Board of Directors Spring Retreat: Meeting Minutes

Badlands Conservation Alliance
Board of Directors Spring Retreat: April 8-9, 2017
Meeting Minutes

The Badlands Conservation Alliance Board Retreat was held at the Pheasant Haven Lodge of the Black Leg Ranch south of McKenzie, ND on April 8th and 9th, 2017. The following Board Directors were present: Christine Hogan (President), Craig Kilber (Vice President), Rich Brauhn (Secretary), Lynn Morgenson (Treasurer), Lillian Crook, Tama Smith, Connie Triplett, and the Executive Director, Jan Swenson. Director Laura Anhalt was absent. Mr. Jim Fuglie was an invited guest. The meeting was called to order at 11:30 AM CDT.

The focus of the Board Retreat for 2017 was on Communications and Funding & Development

Saturday, April 8th

1. AGENDA: No changes to Agenda sent by the Executive Director

2. Minutes from Board Retreat of February 2016:

a. Motion to approve minutes as presented by Craig Kilber, seconded by Tama Smith;             motion passed unanimously.

3. Secretary of State Information for Board Directors reviewed with no changes made.

4. Election of Officers for upcoming year:

a. President: Craig Kilber

b. Vice President: Christine Hogan

c. Secretary:  Rich Brauhn

d. Treasurer: Lynn Morgenson

1) Motion to approve slate as presented above made by Lillian Crook, seconded by Tama Smith: motion passed unanimously. President Kilber assumed his duties and presided over the remainder of the meeting.

Legislative Day at the BCA Booth with Corinne Lee, Jan Swenson and Mike McEnroe. Photo courtesy of Mike LaLonde.

5. Membership and Dues Status:

a. Executive Director Swenson circulated the master list of membership. 326 family and individual memberships are currently listed. A concerted effort will be made to collect past dues and increase membership through more communications and contacts by Jan and Board members on the Communications and Funding Committees.

6. Communication:

a. Jan announced that the video “Keeping All the Pieces” had been used successfully at meetings initially in the Red River Valley and going statewide, including at the Legislative “Outdoors Day.” So far, presentations with the video have been made to 800-900 people. The Board consensus was to place the video on social media including YouTube and link with BCA’s web page in the near future.

b. Rich will continue to be the editor of the Newsletter.  There are 225 copies of the Newsletter printed and 180 or so are mailed out. The Newsletter is also accessed through the web page. This number of printed copies will be continued. A membership form will be placed in the Newsletter beginning this spring. Rich requested Board members send him pictures of the Badlands to be used in the Newsletter; digital pictures should be in the largest format.

c. The increased use of social media was discussed. BCA currently has a FB account but needs a Twitter account. Craig and Lillian will set up and service a Twitter account and use #ndbadlands as the hashtag. Jan will send out e-mails to members at least every 2 weeks updating them on BCA activities. Webpage visitors who sign up for the digital newsletter will receive these email updates as potential members. A BCA blog on the web page may also be set up in the future and Lillian will explore this possibility.

7.  Financial Report:

a. The 2016 income and expenditures were reviewed.

b. The 2017 Operating Budget with total expenditures of $57,559 and an estimated income of $74,143.43 was reviewed.  Income includes use of two small reimbursable grants specific to "Keeping All the Pieces" and converting a certificate of deposit of $30,272.38 held at the American Bank Center. Plans to air 3 30-second TV spots associated with "Keeping All the Pieces" may be cost prohibitive unless additional funding is found for this project. The "Keeping All the Pieces" campaign is a joint project with other wildlife/conservation organizations.

Motion to approve the Operating Budget for 2017 made by Rich Brauhn, seconded by Lynn Morgenson: motion passed unanimously.

LUNCH BREAK  1:30 to 2:00 PM

8. By-law Revision:

a. Article IV, Section 4.2 indicating the tenure of Director terms was revised to read a “term of three (3) years effective at the 2017 Annual Meeting” and reflected in the article's verbiage including deleting the sentence “Directors serving as of September 9, 2002 shall establish among themselves staggered terms with the majority serving two-year terms and the remainder serving one-year terms.” Motion to amend as outlined above made by Lillian Crook, seconded by Connie Triplett; motion passed unanimously.

b. Article VIII, Section 8.1-Frequency of meetings was revised to read “There shall be no less than three (3) meetings including outings of the general membership etc., etc., etc.” Motion made by Rich Brauhn, seconded by Lillian Crook: motion passed unanimously.

9. Strategic Planning:

a. The Board consensus was to concentrate on state efforts rather than national issues. To this end, the Board supports the transfer of the Environmental Health Section from the Health Department into a separate cabinet level department effective by 2019. It will be a BCA responsibility to monitor for a good outcome. A news release from BCA will be prepared stating support of the new Department of Environmental Quality at the state cabinet level.

 Bison at the Peace Valley Ranch by Jen Wyckoff

Bison at the Peace Valley Ranch by Jen Wyckoff

b. Granting entities within North Dakota and regionally within the Northern Great Plains are limited. National funders currently focus on environmental justice issues and climate change and often are by invitation only. Many entities are project-oriented rather than mission. BCA’s board of directors plans to revisit our mission statement and strategic plan to amend and/or affirm our work, with consideration for current and future funding. To this end, a special Board meeting will be held at a future date. We are seeking guidance and facilitation from a BCA member who is also a top-notch planning professional.

c. It remains our goal to do the Badlands conservation work that needs to be done; not merely the “projects” someone will pay for. In that mode, requests to able philanthropists is an avenue that may serve BCA’s mission well – whether as an investment in BCA’s operating expenses or as an endowment managed by the North Dakota Community Foundation. BCA’s board and staff will jointly pursue this potentially satisfying funding source.

d. More deliberate attention to membership building and communications is an obvious avenue. Another possibility for effective membership support is to cultivate charitable non-profit giving from IRA’s for tax purposes.

10. Committee Assignments for 2017:

a. Funding/Membership Committee: Connie Triplett, Craig Kilber, Laura Anhalt. Ellen Chaffe to be invited.

b. Education Committee: Tama Smith, Lynn Morgenson, Christine Hogan.

c. Communications Committee: Rich Brauhn, Craig Kilber, Lillian Crook.

d. Connie Triplett will pursue a seat on the Bureau of Land Management's Regional Advisory Council (RAC) for the Dakotas and Eastern Montana.

e. Craig Kilber will contact the North Dakota State University Leadership Coordinator to explore the potential for organizing a BCA sponsored hike/event in the Badlands for students.

THE MEETING WAS CURTAILED AT 6:30 PM CDT FOR A BIRDING TOUR OF McKENZIE SLOUGH AND A FOLLOWING EVENING SUPPER.

Sunday, April 9th

Meeting was convened at 8:40 AM by President Kilber

11. Updates on Current Issues:

a. The proposed Meridian-Davis refinery near the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is moving forward with applications and permitting. The State Water Commission application is in process. Meridian recently submitted revisions for their Permit to Construct and Permit Application for Air Contaminant Sources at the ND Department of Health. The Dakota Resource Council has actively joined BCA and the National Park Conservation Association in opposing this location next to the Park.

b. The proposed Highway 85 Expansion to four lanes must undergo Federal Highway Administration “4-F Policy” review regarding protection of “publicly owned parks, recreation areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and public or private historic sites for Federal highway projects.” DOT’s engineering firm KLJ has indicated they find little or no impact to North Dakota lands that fall under the 4-F purview, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park. BCA strongly counters this finding. Jan Swenson recently met with KLJ and ND DOT project manager Matt Linneman to discuss the project, including an alternative that would swing east of the Park allowing the current HWY 85 to be partially reclaimed, with the remainder downgraded to a frontage road with Park entrance. An elevated roadway on the southern end of the BCA proposed alternative and partial positioning behind bluffs would reduce viewshed and noise impacts to the Park, reduce grades for traffic, and allow for greater wildlife and agricultural passage beneath the roadway. Project manager Linneman stated that it was “enough different” than previous alternatives reviewed and rejected that DOT would have to consider it.

c. The proposed Little Missouri River crossing in Billings County has apparently been assigned to the draft Alternative K-Option 1 route through the Short ranch. However, the state Department of Transportation has not included the bridge over the Little Missouri as part of its Federal highway plan for funding. It was suggested that BCA seek an outing at the Short ranch to examine this “preferred” river crossing site to see how it impacts the adjacent Badlands. USFS funding for development of a Elkhorn Ranchlands management plan has been moved to the Dakota Prairie Grasslands Oil and Gas Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement project.

Pasque Flower by Rich Brauhn

e. The Quiet Title lawsuit involving road building on county section lines has not seen much movement in the last six months. Governor Burgum and Senator Heidtkamp will be advised on how this impacts the wilderness quality of the grasslands and ultimately degrades the quality of the environment.

f. The Badlands Advisory Group facilitated by Covenant Consulting Group and under the sponsorship of World Wildlife Fund will be releasing an action plan report shortly. A possible “pilot project” looking at larger landscape scale planning for oil development may be included. The ND Oil and Gas Division is already permitting considerable development requests along the Little Missouri River between the South Unit of TRNP and the Elkhorn Ranch. This concept may be useful in this sensitive area. Governor Burgum may be receptive to such coordinated and collaborative planning. g. Upcoming town hall meetings with the Congressional Delegation should be attended by BCA members to express support of the Prairie Legacy Wilderness proposal.

12. Outings and Events:

a. BCA will pursue a planned event at the proposed Little Missouri River crossing site with a Short family member and will try to coordinate a visit to the Elkhorn Ranchlands and adjacent private conservation property in order to further understand development impacts in this area.

b. The Dakota Nights Festival will be September 15-16 with an over-night camp at the South Unit of TRNP BCA will plan an event at the Burning Coal Vein Campground in the Logging Camp Ranch/Ponderosa Pine vicinity. This is familiar country to Governor Burgum and we will make sure he is invited! d. The Annual Meeting in late October may be held in Medora to facilitate a potential speaker. e. The next meeting of the Board of Directors will be an exercise in mission review (WHY we do what we do) and strategic planning. Directors will send conflicting dates to Jan so that a time can be set.

13. With no further unfinished business and the agenda having been accomplished, the meeting was adjourned at 12:40 PM CDT.

Respectfully submitted by Rich Brauhn, BCA Secretary
April 20, 2017