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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Call To Order

Chairperson Moore called the meeting to order at 7:38 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call

Rita Moore, Chairperson, Don Cohen, Vice Chairperson, Bruce Bassett, Tina Lanzinger, Liz Sanderson, Fletch Waller, and Mike Grady. 



Pete Mayer, Director of Parks and Recreation

Paul West, Arborist

Stephanie Cangie, Admin. Assistant



Motion by Trustee Waller, seconded by Trustee Lanzinger to unanimously approve minutes of January 31, 2007.


Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.


Agenda Item Added

Councilmember Grady requested the agenda include a report on his trip to Washington, D.C.


Annual Report 2006

Annual report for 2006 presented by Chairperson Moore.  She will include a statement addressing the need for signs regarding horse riding.  Trustee Bassett asked Paul about measuring progress on invasive species.  Paul reported that this will be covered in a report to council on the Open Space Vegetation program.  Trustee Bassett wants  to see where we started versus where we are.  Trustee Lanzinger said she would like it on the city’s  website  Trustee Cohen commented that the report is a good summary, but wants the report to convey the emotion of the importance of the work.  Chairperson Moore agreed to include information on the importance of the work.    Trustee Bassett asked Trustee Grady’s opinion about what is appropriate to include in the annual report, and Trustee Grady commented that the Board’s  job is to preserve open space and conserve the carbon tied up in it. 


Trustee Waller commented that the more qualification included in the report he more it will strengthen the argument to get additional funding for storm damage.  The storm is not business as usual and should be highlighted in the report. 


Trustee Bassett suggested adding pictures. Chairperson Moore agreed to include pictures.  Chairperson Moore said that she would take email comments to incorporate into an intro and conclusion.  Paul said that the annual report is due the  first week of April in time for the April 16 Council meeting.  The Board offered a few more additions and agreed the report should be presented to City Council for approval.


Horses in Pioneer Park

Trustee Lanzinger provided information about entrance signing of the NE quadrant.  She said that off-island riders trailer horses over to Mercer Island and ride in the summer.  These riders do not know the restrictions.  She said that any board member can call the Saddle Club to report horses in the NE and NW quadrant.  Trustee Waller asked about riders that stable at Stevenson’s.  Trustee Lanzinger reported that they do not have direct contact with riders that do not ride at the Saddle Club. 


Trustee Waller asked that a trail map box be added to the NW entrance of the NE quadrant.


Changes in Board meeting Day

Trustee Waller raised the question of the Board’s meeting day to insure that Councilman Grady can attend the meetings.  The board conferred and agreed to change its regular meeting day to the third Thursday of each month beginning in April.   They also agreed to change the start time to 6 p.m.  Motion by Trustee Sanderson  and second by Trustee Lanzinger that the Board will have a new meeting time of 6 pm on the third Thursday of each month.  Unanimously approved.



Thank you Correspondence to Council

Pete reviewed the idea of a thank you letter to Council for acquiring the Quarles property.  Chairman Moore asked Pete to write the letter.  Trustee Cohen asked Trustee Grady to have input on the letter with regard to the need for acquiring additional open space. 


Summer work plan 

Paul presented the work plan items that resulted from the tour with Trustee Lanzinger, Trustee Bassett and Trustee Waller.  Projects 5, 9, 11, and 13 have been done, which includes the big downfall in the ravine.  Trustee Waller complimented the crew on their work.  Trustee Bassett reported that 16 is done too.  Trustee Cohen asked if the salmonberry trail was cleared.  Paul did not know the answer.  Trustee Bassett found the walk to be valuable to have the contact with staff.


Forest Management Plan 

Paul offered this item to discuss the report distributed at the last meeting.  Trustee Waller asked about the budget to actuals.  Paul is not tracking expenses by area, but he thinks it is pretty close.  He thought that inflation will start to make the numbers less valid.  Also, maintenance of restoration areas is becoming more expensive than originally anticipated.  Trustee Waller asked how the 20,000 on public education was spent.  Some has paid for Earthcorps time to do outreach in schools but there has not been Trustee Waller pointed out the 2008 conifer planting project is 18k, and asked if it is worth doing.  Paul said it should be revisited.  The open canopy gaps from the storm are a liability.  Trustee Waller asked how difficult it would be to revise the budget and point out where there are shortfalls now.  Paul said it was a job that would either require new ground survey or airphotos.  There will be new airphotos this summer.  Trustee Waller would like to pursue this.   Councilmember Grady asked Paul to ballpark this for the April 16th meeting.  Chairperson Moore and Trustee Bassett volunteered to do GPS mapping.  Trustee Bassett reiterated the need for quantifying the health of the park.  It will help create the case for council support.  Paul said that invasives were not quantified in the Pioneer Park plan, and that would be useful for Chairperson Moore and Trustee Bassett to survey in 2007.  Trustee Waller asked about the restrictions on contracting work.   Paul explained that the City is bound by state law on contracting for public works.  Earthcorps and Mountains to Sound provide professional services to manage volunteers.  Changes in how they work on Mercer Island made difficult to continue using their paid crews under state law.  Therefore, in 2006 the City contracted a lot of the work with landscape companies.  Some of the companies are not experienced in this work and need close supervision.  Companies that specialize in restoration are often booked up months in advance by the spring.  Trustee Waller asked if this would make it hard to spend additional money if it were allocated by Council.  Paul thought it would not be, since much of the work would be tree companies which are more plentiful and available. 


Adding tree species to Management Plan list

Paul presented a document in the agenda packet.  His assessment is that there is a larger problem with root rot than previously believed.  Most of the storm damaged trees were Douglas fir.  It is a dominant species in the park.  There is a need to reevaluate species diversity in the park.  With climate change, there will be more drought stress in summer.  Tree species may need to be selected to anticipate this.  He is suggesting that the board that consider using other species that are not native to Puget Sound and also use seed provenances from Oregon.  Trustee Moore asked about using shore pine and incense cedars.  There was some discussion of tree species.  She said that she is uncomfortable about bringing in incense cedar.  She likes using maple and alder.  Trustee Bassett asked what timber companies are doing about this.  Paul did not know of anything so far.  Trustee Moore offered to raise the issue in the Washington Native Plant Society and the Society for Ecological Restoration.  Trustee Cohen asked what information we need to make decisions with due diligence.  Anecdotal information is not enough.  Paul said that further discussions with academics might be useful, but that there is not going to be hard research to make a decision.  There was further discussion about how and when to make the decision.  Councilmember Grady recommended reaching out to City of Seattle and King County for their planning on this topic.


City Council Planning Session

Councilmember Grady reported that Council at the January retreat discussed the December windstorm and the resources needed to address that.  The other issue that came up is adding new open space.  The challenge is to quantify benefits and show value of them.  New acquisitions will depend on showing how they save money or provide additional revenue streams.  Trustee Waller asked what the board could do.  Councilmember Grady said that they are looking at doing a cost/benefit analysis for open space.  This should have longevity past when any councilmember is in office.  Trustee Sanderson suggested that websites are a resource for educating the public about the value of open space.  The Starfish network is another.  Trustee Lanzinger expressed the need to educate the public about the fact that open space can be lost.  She said that with redevelopment happening on the island, public open space may become the only open space on the island. Trustee Sanderson raised the idea that outreach to seniors like the Quarrels could be valuable.


Washington DC update

Councilmember Grady reported that he went to Washington DC with the City Manager for the sewer lakeline.  Had a meeting with Representative Dicks.  They are hopeful more than in the past.  They also met with Representative Inslee regarding the Apollo Energy bill.  This would be an opportunity to show energy savings through fleet conversions, biofuel conversion and using other new technology in a joint project with the school district.  Another initiative is to study what is the CO2 baseline on Mercer Island.  That will allow us to set goals for zero emissions baseline.  Open space could contribute to the carbon market and provide a revenue stream and also “lock it up”.  Councilmember Grady is also going to push for more green development in the Town Center and the use of bike and pedestrian resources for transportation.  There is tremendous momentum in DC and Olympia to move forward, but there are few municipalities ready to take advantage of that. 


Retreat Topics and Timing

Paul presented compiled topics that the board members had sent him.  The board decided to use the list on the regular meeting on March 15th.  Trustee Sanderson volunteered to facilitate the March 15 meeting and if that works, she would facilitate the retreat as well.  The board agreed to meet at the Community Center in a weekday morning.  Stephanie will work with the board on setting a date in April. 



Trustee Moore adjourned the meeting at 9:24pm


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