Public Outreach Committee – Meeting Minutes from July 22, 2020

Diversion Authority Public Outreach Committee Meeting Minutes

Diversion Authority Public Outreach Committee
Meeting Minutes
2:00 P.M. – Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Virtual & In-Person Meeting

The Diversion Authority Public Outreach Committee met in-person and virtually on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. The following committee members were present: Rodger Olson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District; Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commissioner; Jake Gust, Cass County Joint Water Resource District; Shelly Carlson, Moorhead City Council Member; Rick Steen, Cass County Commissioner and Ken Pawluk, Cass County Commissioner.

The following committee members were absent: Bernie Dardis, Mayor City of West Fargo; Grant Weyland, Clay County Commissioner, and Katie Mastel, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chambers.

Others present: Joel Paulsen, FMDA Executive Director; Eric Dodds, Sadie Moen and Rocky Schneider, Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.; Paul Barthel, Jacobs and Jason Ehlert, North Dakota Building Trades.

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Olson at 2:00 p.m.

Approval of minutes

Mr. Campbell made a motion to approve the meeting minutes from June 24, 2020, and Mr. Steen seconded the motion. Motion carried.

ND Legislative - Water Topics Overview Committee Recap

Executive Director Paulsen presented to the WTOC Committee, virtually, on June 4, 2020. He provided an update on the Diversion Authority and USACE projects that are currently underway in the state.

Resources Trust Fund

The State Water Commission reached out in a letter inquiring if the Diversion Authority had any funds that they would be willing to defer based on the current status of the Resources Trust Fund.

Currently, the Resources Trust Fund is not accepting nor approving any new applications due to the loss of incoming revenues because of the lower oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the current financial status of the Diversion Authority, approximately $22 million was identified to possibly be deferred back to the State. The Diversion Authority will have a better idea of what State funding will be needed going forward when the P3 bid is finalized.

Property Owner Outreach/CLOMR

Upon approval of the CLOMR, the maps and information packets will go out to the affected property owners along with a letter from the Diversion Authority.

The notice was published in the local newspapers and we anticipate approval of the CLOMR within the next two weeks; FEMA has signed off on the Project model.

Communications Plan

The Focus Group findings concluded that word of mouth is important, and we should be as visible as possible. Perhaps by attending as many water conferences as permissible since a lot of citizens don’t know what the Diversion is.

The areas of past success include:

Business Leaders Task Force; hiring an Executive Director; Chair’s Year-In-Review letter; legislative funding; website; candidate education; monthly newsletter;

UAS flyovers & visuals; ND Water Magazine articles; informational points; visible leadership; working to build a relationship with the DNR; presentations to local government units. an area to comment on

Board members are our best assets and we need to keep them engaged. Additionally, more engagement for upstream members would be welcomed.

Next steps:

  • Link all data (survey, focus group, general demographics) with strategies to achieve goals
  • Evaluate strategies with Executive Director to ensure consistency
  • Draft plan reviewed by Committee
  • Committee approval
  • Board approval
  • Plan executed

 Construction Video Updates

Two videos were viewed showing the progress at the Diversion Inlet Structure south of Horace and the Wild Rice River Control Structure.

Mr. Olson recommended that a time-elapsed video might be good going forward to show the then and now progress.

Analytics

Mr. Schneider reported that there is a strong open rate with the newsletter; approximately 1,400. There is also a good following on the website Monday through Friday.

Web Map

227 items viewed in June

7.83 average items viewed per day

Website

FMDiversion.gov

2,667 sessions from 1,455 visitors

Average time on the site = 3:10 minutes

6,521 page views

YouTube

2,496 minutes of watch time

14,210 impressions with 1,063 views

5 new subscribers in the month of June

Twitter

11 tweets with 6,245 impressions

3 mentions and 57 profile visits

Drain 27 Wetland Restoration Public Meeting

Two meetings have been held and there has been good participation with a lot of good feedback. Perhaps holding a similar meeting(s) for Minnesota landowners might be a good option moving forward.

Valley Prosperity

Meetings will be held with the Fargo and Grand Forks groups for the purpose of education. Please reach out to Rocky if you are available to present.

Adjournment

Mr. Steen made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Ms. Carlson seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 3:16 p.m.