Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River System

Environmental Management Program

Coordinating Committee

 

February 27, 2003

Winter Quarterly Meeting

 

Sheraton Four Points

Rock Island, Illinois

 

 

Charlie Wooley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the meeting to order at 8:03 a.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2003.Other EMP-CC members present were Steve Cobb (USACE), Scott Stuewe (IL DNR), Tom Boland (IA DNR), Steve Johnson (MN DNR), Gary Christoff (MO DOC), Gretchen Benjamin (WI DNR), and Leslie Holland-Bartels (USGS).A complete list of attendees follows the minutes.

 

Minutes of the November Meeting

 

Steve Johnson moved and Tom Boland seconded a motion to approve the draft minutes of the November 20, 2002 meeting as written.The motion carried unanimously.[Note:Don Powell separately indicated that construction of the Long Lake HREP should be approximately 50 percent complete by the end of 2003, not 2002, as indicated in the November meeting minutes.]

 

Program Management

 

Roger Perk reported that the EMP received $12.2 million under the FY 03 omnibus appropriations measure that was signed into law on February 20.The FY 03 savings and slippage rate for the construction general account is 18 percent, higher than anticipated.The Corps will allocate $3.501 million to the LTRMP.This represents the standard 31.4 percent allocation, plus $509,000 from the HREP component.

 

Prior to passage of the omnibus appropriations measure, the total scheduled EMP expenditures for FY 03 were $13.2 million.Actual expenditures through the end of December were $2.029 million.Perk noted that the EMP typically has relatively low expenditure rates in the first two quarters of the year.He also indicated that the Corps will actively seek overtarget funds for the EMP in FY 03, with the goal of bringing the programís funding level to $15 million.Perk and Steve Cobb emphasized that competition for overtarget funding within the Corpsí construction program will be quite high.According to Perk, the Administrationís FY 04 request for the EMP will enhance the EMPís competitiveness in seeking overtarget funds in FY 03.If the EMP receives overtarget funding, the first increment will be allocated to the HREP component in order to offset the HREP money that was redirected to the LTRMP.

 

Perk described the Corpsí proposed FY 04 EMP allocations, assuming a total appropriation of $33.32 million and a 16 percent savings and slippage rate.Using the standard 31.4/68.6 percent split, the LTRMP and HREP components would receive $8.589 million and $18.765 million, respectively.Administrative costs would total $635,000, including $350,000 for the Independent Technical Review Committee (ITRC).Holly Stoerker noted that the Presidentís FY 04 EMP request is $200,000 short of full funding and said she had assumed that the Administration was requesting less than full funding for the ITRC.Perk said the Corps has no basis for assigning the shortfall to any particular component.For planning purposes, the Corps is allocating $350,000 to the ITRC in FY 04, but this amount may change.

 

In implementing the ITRC, Perk said he anticipates there will be parallels to the Navigation Study Expert Panel.He noted that some Expert Panel members may be candidates for the ITRC.In response to a question from Barb Naramore, Perk said the ITRCís parallels to the Expert Panel will be more process and structural in nature than substantive.Perk said the Corps will solicit input on the composition of the ITRC.Gretchen Benjamin emphasized that pulling together a high-caliber group for the panel will take some time.She urged the Corps to consult with program partners regarding candidates and begin recruitment efforts soon if the goal is to convene the panel in FY 04.

 

Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects

 

Roger Perk explained that the districtsí FY 03 HREP work plans are based on a $15.0 million appropriation.The Corps will seek additional funds to permit execution at this level.However, if overtarget funding is not secured, contract awards scheduled for later in the fiscal year will be delayed.Perk explained that, as a general strategy, all of the districts will accelerate project planning in FY 03, to the extent possible within available resources.The emphasis on project planning is intended to position the program to execute an FY 04 work plan based on full funding.The FY 04 work plans include increased activity in all phases, including planning, design, construction, and monitoring.

 

Don Powell reported that Ambrough Slough will be MVPís only major active construction project in FY 03.Work is wrapping up on Polander Lake and Trempealeau.The district will award the construction contract on Pool 8 Islands Phase III later in the year if funds are available.Powell said the public is being asked to participate in a contest to name two islands constructed as part of the Polander Lake project.He noted that the Fish and Wildlife Service has held similar contests in the past to encourage public involvement.MVP will not be conducting any baseline or bio-response monitoring in FY 03 due to funding constraints.However, the district will be completing six performance evaluations and initiating seven more.

 

Under the Presidentís budget request, MVPís FY 04 priorities would include continued planning on Capoli Slough and new planning starts for Conway Lake and Lake Winnesheik.Plans call for five projects to be in the design phase.Construction activity would include completion of Ambrough Slough; continuation of Pool Slough; and initiation of Spring Lake Islands, Long Meadow Lake, and Pool 8 Islands Phase III.Baseline and bio-response monitoring would be resumed in FY 04.

 

Mike Thompson said MVS hopes to complete planning for Schenimann Chute and Stone Dike in FY 03.Planning may also be completed for Pool 25/26.Design work will focus on Batchtown Phase III and Calhoun Point.Construction on Batchtown Phase II will be completed this year.If funds are available later in the year, MVS will award construction contracts for Schenimann Chute and Calhoun Point.MVS will also allocate FY 03 resources to evaluating the recently completed Swan Lake project.

 

Thompson summarized MVSís FY 04 work plan, which includes two or three new planning starts on to-be-named projects, as well as planning and design work on established projects, including Reds Landing, Establishment Chute, Salt Lake/Ft. Chart SC, Ted Shanks, and Pool 25/26.Thompson said the district has considerable construction capability in Batchtown Phase III and Calhoun Point.FY 04 evaluation priorities include completing bio-response monitoring on Swan Lake.

 

Perk explained that MVRís FY 03 work plan includes new planning starts late in the fiscal year.In addition, design work is slated to begin late in the year on Rice Lake and Pool 11 Islands.FY 03 construction will include tree planting at Gardner Division, prairie planting at Banner Marsh, completion of the Princeton Refuge project, and work on the Pool 11 Islands project.

 

MVRís FY 04 priorities include completing planning on Rice Lake, Smithís Creek, and Pool 12 Overwintering, as well as initiating new starts.Rice Lake and Pool 12 Overwintering are scheduled to proceed through design and reach construction in FY 04.Other projects under construction will include Gardner Division, Lake Odessa, and Fox Island.

 

Long Term Resource Monitoring Program

 

Leslie Holland-Bartels reported that the FY 03 LTRMP scope of work has been approved and will be posted on UMESCís web site within a week.She briefly highlighted several components of the FY 03 plan, including data quality assurance, database updating, annual web reports, and 10-year discipline reports for all major monitoring components.Other efforts will include exploring options for reducing the cost and enhancing the timeliness of land cover/land use data.Holland-Bartels emphasized that FY 03 tasks include a variety of analyses that will support decision-making about the programís future scope and composition.She noted that the quality assurance on FY 02 field data and creation of the FY 02 annual web reports are largely complete.In addition, staff are working actively on the 10-year discipline reports.She noted that the switch to field computers should increase accuracy and reduce the time needed to prepare the reports in the future.Progress is also being made on the Science Planning Process and efforts to improve data access, including an enhanced web browser for fisheries data and updates to the Spatial Query Tool.

 

There will be limited vegetation, fish, invertebrate, and water quality sampling in FY 03.Sampling will be reduced in terms of both frequency and spatial extent.For example, vegetation sampling will focus on Pools 8 and 13, which are currently showing different trends.Additional data from these pools should help refine vegetation models.Electrofish sampling will be conducted in Pools 8, 13, and 26, using stratified random random sampling for all strata.Invertebrate monitoring will be done in Pools 8 and 13 for all strata, with 125 samples per pool.Limited water quality sampling will include turbidity data in Pools 8 and 13 to support vegetation modeling.

 

According to Holland-Bartels, the $509,000 transferred from the HREP component and $150,000 from state cooperative agreements have combined to provide the LTRMP with FY 03 funding equivalent to what it would receive under a $15 million appropriation and the standard LTRMP/HREP split.USGS staff have worked with the A-Team to develop a list of overtarget priorities, should additional FY 03 funds become available.According to Holland-Bartels, there was a general consensus among USGS staff and A-Team members that the top priority should be restoring third period sampling to the baseline protocols.Other priorities include bathymetry and outpool exploratory sampling.Holland-Bartels has submitted the overtarget list to the Corps.

 

Gretchen Benjamin emphasized that additional power analyses are very high on Wisconsinís priority list.She said the results of such analyses will help refine monitoring and target applied research.Holland-Bartels said she also places a high priority on power analysis, and is seeking USGS funding to help support the work.In response to a question from Benjamin, Holland-Bartels said the basic analyses initiated to assess program restructuring options will be completed prior to the May EMP-CC meeting.Under the FY 03 scope of work, the 10-year report drafts for the various monitoring components are due between April and July, with final versions scheduled for completion prior to the end of the fiscal year.These reports will then be used as the basis for updating the Status and Trends Report in FY 04.

 

Holland-Bartels highlighted several recent examples of analyses and projects involving LTRMP data:

 

      Analysis of the fisheries component showed that LTRMP monitoring is not capturing the main channel fish community, but is doing an excellent job on the surrounding habitats.In addition, the analysis allowed the elimination of some redundant gears.

      LTRMP data were used in planning the Pool 8 drawdown.The interagency planning group anticipated that the impacts would be primarily in the lower pool, below the Root River.But Yao Yinís more recent analysis of LTRMP vegetation depth data, cross-checked with bathymetry data, suggests that the impacts of major drawdowns are more poolwide than initially thought.The major Pool 8 drawdown in 2001 affected approximately 3,200 acres, including 500 acres above the Root River.This is substantially above the 2,000 acres originally predicted.

      Trend monitoring for invertebrates has proven quite difficult because of the large proportion of ďzero values.ĒCurrently, only about 10 percent of the variability in the data set can be explained.LTRMP staff have learned that accounting for substrate enhances the predictive capability of invertebrate models, explaining about 35 percent of the data variability without increasing the number of samples.

      In order to help understand temporal trends and predict responses to habitat change, the LTRMP must adhere to basic statistical rules.UMESC staff are working to develop statistically defensible models.This has proven to be particularly challenging for macroinvertebrates.However, new methods have resulted in a mayfly model that does a much better job bringing predicted values into line with observed data.

 

Tom Boland announced that Bill Bertrand has retired from Illinois DNR and is being replaced on the A-Team by Rob Maher.Boland also noted that Janet Sternburg will be replacing Gary Christoff as Missouri DOCís A-Team representative over the next several months.

 

Boland described the A-Team as enthused with the Presidentís FY 04 budget request, but also concerned with the impacts that the FY 03 appropriations cut will have on the program.Boland said the A-Team strongly supports continuation of LTRMP analytical work, noting that the analyses to-date have been tremendously helpful.He emphasized the need to define the baseline monitoring program, noting that decisions about the baseline have both scientific and management dimensions.While agreeing with Holland-Bartels regarding the need to ask the ďso whatĒ questions, Boland said the A-Team also strongly believes in the need to continue core data collection.He cautioned against making too many changes to monitoring protocols, noting that this could risk the programís temporal continuity.While acknowledging the value of focused research, Boland said long term data sets provide the critical background context.

 

Navigation Study

 

Denny Lundberg reviewed major Navigation Study milestones, including coordination and approval of the decision model by September 2003, identification of tentative integrated plans with benefit-cost ratios by October 2003, public meetings in October 2003, release of the draft feasibility report in April 2004, public meetings in May 2004, completion of the final feasibility report with an environmental impact statement in August 2004, and release of the Chiefís Report in November 2004.Lundberg said the Corps will seek review and input from the National Research Council at three points in this process, including briefings this summer, after the draft feasibility report is completed, and before the Chiefís Report is finalized.He described the plan formulation process, which is intended to produce an integrated plan that addresses both navigation efficiency and ecosystem restoration.

 

Ken Barr described the four environmental objectives workshops that were held last fall.According to Barr, the workshops included a good range of agency and stakeholder participants.Participants identified both poolwide and site-specific objectives in categories including water clarity, backwater depth, water level, connectivity, aquatic areas, terrestrial areas, land cover/land use, plants, fish, and birds.Barr noted that objectives varied along the river.For example, participants from the upper river identified a need for more isolated areas while participants on the lower river called for increased connectivity.Participants are currently reviewing the workshop results.Barr described next steps in the process, including identifying management actions to meet the objectives, estimating the costs and outcomes of various actions, analyzing environmental alternatives, and integrating alternatives and conducting a tradeoff analysis.

 

Barr briefly described the Technical Expert Review Panel, which has been convened to identify and refine conceptual tools and models, provide guidance on developing standardized objects, and assist in evaluating alternative ecosystem management actions.The panel is scheduled to complete its work in late April.

 

Barr summarized the evaluation zone the Corps has proposed for the Navigation Study.The zone includes the main channel corridor extending landward ľ mile past the railroad grade or principal meander belt levee, includes federal lands, and does not extend beyond the toe of bluffs.According to Barr, this definition encompasses a relatively small portion of the floodplain on the lower river, but still includes the areas needed for approximately 60 to 70 percent of the environmental workshop objectives.He noted that the definition of the zone will allow for site-specific flexibility where needed.The Corps intends to issue a memorandum for record (MFR) in March establishing the zone.

 

Joyce Collins voiced concern with the proposed evaluation zone, noting that only a very small portion of the Open River floodplain is included within the zone.She said the impacts of navigation system expansion would be greatest on the lower river, while the benefits of environmental restoration actions would be largely on the upper river under the Corpsí approach.Barr emphasized that the navigation project will not be the complete answer to environmental sustainability for the system.He said the Corps will consider targeted opportunities to address tributary impacts and other issues that may require reaching beyond the evaluation zone, but will not include the full width of the floodplain for the entire length of the river.Barr also noted that the EMP Report to Congress and LTRMP 10-year discipline reports and Status and Trends Report will provide important input to the Navigation Study.In response to a question from Rick Nelson, Barr encouraged comments on the evaluation zone before the Corps issues the MFR, noting that the Corps will not be seeking comment after it is issued.

 

Lundberg reported that a Pathways Group has been formed to examine sustainability objectives for the system and identify potential pathways to implementation.He noted that group will involve a range of players and that its composition will be modified as needed.

 

Steve Cobb asked Barr to elaborate on the measures that will be used to evaluate the environmental alternatives.Barr explained that, from the list of 500 management actions, the Corps will identify those tools that are best able to meet specific objectives, relying on past experience to estimate cost and effectiveness.The Corps will also attempt to estimate the degree to which major objectives will be met at given levels of investment.Barr expressed optimism that the Corps will be able to identify where specific management actions will be most effectiveóe.g., where to invest in fish passage.However, he emphasized the importance of adaptive management and the need for appropriate institutional arrangements and bio-response monitoring to support an adaptive approach.Tom Edwards asked how the Corps will involve the public in its analysis.Barr explained that various stakeholder groups were asked to participate in the objectives workshops last fall.The next major opportunity for input will be October 2003, when the Corps releases its tentative integrated plans.Edwards asked to be included in any future solicitations for input.

 

Report to Congress

 

Roger Perk provided a brief overview of the EMP RTC schedule.The schedule calls for finalizing draft conclusions for the report at the May 2003 EMP-CC meeting; holding an Issue Resolution Conference, if needed, in conjunction with the August 2003 EMP-CC meeting; holding a public review period for the report in September 2003; and submitting the final report to MVD in January 2004.

 

Role of Applied Research Relative to Monitoring

 

Perk reported that participants in the November 2002 RTC workshop advised against including any specific recommendation regarding the role of applied research in the LTRMP.They did, however, say that the report should address the importance of applied research to the program.In response to a question from Steve Cobb, Perk explained that there are no policy impediments to applied research.Rather, over the years, research has declined as monitoring has taken an increasingly large share of the available LTRMP funds.Cobb and the other EMP-CC members concurred that the report should acknowledge the importance of applied research, while being clear that no legislative or policy change is being sought.

 

Coordination between the LTRMP and Other Programs

 

Perk noted that participants in the November workshop rejected several of the options outlined in the issue paper concerning coordination between the LTRMP and other programs.However, they requested additional information about the information needs assessment (INA) and science planning process.He briefly described the information that has been provided in response to that request.Perk said he does not think a full-blown INA is needed, advising instead to pursue the science planning process that USGS has initiated.Steve Johnson concurred with Perkís recommendation.

 

Larry Shepard noted that the science planning process and the INA are not equivalent, and stressed that an INA would provide a broader look at information needs and thus better insight into the LTRMPís future role.He said Congress and the public need to understand the bounds of the program, noting that many people currently assume the LTRMP is addressing the full range of river information needs.Shepard said the LTRMP obviously cannot address all such needs, noting that there are significant gaps between existing programs.He suggested that the EMP is best positioned to identify and integrate approaches to information gathering on the UMRS.As an example, Shepard said coordination between the LTRMP and the state water quality programs could yield significant benefits.

 

Leslie Holland-Bartels concurred with Shepard that there are important river programs and information needs beyond the EMP.She noted that USGS is talking with EPA about its information needs on a separate track.However, she expressed reservations with the prospect of an expansive INA through the EMP, emphasizing that there are many important discussions taking place outside of EMP circles.While the EMP should participate in those discussions, it should not attempt to set the entire data collection agenda for the river.Holland-Bartels said the RTC should explicitly describe the scope of the LTRMP and make it clear that the program is not the entire universe when it comes to data collection on the river.She described the science planning process as an effort to identify the big science questions on the UMRS and break them down into discrete tasks.She distinguished these basic science questions from information needs, characterizing information needs as more of an end product focus.

 

Al Fenedick noted that the EMP is frequently cited as a key tool for meeting environmental objectives on the river.However, as has been acknowledged in the Navigation Study process, adequate data are key to an adaptive management approach to meeting those objectives.Fenedick said that an INA could help make the necessary connections among various data collection efforts and increase the overall efficiency of those efforts.He urged the program partners not to lose sight of the value of an INA, even if one is not undertaken immediately.

 

Holly Stoerker observed that there seems to be an assumption that any INA would be undertaken by the EMP.She suggested an alternative approach, whereby the RTC could recommend a comprehensive INA for the river, but not recommend that it be done solely by the EMP.Stoerker said such an approach might be particularly compelling if it was also included in the Navigation Study recommendations.Cobb concurred, noting that the recommendation could be pursued as a Water Resources Development Act proposal, or as a collaborative effort with resources drawn from a range of agencies and programs.Gary Christoff and Fenedick also expressed support for this approach.Tom Boland expressed concern with any major undertaking at this time involving the LTRMP, noting that the program has been through several planning and review processes and should now focus on implementation.After further discussion, it was agreed that Corps, USGS, EPA, and UMRBA staff will consult further on the idea for an INA done under other auspices.The group will report back to the EMP partners with the results of their assessment.

 

Funding Stability for the LTRMP

 

Perk described the November workshop participantsí conclusion that the RTC should not include recommendations related to LTRMP funding stability, unless the current LTRMP analysis effort identifies specific measures to enhance funding stability that require administrative or Congressional action.In response to a question from Johnson, Boland said it is very difficult for the LTRMP to adjust its monitoring baseline downward in response to annual funding fluctuations.

 

Cobb noted that fluctuations in annual funding are difficult for both the LTRMP and HREP components.While this is unfortunate, Cobb stressed that any recommendation to address this through Administrative or Congressional action would likely not be well received.He suggested that the RTC acknowledge the challenge presented by funding fluctuations without recommending any specific action.Barb Naramore suggested that the challenges associated with funding fluctuations be described in a succinct conclusion statement, rather than in a more elaborate issue discussion.She explained that a lengthy treatment of the issue would likely be perceived as complaining.Cobb also urged care to ensure that the RTC does not inadvertently convey the message that the partners would prefer stable funding at a low level, rather than increased funding that may fluctuate.EMP-CC members expressed general agreement that the RTC should include a carefully worded conclusion regarding the importance of stable baseline funding for the EMP as a whole.

 

Operation and Maintenance

 

Perk reported that the November workshop participants concluded the RTC should address the Fish and Wildlife Serviceís need for increased resources to operate and maintain habitat projects on its refuges.In addition, the workshop participants outlined several specific considerations that should be reflected in the RTCís discussion of the issue, including habitat projectsí increasing pressure on the Serviceís refuge O&M budget, the Serviceís essential role in the EMP, and consideration of an RTC recommendation regarding cross-cut budgeting.After a brief discussion, EMP-CC members concurred with the workshop recommendations on the issue, and further agreed with the workshop participants that broader O&M issues with implications beyond just the EMP should be deferred for consideration through the Navigation Study.

 

Cost-Sharing

 

November workshop participants advised that the RTC should recommend expanding the definition of 100 percent federally funded HREPs to include those on all federally managed and owned lands.Currently, only those projects on national wildlife refuges are constructed at 100 percent federal expense.Perk also reported that the workshop participants stressed the need for close coordination between the RTCís cost-sharing recommendation and the Navigation Study, which will address cost-sharing for a variety of UMR environmental activities under different Corps authorities.Perk emphasized that the Corps may not ultimately support a recommendation to expand the scope of 100 percent federal projects.

 

Gary Christoff said Missouri would not oppose such a recommendation, but said the state will likely work with members of its Congressional delegation to extend 100 percent federal funding to HREPs on all publicly owned lands.

 

Gary Wooten noted that lands enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program are federally managed and asked whether the partners really intend to extend 100 percent federal funding to such lands.Cobb said extending 100 percent federal funding to lands involving easements would present significant complications and would almost certainly be opposed by the Corps.The EMP-CC members concluded that the RTC should recommend 100 percent federal funding for HREPs on all federally owned land, but not for federally managed lands that are not held in fee title.They also agreed that the EMP cost-sharing recommendation should be coordinated with any cost-sharing recommendations that will be made as part of the Navigation Study.

 

HREP Planning and Prioritization

 

Perk reported that November workshop participants concluded the RTC should not include any specific recommendations related to HREP planning and prioritization.However, they did agree that the RTC should report on the status and use of the habitat needs assessment and describe the HREP planning and prioritization process developed subsequent to the 1997 RTC.Perk said the Corps has also committed to presenting a revised planning and prioritization framework at the May EMP-CC meeting.He explained that the revised framework will be based on the May 2000 framework already endorsed by the EMP-CC, but will elaborate and expand on that document as needed.EMP-CC members concurred with the approach recommended at the November workshop and expressed interest in discussing the revised framework at the May meeting.

 

EMP:An Environmental Success Story

 

Perk described the November workshop participantsí endorsement of the environmental success story theme for the RTC.Participants also noted that, because ďsuccessĒ often has the connotation of final achievement or completion, the RTC must also emphasize that the story has not yet ended and that more work remains to be done.Cobb said this is an extremely important theme, stressing that the RTC must do the best possible job describing the EMPís successes.

 

Wooten suggested emphasizing environmental outcomes.Cobb cautioned that the report must not be too dry or overly scientific in tone.Holland-Bartels agreed, stressing that the report should focus on the ďso whatĒói.e., the real world, compelling examples of the programís impacts.Perk and Holland-Bartels said the Corps and USGS will request specific examples of accomplishments and successes from the other partners.They also stressed that the RTC should not include lengthy inventories of accomplishments, but rather should highlight representative examples to illustrate the programís successes.

 

EMP-CC members concurred that the RTC should convey the environmental success story theme.

 

EMP:Part of an Integrated Solution

 

Perk said the November workshop participants agreed that the RTC should carry forward the theme of the EMP as part of an integrated approach to meeting the UMRSís ecosystem needs.EMP-CC members agreed that the RTC should present the EMP as part of an integrated solution.Bill Franz stressed that the EMP is not the universal answer to all river problems, and observed that this theme is related to the issue of the LTRMPís coordination with other programs.Gretchen Benjamin expressed concern that the EMP not take on work that should be conducted under the auspices of the Navigation Study.Cobb emphasized that this theme is not intended to suggest that the EMP assume the responsibilities of other projects and programs.Holland-Bartels said report authors should ask her directly for examples of the LTRMPís contribution to integrated solutions.

 

Caps on Delegated Approval Authority

 

Roger Perk said MVD and the Districts would like to expand the Divisionís approval authority for HREPs.Currently, MVD can approve projects under $5 million, unless there is a policy issue.Perk and Cobb proposed an RTC recommendation to allow MVD to approve all HREPs regardless of cost, unless there is a policy issue involved.Under this proposal, the cap on the Districtsí approval authority would remain at $1 million.Cobb cited HREPs involving land acquisition as an example of the type of project that would still require Washington-level approval.Perk said he will prepare an issue paper regarding the delegated authority issue for the EMP-CCís consideration at its May meeting.

 

Other RTC Business

 

Perk reported that Corps, USGS, and UMRBA staff have been drafting the first three chapters of the RTC.However, those drafts are not yet ready for distribution.Perk said he would like to refine the drafts further and distribute them for partner review in April.

 

Perk said one of the next steps in drafting the RTC will be to identify the reportís conclusions.He noted that some of these will come directly from the issue papers, while others will come from other sources.As an example of a likely conclusion, he cited the importance of the EMP to the entire river system.Jeff Janvrin suggested a conclusion highlighting the programís efficiency.Cobb said this might be a possibility, but observed that it is challenging to relate program costs to the full scope of its benefits.Benjamin recommended conclusions related to the EMPís value to the nation, lessons learned from the program, and the EMPís status as a state-of-the-art program.Christoff advised seeking input from a wide range of program partners and stakeholders regarding RTC conclusions.He suggested an e-mail seeking ideas.

 

Holland-Bartels urged that the RTC conclusions be well focused.She observed that many of the conclusions in the 1997 report were rather minor and/or self-evident, detracting from the reportís major points.Cobb recommended concentrating the RTCís conclusions on the programís accomplishments.In particular, he said the report should focus on what works, what is efficient, and what is cost-effective.Chuck Theiling cautioned that there will be limits on the reportís ability to quantify results.Cobb said the partnership must simply characterize EMP outcomes as best it can.Johnson noted that the EMP has accomplished a tremendous amount, but that this is still a small part of meeting the systemís overall ecosystem needs.

 

Charlie Wooley and Don Hultman suggested testimonials from the public, stakeholders, managers, and others to highlight the RTCís major points.They stressed the value of putting a human face of the program.Several EMP-CC members concurred with this recommendation.Perk said he will need assistance in gathering testimonials.He said he will seek assistance after he has identified the major points he would like to highlight.Cobb suggested that the report highlight a single project from planning to post-construction evaluation.

 

Other Business

 

Tom Edwards described concerns he has with an island project proposed for Peoria Lake as part of the Illinois River Basin Restoration program.In particular, Edwards said the project will not produce the desired water quality benefits and will increase flood elevations.He also expressed concern that the increased depth created by dredging will quickly be lost due to siltation.He urged a different approach, focused on reducing sediment delivery to Peoria Lake.

 

Jeff Janvrin announced availability of a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures on land use in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

 

Leslie Holland-Bartels announced that Dave Soballe will be leaving USGS to join the Corpsí Waterways Experiment Station.She said USGS will soon be posting Soballeís water quality position.

 

Tom Cox thanked Perk and other Corps staff for their assistance with water level management.He explained that modifications to lock and dam operations saved the Service significant pumping expenses in waterfowl management areas.This was achieved with no adverse impact to navigation.

 

Barb Naramore announced that the quarterly meeting schedule includes meetings on May 13-15, 2003 in St. Louis; August 5-7, 2003 in the Twin Cities; and November 18-20, 2003 in La Crosse.EMP-CC business meetings will take place on the third day of each meeting cycle.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

 


EMP-CC Attendance List

February 27, 2003

 

 

Steve Cobb

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Charlie Wooley

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Leslie Holland-Bartels

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Scott Stuewe

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Tom Boland

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Steve Johnson

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Gary Christoff

Missouri Department of Conservation

Gretchen Benjamin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Al Fenedick

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Greg Ruff

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Roger Perk

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Ken Barr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Denny Lundberg

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Darryl Carattini

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Jan Hodges

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Chuck Theiling

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Mark Cornish

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Deb Foley

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Mike Thompson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Brian Markert

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Eric Laux

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Tim Yager

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Don Hultman

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Rick Nelson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island Field Office

Bob Clevenstine

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island Field Office

Karen Westphall

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tom Cox

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mark Twain Complex

Pam Thiel

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Joyce Collins

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mike Steuck

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Janet Sternburg

Missouri Department of Conservation

Mike Wells

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Jeff Janvrin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Gary Wooten

Natural Resources Conservation Service, Midwest Region

Bill Franz

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Larry Shepard

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7

Tom Edwards

River Rescue

Holly Stoerker

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association