ITEM:

CONSENT CALENDAR

 

5.

CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION OF FUNDS TO CONTRACT FOR LIMITED-TERM FIELD POSITIONS

 

Meeting Date:

June 22, 2006

Budgeted:

Yes

 

 

 

From:

David A. Berger,

General Manager

Program/

Line Item No.:

Riparian Mitigations

2-1-3 C/Aquatic Resources Fisheries 2-3-2 B &C

 

Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin

Cost Estimate:

Up to $76,500

 

General Counsel Approval:N/A

Committee Recommendation:The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on June 12, 2006 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:N/A

 

SUMMARY:The District has funded several limited-term positions to assist District staff in the completion of field activities for the past several years.The schedules for these positions are part-time and largely seasonal in nature. Funding for these positions is included in the 2006-2007 Fiscal Year (FY) proposed budget. Authorization is requested to hire two limited-term Field Biology Assistants, for up to 1,000 hours each, during FY 2006-2007.They will complete riparian habitat mitigation tasks and assist in a variety of Carmel River resources monitoring activities. Authorization is requested to also hire two limited-term Water Resources Assistants, for up to 1,000 hours during FY 2006-2007. The incumbents of these positions will assist with the District=s fisheries and aquatic resources program, as well as assist staff in groundwater and surface water monitoring programs.Additionally, authorization is requested to hire one limited-term Fisheries Aide for up to 480 hours of work during FY 2006-2007.This individual will assist staff in the intensive rescues of steelhead juveniles, smolts and adults in the lower Carmel River that take place during the summer season, as well as performing other fisheries tasks required to prepare for rescues.This position has previously had the title of Fish Rescue Worker.The title change brings the job in line with classifications that perform essentially the same work in other agencies, particularly the California Department of Fish and Game.This would help us to continue to attract and hire college level applicants.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds to hire two limited-term Field Biology Assistants and two limited-term Water Resources Assistants for up to 1000 hours of work each, between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007.These workers would be paid at an hourly wage ranging from $13.75 to $15.75, according to their experience.Also authorize funds to hire one Fisheries Aide for up to 480 hours between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007, at an hourly wage of $12.25 to $13.25, depending on experience. ††The Administrative Committee considered

this item at its June 12, 2006 meeting and voted 3 to 0 to recommend approval.

 

IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: The proposed budget for FY 2006-2007 includes funds to pay for these limited-term field positions in the Project Expenditures section. $35,000 for the two Field Biology Assistants is listed in the Riparian Mitigation Program as line item 2-1-3 C. The Aquatic Resources Fisheries Program lists $34,100 for the Water Resources Assistant in line item 2-3-2 B, as well as $7,400 for the one Fish Rescue Worker as line item 2-3-2 C. This totals $76,500 for the fiscal year.$58,962 was budgeted for limited-term positions during FY 2005-2006. However, this included one Water Resources Assistant and two Fish Rescue positions.With increased need for hydrologic field activities and a potentially shorter fish rescue season this year, more work is needed at the higher Water Resources Assistant level than for Fisheries Aide functions. An increase between 6.8% and 8.2%, depending on the current hourly wage, is also included for those employees who are rehired. This increase would recognize a higher level of performance exhibited by those returning employees with one year or more of experience in the job, given that they are not eligible for step increases like regular employees.It would also account for a cost-of-living adjustment.The increases also are justified by the fact that these limited-term employees receive no District benefits except for those required by law (e.g. workers compensation coverage.) †††

 

BACKGROUND:

 

A.††††††† Field Biology Assistants: Since the summer of 1992, the District has hired Field Biology Assistants to conduct biological monitoring tasks for riparian mitigation projects.In addition to assisting with vegetation monitoring tasks, these limited-term employees support staff in all aspects of the irrigation and erosion protection programs. It is important that these positions are continued through FY 2006-2007. The cumulative impact of shifting their duties to other District staff, or not being done at all, would limit the Districtís ability to acquire grants, obtain permits for river activities, analyze and report District data related to riparian monitoring, pursue ordinance violations in the Carmel River corridor, and conduct outreach work with the public and other agencies and organizations.These effects would adversely impact the scope and quality of work required by the Districtís Mitigation Program.The duties of the Field Biology Assistants are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 5-A. These employees will work in the Planning and Engineering Division and be supervised by the Riparian Projects Coordinator.

 

B.†††††††† Water Resources Assistants:This job classification was created in December 1998 to assist staff in the Water Resources Division with field and administrative tasks, including rescuing of juvenile steelhead in the lower Carmel River, surveying of steelhead spawning habitat, and monitoring of groundwater and surface water resources within the Monterey Peninsula Water Resources System. It is needed to help ensure that tasks for the District=s Fisheries Mitigation Program are completed on schedule. Water Resources Assistants have been instrumental in getting data on groundwater level and quality entered into the Districtís databases and manipulating the data for analysis and report presentation. They have also been integral in conducting the California Stream Bioassessment Procedure (CSBP), developed by the Department of Fish and Game as a rapid bioassessment protocol and method to track overall stream health. Without the assistance of limited-term help, the ability to conduct these tasks would be severely impacted. Additionally, the Water Resources Assistants will support regular staff with the well permitting registration and reporting program, hydrologic field activities, and lagoon water quality monitoring. The duties of the Water Resources Assistants are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 5-B. These employees will work in the Water Resources Division and be supervised by the Senior Fisheries Biologist.

 

C.††††††† Fisheries Aide: During the past ten years, District staff has initiated rescues when streamflow receded below ten cubic feet per second at Highway One.This has occurred anytime between April 1 and September 3.Rescues of steelhead are anticipated to begin this year in July.The District will be rescuing and transporting three groups of steelhead, including smolts, kelts (spawned-out adults) and juveniles. The smolts and kelts will be transported downstream to the lagoon or ocean, while juveniles will be transported upstream to the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility or permanent habitats above the Narrows.Even though rescues will begin later than in recent years, additional help will still be needed to successfully perform this critical function. If staff attempted to conduct rescues with fewer workers, more fish would be lost because a smaller crew cannot effectively keep up with the number needing rescue and cannot work fast enough to keep up with the retreating river front. Shifting staff to rescues would compromise the maintenance and operations schedule at the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility, particularly on weekends and holidays.It would also increase the risk of on-the-job injuries for people working too strenuously as they attempt to complete two critical jobs in the same period of time. The duties of the Fisheries Aide are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 5-C. The incumbent of this position will work in the Water Resources Division and be supervised by the Senior Fisheries Biologist.

EXHIBITS

5-A††††† Field Biology Assistant Job Description

5-B††††† Water Resources Assistant Job Description

5-C††††† Fisheries Aide Job Description

 

 

 

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