The Fresno Irrigation District held its board of directors meeting at its Fresno headquarters on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at its Fresno headquarters. As usual with Chairman Ryan Jacobsen started at 4:00pm on the dot with a flag salute. There were no public comments worth noting, no conflicts of interests and the consent calendar was approved. That left the way clear for California Farm Water Collation honcho Mike Wade to give his presentation on Cultivate California.
Wade explained how Cultivate California came about and what it does. During the recent drought the main stream media began playing the blame game by trying to sway the masses against agriculture as water hogs. Wade said several ag groups came together to change the message. They found out the targeted audience was positive towards California farmers, liked the idea of locally grown food and took pride in the fact California feeds the world. Foodies, democrats and none white residences were persuaded by outreach. Ag’s interaction with the environment, including a new Spanish language website, Facebook and urban radio campaigns in Los Angeles and the Bay Area are all part of the new approach. This costs $733,000 to put together and Wade is here to make a pitch to FID. He didn’t want to walk out with cash – he wants a pledge. He needs to get the entire amount pledges and then collect so the outreach will not be shortchanged. Director Jerry Prieto said SGMA sometimes conflicts with using water wisely. He’d like to educate the public why flood irrigation is an important tool in recharging the aquifer. Conjunctive use has its place again. Wade was well received.
Controller DeAnn Hailey gave the financial reports and walked the board through the 2017 budget actuals to date. Many recitations of fund balances later found FID in pretty good shape. The board approved her report and paid its bills.
Water Master Jim Irwin gave his report and said Pine Flat and the other reservoirs on the Kings River is more than 500,000 a/f. FID is still diverting 100 cfs from the Kings River. He said the latest model for rain this week shows more than 6/10ths of an inch; but that’s about it for this month. Temps will be warmer than average. Most wet years don’t get going until December I’ve been told. So, it’s too early to get bent over it yet. Irwin gave the breakdown for the new year that started on November 1st with 60,000 a/f in storage. The year of our Lord 2017 AD was the longest run in the history of FID.
Chief Engineer Laurence Kimura gave his report and said he’s been in a lot of negotiations with High Speed Rail. Groundwater levels were measured and the Gould Canal is having a bypass procedure so a new bridge can be built. He said within one day of system shutdown crews were busy putting in pumps and a coffer dam incase there are flood flows that must be moved downstream before the end of the project. Kimura said there is no change in the budget. Prieto asked Kimura to add a category to the projects in the future – which director’s district the projects will occur in. Director Greg Beberian wanted to know if the cost of an all-weather road along the canals should be shared by the City of Fresno. Assistant Manager Bill Stretch said he’ll definitely look into it but he doesn’t believe the agreement covers this. The board approved Kimura’s budget requests.
Stretch gave his report by turning it over to engineer Adam Claes. Claes showed photos of some of the maintenance projects including a seepage drain. An air vent was installed on a downward gradient pipe and trimmed many trees and bushes to keep the homeless from camping out on the banks. There was one cement lined canal that is leaking. It was determined it would be cheaper to wrap it in plastic than repour the concrete. Someone wants to enter the Serrato Intertie Facility in the 2018 Excellence in Engineering Award. So some very nice, what Claes called glamor photos, were taken of the facility at sun down with just so lighting. It looked as sexy as any four stationary pumps on a concrete slab can be. Claes talked about a new blade for the district’s Cat – D9 maybe? The blade scrapes toes along the canal banks. Director George Porter was inspired and asked to drive it. General Manager Gary Serrato said he’d give him safety training and turn him loose. The drone is becoming and increasingly popular method for taking photos for the aerial view; which is often the only way to get a comprehensive feel for the larger, multi-acre projects such as 100 plus acre southwest banking facility. Engineering firm Provost & Pritchard made a video of a fly over. The surrounding growers are very happy to have recharge basins nearby. Beberian wants the district to get a good drone. Staff will review that.
Stretch took the stand and told the board the North Kings GSA is holding a secrete meeting with the other Kings River Sub Basin GSAs, don’t tell anyone. There aren’t any NKGSA board meetings left this year. There probably won’t be a general board meeting until January and I haven’t heard of any advisory committee meetings scheduled. Next Stretch reported the Friant North Authority will become quarterly and FID is thinking seriously about rejoining Friant Water Authority. He said Friant North has a pretty good website worth checking out. The City of Fresno will be taking the lead on the Temperance Flat project and there will be a meeting of the participants soon. The last topic Stretch mentioned was the consulting firm New Currents’ strategic plan for FID. Attorney Gary Sawyers had met with staff and board member then distilled the discussions down to a couple of pages in a memo.
Serrato gave his report and said former longtime FID director Bill Magnuson passed away. Serrato will be meeting between Thanksgiving and Christmas with the City of Clovis. A short report but he’s only recently returned from the Holy Land.
Under administrative matters a claim request to reimburse a grower was approved for about $1,000. That was almost the last thing but like you I was waiting to find out FID’s response to Mike Wade’s proposal. Stretch said FID already contributes $1,500 to the CFWC. The suggested amount of contribution was $14,000 but staff recommended not that but rather $1,500 to the Cultivate California fund. Director Chris Woolf said there are farm bureau members and almond board members are already paying and the FID contribution is more than enough to keep folks from paying too many times over. The meeting then went into closed session for six item and the next meeting will be December 19th.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 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
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
Doug Jensen – Attorney