EMP Report to Congress Workshop
August 8, 2002
Section I(C) highlights relationship of EMP RTC to Navigation Study because the 2 efforts are on a parallel timeline, with particular need for coordinated recommendations. Other programs that have an on-going relationship to EMP (i.e., Illinois Ecosystem Restoration, WRDA 99 Comprehensive Plan, Comprehensive refuge planning, etc.) will be generally described in Section II(B) on Program Implementation.
Opportunities for LTRMP to coordinate with other programs and meet other monitoring needs was identified as a potential new issue. Examples include water quality monitoring to support states’ Clean Water Act responsibilities and pending nutrient/sediment monitoring legislation. UMRBA staff will consult with Roger Perk, UMESC staff, and Larry Shepard (EPA VII) to explore how this issue can be best framed for future workshop discussions. Options include developing a new issue paper or revising the LTRMP Funding Stability issue paper.
· There is no need for the RTC to recommend changes regarding rehabilitation of HREPs. Therefore, this issue will not be carried forward in the RTC process. If necessary, the existing HREP rehabilitation decision process and funding responsibilities will simply be described in the report.
· In general, the following summarizes the partners’ understandings and assumptions about HREP rehabilitation:
- Rehabilitation is remedial work in response to damage from a storm event. It does not include modifications to address design deficiencies.
- Decisions regarding whether individual HREPs should be rehabilitated will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the project sponsor.
- Typically, rehabilitation will take precedence over new construction. However, if a major flood event results in the need for rehabilitation of numerous projects throughout the river system, the EMP-CC will be consulted on the budgetary implications and options.
- A reasonable interpretation of existing statutory language, in combination with language in existing and proposed MOAs and PCAs, suggests that the responsibility for funding HREP rehabilitation is as follows:
§ For cost-shared projects, mutually agreed upon rehabilitation will be cost-shared the same as the original construction (i.e., 65/35 for post-WRDA 99 projects; 75/25 for projects under WRDA 86)
§ For refuge projects, mutually agreed upon rehabilitation will be 100 percent federally funded (from Corps HREP funding) [Note: Although not addressed in statutory language, MOAs, or PCAs, EMP partners also agreed that if emergency flood recovery funds are available from other sources (e.g., USFWS or FEMA), those funds should be used to the fullest extent possible to rehabilitation HREPs.]
§ If PCAs or LCAs executed prior to the current model PCA define rehabilitation responsibilities differently from above, those agreements will be honored.
[Note: Subsequent to the workshop, the Corps determined that MVD will issue guidance establishing the above policies.]
- Other on-going issues related to HREP rehabilitation, but not directly addressed in the RTC deliberations, include:
§ Appropriate design life of HREPs
§ Distinctions between O&M and rehabilitation of HREP dredging features
These issues will continue to be discussed by the EMP partners as the program evolves.
· This theme will be carried forward in development of the RTC. In particular, it could be reflected in the conclusions section by emphasizing the potential of the LTRMP to serve future adaptive management needs.
· Care should be taken when reflecting this theme that we not imply that the LTRMP has not fulfilled its Congressionally authorized purpose due to insufficient funding.
· Examples of how LTRMP has supported adaptive management:
- rapid identification of exotic/invasive species
- bio-response monitoring at HREPs such as Finger Lakes (other examples identified subsequent to the workshop include Chatauqua and Peoria Lake)
- water quality monitoring (overwintering of backwater fish)
· Options eliminated from further consideration:
- Transfer LTRMP authority/appropriation directly to Department of the Interior (Option #1) — Although one of the advantages of this option is that the LTRMP appropriation would not count against the Corps’ budget cap, the disadvantages are significant. They include:
§ Relationship between monitoring and HREPs would be broken
§ Risks associated with securing funding in different agency/subcommittee budget
- Exempt LTRMP from Savings and Slippage (Options #3, 4, 6) — Achieving such an exemption would be extremely difficult and there is already sufficient funding flexibility with the authority to shift 20 percent between EMP components.
· Options that may still hold promise include:
- Waiving USGS indirect cost assessment (Option #5) — For November 2002 meeting, explore whether USGS sees any potential for favorable treatment of EMP regarding indirect costs.
- Funding transfer via SF-1151 (Option #2) — For November 2002 meeting, investigate and report on the process for SF-1151 transfers and the potential risks of using this transfer mechanism. Specific questions and considerations include:
§ Is SF-1151 intended to be used only on a temporary basis?
§ Would program accountability be transferred?
§ How would use of SF-1151 affect long term viability of keeping LTRMP in Corps budget?
§ Would SF-1151 transfer preclude USGS overhead charges?
§ Can MIPRs be accomplished faster/easier than SF-1151 transfers?
· The need for all of the 3 LTRMP components (applied research, monitoring, and evaluation of management alternatives) was affirmed.
· Arbitrary up-front budget allocations among the 3 components are not an appropriate means of assuring that the LTRMP includes all 3 activities. Allocation decisions should be science-based.
· Additional information and discussion is needed before any of the options in the issue paper is eliminated and a specific recommendation is offered. Therefore, UMESC staff is requested to provide additional information at the November 2002 meeting regarding what is needed to ensure all 3 LTRMP goals are met.
· The 1994 Corps policy regarding EMP land acquisition does not, in and of itself, appear to unreasonably limit land acquisition. Other factors, such as the ability and/or willingness of states to cost-share, the availability of other program funding options, and overall HREP funding limitations seem to explain the fact that projects primarily involving land acquisition have not been actively pursued through EMP.
· None of the options, as specifically defined in the issue paper, were endorsed. However, in general, it was agreed that the existing EMP land acquisition policy should be maintained, recognizing that a variety of factors will influence how actively such projects are pursued. The following two issues require clarification:
- Is the Corps’ general policy on ecosystem restoration, which limits land acquisition to 25 percent of project costs, applicable to EMP?
- Is the 10 percent funding limitation in the 1994 EMP guidance still applicable given that it was originally specified to apply to 1995-2002 (i.e., the balance of the authorization period at the time the guidance was issued)?
· EMP authorizing legislation should be modified to allow NGOs to serve as cost-share partners for HREPs i.e., Option 2 of issue paper. Such a provision is consistent with other Corps ecosystem restoration authorities, would help leverage scarce resources, and would offer a potentially more efficient option for projects involving land acquisition.
· EMP partners’ support for the above recommendation includes the following caveats and/or assumptions:
- Public access would be required. The EMP should not support improvements to private lands for exclusive use, such as duck hunting clubs.
- Similar to NGO provisions related to Section 1135 and other Corps authorities, the approval of the local and/or state government would be required.
- NGOs would be held to the same requirements as other nonfederal sponsors, such as O&M responsibilities and confirmation of financing ability.
- The membership of EMP coordinating bodies, such as EMP-CC, would not change.
August 8, 2002
RTC Workshop Attendees