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OFFICE OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION

STATE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION COMMISSION

FEBRUARY 25, 2014

1:15 PM

VETERANS MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM

5825 FLORIDA BOULEVARD

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana

PROCEEDINGS/MINUTES

CALL TO ORDER

Vice Chairman Skains called the regular monthly Commission Meeting to order at 1:15 P.M. Vice Chairman Skains gave the invocation and led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL

The roll was called by Ms. Edwards

Members and Alternate Members present: Mr. Reggie Skains, Vice Chairman, Mr. Ruben Dauzat, Mr. Ed Yerger, Mr. George Guillory, Dr. Thomas Vitrano; and Mr. Larry Sayes

Members absent: Mr. Randell Fletcher, and Mr. John Compton

A quorum was present.

Others Present: Mr. Kevin Norton, USDA-NRCS, State Conservationist; Mr. Brad Spicer, LDAF/SSWCC Executive Director; Dr. Bill Branch, Water Consultant; Dr. Brian LeBlanc, LSU AgCenter; Mr. Joey Breaux, LDAF-OSWC; Ms. Laura Edwards, LDAF-OSWC and Ms. Faran Dietz, OSWC/Capital SWCD and Ms. Caitlin Lambert, LDAF-OSWC.

Vice Chairman Skains asked if there were any public or Commission comments regarding the agenda and there was one. Mr. Dauzat asked to move Dr. Bill Branch’s presentation on Irrigation Power Issues under Correspondence to be next on the agenda. Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion.

Motion: Mr. Ruben made a motion to move Dr. Bill Branch’s presentation of Irrigation Power Issues under Correspondence to be next on the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sayes and passed unanimously.

Vice Chairman Skains asked Dr. Branch to speak to the Commission regarding farmers accessing electrical power for irrigation pump motors. Dr. Branch said producers with deep wells are getting shocked by their high electric bills and they need to have more information on how each electric utility company bills by wattage and service charges. He said there is a wide range in the amount they charge. Dr. Branch said some producers pay $175 a month listed as a service charge; another had a demand charge of $86 and another had one of $80 demand charge along with a $2 charge for energy and then a fuel adjustment charge. He said he visited with the Louisiana Association of Electrical Co-operatives to see if something could be arranged to have an irrigation service charge set up throughout the state. He said the motor size matters along with each utility company’s billing rules and procedures. He said Louisiana needs an irrigation type charge across the state similar to what Mississippi has in place. He said the small rural co-ops have been a problem for farmers in the past because they do not have the experience with large motors in rural areas. He said early on they asked for 3-phase power and that is one reason you may see a center pivot next to a highway, but that is not a good place to position it. Dr. Branch said that variable frequency drives is the answer to the 3-phase problem and handed out a flyer on it to the Commission members. He said in the Florida Parishes we still have the problem because they need 75 hp motor submergible pumps for irrigating tomatoes or strawberries but because a 5 hp motor is the largest you can use on single phase which only irrigates an acre or two, they have problems. He handed out a flyer on variable speed motors and said that they can be used on a single-phase line because they start off slow and shut down slow

Dr. Branch said it was suggested by some rice farmers that it is better to change from electric to diesel.

Mr. Guillory said he has 25 motors and electricity is 50% cheaper than diesel. He said natural gas for large variable engines is 40% the cost of diesel. He said as for cost, electric is cheaper, then natural gas, and diesel. He said maintenance is also much less on electric motors. Mr. Guillory said each co-op had their own rate as do the gas companies and that LP is very expensive.

Dr. Branch said that fact sheets are needed for growers using irrigation because they need to know the rates per volts before they install their irrigation systems. He said that he is talking to anyone that can give the producers some help.

Mr. Spicer asked if he was requesting a resolution or a motion from the Commission?. Dr. Branch said Louisiana needs an irrigation rate for producers like they have for Cotton Co-ops. Mr. Spicer suggested that they do more research into the matter and then bring it back to the State Commission for action.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

Vice Chairman Skains asked for any comments from the public or Commission members about the Commission December 3, 2013 minutes and there were none. Vice Chairman Skains said, if there were no comments, then he would call for a motion to approve the minutes of the December 3, 2013 State Commission Meeting.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion to approve the minutes as mailed of the December 3, 2013 State Commission Meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Yerger and passed unanimously.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Vice Chairman Skains said they would now take up Unfinished Business and requested Mr. Spicer to report on the items listed on the agenda.

NRCS Contribution Agreements

Vice Chairman Skains asked Mr. Spicer to review the Farm Bill Contribution Agreement with the Commission.

Mr. Spicer said the second invoice for the 2013 Farm Bill has been completed in the internet program and although we were having problems with the internet program due to moving to a new server, the second invoice will probably be ready to send to NRCS this week.

LACD Annual Meeting

Vice Chairman Skains asked Mr. Spicer to review this item with the Commission. Mr. Spicer said approximately 230 attended the Master Farmer luncheon at the LACD Meeting but that was about twenty less than last year. He said 215 participants registered for the meeting with about two-thirds of the SWCDs represented by board members.

Mr. Ruben Dauzat said it was very well attended and the sessions highlighting water were very timely and interesting. He complimented Brad Spicer for doing a very good job on putting it together and having it run smoothly. Mr. Spicer said it takes a lot of support from districts and NRCS staff to conduct the annual meeting.

NACD Annual Meeting

Vice Chairman Skains asked Mr. Spicer to review this item with the Commission. Mr. Spicer said the NACD meeting had nine participants from Louisiana and Mr. Garber did a very good job in conducting the meeting including the general sessions and the NACD Board of Directors sessions.

Mr. Norton said the NACD meeting was very good, and went quickly. He said Mr. Earl Garber is a very impressive President and is taking NACD to another level in the right direction. He said the highlight of the meeting was the timing and signing of the new Farm Bill.

January 28, 2013 SSWCC Cancelled Meeting

Mr. Spicer said the January SSWCC meeting was cancelled due to the weather. He said the correspondence, news articles and other documents are in the Commissioners’ packets for their reading later. He said there are articles on feral hogs, forestry issues, hypoxia, sugar cane industry and cane burning.

Vice Chairman Skains asked if there was any public or Commission comments regarding moving Correspondence next on the agenda because Mr. Norton had to step out of the meeting and there was was none. Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion.

Motion: Dr. Vitrano made a motion to move Correspondence to be next on the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. Yerger and passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Correspondence

Vice Chairman Skains asked Mr. Spicer to review the correspondence. Mr. Spicer said the first item is a letter from the Northeast SWCD regarding an arrangement with Mapping Solutions to sell Franklin Parish plat books on consignment.

Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion to allow Northeast SWCD to enter into an arrangement with Mapping Solutions to sell Franklin Parish plat books on consignment.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion to allow Northeast SWCD to enter into an arrangement with Mapping Solutions to sell Franklin Parish plat books on consignment. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sayes and passed unanimously.

Mr. Spicer said the next item is a letter from the Crescent SWCD requesting approval for the secretary to be on administrative leave on Mardi Gras Day, March 4, 2014 due to the large amount of traffic in the office area.

Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion for Crescent SWCD secretary to be on administrative leave March 4, 2014 for Mardi Gras.

Motion: Dr. Vitrano made a motion to allow the Crescent SWCD secretary to be on administrative leave March 4, 2014 for Mardi Gras. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dauzat and passed unanimously.

Mr. Spicer said the next item is a letter regarding Mr. Edward Krielow’s retirement in February. He said Mr. Krielow is the owner of the CPA firm that prepares most of the SWCD audits to be forwarded to the Legislative Auditor. He said that in the letter Mr. Krielow stated that although he was retiring and transferred ownership of his firm to Mr. Aaron Cooper, that he was not going anywhere and would be available to clients on an as-needed basis.

Mr. Spicer said the next item Act 790 of 2012 Session directs districts to send a written report “that includes the amount of water used for residential, commercial or industrial, or agricultural purposes, respectively as well as any actual and projected saltwater intrusion or encroachment and any current or projected sale of water for use outside of the state” to the Office of Conservation by April 1. He said he has discussed it with DNR and with LDAF attorneys and it was decided that the easiest way to respond would be for the State Commission to do the reporting for the 44 SWCDs rather than having each district make a report. He said probably only Caddo SWCD would have anything to report because of its operation of an irrigation district within the district. He said if the Commission agreed then we would need a motion.

Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion for the State Commission to do the required written report of the 44 SWCDs groundwater resources to the Office of Conservation by April 1, 2014.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion for the State Commission to do the required written report of the 44 SWCDs groundwater resources to the Office of Conservation by April 1, 2014. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sayes and passed unanimously.

Mr. Spicer said the next item concerns SCR 39 of 2013 Regular Session that requires certain entities of local government to report to Louisiana Coastal Protection (CPRA) and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) for a comprehensive study and evaluation of Louisiana’s levee districts and other water resource boards. He said they selected two out of the 44 districts, Bodcau and Dorcheat to complete the questionnaire in November 2013 but neither district complied with the request. He said that both districts received the questionnaire in November but did not notify OSWC nor did they complete the lengthy questionnaires. Mr. Spicer said he found out about the questionnaires during a presentation by DNR at the LACD Meeting. He said OSWC completed both questionnaires this morning and will send them to Mr. McMann this afternoon.

Mr. Spicer said another item the Commission needs to be aware of is the likelihood that legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour will be introduced in the upcoming session. He said the Department may want to know the Commission‘s position on such legislation because of the potential impact on the 44 districts. He said they do not have to act on it now, but to think on what position they may want to take. He said we currently have nine SWCD employees that make under $10.00. He said should the minimum wage be increased district employees making $10.00 or more per hour that have been working for the district for several years likely will request a raise too.

Mr. Vitrano asked if each SWCD decides what they want to pay their employees.

Vice Chairman Skains said yes, but if the State raises the minimum wage to $10.00 an hour they will have to comply with the law. He said we do not know the cost of supporting the legislation because it would also increase taxes on wages. He said we need to know more about the impacts before the Commission makes a decision. He said this came about because the President recently signed an order stating that all federal contractors had to raise the minimum hourly pay to $10.10 for their employees, but that was only for federal contract employees.

Mr. Spicer said the next two items are regarding USDA’s StrikeForce efforts to increase economic opportunities in rural areas and in January forty-four parishes in Louisiana were added along with counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Mr. Spicer said the next four items are regarding Arbor Day and various tree giveaway and tree sales by LSU and LDAF and mass plantings of trees in St. Tammany Parish.

Mr. Spicer said the next two items are news articles on hypoxic zones. He said the first one is very interesting, in that it announces a $1 million prize for solutions to hypoxic zones paid by Tulane University. He said the grand prize is funded by Ms. Phyllis Taylor, President of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and that Tulane prize partners include Mr. Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Commissioner Mike Strain, LDAF. Mr. Spicer said the second news article states Louisiana’s new proposed strategy for reducing the annual “dead zone” off the coast.

Mr. Spicer said the next news article is regarding the 29 new Master Farmers that were recognized at the LACD 68th Annual Meeting in January. He said the article states that the entire Vermilion Board of Supervisors are Master Farmers and that many NRCS employees are also certified, demonstrating the importance and significance of the Master Farmer Program. He said that Commissioner Strain was also awarded Master Farmer. Mr. Spicer said that Mr. Larry Sayes, a State Soil and Water Conservation Commission Alternate Member, was also awarded Outstanding Master Farmer.

Mr. Spicer said the next item is a news article from a Mississippi newspaper stating that Louisiana has a money problem – too much money. He said that Representative Andy Anders wants to direct some of the excess funds to LDAF putting back some of the mid-year cuts so Commissioner Strain can continue to run his office proficiently.

Mr. Spicer said the other news articles were included for the Commission’s information and were regarding ULM’s drone program, Starkville’s experiment in turning sugar cane into fuel, a crawfish peeler developed in Lafayette, LDAF staffer, Harry Schexnayder’s article on sugar cane grinding season, feral hogs, three articles on the Farm Bill passage, and NACD Forestry Network stating the partnership of US Forest Service and USDA NRCS with photo of Mr. Garber.

Mr. Sayes asked if the new Farm Bill changed anything on the Farm Bill Allocations. Mr. Spicer said no.

Supervisor Resignations/Appointments and Reappointments

Vice Chairman Skains asked Ms. Edwards to report on the supervisor resignations and appointments. Ms. Edwards said there were six resignations this month: Ms. Dena Warren, appointed position, Madison SWCD; Mr. Burton Newton, appointed position, Avoyelles SWCD; Mr. Chris Martin, elected position, Feliciana SWCD; Mr. Leslie Rodrigue, appointed position, Crescent SWCD; Mr. Allan Ensminger, elected position, Crescent SWCD; and Ms. Janet D. Gros, elected position, Avoyelles SWCD.

Vice Chairman Skains asked if there were any comments from the public or Commission members and there were none. Vice Chairman Skains asked for a motion to accept these resignations.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion to approve the resignations of Ms. Dena Warren, appointed position, Madison SWCD; Mr. Burton Newton, appointed position, Avoyelles SWCD; Mr. Chris Martin, elected position, Feliciana SWCD; Mr. Leslie Rodrigue, appointed position, Crescent SWCD; Mr. Allan Ensminger, elected position, Crescent SWCD; and Ms. Janet D. Gros, elected position, Avoyelles SWCD. The motion was seconded by Mr. Yerger and passed unanimously.

Ms. Edwards said the respective conservation districts are requesting the State Commission to appoint the following supervisors to a new term in office:

Crescent SWCD, Mr. Allan Ensminger appointed to fill the vacant appointed position of Mr. Leslie Rodrigue. Term began February 25, 2014 and will expire on June 21, 2014.

DeSoto SWCD, Mr. Ross Allison appointed to fill the vacant elected position of Mr. ML George. Term began February 25, 2014 and will expire on June 30, 2014.

DeSoto SWCD, Mr. Glen Caldwell reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 23, 2014 and will expire on March 23, 2017.

Dorcheat SWCD, Mr. David Lowe reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 23, 2014 and will expire on March 23, 2017.

Feliciana SWCD, Mr. Chris Martin appointed to fill the vacant appointed position of Mr. Leslie Bickham. Term began February 25, 2014 and will expire on November 23, 2014.

Feliciana SWCD, Mr. Keith McCallum appointed to fill the vacant elected position of Mr. Chris Martin. Term began February 25, 2014 and will expire on June 30, 2014.

Grant SWCD, Mr. Randell Fletcher reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 28, 2014 and will expire on March 28, 2017.

Madison SWCD, Mr. Carter Moberley appointed to fill the vacant appointed position of Ms. Dena Warren. Term began February 25, 2014 and will expire on October 25, 2014.

New River SWCD, Mr. Dean Smith reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term began February 28, 2014 and will expire on February 28, 2017.

Northeast SWCD, Mr. Jerry Robinson reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term began February 24, 2014 and will expire on February 24, 2017.

Sabine SWCD, Mr. John Patrick Boudreaux reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 23, 2014 and will expire on March 23, 2017.

St. Landry SWCD, Mr. Richard M. Hollier, Jr. reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 26, 2014 and will expire on March 26, 2017.

St. Martin SWCD, Mr. Jeffrey Durand reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term will begin March 26, 2014 and will expire on March 26, 2017.

West Carroll SWCD, Mr. Theron Ty Rogers reappointed to fill his expired appointed position. Term began February 24, 2014 and will expire on February 24, 2017.

Vice Chairman Skains asked for any comments from the public or Commission members about the supervisor appointments and there were none. He said, as there were no comments, then he would call for a motion.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion to approve the appointment of Mr. Allan Ensminger, appointed position, Crescent SWCD; Mr. Ross Allison, DeSoto SWCD, elected position; Mr. Glen Caldwell, DeSoto SWCD, appointed position; Mr. David Lowe, Dorcheat SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Chris Martin, Feliciana SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Keith McCallum, Feliciana SWCD, elected position; Mr. Randell Fletcher, Grant SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Carter Moberley, Madison SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Dean Smith, New River SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Jerry Robinson, Northeast SWCD, appointed position; Mr. John Patrick Boudreaux, Sabine SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Richard M. Hollier, Jr., St. Landry SWCD, appointed position; Mr. Jeffrey Durand, St. Martin SWCD, appointed position; and Mr. Theron Ty Rogers, West Carroll SWCD, appointed position. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sayes and passed unanimously.

New Employees

Vice Chairman Skains said we have two new employees, Ms. Caitlin Lambert and Ms. Faran Dietz and asked if they would introduce themselves to the Commission, starting with Ms. Dietz.

Ms. Faran Dietz said she was working in the OSWC as a water resources specialist. Mr. Breaux said she will be working with all water quality and all water resources working with Mr. Britt Paul and Scott Edwards of NRCS. Mr. Spicer said she is an employee of the Capital SWCD working in our office under a cooperative agreement with NRCS to work on National Water Quality Initiatives, 319 Grant and other Water Quality efforts.

Ms. Caitlin Lambert said an LDAF Ag Environmental Specialist employee and was the liaison between SWCDs and the OSWC and her main job will be helping SWCDs in building their capacities to enhance their programs, helping with grants, long range plans, annual reports and other duties as needed. She said right now she and Faran are getting to know the districts by attending board meeting throughout the state.

Mr. Spicer said she will be helping districts get back into being the local conservation leaders in their districts. He said the 1985 Farm Bill has had an adverse impact on district boards in regards to decision making regarding planning and implementing conservation measures and activities within their local districts as well as district specific activities and projects.

Mr. Ruben said they were at the Avoyelles meeting that morning and he appreciated them driving all that way for their board meeting this morning and they look forward to working with both of them.

Vice Chairman Skains said he wanted to update the Commission on the Legislative luncheon with the Rural Caucus in March or at the earliest possible date. He said space is limited so we will focus on LACD officers, Area Vice Presidents and SSWCC members attending the luncheon.

Vice Chairman Skains said the NACD Fly-in will be March 24 through March 26, so we need to consider changing the Commission March meeting date to March 18 as several of the members will be in Washington D.C.

Mr. Spicer said he wanted to remind the districts that LSU AgCenter’s Ag Magic will be held April 28 – May 4, 2014.

NRCS State Conservationist Report

Vice Chairman Skains asked Mr. Norton, State Conservationist, to give the NRCS report. Mr. Norton apologized for having to step out of the meeting, but he had to take care of some important conservation work with the Commissioner’s Office. He said as many are aware there have been some EPA inspections and oversight of dairies in southeast Louisiana and that NRCS is working with the SWCDs to make sure we have the technical resources available for assisting dairy producers in the area. Mr. Norton handed out the Conservation Update saying the focus of this issue is on partnerships. He said the articles speak of the traditional partnership of NRCS and the SWCDs as the foundation of conservation in Louisiana but as things have progressed over time other partners have been willing to come to the table such as Ducks Unlimited (DU), LSU AgCenter with the Master Farmer Program, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with restoration projects, and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) with water quality projects. He said there are many other examples of projects our other partners have and are still helping us with.

Mr. Norton said the Annie’s Project held in February had ten women graduating in the first two classes held in Louisiana.

Mr. Norton handed out the 2014 Workload Analysis and said that it is a revision of the report they provided last year. He said NRCS went around the state last year and met with each SWCD board and showed districts the tools NRCS was using to make sure we have the right people in the right places doing the right things at the right time for soil and water conservation across the state. He said they added some things to the back of the report where it was actually broke out by the resource units. He said they clustered the offices by resource units making sure that resource units would not have the latitude of having Soil Conservationists in every office, but that NRCS would try to keep District Conservationists and Conservation Technicians in every office and share technical specialist in order to have the right technical specialist available. He said when reading the report you need to compare like offices to each other, not just looking at who is at the top or bottom of a page. He said this is just another tool NRCS uses when allocating resources, identifying more opportunities to implement conservation, projecting future resource needs and future staffing needs. He said it has a lot of narrative with it but we are getting a lot of goods information about trends and field office performance because this is the fourth year the report has been done. Mr. Norton said this is for the Commission to peruse and that NRCS will use it as a tool when back filling District Conservationist and technician jobs and what grades will be required. He said this is a very good tool to use when evaluating staffing needs. He said he knows everyone is passionate about their office and wants a certain amount of things to happen at their office and in their district but we have to manage with what we have and have to allocate the right staff in the right place.

Mr. Norton said StrikeForce is not a new program and no new money will come to the state for it. He said the program is aimed at addressing the needs of persistent poverty areas; to help the rural areas grow. He said they are working with ag producers, communities and others to make a positive difference in these rural areas. He said NRCS , FSA and others are working together more and are looking at putting program packages together to boost economic growth in these areas. He said in Louisiana, StrikeForce Phase 1 is focusing in Louisiana’s northeast delta area and Mr. Dexter Sapp will be the coordinator for the NRCS.

Mr. Norton said the new Farm Bill was signed February 7, 2014.

Mr. Norton said that ended his report and asked if anyone had any questions or comments and they did not.

Vice Chairman Skains asked if anyone else had any other questions and there were none.

Other Business

Vice Chairman Skains asked Dr. Brian LeBlanc to address the Commission. Dr. LeBlanc said he works with and that Dr. Leonard thinks these meetings are very important and he sends his regrets. He said Dr. Leonard was in north Louisiana and could not get back in time to attend today. Dr. LeBlanc thanked the Commission for allowing him to sit in for Dr. Leonard. He said he was with the LSU AgCenter, in the School of Environment and Plant Sciences, Water Quality Research so maybe we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.

Vice Chairman Skains thanked Dr. LeBlanc for being at the meeting.

Mr. Spicer said he had another item under Other Business that he would like to cover. He said they were going to northeast Louisiana next Thursday to meet with the SWCDs to discuss the formation a Northeast Louisiana Water Management Committee that would work on getting additional surface water into northeast Louisiana for crop land irrigation. He said they will be discussing with districts the possibility of the Corp of Engineers conducting a Feasibility Study for southeast Arkansas and northeast Louisiana to move water out of Arkansas River down into southeast Arkansas and northeast Louisiana. He said they will also discuss district’s legislative authorities and responsibilities that allow districts to form irrigation districts and other water management entities. He said hopefully that the meeting will lead to the districts banding together and taking a leadership role in working with Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to find the money to do the feasibility study. He said the initial cost is going to be $300,000 and that Arkansas has agreed to put up $150,000 and has asked Louisiana to put up the other $150,000. He said we need to find a way to make it happen, ideally it would be best if the legislature appropriated the money to LDAF/OSWC and with the appropriate authority and paperwork the funds could be transferred to the Corps. He said getting $150,000 out of a $26 billion state budget is not much of an impact on the state budget and is not very much to pay to determine if we can get Arkansas water into northeast Louisiana. He said contrary to what many folks may think we need additional water for crop irrigation in northeast Louisiana. Mr. Spicer said he can remember fifteen to twenty years ago when we talked about never having to worry about a supply of irrigation water in northeast Louisiana because we were getting water from the shallow Mississippi alluvial aquifers where water levels are replenished every year when the river is in flood stage but recently farmers started to have salt water problems in these aquifers. He said yes, we already have water use issues in the northeastern part of the state and if we miss this opportunity with the state of Arkansas willing to share their water with us, we may never get another opportunity.

Mr. Yerger asked if this is only surface water or is it ground water too. Mr. Spicer said the feasibility study concerns only surface water. He said although the ideal situation when planning water use management would be to not separate the two because actually they are not separateable when you are preparing a water use management plan.

Mr. Yerger asked what authority districts have to form a water board. Mr. Spicer said the districts have state authority, R.S. 3: Chapter 9:1201 and 1208. He said the Caddo SWCD formed the Caddo Irrigation District by forming a committee made up of individuals within the Irrigation District that would be using the water. He said districts can bring other folks as advisories or committee members, but all decisions regarding funding and staffing have to evidently be made at the district level. He said the reason all decisions are made by the district is because they have the legislative authority to manage agricultural water use and the district pays all the bills and collects the use fees. He said districts cannot charge taxes, but they can charge a fee for water use if they are operating an irrigation project.

Mr. Yerger said so all irrigation water, surface and ground, will fall under these boards.

Mr. Spicer said it could, if it is written that way but the purpose of this project is to move surface water into northeast Louisiana from southeast Arkansas. He said that is what the focus needs to be. He said the proposal is to take water out of the Arkansas River southeast of Pine Bluff and move it into canal 19, which is partially man made and partially natural stream and disperse it into bayous Bouef, Bartholomew and Macon.

Mr. Sayes said at the Red River Valley Meeting a speaker from Texas gave a presentation on the Judge’s ruling in Texas. Mr. Spicer said the vague language used in the Red River Compact is part of the reason the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Texas and that is one of a number of reasons why it is critical for Louisiana to create our own water policy or someone else will do it for us.

Vice Chairman Skains asked if there was any other business or comments from the Commission or the public and there was none.

Next meeting

Vice Chairman Skains said the next State Commission Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 1:15 P.M. in the Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 5825 Florida Boulevard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana but needs to be rescheduled because several Commission members are going to be in Washington DC for the NACD Spring Fly-in. He suggested it be moved to March 18th. Mr. Spicer said a retirement party is scheduled for FSA State Executive Director, Mr. Willie Cooper on March 19th and as most of the Commission members will be attending; possibly the March Commission meeting could be held on the 19th also and the other members agreed.

Vice Chairman Skains called for a motion for the next State Commission Meeting be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. in the Rapides Conference Room, LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research Center, Alexandria, Louisiana.

Motion: Mr. Yerger made a motion to change the next State Commission Meeting to Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. in the Rapides Conference Room, LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research Center, Alexandria, Louisiana. The motion was seconded by Mr. Guillory and passed unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Vice Chairman Skains asked if there were any other comments from the public and there were none.

ADJOURNMENT

Vice Chairman Skains said if there was no other business or comments from the public or Commission members, he will accept a motion to adjourn.

Motion: Mr. Guillory made a motion to adjourn at 2:39 P.M. The motion was seconded by Mr. Yerger and passed unanimously.

/s/ Reggie Skains______

Reggie Skains, Vice-Chairman

State Soil and Water Conservation Commission

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