The Fresno Irrigation District held its board of directors meeting at its Fresno headquarters on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at its Fresno headquarters. Shortly before the meeting I spoke with my wife. She is at our small home outside of Lafayette, Louisiana. It was 19 degrees and snowing. The wind was at 17 miles per hour and humidity was 90 percent. She said it was cold and I believe her. I used to say Louisiana is beautiful in the winter and too hot for the summer. Now I don’t know what to say.
In his usual punctuality Chairman Ryan Jacobsen called the meeting to order at precisely 4:00 pm and as quick as I could stand up and take my hat off we were saluting the flag. In public comment I reported to the board the vital statistics now taking place in Louisiana and that led to a brief discussion about alligators sticking their noses above water so they can breath while the bayou freezes around them. Also, Claudia Salinas with State Senator Andy Vidak’s office introduced herself and welcomed everyone to stay in contact. That was nice. The consent calendar was passed in whole and that was nice as well. This evening the ever charming De Ann Hailey gave the financial report. General Manger Gary Serrato added the Kings River Water Association of which FID is a member, has been after the power authority and refunds will be issued for over billing. The board approved the reports and paid its bills.
Water Master Jim Irwin reported 570,000 a/f at Pine Flat. FID had 75,000 a/f of that. The City of Fresno is now diverting by pipe from the Friant Kern Canal to its northeast treatment plant. He reported Fresno is at 27 percent normal rainfall for this time of you. Consolidated ID in Selma is diverting from the Kings River as well. Snow sensor readings in the central and south Sierra are far below average. There will be a storm coming in from Thursday night through Saturday. Yeah, good for us. Evidently we are in a La Nina this winter. He said the US Bureau of Reclamation made an unofficial 50 percent allocation. Irwin had a scenario from April to 15 days into August under the current conditions. Assistant GM Bill Stretch said we’re about a third of the way through the precipitation season so there is still hope. There is a waste water agreement between FID, the Cities of Fresno and Clovis only allows the cities to divert 10,000 a/f of purple pipe water to FID’s canal. Director Greg Beberian was concerned the cities aren’t maintaining the purple water pumps.
Stretch said there was construction on the Gould Canal south of Ashland Avenue on January 10th. FID was moving water to the City of Fresno’s recharge ponds known as Leaky Acres. A coffer dam was put in the canal with pumps to move it around the construction downstream. Stretch had no good reason for the contractor not being at the coffer dam when the water hit at 3:30 am causing flooding. But the contractors are taking responsibility and Stretch praised FID staff for their quick and positive impactful response.
District Engineer Laurence Kimura reported on engineering matter from the High-Speed Rail to landowner projects impacting the district. Engineer Nick Stanovich (sp?) used to work with the Bureau and now he’s with FID. Good for him. Even though I’m not sure how to spell his last name I can say Nick has always been friendly and willing to share his knowledge with me when ever I had a question. Next Kimura showed the board a slide show of various projects around the district.
Adam Claes gave the Assistant GM report for Stretch. There was an open lot near the Siskiyou Canal that had a house built on it. A stand pipe had to be built into the backyard. The homeless situation is on the rise again. Some of the nomads are not on FID easement but throw their trash into the canal. There’s one near the FID office and the homeless are on the railroad property. The rail road is sending a right of way man to deal with it. From what I’ve seen and heard about rail road cops, you don’t want to mess with them. He reported there is a day’s worth of work on the Serrato Intertie.
Stretch reported there will be a North Kings GSA meeting here at FID next week. Everyone agrees it will be a busy year for the SGMA development. The GSP is on the near horizon and Stretch said the Provost & Pritchard engineering firm is working on boundary flow information. He said the findings were a bit unexpected and there is more overdraft than expected. Stretch said Serrato is retiring at the end of the year and might take over the NKGSA. Serrato said there is a general sense of our overdraft. That is the real deal. He said the NKGSA has to go through a few names for a mediator and Friant’s Bill Luce might get the job. Serrato said boundary flows are going to be a big topic. He said Dr. Ken Schmidt is going to be a good help in tracking bad water as well as good as it flows underground. Serrato said he doesn’t expect the North Kings GSA will be fallowing land but the McMullin Area GSA is expected to have to do so. He explained one sub basin may have several GSAs putting together separate GSPs and the coordination agreement pulls it all together. It’s a lot of work. Stretch read from DWR’s Best Management Practices and summed it up that they are still in progress.
Next Stretch said since FID, Madera ID and the Chowchilla Water District are back in Friant there isn’t as much need for the North Friant Authority organization. Director Jerry Prieto moved to maintain the structure as is until the JPA expires. Hailey said the NFA could run another four or five years without another call for funds.
Moving on to Friant, Stretch said the next meeting is this month. He heard a lot about subsidence on the Friant Canal. It’s serious biz causing 60 percent capacity loss. One of the proposed water bonds has $750 million set aside for dealing with this. FID has teamed up with the City of Fresno in the question of how to merge the multi-county JPA with the Friant WA lead MOU. Another issue for Friant is taking back the canal from the federal government. This would provide much more flexibility to get the feds out of the deal. This could also save a trash can full of money when it comes time to cure the subsidence because the latest and greatest Bureau overkill standards may not be needed. The Mid Pacific Conference of CVP and other Bureau stuff is taking place in Reno this week. On March 27th FWA will invite folks to a Fresno hoedown so everyone can get together. The City of Fresno wants to create trails along the FID canals. FID wants a master agreement with the city. One big concern is the amount of homeless throwing trash in. The city will have to police this and remove the trash. That’s a win for FID. But, what happens when the district has to spray herbicides while folks are walking down the trail? The City sprays the banks and regulate the foot traffic. Attorney Jeff Boswell was on the FID board when this started several years ago. He said the new administration wants these trails and has better funding that allows more flexibility. The City of Clovis wants something very similar. The trail will run along the McKinley Avenue west from Clovis Avenue. I used to job down that many years ago. The trail will turn north at Millbrook and west again on Shields as far as Blackstone. The first section will be from First Street to Fresno Avenue along Shields. That will allow folks to peep into Westlands Water District’s headquarters backyard.
Serrato gave his report and said the districts strategy is moving forward. He hopes to bring something back by March but it might be April. That was it.
Administrative items started with Claes presenting an insurance claim from last October. Mr. “Smith” forgot to sign the claim and has done so since. One of FID’s canals south of Kerman flooded Smith’s almonds. The almonds were on the ground but some of them were already picked up. It was only $615 so the board agreed it did seem legitimate and awarded the claim. Stretch said policies about smoking were updated as was electric devices. He said the updated policy about FID employees driving district vehicles was also updated at today’s meeting. So, now if you work for FID you can’t smoke and talk on your cell phone while driving a FID car.
Hailey next talked about how to get a better visual experience in the board room. It is a bright room and the ability to suspend a projector is limited. Also the white screen needs to be replaced by a gray screen. A new outfit runs from $7,000 to $10,000 including new projector and screen. For $8,300 they could have a 85” big screen tv, also known as a monitor. The deluxe package monitor could run as high as $20,000 but that might be too much. It is a bit difficult to see clearly. Beberian felt it was expensive and wanted to have handouts for FID meetings. But he said since there are other agencies meeting they should help pay for a new tv. Boswell said it is difficult to see especially in the day time. He said having people come here for meetings saves the district thousands of dollars of travel costs. And Boswell pointed out, correctly I believe, FID is a leader and this will help keep that position solid. Jacobsen said he’d like staff to get some bids for a monitor and speaker system. The second to the last open session item was a reminder the Form 700 is now on line.
Director reports were the last open session item. No one had anything so the meeting went into closed session.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 by Don A. Wright No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW.
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
Board Ryan Jacobsen – President, Jerry Prieto – Vice President, Greg Beberian, Christopher Woolf & George Porter
Gary Serrato – General Manager
Bill Stretch – Assistant General Manager
DeAnn Hailey – Controller
Laurence Kimura – Engineer
Jeff Boswell – Attorney