333 S. Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 - 253-841-4321

City of Puyallup

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AI- 3564   10.    
City Council Agenda
Meeting Date: 03/19/2013  
Subject:    Clarks Creek Elodea Management - DASH Boat Purchase
Presenter: Mark Palmer
Department: Public Works  

Recommended Action
Authorize the City Manager to execute an agreement, in a form as approved by the City Attorney, with Aqua Cleaner Environmental to purchase DASH-equipped boats in an amount not to exceed $66,200.00 plus tax.
Excessive native elodea growth within the lower reaches of Clarks Creek has contributed to problems in and around the creek for at least 20 years. The 2012 mechanical harvesting of the elodea was the last under the most-recent Hydraulic Project Approval from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, as well as the last under the City’s Conditional Use Permit. The City has applied for a new HPA and Conditional Use Permit for in-stream work in 2013-2018.

Following Council and staff discussions, a facilitated Task Force was formed to examine the past elodea management practices and determine a future course of action to better manage elodea issues in Clarks Creek. The Task Force ultimately arrived at consensus solutions for both short- and long-term projects that may be effective at reducing the overall presence of elodea in Clarks Creek. During a February 2013 meeting, Council reviewed the Task Force's recommendation and concurred on short- and long-term solutions outlined by the Task Force as summarized below:

Short-term - Diver-Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) for removal of elodea. In 2013 only, enhanced mechanical cutting will be used as a back-up to the DASH efforts, to ensure the entire project area is adequately cleared of elodea growth as in historically-typical years. Use of enhanced mechanical cutting will be determined based on the rate of progress and area covered by the DASH method. Also included in 2013 is the removal of accumulated rocks that have been pushed into the creek under the 56th Street E and Stewart Avenue bridges by vandals over the years. Also, a demonstration of sandwand hydraulic dredging is to occur as well. Permits are being prepared for this demonstration project as well.

Long-term - Long-term efforts identified in the Task Force's Solutions Memorandum include source control, increased riparian shading, low-impact development (LID) retrofits, nutrient-loading reduction, and sandwand application (hydraulic dredging).

Staff has submitted permits for the 2013 in-stream DASH, rock removal, and enhanced mechanical cutting to WA Department of Fish and Wildlife and City of Puyallup. These 2013 activities will be bid as one project under a single contract. In researching possible configurations for boats to support diver air supply needs and vacuum operations for DASH, it was discovered that a company exists with specialized experience in designing and manufacturing DASH-equipped boats. These boats include on-board surface air supplies for the divers and a dual-pump vacuum system to intake hand-pulled weeds from the diver/operator under the water and transport them to a bagging section on the boat surface. The bagging station is manned by an operator that replaces the bags when full of weed material. To maintain a consistent work pace, collection barges have been specified in this purchase proposal that will hold up to 2,000 lbs on the deck, and will be propelled by a non-invasive propulsion system designed for this sensitive water environment.

For past mechanical cutting operations, two boats were maintained with one reserved for use as back-up in the event that the main boat required maintenance. For this proposal, two DASH boats and three collection barges have been included to allow for maximum coverage of the DASH operations within the allowed in-stream work window (June 15-August 1). Both boats will be in operation at the same time, with one beginning upstream and the other at the mid-way point, both working downstream. Using three collection barges to service the DASH boats will help maintain a consistent rate of progress, reducing downtime if a DASH boat had to wait to off-load full bags of pulled weed material.
Previous Actions (Discussions/Presentations)
Clarks Creek elodea management has been before Council nearly every year since 1991. Some of the most recent Council actions on elodea management have been:

May 3, 2011: Award of a contract to Boettcher & Sons, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $101,058 for the Clarks Creek Weed cutting in 2011 (contract for 2011 & 2012, but can only award in current budget year).

June 13, 2011: Consideration of the request of the Puyallup Tribe concerning Clark’s Creek weed cutting and related issues, and authorization to the City Manager to act in accordance with Council direction.

June 28, 2011: Resolution authorizing the submittal of a letter to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians relative to the City's commitment to elodea weed control in Clarks Creek.

June 5, 2012: Award of the 2012 Clarks Creek Weed Cutting contract to Boettcher & Sons, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $101,058.

August 14, 2012: Approval and acceptance of the work completed by Boettcher & Sons Inc. on the 2012 Clarks Creek Weeding Project.

January 8, 2013: Clarks Creek Elodea Task Force Review and Acceptance

February 19, 2013: Approve Interagency Agreement with Pierce County for Clarks Creek Elodea Management
Summary of Proposal
The proposal is to issue a purchase order to Aqua Cleaner Environmental for $66,200, plus tax, for purchase of two DASH-equipped boats and three refuse barges to support DASH-activities in the 2013 and beyond elodea management seasons.
As alternative to purchasing the DASH-equipped boats, the City may attempt to design specially-equipped boats, create a Request For Proposal (RFP) for their fabrication, and have the boats custom-made. However, given the time limitations involved in the 2013 cutting season, including the necessary permit waiting periods and application timeframes, purchase of these boats through a custom RFP would not be feasible. Time for design and creation of specifications sufficient to accurately describe the needed boats would extend the time past June 15th, the start of the fish window.

In addition, Aqua Cleaner Environmental owns data and specialized project experience specific to DASH projects and has developed a specialized design and specification for this system. Purchase of these boats from this company removes the trial-and-error process in designing these niche machines from the ground up. In addition, purchase of the DASH boats includes two days of on-site training on the use, maintenance and storage of the equipment. The price of the boats is a delivered price.

Staff has conducted a diligent search for other companies with similar capability boats, and has not been able to locate any such company. As such, staff recommends purchase of the above boats from Aqua Cleaner Environmental.

Staff also considered using contractor-supplied boats for this work. This would be attractive from the standpoint of the City not owning and maintaining equipment that is used just once per year. However, the scarcity of contractors with equipment such as this, and the need to tightly control the means and methods to stay within permit guidelines combine to make the purchase option the most desired. Also, while the hope is for quick control of elodea in Clarks Creek, the City is realistically going to be continuing the effort for several more years. Finally, the boats could be repurposed once the elodea is under control to a sediment removal configuration, and could then be used in the sediment removal process in Clarks Creek.

Fiscal Impact
Amount Budgeted: 250,000
Bid Amount: 66,200
City Funding Needed for Project: 66,200
Funds from Other Sources: 100,000
Ongoing Staff Costs: 4,000
Fiscal Impacts:
The City has currently budgeted $250,000 in 2013 for elodea management, while partner Pierce County has formally committed to $100,000 annually for 2013-2018 with a Council-accepted Interagency Agreement (02/19/2013). There are some indications that the Pierce Conservation District may receive state funds directed at elodea management in 2013, but it is unlikely that the funds will be confirmed prior to purchasing and planning for 2013, and will instead be directed toward 2014 expenses.

The $250,000 was budgeted prior to any decisions or indications of what the management solution would be for the coming year. Additionally, the City does not have any cost history on rock removal under the bridges, or the cost associated with the DASH weed pulling or the demonstration sandwand sediment removal process. Therefore, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the eventual costs for this year's effort. There is a probability that funds currently allocated for elodea management, including Pierce County's contribution, may not be sufficient. Staff's current preliminary estimates for the process are:

Removal of rocks at 56th St E and Stewart Bridge $10,000 (means not identified, est. 100 tons)
DASH Weed Removal $350-400,000 (two dive teams assumed)
Mechanical Weed Cutting (if needed) $50-80,000 (historical range of first cutting costs)
Sandwand Demonstration Sediment removal $50-60,000 ($23K for pumping; disposal costs undefined)
Estimated range of total costs without contingency: $460-550,000

Ongoing Staff Costs: The best comparison we have for ongoing staff costs is the effort required by staff to execute a "normal" year of mechanical weed cutting as done in previous years. Rough estimates of time required to assemble bid documents, advertise and bid the project, manage the contract, and inspect the work for the 2012 effort was approximately 900 man-hours and roughly $55,000 of staff expense.

We would expect that staff costs for 2013 would be considerably more as activities which don't occur in a "normal" year such as SEPA, HPA, shoreline and other permitting are occurring; and research, purchasing and contract development will need to occur for new processes (i.e., rock removal, DASH, and sandwand demonstration). Other sections are also drawn into the effort, such as the Development Services Department, to process the required permits.

Boats purchased for the DASH process will require maintenance from Fleet Services as well. Currently they service the two mechanical weed cutting boats. These will need to be maintained at least for this year, in addition to the two proposed DASH boats. Staff time for maintaining the two existing mechanical cutting boats has been factored into the costs noted in the "normal" years cost of $55,000 above. This individual annual cost is currently $3,880 for maintenance of the two existing mechanical cutting boats, and is expected to be similar for the two DASH boats.
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