration.
The Board Chair will request approval of the minutes and consent items of the Board of Directors meeting of August 4, 2021.
5. Bolen South tree removal
Due to scheduled and Board-approved repairs to the Bolen South well, a large Cottonwood tree that hung over the well was removed. The well repair Contractor was unable to maneuver the crane into the area and pull out the well pump for repair without first removing the main branch of the tree. Upon further examination of the tree, it was advised that the entire tree be removed to minimize risks of worker safety, the tree falling on the well pump, or the root penetrating the water lines or well itself. Estimates were obtained from four tree removal contractors. Management recommends ratification of the $13,600 expenditure for the removal of the tree.
6. Giant garter snake habitat feature
The Conservancy entered a Service Agreement with Westervelt Ecological Services for the concept and design of a BKS GGS habitat feature. This feature will be fully funded by the Giant Garter Snake Conservation Fund via Center for Natural Lands Management for GGS habitat enhancement. The initial Service Agreement for Tasks 1 & 2 totaled $9,000 and is underway. In preparation to move forward with Task 3 of the (proposal for construction bids), the total contract total will exceed the Executive Director’s signing authority of $10,000. Staff requests approval of the Service Agreement for a contract total of $12,000. ($9,000 for Task 1 & 2 and $3,000 for Task 3).
7. Silva South well destruction
The well that historically serviced the Elverta and Silva South tracts needs to be abandoned. The Conservancy has relied on water from the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company (NCMWC) to flood up the Elverta and Silva South tracts. The Conservancy received an estimate for capping and removing the well; the estimate is $14,500. The Contractor has advised that the variable factor in the estimate is the amount of concrete needed to fill the well, as sometimes old wells require additional concrete. Management recommends approval of the $14,500 project expense plus a 10% contingency for additional concrete and/or other incidentals.
8. Proposed changes to the Internal Financial Controls Policy
The Conservancy’s Internal Financial Controls Policy is presented for Board review with two updates. This policy was last updated on December 2, 2020. The Compensation and Governance Committee has reviewed the policy and will recommend Board approval.
9. Proposed revision to the Travel and Other Expense Reimbursement Policy
The Conservancy’s Travel and Other Reimbursement Policy is presented for Board review with a minor update. This policy was last updated on October 2, 2019. The Compensation and Governance Committee has reviewed the policy and will recommend Board approval.
10. Proposed amendment to the Land Dedication Checklist
The Conservancy’s amendment to the Land Dedication Checklist is presented for Board review with minor updates. This checklist was last updated on October 2, 2019. The Compensation and Governance Committee has reviewed the checklist and will recommend Board approval.
11. Bennett North tract groundwater well repair
The Conservancy’s Bennett North groundwater well has been a workhorse well for the Conservancy. It is located such that it can distribute water to several of the Conservancy’s managed marsh complexes even though they were separated by considerable distances. This saved a great deal of money in that the Conservancy had managed marsh backup water with one well instead of multiple wells. In addition, the well has been used to provide water to managed marsh complexes when surface water provided by the NCMWC was unavailable due to non-irrigation season time periods or maintenance needs. This helps the Conservancy meet the test in the Incidental Take Permits that the marsh complexes would remain fully functional to provide service as mitigation under the NBHCP and MAPHCP.
The Bennett North well has worked hard for many years, but its output has declined considerably, especially this year. Conservancy records reveal the well was producing 2,705 gpm in 2009, and that volume has steadily declined to the point where in the most recent test by Knutsen Pump Testing (September 2021), its output was rated at 854 gpm. The economic efficiency has steadily declined as well, as PG&E electricity costs for the well have escalated substantially.
This item requests the Board of Directors authorize the Conservancy spend up to $30,000 to get the Bennett North groundwater well back to an efficient state. It is expected that the actual costs will be substanatially less than the amount requested in this action. However, in the event the pump is pulled from the well and a worst-case scenario is presented, the cost could be at the upper limit. If approved, the repairs will be paid for out of the proceeds of the 2021 groundwater exchange program. The well has already this year generated $142,036 in proceeds in that program. Conservancy management anticipates 2022 will present yet another opportunity to activate the well for inclusion in that year’s groundwater exchange program.
Conservancy management requests the Board’s authorization for the Conservancy’s Executive Director or Chief Financial Officer to execute and deliver all documents necessary to repair and restore the Bennett North groundwater well with an authorization to spend up to $30,000 on any repair or restoration.
12. Biological monitoring for prey-production project
This item requests Board approval of a contract with ICF International to conduct prey-production monitoring research on the Conservancy’s Lucich South tract for a period of three years with two one-year options to renew. ICF International has substantial amounts of base data, GIS/mapping, field knowledge and NBHCP training and is often in the field on Conservancy mitigation land by virtue of the fact it is under contract with the Conservancy as the Conservancy’s designated biological effectiveness monitoring contractor.
This action supports an effort to enhance prey production for the Swainson’s hawk in the Natomas Basin after declining nest success. It also responds to discussion by the Board of Directors and the suggestion that Conservancy efforts to produce prey for the benefit of the Swainson’s hawk be evaluated based on quantifiable evidence. The effort is intended to document the level of success, if any, of efforts to use the 10 percent of rice acreage required to fallowed into more productive for purposes of Swainson’s hawk mitigation.
The amount of the agreement is $29,937 per year, with $3,000 per year cost reductions for each year the contract is in place. This item requests that the Board of Directors authorize either the Conservancy’s Executive Director or Chief Financial Officer execute and delivery all necessary documents to implement this quantification of Conservancy efforts to produce prey for the benefit of the Swainson’s hawk after years of nest success decline.
13. City of Sacramento report
Report from the City of Sacramento regarding HCP-related activity and other topics.
14. County of Sutter Report
Report from the Sutter County regarding HCP-related activity and other topics.
15. Financial statement review
A financial statement will be provided for the period ended August 31, 2021 (unaudited). Additional financial information will be provided.
16. Draft 2022 budget
Staff will discuss with the Board the draft 2022 budget. The submitted draft is for familiarization and review by the Board. The final 2022 proposed budget will be included with the NBHCP Finance Model update and presented for approval to the Board at its December 1, 2021 regular meeting.
17. Natural gas well de-commissioning
Conservancy is working with R&R Resources which holds the mineral rights on the Conservancy’s Ruby Ranch tract. R&R Resources plans to de-commission the natural gas well on the property and has agreed to the following:
1) abandon the well according to state laws and regulations,
2) disconnect and remove all well transmission pipes underground,
3) remove the cement pad and remove all hardware,
4) complete Phase 1 Environmental Report and Phase 2 if necessary, and
5) quit claim the mineral rights to the Conservancy.
R&R Resources is expected to complete this project one to two weeks after state permit approval.
18. SAFCA Illustration; review progress on the transition
Over the past year Conservancy staff has updated the Board on the progress of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) contracts transition. This is a further update on that transition.
19. Report on 2021 groundwater exchange program
This item shares information intended to help the Board of Directors weigh risks that may be presented with participation in groundwater exchange programs. Historically, the various groundwater exchange programs authorized by State and federal officials are done for the purpose of water allocations in water-short years. That is, those with the capacity to produce and/or reduce water use are authorized to exchange, trade or sell any such water to those whose water rights or other conditions find them short of water. In the current and recent years, the NCMWC has entered into contractual agreements with the San Luis and Delta Water Users Authority (SLDMWUA) that enable the NCMWC to coordinate surplus water made available by its shareholders for inclusion in these exchange programs.
In past years, the groundwater recovery and recharge of participating Conservancy groundwater wells has been of keen interest to Conservancy Board members. Typically, groundwater recharge in participating groundwater wells has taken place in one to two weeks after the groundwater well has been turned off after the summer’s use.
Given the severity of the current drought, Conservancy staff anticipated that the rate of recharge with its participating groundwater wells would be challenging. Conservancy staff will share specific Conservancy groundwater well recovery information with the Board.
20. Executive Director’s Report
Various matters for Board members’ general information will be presented by the Conservancy’s Executive Director.
21. Adjournment of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors
Official adjournment of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors.
Upcoming Regular Meetings
- December 1, 2021
- February 2, 2022
- April 6, 2022