The Fresno Irrigation District held its board of directors meeting at its Fresno headquarters on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. They have a nice boardroom and today was director and senior management photo day. The directors showed up in ties and sports coats. After the photos you couldn’t count to 10 before all of them but Directors Chris Woolf and Jerry Prieto had returned to normal. I know it had to grate on Chairman Ryan Jacobsen because the photo session caused the meeting to start late at 4:03pm. I’m not making fun of Jacobsen because I too appreciate a tight, well run meeting.
The first thing we did was salute the flag. Right after that former FID General Manager Gary Serrato presented a plaque of acknowledgement to Alan Hofmann for his 40 years of managing the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District. Serrato and Hofmann go way back and both had stories to tell on each other. The board voted to make the district’s appreciation official. It’s going to be different without him.
Next the auditor gave his report. Went a little long but he didn’t speak in the dreaded CPA monotone. That’d be a good name for a band – The CPA Monotones. Or, The Monotone CPAs. I like the second one; as they say on You Tube leave a comment below. Anyway, FID passed the audit and the board approved the audit report. General Manager Bill Stretch thanked Controller DeAnn Hailey for her good work. Hailey was at a conference. The consent calendar was approved.
Water Master Jim Irwin gave his report saying it looks like more storms. It’s raining as this meeting is going on. Unusual weather for this time of year. Much cooler than average but not frozen so there are flood releases taking place on several rivers; the San Joaquin, the Kings, the Tule, the Kaweah are all kicking out the flood waters. The recent storms have been heavy enough to cause the snow content averages to reverse their downward track and increase. This is one of the wettest years this century. He said more thunderstorms coming this weekend and more snow. Good for us. FID is a member of the Kings River Water Association and they have a written agreement somewhat on the complicated side, even for water.
Serrato spoke saying the KRWA has filed a complaint at the State Board against Semitropic WSD’s petition to take Kings River flood water. There needs to be a letter signed by Jacobsen to send to the State Board expressing FID’s opposition to the petition. The board agreed. Next Serrato spoke about the City of Clovis Conveyance Agreement. The final draft has been looked at by the lawyers, Clovis will be lead for CEQA and this could develop another 7,000 a/f of supplies. Also, Delano Earlimart ID, the JG Boswell Company and Lower Tule River ID have been talking with FID about exchanging recapture/recirculated Friant Water. I didn’t see a discussion paper in the package so we’ll learn more about this as time goes on. There was also a proposal to exchange Friant water with the Cross Valley Canal. There are restrictions to this type of deal. Friant Water Authority Chairman Chris Tantau was present and answered some questions about what waters could make it past the subsidence area on the Friant Kern Canal. Serrato explained FID can get certain Friant water when it can’t use it due to Kings flood runs. DEID would be very happy to take some Class I&II and other colors FID can’t use. The was asked to authorize Stretch to make deals. The board approved the deal to make deals.
Chief Engineer Lawrence Kimura gave his report saying it was a busy month with 39 reviews of projects. Not much to report on high speed rail. No landowner projects underway and eight FID projects are going forward. A new recharge basin west of town is being dug out. There is a good amount of old pipe and since the district’s riff raff stock is low that’s a good thing. Kimura said there are a couple of HSR easement problems but there is no recommendation yet, so in the future. Kimura showed the board nine projects in areas of the most needs. Lining channels, replacing pipelines, a new trash rack are all on the wish list. Kimura also gave the board a look at the projects that could impact the FID system in the engineering info. There will be a good chance the irrigation run will be very long this year and not as much time for construction as usual. The Cities of Clovis and Fresno and Fresno County all have project on major FID facilities. He said not all them will receive funding but it could get complicated. Stretch thanked him for his hard work in keeping track of things.
Assistant General Manager Adam Claes gave his presentation saying the FID crews get after it. He had photos of workers cutting a hole in pipe, climbing in and getting the repair job done. It was pretty impressive. Part of the FID system includes canals that were streams and trees fall in now and then. There was a large tree washed down the Kings River that got caught in the weir. Crews had to improvise a chain, winch and cable pulley contraption to get it out. This late season rains caused the Waldron Banking Facility to fill completely in every cell. He said that facility has recharged 1,700 a/f so far this month.
Claes gave the SGMA update on the North Kings GSA saying the GSP draft deadline available for review soon. He said getting all the member agencies’ project list turned in is challenging because there isn’t much time left. He expects the GSP release to take place in August and adoption in November. Sounds reasonable but it is pushing the time envelop a bit. Stretch said the top candidate for the new NKGSA Executive Director position is going through negotiations and they’ll be an announcement at next month’s meeting. Claes reported on outreach saying he was on Hmong television. He also said there will be a televised SGMA Town Hall meeting this Thursday at 6pm at the Clovis Memorial Building. The regularly scheduled North King GSA meeting taking place at the same time has been cancelled.
Stretch gave his GM report saying the KRWA has a fisheries report coming out soon. The State Senate bill to fund the NASA airborne snow survey may be running into some snags. He reported on FWA saying the subsidence correction discussion at last month’s meeting was to decide how to fix the problem. Two options; enlarge the canal or build another canal next to the current canal. That was $200 million v. $400 million cost respectively. FID has been critical of FWA’s approach of wanting to charge everyone whether they caused the subsidence or not. FID’s Director George Porter was the only FWA member to vote no on adopting the second project. The FWA board will spend $5 million to fund engineering and design efforts. There a full court push to get state and federal monies but this often requires a local cost share. Porter said there are options and hopes the legislation to provide funding but a $400 million fix isn’t extraordinary maintenance but rather a capital cost. FWA is pushing for a cost share estimate. Stretch said some of the districts are going to have to go out to a 218 election to get the money to pay for the cost share. He said after this Thursday’s Friant meeting he’ll have more knowledge about the costs. If I heard correctly the SB 559 Friant Canal fix was stripped of all funding today. Next item, Temperance Flat, doesn’t have much going on at the moment. The Valley Blueprint is moving forward but there was some heartburn about water transfers from non SJR rivers. The FID centennial celebration is coming up and that will be fun.
Administrative Manager September Singh requested the board approve various overnight stays for staff to attend various professional conferences and the board agreed. She also said the Special District Risk Management Authority has a credit incentive program and FID has done pretty good and had its insurance premiums reduced. That was the admin report.
Under directors’ reports Porter said there were some safety issues brought up at ACWA. He said applying a sticker of a fire extinguisher near where it’s located on the outside of the truck can make a big difference. That was one example. Stretch said the Fresno State of the City lunch is coming up June 12th and directors are welcome. Jacobsen said the committee assignments are the same as last year. And that was that. The meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 by Don A. Wright
Fresno Irrigation District – The Fresno Irrigation District is located at 2907 So. Maple Avenue, Fresno CA 93725 phone 559/233-7161 and meets at 4:00pm on the third Tuesday of the month at district headquarters. FID is part of the Kings River North GSA
Ryan Jacobsen – President, Jerry Prieto – Vice President, Greg Beberian, Christopher Woolf & George Porter
Bill Stretch – General Manager
DeAnn Hailey – Controller
Laurence Kimura – Engineer
Jeff Boswell – Attorney
Donaday Chapman – Human Resources
September Singh – Administrative Manager