June 07, 2017

Meeting Summary: Middle Ocmulgee Council June 7, 2017


To:                   Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council

From:               Jennifer Welte, Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Michelle Vincent, Jacobs

Date:               June 7, 2017

Subject:           Council Meeting 6 Summary (June 7, 2017)

Middle Ocmulgee Regional Council

Regional Water Plan Review and Revision Process    

This memorandum provides the meeting summary of the Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council Meeting 6, held on June 7, 2017 via conference call. The meeting was called to order by the chair at 10:05 AM.

1. Welcome and Introductions/Approve Agenda

Council Chairman Elmo Richardson called the meeting to order and thanked members for attending. Council members and other attendees identified themselves over the phone (see list at end of summary). Chairman Richardson asked for a motion and a second to approve the minutes from the previous council meeting and the agenda for the current meeting. The minutes were approved unanimously by all council members. To maximize time and to minimize confusion on the phone, non-council members were asked to please hold comments and questions until the end of the meeting, unless specifically recognized by a council member. Questions and/or comments are also welcome to be emailed to EPD or Planning Contractor.

2. Update on Grant Projects

Veronica Craw with EPD provided the Council with an update on the current grant projects.

For the Section 319(h) Grant Project – a project to complete a watershed plan that meets EPA’s 9 key elements of watershed planning, the Council submitted a project for Sandy Run Creek and the Ocmulgee River. The Middle Gerogia Regional Commission is the partnering organization for this project. The project got underway in November 2016, and is scheduled to be completed in December 2017. The project has gathered updated land use data for the watershed, and is working to identify the source of possible pollutants in the watershed. The project is working with numerous stakeholder groups in the watershed, including the Council.

The Council also submitted a Seed Grant to EPD to identify the source of bromide in drinking water downstream of Lake Jackson. The project is with Butts County, working jointly with the University of Georgia. The project is currently in the contract development stage, and is anticipated to run August 2017 – August 2019.

3. Review and Discuss Comments Specific to the Middle Ocmulgee Plan

The Council reviewed the two comments received on the plan. The first was a request from DCA to ensure all minor formatting and grammar issues are resolved. The only other comments received was a letter of commendation and congratulations from the Metro North Gerogia Water planning District thanking the Council for the opportunity to collaborate, and congratulating them on the successful completed of the plan update.

The Council reviewed a summary of the changes and corrections made to each section of the plan. Most changes were very minor, and included adding additional acronyms, correcting table of contents to be consistent with exact titles of table and figures, minor typos, punctuation, and spacing errors, and updating dates and references.

4. Council Vote to Approve Plan and Submit to EPD for Adoption

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the Plan as corrected.  It was so moved and seconded, and the motion passed without dissent.

5. Next Steps

Jeff Larson, EPD discussed some of the next steps in the Regional Planning Process with the Council. He first congratulated the Council on the successful completion of their update to the Regional Water Plan. In the immediate future, the Council will submit completed plan to EPD Director for adoption.

He said is some ways, this process was more difficult than the 2011 process. Mr. Larson said we are now in what EPD refers to as the “Interim Period”, until the next 5 years Review and Revision cycle begins again. He told the Council that EPD is committed to the process and will continue to provide funding for both EPD and Planning contractor to support the Council. Our first next step will be to reach out to Chair and Vice Chair to schedule next council meeting sometime in August/September.

EPD and the Planning Contractors will provide support for the Council for plan implementation, and outreach. Mr. Larson stated that we will update council-specific Fact Sheets, and develop other promotional materials such as PowerPoint presentations for Councils to use to present to their stakeholders, organizations, commissions, etc. Handouts will help the larger region gain awareness and understanding about the plan, and will help implement strategies. 

Mr. Larson said that EPD will continue to hold joint meetings, especially as water issues arise that require multiple Council cooperation (example is salt-water intrusion). The Councils should continue to be engaged throughout the interim period.

There was an opportunity for questions and discussion. Hearing none, Chairman Richardson thanked everyone for their participation.

6. Public Comment Period

  • No public comments.

7. Meeting Adjourned

                Meeting adjourned by the chair at 10:32 am.

8. Meeting Attendance (via conference call)

Middle Ocmulgee Regional Water Planning Council Members in attendance:

  • Elmo A. Richardson (Chair)
  • Ben Copeland, Jr. (Vice Chair)
  • Don Cook
  • Tom McMichael
  • Larry McSwain
  • Marcie Seleb
  • William Whitten
  • Mark Wyzalek (for Tony Rojas)
  • Ron Shipman (proxy)

Georgia EPD Representatives in attendance:

  • Jennifer Welte
  • Jeff Larson
  • Veronica Craw

Reginal Water Council Planning Contractors in attendance:

  • Michelle Vincent

Agency attendees:

  • Brandon Baker, GADNR
  • Scott Paxton, GA Forestry Commission
  • Greg Boike, Middle Gerogia Regional Commission

Public attendees:

  • Mike Hopkins, Newton County
  • Scott Emmons, Newton County

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