Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River System

Environmental Management Program

Coordinating Committee

 

November 19, 2009

Quarterly Meeting

 

Holiday Inn

Rock Island, Illinois

 

 

Charlie Wooley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the meeting to order at 8:02 a.m. on November 19, 2009.  Other EMP-CC representatives present were Elizabeth Ivy (USACE), Mike Jawson (USGS), Rick Mollahan (IL DNR), Bernie Hoyer (IA DNR), Tim Schlagenhaft (MN DNR), Janet Sternburg (MO DoC), Jim Fischer (WI DNR), and Bill Franz (US EPA).  A complete list of attendees follows these minutes.

 

Minutes from the August 5, 2009 Meeting

 

Jim Fischer moved and Janet Sternburg seconded a motion to approve the draft minutes of the August 5, 2009 meeting as prepared.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Program Management

 

FY 09 Year-End Report

 

Marv Hubbell outlined EMP’s significant FY 09 highlights, including:

 

·         Congress lifting the restriction on EMP new starts;

·         finalizing the FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic and Operational Plan;

·         receiving an additional $13.179 million in 2009 stimulus funds;

·         drafting an EMP/NESP Transition Plan;

·         initiating development of the 2010 EMP Report to Congress (RTC);

·         continuing to exchange scientific information internationally;

·         formulating and initiating the EMP’s first active adaptive management plan (Pool 12 HREP);

·         advancing the HREP database and regional decision support system;

·         supporting a May 2009 Biological Indicators Workshop with US EPA and UMRBA;

·         completing the 2008 Status and Trends Report; and

·         planning, engineering, and designing 23 projects.

 

FY 10 Appropriations and Work Plan Overview

 

Hubbell reported that the FY 10 Energy and Water appropriations measure (P.L. 111-85) was enacted on October 28, 2009, and included $16.470 million for the EMP.  He said EMP’s FY 10 appropriation represents a decrease in funding from the previous six years and noted that many of the national restoration programs saw decreases relative to last year.  Hubbell observed that cessation of savings and slippage in the past few years has been a significant help to EMP.

 

Hubbell said the FY 10 energy and water conference committee deferred to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s report language concerning EMP and NESP (S.Rpt. 111-45).  He explained that the language directs the Corps to submit an EMP/NESP transition plan, but also explicitly recognizes that a transition is unlikely until the shortfalls in the Inland Waterway Trust Fund (IWTF) are resolved.  To maintain the Corps’ ecosystem restoration capabilities while also facilitating a future transition, the EMP is allowed to begin planning and constructing new habitat projects as long as those projects can be completed or readily transitioned to NESP within two years of NESP receiving sufficient construction funding to support transition.

 

In response to a question from Hubbell, Barb Naramore explained that the House and Senate each develop appropriations bills, and the conference committee reconciles any differences between those two bills.  The Senate’s language regarding EMP/NESP transition and EMP new starts is controlling because 1) the House did not speak to these issues and 2) the conference committee did not address the Senate’s language or offer an alternative.  Hubbell noted that the interpretation of this language has yet to be confirmed by the ASA(CW) through the Corps’ VTC (video teleconferencing) fact sheet process.

 

Hubbell outlined the EMP’s FY 10 allocations, as follows:

 

  • Regional management — $626,000*
  • LTRMP — $4,983,180
  • HREPs — $10,886,820
    • Program Model Certification & Regional HREP Support — $250,000
    • MVP — $2,691,046**
    • MVR — $5,254,728
    • MVS — $2,691,046**

 

  *  Includes $26,000 in carry-over funds.

**  MVP and MVS are each receiving $500,000 less than they would under the typical allocation formula in order to “repay” MVR for inter-district transfers from FY 09.

 

Hubbell said EMP will fund 22 ongoing projects in FY 10, with 10 projects in construction and 12 projects in planning, engineering, and design.  The Corps plans to initiate construction on two new projects this year, with the lifting of the restriction on EMP new starts.  Hubbell said he also anticipates that the program will initiate planning on three to four new projects this year.  However, Hubbell said MVR staff will forward between 4-15 project fact sheets to MVD for approval by May 2010, with the goal of ensuring adequate projects in pipeline should the restriction on new starts be reinstituted in the future.

 

In response to a question from Naramore regarding the Program Model Certification allocation, Hubbell explained that the 2007 WRDA’s new independent external peer review requirement included several triggers.  Although individual HREPs will not trip the $45 million project cost trigger, EMP restoration projects as a whole exceed this amount and the HREP component is thus subject to the external peer review requirement.  Hubbell said MVR staff will develop a plan for the external review process this year.  In response to a question from Jim Fischer, Hubbell said an external review of EMP’s HREP component will only occur once, though individual projects will still be subject to an external review if they do individually trip one of the review triggers.  In response to a question from Bill Franz, Hubbell said EMP is responsible for funding the review, and the Walla Walla District staff will select the reviewers.  He suggested having a more detailed presentation on the anticipated process at the February 24, 2010 quarterly meeting.

 

Public Involvement and Outreach

 

Hubbell listed the EMP’s outreach activities since the August EMP-CC quarterly meeting, including the development of the “Our Mississippi” slogan, the Corps’ UMRS ecosystem restoration programs’ winter newsletter, a public television feature on the Pool 8 Islands HREP, and an article on the LTRMP’s Pool 13 Field Station.

 

Don Powell said MVP staff anticipate hosting public boat tours of the Pool 8 Islands again this summer.  He said Jim Nissan, of the USFWS, has coordinated the past boat tours, which have been very successful.  Last year, about 250 people participated.

 

Mike Jawson reported that UMESC hosted an open house in September 2010, in celebration of its 50th anniversary.  LTRMP was highlighted in the event.  Jawson said almost 1,400 people attended.

 

Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects

 

District Reports

 

Brian Markert said MVS anticipates completing a DPR for Ted Shanks, as well as receiving a contractor’s draft DPR for Rip Rap Landing, by the end of December.  The District is developing modeling elements of the Wilkinson Island HREP, and is continuing design work on Pools 25 and 26 Islands.  Markert reported that modifications to the Swan Lake pump station design are being completed, with the expectation of awarding a construction contract in the third or fourth quarter of FY 10.  Markert said MVS is continuing construction of the Batchtown pump station and chevrons, and reforestation on both Batchtown and Calhoun Point.  The District anticipates completing an evaluation report for Swan Lake by spring, and will likely initiate work on the Calhoun Point evaluation in FY 10.

 

Janet Sternburg suggested that the Corps initiate construction on as many new projects as possible in FY 10, even if this means advancing only small elements of these projects.  She observed that this would maximize the number of projects under construction, should EMP once again be restricted from moving projects from design to construction.

 

Hubbell said MVR continues planning efforts on Rice Lake; Pool 12 Overwintering; and Fox, Huron, and Beaver Islands.  DPRs for Rice Lake, Pool 12 Overwintering, and Fox Island will likely be completed this year.  Hubbell reported that MVR has awarded a contract to construct Lake Odessa Stage IB, and anticipates awarding construction contracts for Lake Odessa Stage IIB within the next month, Fox Island by May, and Rice Lake by the end of FY 10.  He said MVR will continue baseline monitoring, which includes water quality data.  The District recently developed a biological response monitoring plan for Pool 12 Overwintering.  Hubbell said MVR typically completes 3-5 project evaluations annually, but has not yet determined its FY 10 evaluation schedule. 

 

Bernie Hoyer said he is concerned with the Corps’ progress in completing project evaluations, as previously expressed by state partners.  Heather Anderson acknowledged that, over the past few years, the Corps has allocated fewer resources to completing HREP evaluation reports because of competing demands.  However, MVR staff plan to allocate more resources this year to complete the current list of unfinished reports.  Hoyer stressed that project evaluations are critical to learning from past experiences and understanding biological responses.

 

Hubbell said Corps staff hope to integrate a complete inventory of monitoring information for all HREPs, including the types of monitoring completed, data collected, and lead agencies, into the Corps’ decision support system (DSS).  He explained that project sponsors are typically responsible for much of the project monitoring.  However, the Corps currently does not monitor the sponsor’s compliance with these obligations very closely.  Hubbell said he believes there is a lot of information available on various HREPs that has yet to be captured in the Corps’ database, and that much of the information needs to be provided by sponsors.

 

Hubbell reported that Rice Lake will be the first HREP to include a project monitoring plan in its DPR, which can serve as a template for future HREPs.  The DPR will address the following five monitoring considerations:  1) how to monitor the project objectives; 2) what did the model predict and are we achieving the predicted results; 3) chemical, physical, and biological monitoring of the completed project; 4) response to the project; and 5) site management.

 

Brad Walker asked whether performance evaluations also address project cost, to assess if actual costs closely reflect estimated costs, and why there are differences, if any.  Hubbell said the O&M Manuals document differences between planned and as-built project costs.  Brian Markert said the HREP Design Manual and HREP workshops have been very effective in documenting lessons learned and facilitating information exchange.  He suggested updating the Manual and considering a future workshop.  Hubbell agreed, and suggested including the HREP Design Manual as an agenda topic for a future EMP-CC meeting.

 

Don Powell said MVP staff will distribute a draft DPR for Capoli Slough for partner review by mid-February.  He reported that Harpers Slough is the District’s FY 10 planning priority, while initial planning for Conway Lake, McGregor Lake, and Lake Winneshiek will get underway toward the end of FY 10.  MVP staff also anticipate completing design of Pool 8 Islands Phase III Stage 3B shortly.  Powell said construction of Pool 8 Islands Phase III Stage 3A is scheduled to be completed during the next construction season.  Construction on Stage 3B will be initiated next season.  Powell said MVP plans to complete one draft completion report this month, and will share the draft with the FWWG for review in December.  He said MVP staff will determine a strategy for enhancing storage and access of HREP data.

 

In response to a question from Jim Fischer, Powell reported that MVP staff were not able to award a construction contract for Stage 3B last fall, as previously scheduled, due to competing demands on staff.  Fischer said, while he acknowledges Corps staff have substantial demands coming from non-District projects, he is concerned that EMP projects are slipping as a result.  Hubbell acknowledged that there are many competing demands, but that Corps staff must continue to meet their regular obligations.  Elizabeth Ivy said MVD’s regionalization initiative should help and encouraged MVP to call on other districts for assistance if needed.  Cynthia Drew encouraged EMP stakeholders to express their concerns to members of Congress, while thanking them for their previous support to the program, and in particular for the lifting of EMP’s restriction on new starts.

 

Gretchen Benjamin stressed the importance of having centralized HREP data, and making the data accessible to all partners.  She said that much of the information on older restoration projects is currently located in individuals’ hardcopy files, which have a high risk of being lost with upcoming retirements, etc.  Hubbell said the HREP database will serve as the central database for HREP information.  Tim Schlagenhaft suggested that data storage and accessibility be addressed in any HREP strategic planning process.

 

Planning New Starts

 

Hubbell recalled that, over the past two years, the EMP was barred from initiating planning on any new HREPS— i.e., projects without MVD-approved fact sheets.  However, that restriction was lifted in the FY 10 energy and water appropriations measure.  In an effort to begin planning new projects, Hubbell said EMP staff will likely submit 4 to 15 fact sheets to MVD for approval in FY 10.  The fact sheets will need to reach MVD by May 15, 2010 to receive approval before the end of FY 10.  He explained that Corps staff anticipate selecting projects from the reach planning process, and noted that the 15 projects previously endorsed by the System Ecological Team (SET) will be considered in the reach planning.  However, if the district teams have not selected projects by May, MVR staff will select from among the 15 SET-endorsed projects in submitting fact sheets to MVD.  Hubbell said that, since the 15 SET projects do not include any projects on the Illinois River, the Corps may also consider advancing new fact sheets for Illinois River projects.

 

In response to a question from Bernie Hoyer, Hubbell said the reach planning teams will use the EMP-CC/NECC-endorsed floodplain reach objectives to identify and prioritize ecosystem restoration projects, until the geomorphic reach objectives have been finalized and approved by the partnership.  Tim Schlagenhaft noted that the geomorphic reach objectives will include measureable performance criteria.

 

In response to a question from Joyce Collins regarding the absence of Illinois River projects in the SET list, Rick Mollahan explained that Illinois had not submitted any Illinois River projects for the SET’s consideration.  Mollahan added that this lack of Illinois River engagement in the SET process triggered the creation of the Illinois River Team.  Mike Griffin noted that the SET did request proposals on the Illinois River, but neither the FWIC nor RRAT forwarded any.  He noted that potential Illinois River projects at that time were being pursued under other programs.

 

Tim Schlagenhaft recognized that, while ideally the EMP projects would be selected via a fully completed reach planning process, this may not be possible given the need to submit fact sheets by mid-May.  He encouraged the reach planning teams to, at minimum, consider the SET-endorsed projects and ensure that they are fundamentally consistent with the identified objectives.

 

Jon Duyvejonck asked whether completed projects can be expanded or modified to meet ecosystem objectives, without having to initiate a new project or develop a new fact sheet.  Hubbell said he anticipates that reopening a completed project might actually be more complex than initiating a new project.  Don Powell said MVP has made minor improvements to an existing project via a letter report.  However, he observed that those improvements were relatively inexpensive and modest in scope.  Elizabeth Ivy said she expects that a new fact sheet would likely be needed for any extensive additional work. 

 

HREP Showcase:  Brown’s Lake

 

Mike Griffin said construction of Brown’s Lake was completed in 1990, covering approximately 450 acres.  He explained that sediment loading from the Maquoketa River, located just north of Brown’s Lake, hugs the shoreline and filters into Brown’s Lake’s tributaries.  This transformed deep water fish habitat into a deoxygenated, shallow water marsh, uninhabitable for fish.  Without intervention, the site would have eventually become lowland brush habitat.  Mike Steuck said the Corps, USFWS, and Iowa DNR installed 4-5 feet tall gates to regulate flow and provide oxygenated water in winters, dredged channels to provide deep water habitat, constructed a deflection levee to reduce sediment input and decrease flow and wind fetch, and converted a contaminant site into mast tree plantings and a perched wetland.

 

Steuck explained that evaluation of monitoring data has allowed managers to determine the appropriate balance of flows into the site to minimize sedimentation, while providing dissolved oxygen (DO) levels needed to support fish in the winter months.  Griffin outlined the following lessons learned from constructing and managing Brown’s Lake:

 

·         The deflection levee works as intended.

·         The water control structure operates successfully; however, a smaller levee closer to the channel would have been equally, or more, effective.

·         The duel cell containment works well for water quality, but does not provide suitable conditions for planting and maintaining trees.

·         Dredge cuts provide high quality deep water and edge habitat for fish and wildlife, though step-wise cuts minimize sloughs into cuts.

·         The inlet channel requires high maintenance, but it has provided protection for the water control structure during three two percent probability floods in 20 years.

 

Steuck said the Iowa DNR, USFWS, and USACE continue to learn from Brown’s Lake, and are working together to apply these lessons learned to other projects.

 

David Bierl presented the results from the Corps’ February 2009 water quality analysis of Brown’s Lake.  The Corps’ study was triggered by low DO concentrations, resulting from a sediment blockage in the inlet channel.  After the blockage was removed, the Corps tested the inlet channel’s ability to provide water flow and DO to Brown’s Lake.  Bierl reported that the results indicate the water control structure is still performing as it did originally, allowing site managers to manipulate levels of DO, temperature, conductivity, and velocity throughout the site when needed.  The study also showed that, when the water control structure is closed, Smith’s Creek, upstream of Brown’s Lake, can reverse water flow, becoming a sediment source and altering velocities that are unsuitable for overwintering fish habitat.

 

Janet Sternburg asked if this year’s data collection will trigger a change in winter management of Brown’s Lake.  Bierl said his analysis confirms managers’ previous conclusion that the water control structure should not be opened more than 10-15 inches.  He added that management of the inlet channel warrants further examination.  Steuck said the Iowa DNR plans to continue reviewing Brown’s Lake operations periodically and will consider any needed management changes.

 

HREP Strategic Plan

 

Hubbell explained that, for several years, partners have formally and informally discussed the potential for developing a strategic plan for the EMP’s HREP component.  He raised the possibility of developing a strategic plan to address issues related to selection, design, management, maintenance, monitoring, and evaluation of HREPs.  Issues could either be addressed comprehensively or incrementally, depending on partners’ preferences.

 

Jim Fischer expressed support for the general idea of developing an HREP strategic plan.  He suggested that, while now may not be the most opportune time to initiate a major undertaking, it would be worthwhile for the Corps to develop an outline for consideration.  Janet Sternburg agreed with Fischer’s comment, noting the potential benefit to the partnership from in-depth discussions on these issues.  Charlie Wooly expressed interest in developing an HREP strategic plan and having it as a resource.  He requested that the Corps develop a draft scope, outline, and schedule for discussion at the February 24, 2010 EMP-CC quarterly meeting, noting that EMP-CC members would then be able to better assess potential benefits and their respective agencies’ capacity to contribute.

 

Bill Franz suggested that EMP-CC members discuss their goals for an HREP strategic plan via conference call to help inform Corps staff in their efforts to develop a draft scope and schedule.  Tim Schlagenhaft recognized that there might be several factors weighing in favor of proceeding with an HREP strategic plan in the relatively near future.  Among these considerations, he cited the potential for an EMP/NESP transition.  Other factors include the need to address monitoring, reporting, and data management issues, as well as the overall potential benefit from partnership discussion, similar to those accruing from development of the LTRMP Strategic and Operational Plan.  Schlagenhaft suggested that, at the February 24, 2010 EMP-CC meeting, partners prioritize issues and evaluate the level of resources that they are able to commit.  Wooley suggested that EMP-CC members schedule a conference call for January to develop a scoping document for partner consideration in February.  The EMP-CC members agreed.

 

Management of HREPs by Sponsors

 

Marv Hubbell articulated that, while an HREP strategic plan can address systemic and programmatic management issues, there will continue to remain site-specific management issues.  The question is how to deal with those issues on an ad hoc basis, and at what point to involve the EMP-CC, particularly when there are possible changes to the original project management goals and objectives.  Hubbell said this question has arisen most prominently at Lake Chatauqua.

 

Rick Frietsche explained that, although the USFWS was consistent with the O&M Manual in managing Lake Chautauqua, there were misunderstandings between the Service and the Illinois DNR, specifically in regard to management objectives for the levee’s elevation.  He said an HREP strategic plan may help to prevent future misunderstandings between agencies.  Rick Mollahan described challenges regarding staff turnover, communication, and record keeping that complicated management and documentation of Lake Chautauqua.

 

Mollahan said Illinois understood the project to include the creation of deepwater fish habitat, and thus used Dingell-Johnson funds to stock the area.  In reality, the constructed levee provided only a five-year level of protection, which led to scrutiny of Illinois’ use of the Dingell-Johnson money.  A number of mid-course corrections were made, including discontinuation of fish stocking.  Mollahan acknowledged that management objectives may need to be adjusted from those originally established in the approved DPR, depending on site conditions and other factors.  He said an HREP strategic plan could address the site managers’ level of discretion to make changes before consulting with the partnership, the process for documenting project management, the mechanisms for partner consultation, etc.

 

Charlie Wooley expressed his appreciation to Frietsche and Mollahan for their diligent and professional efforts to resolve the Lake Chautauqua management issues. 

 

Janet Sternburg observed that the challenges posed by staff turnover are not unique to Lake Chautauqua and called for a more robust process for documenting project design and management decisions and actions.  Barb Naramore observed that finding an appropriate balance between accountability and flexibility will be important to fostering good project management.

 

Long Term Resource Monitoring Program

 

LTRMP Showcase:  Nutrients and Foodweb Research

 

Bill Richardson presented preliminary research results from four different studies regarding the relationship among nutrients and foodwebs from channels to backwaters in Pool 8.  He said the study goals were to determine how the connectivity of channels and off-channel areas affects dissolved nutrients, productivity, and tissue lipids (an indicator of food source and organism health).  Richardson highlighted the following findings:

 

  • Across the floodplain, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentrations are strongly affected by discharge and geomorphology interactions.
  • Dissolved phosphorus distributions are less dependent of discharge and geomorphology than DIN.
  • Late summer phytoplankton community structure appears linked to DIN/soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) ratios.  An imbalance between DIN and SRP likely shift the phytoplankton communities, with cyanobacteria dominating in the nitrogen-limited water.
  • Late summer shifts in phytoplankton, from lipid-rich organisms (diatoms and cryptophytes) to lipid-poor organisms (cyanobacteria), appear to result in food webs that are deficient of essential fatty acids, lowering the quality of heath and production of organisms and ecosystems.

 

Jim Fischer applauded the work Richardson described, noting that it is a fine example of leveraging LTRMP data and research.  In response to a question from Fischer, Richardson said substantially more research, including small scale experiments, would be required to draw firm conclusions about the relationship between foodwebs and fish.  In response to a question from Joyce Collins, Richardson said the study’s analysis regarding primary productivity is solely focused on Pool 8.  The situation is likely to be similar along the UMR, with increasing productivity in the lower reaches.  Collins asked what this research suggests about the contribution of floodplain levees the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia.  Richardson said thousands of hectares of new floodplain area would be required to denitrify on a meaningful scale, given the tremendous nitrogen loads in the system.  He said controlling nitrogen in the uplands is likely to be more affective in addressing Gulf hypoxia.  Bob Clevenstine said the Pool 16 backwaters are typically dominated by blue-green algae in late summer and have no vegetation.  He asked what management techniques might reverse that composition.  Richardson explained that tremendous amounts of energy would be required to completely change one steady state to another.  He added that removing Asian carp, which continually stir up sediments, would likely increase water clarity.

 

Product Highlights

 

Mike Jawson introduced Jack Waide, the new UMESC Deputy Director.

 

Jawson reported that fourth quarter project highlights include the following:

 

·         Four manuscripts:  1) Patterns of forest succession and impacts of floods in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain ecosystem; 2) A spatial simulation model for forest succession in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain; 3) Cumulative impacts of river engineering, Mississippi and Lower Missouri Rivers; and 4) Nonnative fishes in the Upper Mississippi River System.

·         An update of the Upper Mississippi River Historic Data Viewer.

·         LiDAR data for Pools 8-14 and 20-24.

·         An LTRMP fact sheet based on the Status and Trends Report.

·         Three completion reports:  1) Cumulative effects of restoration efforts on ecological characteristics of an open water region within the Upper Mississippi River, 2) Evaluation of single- and two-stage adaptive sampling designs for estimation of density and abundance of freshwater mussels in the Upper Mississippi River, and 3) Analysis of water quality following a drawdown in Navigation Pool 5 Upper Mississippi River System.

·         A Missouri DoC Science Notes publication:  An evaluation of invertebrate sampling methods for use in the Open River Reach of the Upper Mississippi River.

·         Continued collaboration with TNC and Chinese scientists.

 

FY 10 Scope of Work

 

Jawson reported that a subgroup of the LTRMP Strategic and Operational Planning Team is currently reviewing a draft FY 10 Scope of Work (SOW).  The draft is fundamentally similar to the FY 09 SOW, but its format follows the FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic Plan.  Jawson said a vast majority of LTRMP’s FY 10 funds will be allocated to the base monitoring program (i.e., Outputs 1.1 and 1.2).  Funds will also be allocated to acquiring land cover/land use data.  Jawson said the field stations’ FY 10 requested equipment refreshment needs will likely be met in their entirety.

 

Jawson reported that USGS received eight research proposals for FY 10.  USGS, USACE, and A-Team representatives are currently reviewing the proposals, and will compare their priority rankings.  Jawson said it is likely only two or three of the proposals will be funded this year, with only $235,000 in total research funding available.  With the pool of research funding down to such a low level, Jawson cautioned that there will be implications for the base program if LTRMP does not receive increased funding in the coming years.

 

Jawson said USGS staff are developing a draft Science Plan, which is scheduled for completion in December.  The Plan will be used to guide focused research in five priority areas from FY 10-14.  Per the Strategic Plan, the focus areas are aquatic vegetation, mussels, connectivity of the river to its floodplain, landscape patterns in the river corridor, and data and analysis to aid management objectives and indicator development.  Specific tasks will be rated based on their priority.  Jawson noted that additional priority areas could be added in the future, and said partners may elect to focus all research funds on a single priority area, or distribute the funds to tasks in several areas.

 

Marv Hubbell observed that having the LTRMP Strategic and Operational Plan in place allowed EMP to seize the opportunity presented by the 2009 stimulus funding.  Specifically, by having identified program needs and agreed-upon priorities, EMP was able to compete successfully for LiDAR and bathymetry funding.  However, with reduced annual appropriations, Hubbell encouraged partners to seek opportunities to contribute other resources. 

 

In response to a question from Tim Schlagenhaft, Hubbell explained that FY 10 funds were not allocated to hiring an LTRMP outreach coordinator because it would require a long term commitment that may not be feasible if EMP’s annual appropriations continue to be low.

 

LiDAR and Bathymetry Update

 

Karen Hagerty reported that the five-year LiDAR and bathymetry data acquisition plan will be almost completely executed using the 2009 stimulus funds.  Hagerty outlined the estimated costs for acquisition, processing, and serving, as follows:

 

  • Data acquisition — $2,006,000

§         LiDAR — $471,000

§         Bathymetry — $1,535,000

  • Processing and serving — $627,104

§         Bathymetry — $79,727

§         LiDAR — $388,582

§         Seamless elevation layer — $68,508

§         Equipment support — $90,087

 

Hagerty said the $2.633 million total estimated costs are slightly above the $2.5 million in stimulus funds that have been allocated for LiDAR and bathymetry.  To cover the additional costs, MVR staff may seek additional stimulus funds or allocate EMP funds.  Hagerty noted that the work cannot all be completed at once and lends itself to sequencing.  She said Corps staff anticipate completing data collection for systemic LiDAR and bathymetry this year, contingent upon weather conditions and water levels. 

 

In response to a question by Tim Schlagenhaft, Hagerty said partners should contact Larry Robinson (lrobinson@usgs.gov) with any questions regarding data access and use.  She mentioned that the data sets are quite large and can be transferred to users via several mechanisms.

 

A-Team Report

 

Janet Sternburg said the November 9, 2009 A-Team meeting included program, budget, and agency updates; a discussion of the FY 10 research proposals; and four scientific presentations.  She said the A‑Team hopes to make these presentations available on the A-Team Corner web page, but will need USGS’ approval to do so.  Sternburg said the A-Team has been successful in putting more emphasis on science topics in its meetings, and reducing its focus on financial issues.  The next A-Team conference call will be scheduled for late January or early February.

 

Hagerty reported that two LTRMP technical representatives have recently been named for MVP and MVS.  The representatives for each district are as follows:

 

  • MVP:  David Potter
  • MVR:  Len Kring
  • MVS:  Charlie Hanneken

 

Sternburg said a work group will be convened to examine the A-Team’s future composition and function, and will report back to the EMP-CC in a future meeting.  The work group will consider several issues, including 1) the need for additional kinds of expertise, 2) the types of positions members can/should hold within their own agencies, 3) the potential expansion of the formal membership, 4) the A-Team’s roles and responsibilities in light of the recent Strategic Plan and a possible future EMP/NESP transition, and 5) the consideration of an A-Team charter.  Sternburg, Bill Franz, Rick Frietsche, Jim Fischer, Hubbell, Hagerty, and Barry Johnson volunteered to participate in the work group.  Sternburg said field stations will also be solicited for volunteers.  Hubbell suggested that partners also consider developing an EMP‑CC charter.

 

Hagerty reported that the A-Team’s ad hoc indicators work group reviewed its purpose statement at its November 10, 2009 meeting.  The group has decided to focus on indicators of ecosystem health, using the indicators in the 2008 Status and Trends Report as a base.  Hagerty said the work group will analyze indicators at the floodplain reach scale, and not systemically.  The group hopes to have a draft report for review in about one year, with the goal of recommending indicators for use in the next Status and Trends report.

 

2010 Report to Congress

 

Marv Hubbell said there has been little progress on the 2010 Report to Congress (RTC) since the August EMP-CC quarterly meeting.  The RTC Team plans to reconvene within the next month to review and incorporate partner comments on the annotated outline, confirm and clarify assignments, and discuss the scope of work.  He noted that he has received very few partner comments thus far and requested any remaining comments on the outline as soon as possible.  Janet Sternburg and Tim Schlagenhaft observed that they provided verbal comments at the August EMP-CC meeting and offered to follow-up in writing.  Hubbell said the schedule presented in August will need to be adjusted, but the revised milestones have not yet been finalized. 

 

Other Business

 

In response to a question from Jim Fischer, Gary Meden reported that USACE overcommitted its 2009 stimulus funds for O&M projects, and has recalled some of the allocated funds.  MVD has yet to announce which projects will be affected.  He said that some additional funds may be available from the construction and investigation accounts.  Elizabeth Ivy said MVD is currently examining options for addressing the O&M shortfall, including potentially canceling contracts, awarding no new contracts, etc.

 

The upcoming quarterly meetings are as follows:

 

  • February 2010 — St. Louis
    • UMRBA — February 23
    • EMP-CC — February 24
    • Joint EMP-CC and NECC — afternoon of February 24 (if needed)
      [Note:  Subsequently not scheduled.]
    • NECC — February 25
  • May 2010 — St. Paul

§         UMRBA — May 18

§         NECC — May 19

§         Joint EMP-CC and NECC — afternoon of May 19 (if needed)

§         EMP-CC — May 20

  • August 2010 — La Crosse*

§         UMRBA — August 3

§         EMP-CC — August 4

 

*  NECC’s August 2010 quarterly meeting will be a webinar/conference call, with the date and time yet to be determined.

 

Hubbell noted NECC’s decision to meet via webinar in August, but said he believes the EMP-CC’s workload, including the RTC and potential HREP strategic plan, will require a traditional meeting in August.  He suggested the February UMRBA meeting as an opportunity to talk about the future schedule needs of the three groups (i.e., UMRBA, EMP-CC, and NECC).

 

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:38 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EMP-CC Attendance List

November 19, 2009

 

 

EMP-CC Members

Elizabeth Ivy

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Charlie Wooley

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Mike Jawson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Rick Mollahan

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Bernie Hoyer

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Tim Schlagenhaft

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Janet Sternburg

Missouri Department of Conservation

Jim Fischer

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Bill Franz

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

 

Others in Attendance

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

David Potter

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Gary Meden

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Marvin Hubbell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Karen Hagerty         

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Chuck Spitzack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Ken Barr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Heather Anderson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

David Bierl

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Darron Niles

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Brian Markert

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Charlie Hanneken

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Kevin Foerster

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Rick Frietsche

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Bob Clevenstine

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Joyce Collins

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marion Sub-Office

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Scott Yess

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMRCC

Jack Waide

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

William Richardson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Michael Griffin

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Michael Steuck

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Robert Stout

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

John Curry

Audubon Minnesota

Brad Walker

Izaak Walton League

Mark Gorman

Northeast-Midwest Institute

Gretchen Benjamin

The Nature Conservancy

Cynthia Drew

University of Miami Law School

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Dave Hokanson

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Kirsten Mickelsen

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association