Commission highlights, 6/13/2023 — Rex Buck Jr. honored
The Buck Family joined Grant PUD commissioners for a tribute to late Wanapum leader Rex Buck Jr. Sitting Floor Center: Rex “Tiny” Buck IV. Sitting Chairs Left to Right: Sunsky Buck, Ruth Jim, Angela Buck, Lela Buck holding Elias Corral, Nikkia Owlchild. Standing Left to Right: Clarice Paul, Lightning Paul, Katrina Buck, Kenny Mathias, Rex Buck III, CommissinerTom Flint, River Buck, Commissioner Judy Wilson, Commissioner Nelson Cox, Clayton Buck, Commissioner Larry Schaapman, Tasha Bailey, Commissioner Terry Pyle, Alyssa Buck, Emilee Maurice.
Rex Buck Jr. remembered, honored for a life of education, service and smiles
Commissioners unanimously memorialized late Wanapum leader Rex “Puck Hyah Toot” Buck, Jr. in an emotional tribute that included the large and growing Buck family and friends. Rex died Feb. 11, 2022. The resolution marks the end of the Wanapum’s traditional year of respect following the death of a tribal member.
Rex’s son Clayton Buck read Resolution 9021 aloud, honoring his father and reaffirming the connection between the Wanapum of Priest Rapids and Grant PUD. Since 1953 the “sacred bond between the Wanapum and Grant PUD nourishes a relationship built on integrity, trust, and honor,” he read.
Other members of the Buck family, as well as commissioners and Grant PUD staff shared their memories of Rex.
Rex dedicated his entire adult life to protection, preservation and perpetuation of Wanapum culture. His family, including his wife Angela all the way down to his new grandson was present for the reading. They spoke through their emotions about Rex’s lasting legacy, marked by his “smile, laughter, wisdom and willingness to share the culture and history of the Wanapum with not only Grant PUD but all that had an open heart and mind to listen.” Read the full resolution on page 303 of the commission packet. Hear the discussion at 2:16:55 on the commission audio.
— Heard from Manager of Fish and Wildlife Tom Dresser that Grant PUD hopes to have an automated, highly accurate fish-counting system within three to five years that uses artificial intelligence to identify and tally the fish that pass by Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. Counts are currently conducted by human fish counters who review digital video recordings of the fish passing through the fish ladders and count each species. The challenge is “teaching” an artificial-intelligence-based system to recognize each fish species at each stage of development, Dresser said. Other updates include:
- Work continues to reestablish a reliable water supply for Grant PUD’s Carlton Acclimation Facility for Summer Chinook Salmon. The Methow River, which feeds the facility, has naturally migrated away from the facility’s water intake, resulting in little to no water during the colder months.
- Grant PUD recently conducted white sturgeon broodstock collections below McNary Dam as part of white sturgeon conservation program. The team used hook and line off a boat to collect adult sturgeon that were ready to spawn and transported them to the Yakama Nation’s sturgeon facility near Toppenish. The sturgeons’ eggs and milt are collected at the facility. The adult fish are later returned and released below McNary Dam. The gametes are hatched and reared at the facility and released the following year into the Priest Rapids and Wanapum Dam reservoirs. Since 2011, the program has produced approximately 44,000 White Sturgeon that have been released in the Priest Rapids and Wanapum Dam reservoirs to satisfy a federal license requirement.
- Since 2010, approximately 4.8 million native and non-native fish which feed on young salmon migrating through the Priest Rapids Project have been removed using a variety of fish sampling methods. Over the years, more than 800 locations around the reservoirs have been sampled to remove fish. Grant PUD also implements a northern pike early detection program using a variety of fish sampling methodologies, as well as environmental DNA (eDNA). Northern Pike are a voracious, non-native fish predator currently found in Lake Roosevelt, behind Grand Coulee Dam. The fish has not been detected downriver of that dam, including in the Priest Rapids and Wanapum Dam reservoirs.
— Heard the Community Engagement Activity Report presented by Annette Lovitt and Rosalie Black from Public Affairs. The report included the strategic approach to community engagement: meeting the community where they are, celebrating, assisting and educating wherever possible. A new approach to digital marketing and the supporting data behind it was highlighted. A new micro website, 509River.org, was also introduced as a tool to increase awareness and enjoyment of Grant PUD’s recreation sites along the Columbia River.Hear the full discussion at 35:49 on the commission audio. See the full presentation on pages 1-12 of the presentation materials.
— Received a quarterly update from Manager of Cultural Resources Brett Lenz that included a recognition of Alyssa Buck as the new Wanapum Interface Office supervisor. The office manages the Wanapum effort to consult with local, state, and federal agencies to support management of resources that are important to the Wanapum. He also described the “Washington State-Wide Predictive Model,” a graphic tool that applies a variety of quantitative resource data to predict the location of archaeological resources across the state. The tool helps Lenz and his team identify the areas of Grant County most likely to contain artifacts and other archaeological findings in order to maintain compliance with the District operating license. Hear the full discussion at 1:51:33 on the commission audio. See the full presentation on pages 27-43 of the presentation materials.
Commissioners unanimously approved:
— A $3.7 million contract with Nokia of America Corporation to design, supply, engineer and support the equipment necessary to form a new, high-capacity, expandable fiber network for years to come. Grant PUD’s current network is a patchwork of varying models and types of equipment. Telecom Engineering has determined that the network’s continued high performance requires a new architecture to support future growth. Nokia scored the highest of the seven, based on its capacity, scalability, integrated monitoring and management solutions. Hear the full discussion at 1:36:00 on the commission audio. See the full presentation on pages 23-26 of the presentation materials, an a more detailed summary on pages 365-367 of the commission packet.
— Resolution 9018 – Amending Grant PUD’s Customer Service Policy, to update the Customer Service Policy and related Fees Schedule from its last version dated April 23, 2019. The various updates reflect changes related to AMI meters, lines extensions, demand response, after hours fees and special low-income rate discounts among others. See a more detailed summary on pages 8-192 of the commission packet.
— Resolution 9019 –Providing for the issuance of Electric System Revenue refunding Bonds of the District in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $55 million for the purpose of refunding certain outstanding Electric System Bonds; and delegating authority to approve the final terms of the Bonds. See a more detailed summary on pages 193-246 of the commission packet.
— Resolution 2020 – Providing for the issuance of one or more series of Priest Rapids Hydroelectric Project revenue and refunding bonds of the District in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $180 million for the purpose of financing improvements at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams and defeasing and/or refunding certain outstanding Priest Rapids Project revenue bonds; and delegating authority to approve the final terms of the Bonds. See a more detailed summary on pages 247-303 of the commission packet.
— Change Order No 7 to Contract 130-08756 with North Sky Communications, LLC increasing the not-to-exceed contract amount by $16.3 million for a new contract total of $87 million. This is intended to provide funding, for the remainder of 2023 through June 2024, to continue with North Sky Communications, LLC (NSC) for Fiber Optic Design and Construction. See a more detailed summary on pages 304-311 of the commission packet.
—Change Order No. 9 to Contract 430-4151 with Jack R. Benjamin and Associates s increasing the not-to-exceed contract price by $1,000,000.00 for a new contract total of $3,000,00.00. Jack R. Benjamin and Associates is the Facilitator for the Wanapum Left Embankment Seismic Risk Analysis, a project assessing the seismic stability of the embankment with a focus on the River Closure Section. See a more detailed summary on pages 312-318 of the commission packet.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.