Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River System

Environmental Management Program

Coordinating Committee

 

May 21, 2009

Quarterly Meeting

 

Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel

St. Paul, Minnesota

 

 

Charlie Wooley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the meeting to order at 8:05 a.m. on May 21, 2009.  Other EMP-CC representatives present were Elizabeth Ivy (USACE), Mike Jawson (USGS), Bernie Hoyer (IA DNR), Tim Schlagenhaft (MN DNR), Janet Sternburg (MO DoC),
Jim Fischer (WI DNR), and Bill Franz (USEPA).  A complete list of attendees follows these minutes.

 

Announcements

 

Charlie Wooley announced Don Hultman’s upcoming retirement as the USFWS’ UMR FWR Refuge Manager.

 

Minutes from the February 18, 2009 Meeting

 

Janet Sternburg moved and Jim Fischer seconded a motion to approve the draft minutes of the February 18, 2009 meeting as written.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Program Management

 

FY 09 Fiscal Update and Stimulus Funding

 

Marv Hubbell reported that EMP operated under the continuing resolution authority at $18 million until the FY 09 omnibus measure was enacted on March 11, 2009.  The omnibus lowered EMP’s FY 09 appropriation to $17.713 million.  Hubbell said that allocations within the program have been modified as shown below.  Hubbell explained that HREP funds are generally allocated based on the number of river miles per district; however, inter-district fund transfers are frequently made to adjust to shifting needs and capabilities.  In addition, the EMP authority allows the Corps to shift funds between the HREP and LTRM components on an annual basis, with reallocations capped at 20 percent.  According to Hubbell, both inter-district shifts and the freedom to deviate from the standard HREP/LTRM allocation are important tools for enhancing EMP’s fiscal performance.

 

·      Regional management — $662,000

·      LTRM — $5,428,432

·      HREPs — $11,622,568

o     Program Model Certification — $100,000

o     MVP — $3,483,770

o     MVR — $4,555,028

o     MVS — $3,483,770

 

Hubbell noted that EMP is using $75,000 in FY 09 regional management funds to support the Regional Support Team’s reach planning efforts.  This is work NESP was unable to fund.  In addition, NESP and EMP are also coordinating their model certification work.  Each program will certify one model, with that certification then serving the needs of both programs.

 

Hubbell reported that EMP has received an additional $13.176 million in stimulus funding.  He said that the total obligation authority available to EMP, including both omnibus and stimulus funding, is $33.889 million.  The combined funding will be used for planning or design of 16 projects, construction of 7 projects, and data collection to support restoration and trend detection.  He said that Corps HQ allocated the EMP’s stimulus funding to specific activities and projects.  Total allocations to each district, as well as the specified activities and projects are as follows:

 

·      MVP — $5,048,000

o     Pool 8 Islands Phase 3 — $4,700,000

o     Planning, Engineering Design — $348,000

·      MVR — $3,298,000

o     GIS Landscape Analysis — $300,000

o     Lake Odessa (Tree Planting) — $150,000

o     LiDAR and Bathymetry — $2,500,000

o     Planning, Engineering Design — $348,000

·      MVS — $4,833,000

o     Rip Rap Landing — $325,000

o     Swan Lake — $1,160,000

o     Batchtown — $3,000,000

o     Planning, Engineering Design — $348,000

 

Hubbell said the opportunity to allocate $2.5 million to LiDAR and bathymetry illustrates the value of advanced planning and readiness.  Janet Sternburg asked if there is a required timeframe for expending the stimulus funds.  Hubbell said that contracts for LiDAR and bathymetry are scheduled to be awarded in August 2009, and all stimulus funds expended by September 30, 2010.

 

FY 10 Update

 

Hubbell reported that the President’s FY 10 budget request for EMP is $20 million.  However, the full execution at that funding level would require that new planning and construction starts be allowed.  If Congressional language restricting new starts is extended, the EMP’s FY 10 capability number is estimated at $16 million or less.

 

2010 Report to Congress (RTC)

 

Hubbell explained that EMP’s authorization requires reports back to the authorizing committees on a six-year cycle, with the next report due in December 2010.  The reports are to include evaluations of the HREP and LTRM components, a description of their accomplishments, an update to the systemic habitat needs assessment (HNA), and identification of any needed changes in the authorization.  The first scoping meeting for the 2010 Report to Congress (RTC) was held on April 22, 2009.  Participants included representatives from USACE, USFWS, USGS, US EPA, MO DoC, TNC, and UMRBA.  Hubbell reported that the scoping group suggested using a similar format to the 2004 RTC, but with a greater focus on accomplishments and outcomes. 

 

Barb Naramore highlighted the following insights gained from developing the 1997 and 2004 RTCs:

 

·      Going through the process of developing a RTC is extraordinarily valuable for EMP and the partnership, as it reflects on accomplishments, articulates issues, recommends solutions, and sets forth a collaborative vision.  It is not only valuable in shaping the report, but also in improving subsequent program implementation efforts.

·      It is important to have a schedule and process that permit meaningful participation and review, especially in light of staffing and resource constraints.

·      There are multiple audiences for the RTC.  Although the authorizing committees are the primary audiences, the appropriators, OMB, ASA(CW), USACE HQ, partner agencies and stakeholders, and interested public are also important audiences.  Recognize that there are different kinds of issues, and be careful to articulate which recommendations are for Congress, which are for the Administration, and which are for the partnership.

·      Be clear and concise in reporting accomplishments and outputs.

·      Ultimately, the Corps is responsible for submitting the RTC.  Therefore, there are limits to what will be included in the report, particularly when it comes to the conclusions and recommendations.

·      Clearly identify the report’s purposes, including providing a program update and summary of the program’s history, addressing transition issues as needed.

 

Beyond meeting the Congressional requirements, Hubbell reported that the Scoping Team agreed that the RTC should include three main focus areas:  key issues and critical needs of both the program and ecosystem health of the UMR; the program’s accomplishments since inception, emphasizing the period since the 2004 RTC; and the partnership’s strength and commitment to work collaboratively.

 

Hubbell report that a second scoping meeting is scheduled for June 15-16, 2009, at which participants will develop a draft outline and identify key contributors and authors.  The draft outline will be presented to the EMP-CC at its August quarterly meeting.  Hubbell reviewed the remaining proposed schedule as follows:

 

·      February 2010

EMP-CC reviews rough draft RTC

·      May 2010

Seek EMP-CC endorsement of final draft RTC

·      June 2010

Submit RTC to MVD

·      July 2010

Submit RTC to HQ

·      December 2010

Submit the RTC to Congress

 

Regional Management

 

In response to a request at the February quarterly meeting, Hubbell presented a list of HREPs that have approved fact sheets, with their estimated federal funding requirement and current project phase.  EMP currently has 20 active projects, with approximately one-third in each phase (i.e. planning, design, and construction).  According to Hubbell, the stimulus funds will accelerate these projects, increasing the need to initiate planning on new projects and construction on projects with completed plans and specifications, if the EMP is to remain fully functional.  To maintain an adequate balance of projects, the Corps proposes using the reach planning and SET processes to identify and sequence additional projects.  However, Hubbell said this cannot happen unless the Congressional language prohibiting new starts on planning and construction is lifted.

 

In response to a question from Mike Jawson, Naramore said she is cautiously optimistic that restrictive EMP language will not be extended in FY 10.  She reported that the ad hoc NESP/EMP coalition has been educating House and Senate appropriations staff regarding the implications of the current language, but has not received any specific indication of what the appropriations staff intends to do in FY 10.  Tim Schlagenhaft asked whether the SET process will be integrated into the reach planning process.  Hubbell said he foresees a blended approach since the SET process was endorsed by the EMP‑CC as the method for project identification and selection.  Schlagenhaft asked whether there will be an opportunity to identify new projects.  Hubbell said he wants to respect the previous investment of effort in the 15 pending HREP proposals, but said there will also be an opportunity to examine new ideas.

 

Gretchen Benjamin asked how long it might take to complete all of the 20 EMP projects currently in the pipeline.  Hubbell said he anticipates the projects would be completed in about three to four years, assuming EMP receives its typical levels of funding and that the prohibition on moving from design to construction is lifted.  Sternburg asked why the new starts prohibition on planning does not impact the reach planning effort.  Hubbell said that reach planning can be continued because it is a program neutral effort.

 

Public Involvement and Outreach

 

Hubbell reported that USACE and USGS are updating the HREP and LTRM websites, and exploring opportunities for communicating the FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic Plan with various stakeholders.  He said that EMP managers continue to engage with the Corps’ UMRS Outreach Team.  Jeff DeZellar said USACE and USFWS will host public boat tours of Pool 8 Islands in August.  He announced that the Corps has also been working with a Twin Cities’ public television station to create an hour long documentary on the Pool 8 Islands project.  An April public meeting on the project was well-attended and received good media coverage.  DeZellar also reported that MVP held a public open house featuring its dredge fleet last weekend, with information booths for EMP, NESP, and water level management.

 

Hubbell said the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration will be held in Los Angeles on July 20‑24, 2009, and will include a full day dedicated to the Mississippi River.  “Visions of a Sustainable Mississippi River:  Merging Ecological, Economic, and Cultural Values” will be held in Collinsville, Illinois on August 10-13, 2009.  Barb Naramore noted that the Illinois River Conference in Peoria is scheduled for October 20-22, 2009.  Jon Duyvejonck said a river-focused conference will be held in the Quad Cities in September 2009. 

 

Sternburg reported that the RRAT will hold its annual boat trip on June 9-11, 2009.  Sternburg also encouraged partners with good film footage to consider uploading clips to YouTube.  DeZellar said that much of the Corps’ footage captured on the Red River flood recovery effort was uploaded on YouTube and Flicker.  Jim Fischer asked if the Corps had guidelines for uploading images onto these public domains.  DeZellar said that the Corps staff received HQ approval to upload the Red River footage.

 

Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program

 

District Reports

 

Brian Johnson reported that MVS received stimulus funding to complete planning on Rip Rap Landing, for which alternative plans are currently being developed.  Other planning efforts include developing a model for Wilkinson Island and finalizing the recommended plan for Ted Shanks.  Johnson said MVS is using contractors for most of its HREP design work this year, including design of the Batchtown pump station and chevrons and the Swan Lake pump station.  Plans and specifications for the Swan Lake pump station should be completed in FY 09, allowing for construction in FY 10.  Johnson said that MVS’s construction priorities this year are Batchtown and Calhoun Point.  He observed that MVS’s use of contractors for project planning, while borne of necessity, has been working well.

 

Marv Hubbell said that MVR’s primary planning focus is currently on Rice Lake, with the goal of being ready in FY 10, assuming the restriction on new construction starts is lifted.  Fox Island will also be ready for construction in FY 10.  Hubbell said he anticipates that MVR will award contracts for construction on Lake Odessa Stage IB by the end of July and on Stage IIB by mid-November.  Hubbell reported that severe staff constraints are limiting MVR’s ability to complete evaluation reports, and funds are being shifted to pre-project monitoring for Pool 12.  MVR will continue funding work through USFWS in Rock Island this year.

 

Don Hultman asked whether the Lake Odesssa flood damage repairs are being funded through regular program appropriations.  Hubbell explained that a combination of sources will be used to fund reconstruction of Lake Odessa’s perimeter levee, including flood recovery funds, stimulus money, and regular appropriations.  The perimeter levee has been redesigned and will now feature a clay cap, which should reduce damages from future overflows.  Hubbell said costs for Lake Odessa, including flood repairs, will likely total $14-16 million.  This is considerably higher than the original project costs, but Hubbell emphasized that the Corps will not walk away from a damaged project.

 

Jeff DeZellar said that MVP is continuing to develop DPRs and complete mussel surveys for Capoli and Harpers Sloughs, though efforts have been slowed by staff reassignments to flood recovery efforts and stimulus-funded projects.  He said that money is available to accelerate the contract award for Pool 8 Phase III Stage 3B to September.  However, it is not yet known whether the necessary staff capacity is available to execute this early contract award.  DeZellar reported that construction is nearing completion on Pool 8 Phase III Stage 2B, and will begin on Stage 3A this summer.  MVP is dredging Finger and Clear Lakes, and using that material on a berm at L&D 4.  This is a coordinated effort between EMP and O&M.  DeZellar said the district anticipates having four HREP completion reports finalized by the end of FY 09.

 

Tim Schlagenhaft asked when MVP’s draft completion reports are expected to be available for partner review.  He expressed frustration that the reports, which are important to the partners, have been delayed for some time.  DeZellar said he could not offer a more specific timeline, beyond the goal of completing four reports by the end of FY 09.  Schlagenhaft urged Corps staff to distribute the completion reports individually as they are ready for review.

 

HREP Showcase:  Pool 8 Islands Phase III

 

DeZellar showcased Phase III of the Pool 8 Islands project, which includes construction of 17 islands, 7 seed islands, 4 mudflats, and 3 breakwaters.  He explained that loss of islands in lower Pool 8 led to an increase in wind fetch and associated wave action, decline of bathymetric diversity, loss of habitat diversity, and a decline in aquatic vegetation.  DeZellar used a time series of aerial photographs to show the loss of islands since 1929, prior to construction of L&D 8 and the creation of Pool 8.  He also showed post-island restoration images from 2008.

 

Project design objectives include reducing wind fetch; concentrating flows in channels; and providing habitat diversity, visual isolation, and thermal protection.  In total, Phase III restoration efforts are expected to benefit 3,000 acres of habitat, which is approximately 13 percent of lower Pool 8.  Phase III costs are estimated at $18 million.  ARRA funding of $4.7 million will accelerate the project schedule.  The island construction work is making use of dredged material from the Brownsville placement site, approximately 4 miles away.  In addition to being a ready source of quality material, this is helping the O&M program by offloading material from a placement site that is not easily accessible for other beneficial uses.  Completion of Phase III construction is expected in 2012.

 

DeZellar said that the project partners continue to be involved in several outreach activities, including public boat tours of the area.  In 2008, 200 to 300 people attended the boat tours, and the Service plans to hold a similar event this year.  As announced earlier, DeZellar said that a local public television station is planning a documentary on the Pool 8 Islands project.

 

Bernie Hoyer asked for a definition of a seed island.  DeZellar and Jon Hendrickson explained that small structures are place in the river, with the goal of eventually collecting enough sediment to create an island, on which vegetation will ultimately establish.  Hendrickson explained that this experimental approach grew from observations of natural river processes.  Hendrickson said Pool 8 Phase III is taking the seed island concept a bit farther than previous projects, and is examining a variety of approaches.  In some instances, seeds will be placed on the islands after they form, to accelerate vegetative growth.  In response to a question from Butch Atwood, Don Powell said that Phase III has placed approximately 50,000 cubic yards of fine material.

 

In response to a question from Barry Johnson, Hendrickson said that the Wind Fetch Model was not available to assist in designing Phase III, but he acknowledged the tool’s potential value in designing this type of project.

 

Schlagenhaft asked whether a biological evaluation is planned for this project.  DeZellar reported that the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) was used in the feasibility phase, and said a standard project completion report will be developed.  Schlagenhaft expressed concern about the adequacy of pre- and post-project monitoring to support biological evaluation, especially for projects as resource-intensive as the Pool 8 Islands.  Powell said that Wisconsin DNR has done extensive pre- and post-project fisheries monitoring and USFWS does annual waterfowl monitoring, both of which could be used to evaluate the project’s success.  Hendrickson said the 20-year long data set on flow patterns can also be utilized in the project’s evaluation.  Fischer noted that Pool 8 is a LTRM trend pool, and thus some changes should be captured through this routine monitoring.  Schlagenhaft urged that project planning include thorough evaluation plans, which he said require more than simply accumulating available data sets. 

 

Hubbell outlined the five major elements of the project development process as follows:

 

1.    Development of the definite project report (DPR).  This effort relies on the professional judgment of a multi-disciplinary project delivery team (PDT).

2.    Evaluate project alternatives.  A variety of tools are used in this, and the model certification process is designed to ensure the validity of these tools.

3.    USACE assesses the as-built physical elements of the project.  Payments to contractors are linked to these assessments.

4.    Project outcomes are evaluated to determine success — i.e., did the project accomplish its goals?

5.    Ensure that the site can be managed by the project sponsor, and determine the level of associated uncertainty and risk.

 

In addition, Hubbell said partners sometimes conduct related research to evaluate project impacts.  As an example, he cited Iowa DNR’s work to determine how long it took fish to discover and exploit new habitat on Pool 11.

 

Bill Franz asked whether the project evaluations to date have been compiled in a centralized location.  Hubbell said that Charlene Carmack’s summary previously provided to the EMP-CC probably comes the closest.  According to Hubbell, of the 50 completed EMP projects, 15 projects have had some level of evaluation.  However, the level of monitoring effort and sophistication vary with each project.  Powell said that monitoring has primarily focused on physical and chemical aspects because biological monitoring requires substantial resources and the results are often difficult to interpret.  In particular, Powell said it is typically difficult to establish what may have caused observed changes in biological parameters.

 

Marv Hubbell asked USFWS and the states to provide him with information about how they evaluate their own resource management actions.  Don Hultman said that management objectives should guide project evaluations i.e., the level of detail desired, what to monitor, and frequency and duration of monitoring required.  Charlie Wooley noted USFWS’ large waterfowl dataset on Pool 8 that could be used to evaluate the Pool 8 Island’s waterfowl objective.

 

Tim Schlagenhaft said his concern is that the elements of response are not being monitored and that the results are not being analyzed comprehensively.  A more rigorous and consistent approach to project evaluation would help inform future project design and selection, as well as document program results.  Elizabeth Ivy said that measuring and communicating project success is essential to maintaining Congressional support.  Janet Sternburg observed that the cost of project evaluation will need to be weighed against the desire to assess project impacts.

 

Long Term Resource Monitoring

 

Product Highlights

 

Mike Jawson announced that the Status and Trends Report is now available in hard copy and on the USGS’s website at http://pubs.usgs.gov/mis/LTRMP2008-T002/.  He reported that LTRMP staff gave several presentations at the recent Yangtze Forum; the UMRCC meeting on March 24-26, 2009; the Mississippi River Research Consortium on April 30-May 1, 2009; and the UMRBA Biological Indicators Workshop on May 5-7, 2009.  Jim Fischer expressed appreciation for the high quality of LTRMP’s scientific products, which he attributed both to the individuals involved and the program’s maturity.  Dan McGuiness also recognized the assistance from UMESC staff in providing information for a CD he is developing on river restoration.  This effort is being done in partnership with Hamline University.

 

LiDAR Update

 

Karen Hagerty said systemic LiDAR data acquisition is scheduled for completion by September 2010, noting that stimulus funds helped to accelerate this effort.  She also said she continues to work with USGS’s spatial data liaisons in Illinois and Missouri and MVP to coordinate LiDAR collection in remaining areas.

 

In response to a question from Janet Sternburg, Larry Robinson said UMESC is currently doing QA/QC on the LiDAR data for Pools 8-14 and 20-24, and he anticipates that these data will be served by the end of FY 09.  Hagerty expressed appreciation to Iowa DNR for its initial LiDAR processing.  In the interim, prior to UMESC posting the data, Hagerty said the data provided by Iowa DNR can be made available upon request.  In response to a question from Marv Hubbell, Robinson said that users will need ArcView, a fast processor, and lots of harddrive space to use the LiDAR data.

 

Draft Bathymetric Plan

 

Hagerty referenced the draft bathymetric data plan included in the agenda packet, explaining that it reflects input received from internal and external technical reviews.  She said that, although the plan provides alternatives for implementation over three- and five-year timeframes, the stimulus package will allow for data acquisition over approximately 12 months.  A contract award will likely take place in August 2009, with completion by September 2010.  Hagerty estimated total costs at $1.2 million, including administrative costs and a 25 percent contingency.  The district costs are approximately $211,600 for MVP, $855,000 for MVR, and $110,000 for MVS.

 

Jim Fischer asked how quickly the data acquisition will commence after a contract is awarded.  Hagerty said the acquisition should begin immediately, contingent upon water levels.  Upon request from Sternburg, Hagerty will provide EMP-CC members with an estimated timeframe for when the bathymetric data will be served.  Sternburg recognized the importance of this data for reach and project planning.  Hagerty noted that the data can be made available prior to being served.

 

Sternburg moved and Fischer seconded a motion to approve the bathymetric plan as provided in the meeting packet.  The motion was approved unanimously.

 

FY 10-14 Operational Plan

 

Hubbell reported that the Strategic and Operational Planning Teams met jointly on March 23-24, 2009.  Participants reviewed a draft FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic and Operational Plan to ensure that the goals and priorities of the Strategic Plan were fully reflected in the draft plan.  On April 20, a revised draft was then distributed to EMP-CC members and stakeholders for review and feedback. 

 

Hubbell highlighted the following key aspects of the plan:

 

·      Focuses on the science, data, and information needed to understand and manage the UMRS.

·      Identified funding needs will exceed the historical funding available from EMP.

·      Success will require more EMP funding and/or leveraging funding from other sources.

·      Prioritized outcomes and outputs will be used to guide the development of annual scopes of work.

·      Annual reviews of SOWs and implementation progress will be employed.

·      The integrated plan provides more specificity and clarity of terms (e.g., data integrity and continuity) relative to the Strategic Plan endorsed in August 2008.

 

Hubbell said that two remaining issues have yet to be fully resolved:  1) incorporating minor partner comments into the plan and 2) linking the plan to both EMP and NESP.

 

Barry Johnson characterized partner comments on the April 20 draft.  Overall, partners said it:  is a good to excellent document, addresses the major issues, and has no critical deficiencies.  Johnson highlighted the following specific comments, with the Operational Planning Team’s responses to those comments shown in parentheses:

 

·      Definitions and names should be more clearly defined.  (The Operational Planning Team agrees, and will modify or include additional, descriptive language.)

·      New strata, new data collection, and reach-scale monitoring should be further characterized and reprioritized.  (No change is necessary at this time since these components will be influenced by indicator development, which is recommended in the draft plan.)

·      Workforce issues and position descriptions, primarily the outreach coordinator and the HREP/LTRM liaison, should be described in more detail.  (The Operational Planning Team intends to develop a workforce plan with specific position descriptions.)

·      The plan should include a summary of current, and future needs for, HREP monitoring.  (No change will be made.  The draft plan contains provisions to develop plans for additional HREP monitoring.)

·      The role of LTRM in adaptive management should be more specifically defined.  (The Operational Planning Team did not include specific details regarding adaptive management because of the uncertainty related to a potential EMP-NESP transition, and also because NESP has been taking the lead on adaptive management.)

 

Fischer and Sternburg said Johnson’s characterization of the partner comments was very accurate.  Tim Schlagenhaft asked whether there will be separate decision support systems (DSSs) for EMP and NESP.  Hubbell said that the Corps staff is working to integrate DSS efforts, and emphasized that there will be only one DSS.  He observed that the NESP DSS is largely populated with EMP data.  Johnson said NESP’s DSS is a data and metadata management system, while the DSS proposed in the Strategic and Operational Plan is targeted to meeting the needs of a manager who has a specific question.  

 

Charlie Wooley reported that USFWS has expressed concerns with the plan’s application to NESP.  Hubbell provided background and a historical context for the partnership’s decision to use the plan as guidance for the LTRM in the next five years regardless of the parent program.  Hubbell summarized past EMP-CC meeting records regarding this issue.  Specific excerpts include:

 

·      May 2007 — “…this LTRMP strategic planning effort will be useful, regardless of what happens with the pending NESP authorization.”

·      November 2007 —

o     “…the Planning Team appreciates the need to consider the LTRMP’s future in the context of NESP as well as the EMP, including the potential for a larger program in the future.”

o     “Barb Naramore and Jon Duyvejonck observed that the strategic planning effort should prove useful regardless of whether the LTRMP is being implemented under the EMP, NESP, or a combination thereof during the FY 10-14 timeframe.”

·      August 2008 —

o     “Hubbell, Jawson, and Naramore acknowledged the efforts of the EMP-CC and the Strategic Planning Team and described process of developing the draft FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic Plan as productive and inclusive.  Hubbell emphasized that the Strategic Plan presents an important opportunity to be forward-looking while building off of the program’s history.”

o     “Jawson said much of the operational planning process will revolve around determining relative priorities under different funding scenarios.  Possible differences in these priorities depending on which program (i.e., NESP or EMP) the LTRMP is operating under will also need to be considered, according to Jawson.  He emphasized the operational plan’s utility in guiding decisions about the allocation of annual appropriations in FY 10-14.”

 

Wooley asked how the Corps would envision applying and translating the plan if LTRM is being implemented under NESP.  Hubbell said this is a dynamic plan that covers a five-year timeframe.  It will serve as a blueprint for developing annual scopes of work (SOWs), which will be presented to the EMP-CC annually at November quarterly meetings for approval.  Hubbell said that modifications to this process if the program is under NESP have yet to be determined.  Chuck Spitzack said that the reach planning process will serve as an important connection point between NESP and LTRM, as the planning effort reveals NESP’s information and adaptive management needs.  In response to a question from Wooley, Spitzack said this connection will be formalized in guidance to the Regional Support Team (RST) and the reach teams.

 

Jawson said that, in hindsight, it might have been beneficial to have engaged NESP managers more in the planning process.  Rick Frietsche said involvement of NESP staff may have led to a different prioritization among outcomes and outputs, with adaptive management likely to have been ranked more highly among the outputs.  Hubbell said that members of the Strategic and Operational Planning Teams, as well as EMP-CC and NECC members and stakeholders, are often engaged in both EMP and NESP activities, and therefore, can provide insights from both perspectives.  He noted that reach planning is a joint effort, and thus the reach objectives will be utilized by both programs.

 

Sternburg said that when this process started, NESP had not yet received authorization.  Though it was acknowledged that there would be other needs and opportunities under NESP, LTRM planning could account for these possibilities.  She said it would be reasonable to reevaluate the plan and the prioritization in the context of the two programs, as part of the annual work planning effort.  Bernie Hoyer emphasized the need for adaptive management, project monitoring, and a long term data set on the UMR, and for a permanent ecosystem restoration authority.

 

In response to a question from Wooley, Sternburg, Fischer, and Schlagenhaft said they were ready to act on the plan.  Sternburg moved and Schlagenhaft seconded a motion to endorse the FY 10-14 LTRMP Strategic and Operational Plan as presented in the meeting packet, with the understanding that USACE and USGS will make minor revisions based on the written partner comments discussed earlier, and recognizing that the plan is a dynamic document that will need to be revisited, particularly if LTRM shifts to NESP.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

A-Team

 

Sternburg reported that discussion at the A-Team’s April 29 meeting focused on its role, current and future, including assisting in implementing the FY 10-14 Strategic and Operational Plan, better linking LTRM with other efforts, and providing desired technical input from the partnership.  Sternburg said the A-Team’s role(s) may have implications for its composition, noting for example, that new monitoring components or research areas might require different types of expertise on the team.  This also relates to the role(s) of field station staff, principle investigators, and USACE’s LTRM Science Liaisons.  She said that, as NESP ramps-up, there will be more Corps staff involved with restoration projects.  Since many of the staff will be new to restoration projects, it will become more important to build a strong, formalized link between those projects and LTRM.  Sternburg said that she will work with EMP, UMESC, and NESP managers to reevaluate the A-Team’s function and composition, and to develop recommendations.

 

Sternburg reported that her term of chairmanship ended at the April 29 meeting, and Kevin Stauffer of Minnesota DNR is now serving as the new A-Team Chair.

 

In response to a question from Schlagenhaft, Sternburg said it would be helpful for EMP-CC to provide input regarding the scope and composition of the A-Team.  She suggested holding a meeting between EMP-CC members, A-Team members, and LTRM and HREP staff.  Hubbell noted the involvement of the Corps’ technical staff on PDTs, and said this is a type of collaboration between the two EMP components that is not always apparent.  Jon Hendrickson said previous efforts to encourage cross-component collaboration, such as the large river fish meeting, have been very helpful.  Jawson said that the Science Liaison position was identified to encourage this type of communication, and to serve as a point of contact between HREPs and various scientific experts.  He suggested that the A-Team explore potential opportunities for enhancing those efforts.

 

APE Project Showcase:  The 2010 UMRS Land Cover/Land Use Project

 

Because the meeting was running behind schedule, Mike Jawson proposed postponing Larry Robinson’s presentation on the 2010 UMRS Land Cover/Land Use Project until the August 2009 EMP-CC meeting.  Hubbell asked if Robinson needed partner input on any LC/LU issues prior to August.  Robinson said he did not.  He noted that a digital mapping camera will be used, with resolution of 8 inches per pixel for the upper pools and 15 inches per pixel for the remainder.  Both of these resolutions are superior to the 2000 coverage.  The minimum mapping unit will be 1 acre on the upper pools and 1 hectare for the remainder.  This compares with a minimum unit of 1 hectare for the 2000 coverage.  He said the 2000 and 2010 data sets will be readily comparable.  The images will be taken in late August/early September, during peak vegetation.  The question of whether and how to assess the data accuracy is yet to be resolved.  Robinson explained that only QA/QC was conducted for past LC/LU data sets.  The dynamic nature of the system makes ground truthing for data accuracy quite difficult, unless it is done in real time as the imagery is captured.  Hubbell said LC/LU will be a very important tool, providing a base for setting ecosystem objectives and a means of monitoring progress in meeting those objectives.  As such, Hubbell said it will be very important to understand the issue of data accuracy.

 

Jim Fischer asked what kind of point density would be needed for the LC/LU, and whether additional vegetation monitoring would be useful.  Robinson said having LTRM’s vegetation experts involved in the QC might be helpful, though he said the UMESC photointerpreters doing the classifications are very experienced.

 

Hubbell said UMESC is proposing to use the 31 category classification system for the 2010 LC/LU.  He said it is important for the partners to understand and support whatever system is ultimately selected.

 

Other Business

 

Mike Jawson asked whether separate EMP-CC and NECC meetings are necessary.  Schlagenhaft and Naramore said they did not think that time was ripe for combining the groups.  Hubbell said the joint sessions provide an opportunity to address issues of mutual interest.  He noted that EMP is a fully operational program, while NESP has thus far received only preconstruction engineering and design funds.  As such, the two programs are at very different stages and have different needs and issues.

 

The upcoming quarterly meetings are as follows:

 

·         August 2009 — Peoria

§         UMRBA — August 4

§         NICC — August 4

§         EMP-CC — August 5

§         Joint EMP-CC and NECC — afternoon of August 5

§         NECC — August 6

 

·         November 2009 — Quad Cities

§         UMRBA — November 17

§         NECC — November 18

§         Joint EMP-CC and NECC — afternoon of November 18 (if needed)

§         EMP-CC — November 19

 

·         February 2010 — St. Louis

§         UMRBA — February 23

§         EMP-CC — February 24

§         Joint EMP-CC and NECC — afternoon of February 24 (if needed)

§         NECC — February 25

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

 


EMP-CC Attendance List

May 21, 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

Butch Atwood

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

Jeff DeZellar

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Jon Hendrickson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

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

T. Leo Keller

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Brian Johnson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Don Hultman

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Rick Frietsche

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Tim Patronski

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Mike Weimer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Barry Johnson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Larry Robinson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Walt Popp

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Dan McGuiness

Dan McGuiness and Associates

Mark Gorman

Northeast-Midwest Institute

Gretchen Benjamin

The Nature Conservancy

Vince Shay

The Nature Conservancy

Todd Strole

The Nature Conservancy/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Christina Favilla

Sierra Club

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Dave Hokanson

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Kirsten Mickelsen

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association