City Council Meeting

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Meeting Date: 04/01/2014  
From: Erin Young, Water Resources Manager

Consideration and Approval of Projects:  Lake Mary - Walnut Creek Technical Advisory Committee (LM-WC TAC) project recommendations.
The LM-WC TAC asks for Council approval to fund two projects: 1) Not-to-exceed (NTE) $15,000.00 for purchase of up to 12 flowtography stations to be installed within the Upper Lake Mary watershed, 2) NTE $25,000.00 for the purchase and installation of flow & sediment monitoring equipment to be installed in Newman Canyon, followed by $2,200 annually for 5 years to cover a share of the operating costs.
Policy Decision or Reason for Action:
Council approval is required before funds can be dispersed from LM-WC TAC's account, as per the attached Memorandum of Understanding dated 01/13/13.

Subsidiary Decision Points: none
Financial Impact:
This Council action will authorize expenditure up to but NTE $51,000 from a restricted fund with the National Park Foundation (current balance is $127,000).
Connection to Council Goal:
5. Retain, expand, and diversify economic base; 6. Complete Water Policy; and 11. Effective governance.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
Yes, Council: executed the Stipulation on 12/10/01; approved the MOU (Agreement Number G747003001) on 08/06/03; approved the Charter to the MOU on 06/25/05, and; renewed the MOU and the Charter on 01/13/13.
Options and Alternatives:
1. Approve projects recommended by LM-WC TAC, and allow purchase of specified equipment.
2. Ask LM-WC TAC to modify one or both of the projects for Water Commission's recommendation and to Council for approval.
3. Ask LM-WC TAC to come forward with different projects to the Water Commission for recommendation and to Council for approval.
In 2001 a Stipulation (Civil No. 6417) was signed by the City of Flagstaff and the United States on behalf of the National Park Service (NPS) Flagstaff Area National Monuments and the Forest Service (USFS) Coconino National Forest recognizing & confirming the water rights of each Party within the Walnut Creek Watershed. It was agreed that either Party would not object to, dispute, or challenge these rights in the Little Colorado River Adjudication. In this Stipulation the parties agreed to cooperate in good faith to meet the objectives identified in the Stipulation. As part of the Stipulation, the City made a one-time contribution of $100,000 (now $127,000 with interest) to a trust account that may be used to fund studies to accomplish objectives to identify best management practices and to evaluate methods that may increase the likelihood of flood flows and improve the inner-canyon environment in Walnut Canyon National Monuments, as defined in the Stipulation. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the establishment of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was signed by the Parties on September 2, 2003 with a 10-year term. That MOU was revised by the TAC and signed by Mayor Nabours on January 22, 2013.
Key Considerations:
The two projects that the LM-WC TAC propose to fund will provide fundamental information to a vast number of stakeholders with interests in the Upper Lake Mary watershed. The two projects are among the first efforts to collect baseline information related to the watershed's response to climate and forest treatments. Utilities and Forest Managers seek flow volume and sediment information to answer essential water quantity and quality questions, ranging across a spectrum of situations, from catastrophic climate or fire events, to forest treatment strategies. This initial funding effort by the LM-WC TAC to purchase equipment is triggering a number of agency contributions, including leverage in time, research and funding. These organizations include Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP), NPS, USFS, Northern Arizona University (NAU), Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI), Salt River Project (SRP) and City of Flagstaff Utilities Division.

Upper Lake Mary serves as an important water source for the City of Flagstaff, and has therefore drawn much attention by foresters and hydrologists regarding the watershed's risk and vulnerability to catastrophic fires and climate change. The LM-WC TAC is proposing to fund the installation and equipment for the combination rainfall/sediment/streamflow gauge in Newman Canyon, the largest tributary of the lake, in order to better monitor and understand the volume, timing and quality of surface water recharge into the lake from the surrounding forested areas. The proposed gauge will be installed by the USGS, with annual operating costs funded under cooperation with the City Utilities Division, LM-WC TAC and FWPP. The gauge will collect rainfall and stream flow data in real-time (as it occurs) and store it in a database for future analysis. These data will also be available on the USGS website within minutes of occurring, which will allow water managers to know when and at what level the wash is flowing and therefore, when water quality and sediment sampling from this intermittent/ephemeral wash may be possible. The data may also be useful in evaluating change in water quality and water quantity that result from forest thinning projects that will be occurring within the watershed.

Additionally, the LM-WC TAC proposes to fund flowtography equipment that will collect baseline (pre-treatment) flow data at 12 locations within the Upper Lake Mary watershed. Flowtography was developed by SRP as a simple and low-cost method for collecting time-lapse photos using a wildlife camera and storage device, of the level of water flowing against a graduated stake in the wash. Water levels can be converted to a flow rate (such as cubic feet per second) using an equation developed from surveying the cross-sectional area of the wash at that particular location. Six of the locations are within paired watersheds of the 4FRI treatment areas; 4 locations are within the proposed FWPP treatment areas of Mormon Mountain; 1 location is within the Hoxworth Spring watershed; 1 location is at the USGS flow and sediment monitoring site in Newman Canyon. Pre-treatment information is essential to establish baseline conditions prior to FWPP and 4FRI treatments. This equipment is planned to be installed and monitored by a combination of NAU, SRP, FWPP, USFS and the City Utilities Division.

Both projects recommended by the LM-WC TAC support essential data collection efforts required to document the effectiveness of the planned FWPP and 4FRI forest treatments for the Upper Lake Mary watershed, which, based on the results of similar projects as demonstrated by researchers with NAU, should increase flood flows and/or frequency into Upper Lake Mary. Flow data collected by these two projects will be very useful when deciding which treatments to maintain and fund by the watershed protection fund; those that demonstrate increased flood flow and/or frequency within the Upper Lake Mary watershed.
Expanded Financial Considerations:
The costs for the equipment and installation of the Newman Canyon gauge will be split 60:40 (LM-WC TAC not-to-exceed $25,000/USGS $14,350.) The annual operating costs for monitoring the equipment will be split 50:50 (LM-WC TAC, FWPP, Utilities Division/USGS.) Utilities has identified $5,000 from account number 201-08-301-1014-0-4314 (Utilities Water Production account for Stationary Machinery & Equipment) to fund the first year of its share of the annual operating cost, and will budget on-going funding starting FY2016. The FWPP Monitoring Plan, scheduled to be completed soon, will ask Council to consider approval of $5,000 annually, for upwards of 10 years, as its share of the USGS annual operating costs. The LM-WC TAC has agreed to fund 5 years of annual operating costs at $2,200 per year.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
On January 9, 2014 the Water Commission unanimously approved the projects to be brought forward for Council's consideration and approval. Further, the intent of the Stipulation is to increase flood flows in Walnut Creek by improving the surface water supply. More runoff into Upper Lake Mary would not only benefit our municipal surface water supply, but increases the chance for water to flow over the dam and through the Walnut Canyon National Monument.

Additionally, these projects will support community goals of FWPP, which concern water quality and quantity in Upper Lake Mary, and reducing the risk of catastrophic fire in the watershed.
Community Involvement:

Lake Mary - Walnut Canyon MOU
Flowtography Proposal
USGS Proposal

Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Purchasing Director rcompau 03/20/2014 08:37 AM
Legal Assistant Vicki Baker 03/20/2014 11:03 AM
Form Started By: Erin Young Started On: 12/02/2013 04:21 PM
Final Approval Date: 03/20/2014


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