ITEM:

CONSENT CALENDAR

 

12.

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

 

Meeting Date:

June 21, 2010

Budgeted:

Yes

 

 

 

From:

Darby Fuerst,

General Manager

Program/

Line Item No.:

Riparian Mitigations

2-1-3 C/Aquatic Resources

 

 

 

Fisheries 2-3-2 B, C & F

Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin

Cost Estimate:

Up to $79,800

 

General Counsel Review:N/A

Committee Recommendation:The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on June

15th 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 many years.The schedules for these positions are part-time and largely seasonal in nature. Funding for these positions is included in the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year (FY) proposed budget.

 

Authorization is requested to hire one limited-term Field Biology Assistant, for up to 1,000 hours, during FY 2010-2011.The incumbent of this position will complete riparian habitat mitigation tasks, assist in a variety of Carmel River resources monitoring activities, and provide general project support to Planning and Engineering and Water Resources Division staff.Duties include creating Geographical Information Systems (GIS) maps for public presentations and analysis of trends in the riparian corridor related to groundwater extraction.

 

Authorization is also requested to hire three limited-term Water Resources Assistants.Two of the Water Resources Assistants will work up to 1,000 hours each during FY 2010-2011. 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 field work from November to early January. This position would relieve the Associate Fisheries Biologists of some of their lower level duties for a 9-week period, and allow them to concentrate on completing portions of the annual Mitigation and Monitoring Report in a timely manner.

 

Additionally, authorization is requested to hire up to five part-time limited-term Fisheries Aides for up to a total 960 of work during FY 2010-2011.This is the same number of hours requested in the past.The extra number of workers is requested to provide lesser contracts for weekend and holiday rescues. 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. During the dry season, the river may dry back faster than rescues by the weekday crew can handle. A few weekend rescue days may be required to meet this need.In order to be prepared for such an event, it is requested to hire one weekend Fish Rescue Crew Leader for up to 72 hours at a rate of $40.00 per hour.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds to hire one limited-term Field Biology Assistant and two limited-term Water Resources Assistants for up to 1,000 hours of work each, between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.Also, 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 of $14.75 to $17.34, according to their experience and their level of responsibility.Authorize funds to hire up two Fisheries Aides for up to 960 hours total between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, at an hourly wage of $13.75. In addition, authorize funds to hire a Fish Rescue Crew Leader for up to 72 hours at an hourly rate of $40.00.

 

IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: The proposed budget for FY 2010-2011 includes funds to pay for these limited-term field positions.They are listed in the Project Expenditures section, under the Riparian Mitigation Program and Aquatic Resources Fisheries Program.The total amount budgeted is $79,800.It is proposed that the hourly wages in new contracts for Fisheries Aides will remain the same as those offered in the current fiscal year, with no cost-of-living increase included. It is proposed that any new Water Resources Assistants be hired at the $14.75 per hour rate.It is proposed that the current Water Resources Assistants and Field Biology Assistant be offered new contracts which includes a 2% increase in the hourly wage. This is the same cost-of-living increase negotiated for regular staff, effective July 1, 2010. It should be noted that limited-term employees receive no District benefits in addition to their hourly wages, except for those required by law (e.g., workers compensation coverage.)†††

 

BACKGROUND:

 

A.††††† Field Biology Assistant: 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. More recently, the Field Biology Assistants have also provided general project support to Planning and Engineering and Water Resources Division staff. This includes assisting in the grant application process by creating maps and tracking trends in the riparian corridor using GIS, as well as monitoring depth to groundwater.It is important that this position is continued through FY 2010-2011. 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 along the Carmel River, and conduct outreach work with the public and other agencies and organizations.Limiting these tasks would adversely impact the scope and quality of work required by the Districtís Mitigation Program.The duties of the Field Biology Assistant are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 12-A. This employee 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 12-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 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. 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 12-C. The incumbent of this position will work in the Water Resources Division and be supervised by the Senior Fisheries Biologist.

 

D.           Fish Rescue Crew Leader: Periodically, during the height of the summer seasons the Carmel River dries to the degree that the Districtís regular weekday fish rescue crews are not able to cover enough of the river to reach all of the fish in danger. When this has occurred, fish have perished over the weekends, resulting in concerns expressed by the Department of Fish and Game and the Carmel River Steelhead Association. The District initiated its first weekend fish rescues in the summer of 2009.Regular and limited-term District employees were able to fill the crew positions.However, on a few weekend days, the members of Districtís senior fisheries staff were not able to serve in the required Crew Leader role. Therefore, an experienced Fish Rescue Crew Leader was hired last year with funds authorized under the General Managerís emergency authority.This year, funds to hire a limited-term weekend Crew Leader have been budgeted, and Board authorization is being requested to hire such an individual if the need arises. The duties of the Fish Rescue Crew Leader are listed in the job description attached as Exhibit 12-D.

 

EXHIBITS

12-A††† Field Biology Assistant Job Description

12-B††† Water Resources Assistant Job Description

12-C††† Fisheries Aide Job Description

12-D††† Fish Rescue Crew Leader

 

 

 

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