Meeting Summary: Coosa-North Georgia Council April 25, 2018

Meeting Summary

Joint CNG Water Planning Council and North Georgia Water Resources Partnership Meting/Water Plan Implementation

Welcome and Introductions/Approve Agenda

Brian Skeens welcomed the group to the meeting. He reviewed the meeting objectives and opened a time for brief introductions for council members and guests in attendance. No changes or additions were recommended to the last Council meeting’s summary. Mike Berg motioned to approve the meeting summary, Jerry Barnes seconded the motion, and the Council members unanimously approved.

The objectives for this meeting are as follows:

  • Election of new Chair and Vice-Chair
  • Updates on implementation and presentations.
  • Discuss survey results and next steps.

Election of new Council Chair and Vice-Chair

In previous communication with Georgia EPD, David Ashburn submitted his resignation as Chairman of the Coosa-North Georgia Water Planning Council. The first item on the meeting agenda was to elect a new Council Chair and discuss the election of a new Vice-Chair. Brian Skeens opened the floor to nominations for Council Chairman.

  • Jerry Crawford nominated Brooke Anderson for Council Chair. Greg Bowman seconded the nomination.
  • After brief discussions, Mike Berg moved to close nominations for Council Chair. Haynes Johnson seconded the motion.
  • Council members unanimously approved Brooke Anderson as the new Council Chair.

The Council discussions regarding election of a new Vice-Chairman. John Bennett had previously communicated willingness in continuing to serve as Vice-Chair. After discussion concluded, no new nominations were made and Mr. Bennett remained as Vice-Chair.

Implementation Update (GEFA projects and Seed Grants)

Christine Voudy provided an implementation update, a list of GEFA funded projects in the Coosa-North Georgia region, and provided updates on seed grants and other funding opportunities.

  • Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (NWGRC) led the effort for the Woodward Creek grant, which was awarded this year. It is a $52,500 grant for updating the Watershed Improvement Plan for the Woodward Creek watershed. The original plan was drafted in 2011 and predominantly includes areas in Floyd and Bartow counties.
  • Brian Skeens mentioned grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as a potential funding source for Council projects.
  • Tom O’Bryant mentioned USDA grants as another potential funding source.

CNG Website Updates and Content

Christine Voudy provided an update on the status of the CNG website, which is now live and accessible by the public. Mrs. Voudy gave a demonstration of the site’s tools and features. Brooke Anderson intends to create a technical committee as part of the North Georgia Water Resources Partnership to review the new website and add customization. Mr. Anderson asked that Council members provide suggestions for the website to him via email.

Letters to Local Government Officials / Presentations

Craig Hensley gave a status update on the letter to regional government officials. A draft letter was presented to the Council for review, as well as sign-up sheet for Council members to give presentations on the Regional Water Plan (RWP). Mike Berg suggested that CH2M provide the Council with a concise, 5-minute “elevator speech” with a small number of talking points that could be covered in a public meeting. The key talking points would include the following:

  1. Who the Council is
  2. What the RWP is
  3. What the RWP does
  4. How the RWP affects them (such as EPD using it for permitting)

Brooke Anderson offered to present these talking points at the Fall 2018 NWGRC and GMRC meetings as a first step in creating awareness about the RWP.

Council Member Survey Results - Discussion

Brian Skeens discussed the final results from the survey that council members from all regions across the state of Georgia participated in during the fall of 2017. Generally, the survey results indicated a strong desire to:

  • Build connections between the water planning councils and local stakeholders.
  • Increase public awareness about the RWP.
  • Increase council activity during the interim times of the planning period.

Brooke Anderson asked the Council if they would be interested in pursuing increased legislative backing and enforcement for the RWP. Jerry Crawford noted that it would be practical to beginning planning for eventual legislative enforcement. Mike Berg and Tom O’Bryant encouraged caution when considering increased regulatory backing and urged Council members to consider the implications of such a change. After discussions concluded, the Council took no action in this matter. Mr. Anderson concluded the discussion by stating the need to communicate with local stakeholders that Georgia EPD uses the RWP as an evaluation tool for permit applicants and stated a desire to hold further discussions regarding increase legislative backing for the RWP.

Comments from Non-Council Members, Visitors, or the General Public

No comments.

Next Steps and Wrap Up - Chair

  • Brooke Anderson said that the next council meeting will be held in September or October 2018 and noted that the Council is required to meet twice per year.

  • Brian Skeens suggested inviting a local guest speaker to the next Council meeting.

  • Christine Voudy suggested inviting regional implementing actors and stakeholders to future meetings.

  • Christine Voudy noted that Georgia EPD requesting further feedback on improvements to the RWP implementation period.

Council Members Present

1. Brooke Anderson

2. Donald Anderson

3. Jerry Barnes

4. Mike Berg

5. Greg Bowman

6. Keith Coffey

7. Jerry Crawford

8. Mike Hackett for Jamie Doss

9. Haynes Johnson

10. Larry Lykins

11. Tom O'Bryant

Elected Officials

1. Rep. Marc Morris - Georgia House of Representatives, 26th District

Partnering & Other State Agencies

1. Julianne Meadows/Northwest Georgia Regional Commission

2. Adam Hazell/Georgia Mountains Regional Commission

3. Stephen Simpson/Black & Veatch

GA Environmental Protection Division

1. Christine Voudy, EPD Council Lead

CH2M Hill

1. Brian Skeens

2. Craig Hensley

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