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Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission (View All)

Conservation Commission Retreat of December 1, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Conservation Commission Retreat Notes 12/1/12
Respectfully Submitted by Jim Hartman
People Present:
Risa Buck, Mark Weir, Marni Koopman, Cat Gould, Roxane Beigel-Coryell , Jim Hartman, Jim McGinnis and Thomas Beam.  Facilitated by David Wick
Discussion of resiliency planning model
Jim McGinnis:  To be a strong commission we need to be productive, stable (avoid too much turn over of members) and build resilience by fostering social capital in the community.
The group listed our successes last year:
1.Grey Water conference last June
2.City endorsed sustainability components.
3.Conservationist Awards presented with the help of City Counselors.
4.Encouraging the City to do less idling with it’s vehicles.
5.Compost classes and demonstration area improved.
6.Supported leaf bag program
7.Fourth of July Parade entry
8.Supported Recology’s Plastic Round-up
9.Having support from city staff (Adam Hanks and Lee Tuneberg)
The group listed things to improve on:
1.A better earth day booth.
2.Green building program resurrection.
3.Getting more public support and participation (Stuart Corns and Ross Finny could help us on specific projects).
Reflections on the Comprehensive Plan
Mark:  We need to create timeline/info graphic on key points of this plan for the City Council.
Jim M.:  We need to get familiar with Chapter 11 of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This is good to refer to when working with the City Council.
Risa:   Use this as a grounding context.
Mark:  It would be good to have a timeline of efforts on particular fronts. 
Cat:  We should keep referring to the plan and reminding counsel about it.
City Council Goals that relate to our goals:
Jim M.:  We need a point person per goal to encourage city council to keep each goal. 
Here are our goals:
1.  Develop a plan to meet Tier II power demands (By conservation or new energy sources)
We should push shallow geothermal energy, microhydroelectricity, solar electric and solar hot water.  We need to find the right person in the city to promote this.
2.  Ensure that City is efficiently using water. 
Mark:  We can improve a lot here.  For starters we could get parks department head to go to EPA water wise conference.
Risa:  We could also encourage better soil care (Mulching)
3.  Promote a multi-modal transportation system and fee structures that promote green buildings.
4.  Develop a concise sustainability plan.
5.  Adopt a water master plan (has been done).
6.  Encourage green standards in the remodel the Grove.
Marni: We need to connect climate change to these issues.
Conservation Commission Charter Goal Review:
The group felt we have a lot of freedom to do what needs to be done.
Cross Communication with other commissions:
The group felt it would be good to have some or all its members be a liaison to other city commissions.  We could also invite them to report to us.  It wouldn’t necessarily involve attending their meetings.  The liaison could read their minutes and communicate with one member of the other commission.  At our next meeting our members will say which commission they would like to be the liaison for.  Cat would like to work with  the Transportation Commission.  David Runkel is already on the Budget Committee.
Budget Questions:
We have about $4,000 each year.  The group felt that we could have access to more funds, and we could ask for more money on bigger projects that are outside of our regular expenses.
The group reviewed how we relate to Conservation Division:
We worked to get a conservation division manager last year and were not successful. 
Public Works Director Mike Faught could help us with this.  He worked hard on the road diet.  Julie works under him.
Mark:  It would be great for them to have a central vision.  It would be good to do better tracking of efforts and to give out written reports with each audit.
We can go two directions:
A.  Continue to work with Mike Faught.  We could ask to help him with conservation measures within his department.
B.  We need to continue to work to get a conservation manager.
C.  We are still hoping to get numbers regarded the city’s utility usage over time and we hope that will happen by June.
D.  We could invite the head of the conservation division to come present to us on their programs. We would like a nice overview, their upcoming goals recent accomplishments. Perhaps David Kanner could cover this when he meets with us.
Possible questions for David Kanner were placed on poster.
1    How can we help you?
2.   What is the conservation division’s 2012-2013 goals and recent accomplishments?
Sustainable planning presentation by  Jim McGinnis:
City has adopted a framework for City Operations.
Adam has put together a sustainability timeline:  But it will require staffing.
Start of year:  Defining what the benchmarks are.  These are the returns on investments.
This way the City could give yearly meaningful reports to City Council.
In Feb:  We check in with how this process is going.
March and April:  City does data collection
May:  Draft plan is presented.
At first we’ll looking for low hanging fruit such as variable speed pumps at AWTP.
If this project stalls, we will go to City Council and let them know it is not happening.  Lee Tuneberg can help us know how the project is going as well.
Mark:  Focus on $ savings to move process along quicker.
Jim H:  Also focus on resiliency (stable sources of water and energy).
Jim M:  Also have planet and profit information for those who want it.
Roxanne:  At the end of the process you can bring up the non-monetary benefits.
Community Input into Sustainability Planning: 
We have a council goal for this.  We will continue it.
We should continue to have dialog on how to promote it.
Emphasize Climate Change issues:  Stability . . Reducing Energy use… .Finding other transportation modes.  75% of Americans feel climate change is happening.
Risa:  We need behavior change.  People believe in it, but doesn’t do much.
Climate Action Plan can help us with the community action plan later.
SOCAN:  Southern Oregon Climate Action Network could assist.
Mark:  We may get stretched to thin.  We could ask SOCAN to do the plan.
Roxanne:  SOU has a climate action plan.  SOU students could help work on a plan for the City.
They have goals set on how much they want to reduce their emissions.
Jim M:  Some successful cities did it by leading from the side.  A nonprofit can take it on.
The group  reached consensus:   We’ll put this goal on the back burner for now.
Group decided to postpone discussion conservation commission goals, and do it at December meeting.
In terms of subcommittee meetings, should we meet a different times or meet more as a whole group?  We decided to stick with current system.  We need to obey public meeting laws.
Water Subcommittee presentation by Mark:
Do the adopt a drain program. . ..tie into green businesses
Car Wash Training (SOCAN also had a subcommittee on it): 
      Perhaps just train major sites like Les Swab to insist on proper detergent.
Move grey water event to Earth Day (Won’t be sponsored by this commission).
      It could be a miniconference
In the future:
Go for rebate on grey water systems from the City
Recycling presentation by Risa:
What kind of City do we want to live in?
Waste Hauler’s get paid by how much waste they move historically.
The cities are the one’s who ask for more recycling.
Markets for recyclables was strong since the 1980’s.
The cost to provide recycling services has gone up.
S.F. has 80% recycling.  Recology helped.  The city board of supervisor’s said make this happen.
Austin, Texas is moving towards zero waste.
The City of Ashland needs to ask for improved recycling services.
A next step would be to get more compliance in existing programs.
We will discuss these topics at another meeting.
We listed items we want to discuss at another time:
Reports from City
Report to city on our accomplishments
Get green business back
Get our accomplishments known to the community.
Anti-idling efforts
How to use comprehensive plan?
      Influence changes
City wide commission event
Next meeting:
We agreed to all come with 3 goals.
We discussed what worked today:
David pushing us on track when necessary.
The sense of support for each other.
We discussed what could have been better:
Do goals first.
Not interrupting others.

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