Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District – Board of Supervisors

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date:  3/19/2019

Meeting Location:  Bert Harris Agricultural Center-Room Sebring, FL

FINAL – Approved April 16, 2019

Recorded by:  Susie Bishop

Meeting Scheduled Start:  3:00 P.M. Call to Order @ 3:01 p.m.

Public Meeting Announcement Read by Chairman

In Attendance:

For Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District:

Scott Kirouac, Chairman

Dr. John Causey, Vice-Chairman

Doug Deen, Secretary/Treasurer

Pamela Fentress, Supervisor

Steve Smith, Supervisor

Commissioner Jim Brooks, Liaision for HCBCC

Susie Bishop, Executive Director


Kayla Nickerson, FDACS-OAWP

Carlos Torres, USDA-NRCS

Chad Allision, CFRPC

Kaylee Durrance, AFCD

Charlene Meeks, AFCD


  1.   Welcome & Introductions
  2.   Approval of Agenda

Chairman Kirouac requested the addition of a brief explanation from Chad Allison  about the Sentinel Landscape project at the Avon Park Range . He also requested the addition of two new business items:  AFCD Area IV Meeting and Lake Okeechobee levels. Motion to approve agenda with additional items. (Fentress/Smith). Unanimous approval.    


        Chad Allison with CFRPC explained briefly the Sentinel Landscape project at the

        Avon Park Air Force Range – a project he is managing and has asked HSWCD

        to be a part of moving forward in an advisory capacity.      


III.  Approval of Meeting Minutes  – February 19, 2019

  1. Motion to approve minutes as presented. (Fentress/Causey).  Unanimous approval.


  1. Financial Activity
  1. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports –February 2018 – Bishop reviewed the bank statements & financial reports  for February. Motion to approve February financial reports (Causey/Deen). Unanimous approval.


  1. Agency Partner Updates
  2.   NRCS – C. Torres explained NRCS is waiting on the rules and budget of the new

     Farm Bill of 2019.  No new allocations have been approved but they are working on

     new applications for EQIP by the date received.  There is a high priority on EWP

     ranking.   The County received funds via NRCS to rebuild the large wash out on the

     Josephine Canal caused by Hurricane Irma.  NRCS is paying for 90% of the

     project.   WRP applications have begun the ranking process so these will be ready

     for submittal once budget is approved.   There will be a student trainee based here

     this summer.  The vacant engineer position is scheduled to be filled, but the

     proposed soil scientist position has been removed.  

  1. FDACS – K. Nickerson reported the new Commissioner of Ag & Consumer Services has still not named a new Director for OAWP, so there are a lot of unknowns throughout the department.   There will be a contract amendment moving funds

from one of the CRISP contracts to the Ag NPS Contract in the amount of $200,000.00.  The second mailing of implementation self-verification letters were

mailed.  A new program named GRIP ( Grower Replanting Initiative Program) has been launched through Pest Eradication Department as another option for Citrus

growers to combat HLB.  The specifics of GRIP have not been released, but it is predicted to cover more of the costs than CRISP did.  Nickerson predicts CRISP will be renewed too.

  1. MIL  – Bishop reported since to date the MIL is on schedule to complete required work in 3rd Qtr.  
  2. Extension – L.Hurner was not in attendance, no report.
  3. HCBCC – J. Brooks reported County is still waiting on their FEMA reimbursement

for the Hurricane Irma recovery.  


  1.  Old Business
  1. Website – ADA Compliance & Maintenance – Bishop explained she has engaged with the local website company discussed at last month’s board meeting.  The rebuild of the site by the company AFCD hired had many errors. Bishop and the local webmaster reviewed page by page to list all the edits she would need to complete.  This cost will be above the agreed monthly maintenance agreement, the consensus of the Board was to move forward so the project can be completed properly and be ADA compliant.  
  2. PSWCD – Bishop reported PSWCD invoices are paid to date.  Bishop shared she had requested a discussion regarding the arrangement HSWCD has with PSWCD, but was told nothing will be changed until a new Director of OAWP is named.  
  3. Sun Trust Property – Bishop reported she had attended a few meetings with the County, Sun Trust Executives and the City of Sebring to discuss the future of the bank property.  SunTrust is scheduled to issue an announcement soon about the plan moving forward. Bishop stated she told committee the involvement of HSWCD would possibly be funds for a Florida Friendly Landscaped park  since water will be conserved with this type of plantings.
  4. County Storage/Mylar Maps – Bishop said all options are still being reviewed.  
  5. Flint SWCD Education Grants – Per discussion last month, Bishop contacted Flint SWCD regarding the process they have in place for educational grants.  Their challenge is lack of applicants. Following open discussion, Bishop will create a rough draft of an application packet for potential use. Consensus was applicants should be required to contribute a certain percentage or amount to the project too.


VIII.    New Business

  1. AFCD Area IV Meeting – Bishop distributed the information and registration form for the Area IV Meeting being held at Adams Ranch on April 11, 2019.  Supervisors planning to go need to complete form and return to Bishop.
  2. Lake Okeechobee Lake Levels –  Information in regards to the proposed levels of Lake Okeechobee provided to Bishop from Gary Ritter with Florida Farm Bureau was distributed.  Following open discussion consensus was to table the item until further details and facts could be obtained.


  1.     Executive Director’s Report
  • Bishop reported only the private school in Lake Placid has inquired about the speech contest.  
  • Later this week Bishop will judge the District FFA Ornamental Hort. contest.  


  1. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None


  1. Supervisor Comments

Deen –  Inquired with Nickerson regarding cost share funds and deadlines.

Fentress –  None

Kirouac –   None

Causey –    None

Smith – None


Meeting Adjourned 4:40 P.M.