ITEM:

CONSENT CALENDAR

 

6.

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

 

Meeting Date:

June 18, 2007

Budgeted:

Included in Proposed

FY 2007-2008 Budget

 

 

 

From:

David A. Berger,

General Manager

Program/

Riparian Mitigations

2-1-3 C/

 

 

Line Item No.:

Aquatic Resources Fisheries 2-3-2 B &C

 

 

 

 

Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin

Cost Estimate:

Up to $96,700

 

General Counsel Approval:N/A

Committee Recommendation:The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on June 7, 2007 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:N/A

 

SUMMARY:The District has funded 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 2007-2008 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 2007-2008.They will complete riparian habitat mitigation tasks and assist in a variety of Carmel River resources monitoring activities. Authorization is requested to also hire three limited-term Water Resources Assistants.Two of the Water Resources Assistants will work up to 1,000 hours each during FY 2007-2008. These positions will assist with the Districtís fisheries and aquatic resources program, as well as assist staff in groundwater and surface water monitoring programs.A third Water Resources Assistant would be hired for up to 360 hours of general fieldwork to ďfree upĒ the Fisheries Biologists to concentrate on data entry, quality control, and documentation.Specifically, this hire will allow fisheries staff to complete their sections of the Districtís Mitigation Program Annual Report in a timely manner, and provide time for analyses of any needed adjustments to the rescue/rearing operations.Additionally, authorization is requested to hire three part-time limited-term Fisheries Aides for up to a total 1040 hours of work during FY 2007-2008.These individuals 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.They may also assist in the release of reared fish from the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility later in the year.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds to hire two limited-term Field Biology Assistants and two limited-term Water Resources Assistants for up to 1,000 hours of work each, between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.In addition, authorize expenditure of funds to hire one limited-term Water Resources Assistant for up to 360 hours in the same period of time. These workers would be paid at an hourly wage ranging from $14.25 to $16.75, according to their experience.Also authorize funds to hire up to three Fisheries Aides, depending on availability, for up to 1040 hours total between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008, at an hourly wage of $13.25.

 

IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES:The proposed budget for FY 2007-2008 includes funds to pay for these limited-term field positions in the Project Expenditures section.Specifically, $38,000 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 $42,600 for Water Resources Assistants in line item 2-3-2 B, as well as $16,100 for Fish Rescue Workers as line item 2-3-2 C. This totals $96,700 for the fiscal year.During FY 2006-2007, a total of $76,500 was budgeted for limited-term positions.The needs of the Water Resources Division have increased this year, however. Two or three additional part-time Fisheries Aide positions, depending on availability, are required to complete the fish rescue crew.Due to the critically dry conditions this spring, the Field Maintenance Worker and Field Maintenance Specialist will be performing irrigation work much earlier in the season than usual and will not be able to provide as much assistance during fish rescues as they have in past seasons. An additional 360-hour Water Resources Assistant is also needed to assist the fisheries biologists with field work and allow them to focus their time on analyses for the Mitigation Report.Excess workload in the field has prevented timely completion of this critical report for the past two years. An increase between 6.3% and 7.3%, depending on the current hourly wage, is also included for those employees in both the Water Resources and Planning and Engineering Division who are rehired.As in previous years, 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 2007-2008. 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 6-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 Resource System. It is needed to help ensure that tasks for the Districtís 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 reducing 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 6-B. These employees will work in the Water Resources Division and be supervised by the Senior Fisheries Biologist.

 

C.††††††† Fisheries Aides: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 were anticipated to begin this year in July, but actually began in April.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. As rescues have begun earlier than in recent years, additional help will 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.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 Aides are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 6-C.The incumbent of this position will work in the Water Resources Division and be supervised by the Senior Fisheries Biologist.

EXHIBITS

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

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

6-C††††† Fisheries Aide Job Description

 

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