Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

April 24-25, 2012

Moline, Illinois

Draft Meeting Summary

Participants

Roger Lauder

Illinois EPA

Joe Phillippe

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Rodney Tucker

Iowa DNR/USCG

Joe Artz

University of Iowa, Office of the State Archeologist

David Morrison

Minnesota PCA

Mark Marcy (1)

Minnesota HSEM

Rick Gann

Missouri DNR

Tom Kendzierski (1)

Wisconsin DNR

Jay Lomnicki (1)

NOAA

Beth Guynes

USACE, Mississippi Valley Division

Ramona Warren

USACE, Mississippi Valley Division

Joe Dziuk

USACE, Rock Island District

T. Leo Keller

USACE, Rock Island District

Dan McBride

USACE, Rock Island District

Roger Perk

USACE, Rock Island District

John Punkiewicz

USACE, Rock Island District

Jim Ross

USACE, Rock Island District

Frank Catalano

USACE, St. Louis District

Bryan Klostermeyer

USCG, Sector UMR

Todd Peterson

USCG, District 8

Eric Prufer

USCG, Quad Cities MSD

Tim Ross

USCG, Quad Cities MSD

Kody Stitz

USCG, Quad Cities MSD

Steve Faryan

US EPA, Region 5

Ramon Mendoza

US EPA, Region 5

Ann Whelan

US EPA, Region 5

Joe Davis

US EPA, Region 7

Jim Silver (1)

US EPA, Region 7

Heath Smith (1)

US EPA, Region 7

Mike Coffey

US FWS

Tim Anderson

Enbridge, Inc.

Stephanie Guerrero

Enbridge, Inc.

Dennis Greaney

Environmental Restoration, LLC

Caleb Tufts

Environmental Restoration, LLC

Chris Biellier (1)

Seneca Companies/Illinois MABAS 39

Dave Kinroth

Seagull Environmental Technologies

Megan Carlson (1)

UMRBA

Mark Ellis (1)

UMRBA

Dave Hokanson

UMRBA

(1) By telephone

 

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group (Group) was called to order at 1:00 p.m. by Chair David Morrison.  Introductions of all in attendance followed.

 

Agency Updates:  Reports on Recent Incidents, Exercises, and Program Developments

Birds Point Floodway Operation: Preparation and Response

Jim Silver gave an overview of US EPA Region 7’s activities to prepare for, and respond to, spill-related issues in the operation of the Birds Point Floodway during 2011 flooding.  He said a proactive approach was employed, involving a survey of the area to be flooded in order to identify potential spill hazards.  Silver described the removal of products from large storage tanks via vacuum trucks and the securing or removal of smaller containers.  He noted products removed as including diesel, used oil, other petroleum products, and herbicides.  Silver said non-waste products were returned to owners once flood waters had receded.  He described the process as very successful overall.  Silver added that water quality samples were collected from the flooded areas, with the results indicating water quality fairly typical for the Mississippi River.

 

Morrison asked whether there was anything Region 7 would do differently were a similar situation to arise in the future.  Silver said, ideally, it would have been beneficial to start the process sooner.  He added that using a metered pump when collecting products would have been very helpful, in order to better document the volume removed.  He said in one case a product owner disputed the amount of material returned. 

 

Mississippi River Pipeline Exposure

Silver described a recent (October 2011) situation where scouring had resulted in the exposure of an Enbridge Pipeline crossing under the Mississippi River near St. Louis.  He said this condition had been identified during a routine review of the pipeline conducted by Enbridge, adding that this is an older pipeline which has encountered scouring issues in the past, likely due at least in part to the flow dynamics at this particular point in the River.  Silver said scouring had left a 55 foot long section of the pipeline unsupported, out of a total length of 110 feet.  Enbridge’s contracted oil spill response organization (OSRO) responded to the situation and support for the pipeline was restored using sandbags partially filled with concrete.  These bags were placed both under the pipeline initially and then also used to cover the pipeline.  Silver said the action plan for the response utilized the Greater St. Louis Sub-Area Plan and response strategies developed for the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area.  He said the action plan was submitted to US DOT, USCG, and USEPA, noting also that the Captain of the Port was also very helpful in the response.  Silver said service through the pipeline had been restored promptly, though the need to consider future options remains, including possible repositioning of the pipeline or running it further below the river bottom.

 

Whelan asked how the pipeline was supported initially.  Silver said that it runs along the bottom of the River, which is a gravel bottom in that area, adding that there are not any constructed supports for the pipeline.  He noted that modern construction methods are different and that, if newly constructed, such a pipeline would likely be placed below the river bottom. 

 

Joe Davis said that Enbridge is undertaking assessments to ascertain the condition of other pipelines.  Tim Anderson said reviews of pipelines are required every four years and that this situation was discovered during one of these routine four-year reviews.  Whelan asked whether DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) requires more frequent reviews to determine if damage has been caused by flooding.  Anderson responded that under abnormal conditions, special requirements for surveys apply.  He added that, in this case, an assessment was conducted prior to re-starting the pipeline which did not find any risk associated with resuming its use.  Whelan asked Silver whether he foresaw any changes to the Greater St. Louis Sub-Area Plan as a result of this situation.  Silver said the Sub-Area committee would discuss the topic to determine if any changes needed. 

 

US Army Corps of Engineers

John Punkiewicz said that things have been quiet recently in the Rock Island District in terms of spill issues and there have not been floods to address this year to date. 

 

US Coast Guard

Bryan Klostermeyer concurred with Punkiewicz’s observation regarding the lack of flood issues, and that this has resulted in less response activity of late in Sector UMR. 

 

Iowa

Rodney Tucker said Iowa DNR has done some recovery of storage tanks displaced due to flooding, but that the reduced magnitude of flooding this year meant that a large-scale removal effort was not needed, as has been the case in other years recently.

 

Tucker also discussed a Dubuque-area spill in September 2011 resulting from the sinking of a tug boat.  He said this incident highlighted the need to enhance coordination between the Iowa DNR and the USCG.  Tucker said these agencies held a meeting in January to explore mechanisms of working together in responses.  Kody Stitz agreed with Tucker’s observations, saying that this incident brought out opportunities for improved communication between the USCG and Iowa DNR. 

 

Additionally, Tucker highlighted the upcoming communication exercise being held by the Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin Tri-State Hazardous Materials Group.  He said this exercise will take place on April 26, 2012. 

 

Illinois

Roger Lauder reported on Illinois EPA’s response to the recent tornado in Harrisburg, Illinois.  He said the agency had worked closely with water supplies in the recovery and that e-waste separation requirements had been waived to facilitate debris disposal.  Lauder noted that there had not been a federal disaster declaration made and Senator Durbin is currently working on legislation to address the limitations on disaster declarations in less populated areas. 

 

Lauder said Illinois EPA is taking part in preparations for the NATO meeting being held in Chicago in May 2012.

 

Missouri

Rick Gann said there had not been recent incidents of note affecting the UMR.  He indicated that cleanup of Big Oak State Park is ongoing, but that this is actually related to the 2011 floods, as many containers had been carried into the Park by floodwaters.  Caleb Tufts concurred, saying that a lot of container removal has taken place in the Park.  Morrison asked how Missouri DNR had been able to pay for flood-related debris field cleanup.  Gann replied that under the federal disaster declaration, FEMA funds had supported cleanup activities. 

 

Gann also reported that Missouri DNR now has a response boat located in St. Louis, which was purchased using federal port security funds. 

 

Minnesota

Morrison highlighted upcoming Wakota CAER “boom school” one day training events taking place on June 5, July 15, and August 16, as well as a three day course June 26-28, 2012.  He distributed a flyer for these and noted that more information is available on the Wakota CAER website (www.wakotacaer.org).

 

Morrison commented on a recent release of 30,000 gallons of piegas which, due to its substantial (approximately 50%) benzene content, can create an airborne risk.  He noted that another piegas incident had also taken place in the recent past in Duluth.  Joe Artz asked what piegas is.  Morrison responded that it is a product of petroleum processing and is often shipped by rail. 

 

Considering Cultural Resources in UMR Planning and Response

Hokanson said cultural (i.e., archaeological and historic) resources had been initially discussed at the October 2011 meeting of the Group and that to explore this topic further, representatives of state and federal agencies with responsibilities for these resources had been invited to present at this meeting.  He thanked Joe Phillippe of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Joe Artz of the Iowa Office of the State Archeologist, and Jim Ross of USACE for coming to present on this topic.

 

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Perspective

Phillippe began his presentation with a description of the National Historic Preservation Act and in particular describing the functions of the Act’s Section 106 as follows:

§  It requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties.

§  It defines historic properties as those listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

§  It requires agencies to afford the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation the opportunity to comment on project impacts on such properties.

Philllippe also shared some examples of the types of historic and archeological sites that are likely to be found along rivers in general and the UMR and regional rivers in particular (e.g., a shipwreck recently identified and removed from the Illinois River).

 

Kody Stitz asked whether the data maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is publicly available.  Phillippe replied that the data is not publicly available, but data sharing agreements can be established.  He noted that, beyond data sharing, it is advantageous to establish interagency agreements in advance of incidents, such as the one the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) addressing issues of consultation and coordination related to incidents and restoration activities. 

 

Stitz observed that, in working with FEMA, a Federal disaster declaration may create some “bypass” options for requirements governing historic properties, but that in the event of an oil spill such options would not likely be available.  Phillippe said it may be possible to create an agreement covering an oil spill incident.  Davis said the National Contingency Plan does contain some language speaking to this issue.  Stitz agreed, but noted that it typically comes into play after the fact and as such, establishing additional interagency agreements in advance is desirable.

 

University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist Perspective

Artz described the State of Iowa’s organization in addressing cultural resources as follows:

§  The University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (UI-OSA) is responsible for site records and a burials program.

§  Additionally, guidelines and consultants lists are maintained by other organizations, including by the Association of Iowa Archaeologists (professional guidelines and consultants list) and Preservation Iowa (architectural historians list). 

Artz also displayed web pages from both the State Historical Society of Iowa and the UI-OSA, highlighting available resources and contact persons.  He noted that the UI-OSA also works closely with Native American Tribes.  Artz also explained that any burials greater than 150 years old become an archaeological matter and fall under the UI-OSA’s Burials Program.   

 

Artz next described the Iowa Site File, which is a master inventory of all recorded archaeological sites in Iowa and which is maintained by the UI-OSA.  He described the types of information typically provided by the UI-OSA from the Site File, which are most often project-based (e.g., a one mile buffer around a project site indicating sites present within the buffer).  Artz commented that archaeological sites tend to be most commonly identified along roads, pipelines and rivers, noting that the predominance along roads and pipelines is likely an artifact of Section 106 requirements and likely is not representative of the distribution of sites statewide.

 

Artz explained that, due to looting and trespassing concerns, the most detailed information from the site file is provided only to professional archaeologists, and a more general report is provided to other requestors.  He said section-level information is available online from the UI-OSA and that this is a good place to start in seeking information before contacting the UI-OSA for a specific sites search.  Artz added that quarter-section level information can be provided to government agencies upon request.  He said the most detailed information could be made available during an actual response.

 

Artz described Iowa’s efforts to model the likely occurrence of archaeological sites statewide, which incorporate variables including elevation, slope, relief, relative elevation, distance to big streams, and distance to valleys.  He said this type of information could also be made available for a specific response situation, but is otherwise considered confidential.  Artz suggested this might be a tool of most value in the first 72 hours of a response.  In general, Artz said, many sites are yet undocumented and, as such, responders should be prepared for accidental discovery.

 

For the UMR specifically, Artz said that certain floodplain features are more likely to hold archaeological sites and that this has been modeled by USACE for the river corridor between Guttenberg, Iowa to Hannibal, Missouri.  He added that surface geology can be a first clue for responders as to how deeply artifacts are likely to be buried along the river corridor. 

 

Artz described some of the challenges related to archaeological sites and response as follows:

       24 hour, 7 day a week notification of “gatekeepers”, as no current system is currently in place. 

       Access to site data, including:

       Different levels of access for different users (e.g., public, government, professional archaeologists). 

       Multiple data systems and multiple states holding information, with no single access point for data.

 

Lauder said he is interested in section-level coverages and linking websites with cultural resource information to contingency plans.  Phillippe responded that one of the challenges in sharing information is its proper interpretation, saying that there is often “more to the story” than what can be seen in the data set alone, and that further interpretation is often needed.  For example, he said identified sites may have been removed as part of a project in some cases.  As such, access to expertise is needed either during or in advance of taking action in a response. 

 

Greaney said response plans often prescribe the protection of specific sites and he is interested in tools that will help meet that goal.  Phillippe and Artz both replied that one of the limitations of planning only around identified sites is that most sites have not yet been identified. 

 

Artz said providing information at the quarter-section level to responders may be both do-able and helpful.  Phillippe said Illinois DNR has been given coverage at this level and that this was the requested level for the Inland Sensitivity Atlas. 

 

Whelan observed that, given the considerations and limitations with the data, training may be a more effective approach than mapping in protecting historic and archaeological features.  Jim Ross said USACE had collaborated with SHPOs in landform mapping efforts, and that USACE would be willing to provide training on landform information.  

 

Phillippe said some types of sites are very likely to be under-represented in mapping and modeling efforts.  Artz agreed, saying that anticipating the occurrence of sites is ultimately a risk assessment exercise.  Whelan said this is where training come in, to understand that not all similar features may be equivalent (e.g., not all arrowheads are the same).  Artz said one feature responders could be trained to look for are clusters of fire-broken rocks, as these are often indicative of the presence of other archaeological features.  

 

US Army Corps of Engineers Perspective

Ross described how USACE’s Rock Island District addresses cultural resource considerations in its work on the UMR.  He detailed how the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act apply to “undertakings” that USACE engages in, and that this is the primary driver of archeological work by Corps.  Ross gave examples of the types of Corps activities that typically involve archaeological work.  He noted that while over 500 sites have been identified along the Mississippi River, only a limited area has been surveyed and therefore many more sites are likely present.  Ross emphasized the importance of consultation in dealing with cultural features, particularly in working with SHPOs and tribes.  He also noted the value of interagency and inter-programmatic agreements in addressing these issues. 

 

Ross next described USACE’s Landform Sediment Assemblages (LSA) data system, which can be used to help identify areas of highest probability of the occurrence/depth of archaeological features.  He said this system produces a GIS line dataset that identifies:

Ross described in detail an archaeological investigation conducted in Oakville, Iowa which was part of a project to identify a potential levee location.  He also discussed typical timelines for non-emergency consultation processes as being approximately six months in length. 

 

Ross concluded by noting that successful cultural resource planning by USACE has: 

Morrison asked if there are any special considerations for projects taking place on federal lands.  Ross and Phillippe said there are particular legal requirements that come into play on federal lands, as well as agency-specific regulations and procedures. 

 

In regard to the UMR in particular, Ross noted that the USACE Rock Island District and St. Louis District have data on the locations of shipwrecks along the River.  He added that the River’s lock and dams are considered historic structures, and that even some wing dams in the St. Paul District are considered historic features.

 

Whelan said US EPA and USACE have a cultural resources programmatic agreement in place at the national level.  Phillippe suggested that, in order to make such national agreements most effective, it may be necessary to have further agreements at the state/regional level. 

 

Whelan asked whether the criteria for identifying sites for the National Register of Historic Places are consistent among states.  Phillippe replied that all the states use the National Park Service criteria, but may apply these differently.  Whelan said her experience has been that states implement the criteria differently.  Artz agreed that states do implement the criteria differently, but added that this gives the states flexibility to address local conditions.  However, Phillippe emphasized that the federal National Register criteria is what all states use to guide review, so this is the shared starting point for making determinations. 

 

Artz thanked the Group for opportunity to participate and asked for the members’ opinions as what they see as the most pressing issues to address regarding historic and archaeological resources.  Morrison said the challenge appears to be how to best integrate cultural resource considerations into spill response and in particular engaging the correct people in a response situation.  He suggested that two likely follow-up action items are: 1) creation of UMR/regionally-specific protocol for cultural resources and 2) training for responders.   

 

USCG Plans for Response Resources

USCG Eighth District Response Advisory Team Equipment Specialist Todd Peterson briefed the Group regarding the Coast Guard’s plans for UMR-based response assets.  He said USCG is currently considering the disposition of the Granite City, Illinois-based vessel of opportunity skimming system (VOSS) as well as the First Aid Response Trailers stationed along the UMR. 

 

Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System

In regard to the VOSS, Peterson described several challenges and concerns USCG is facing in regard to keeping it stationed on the UMR:

        Annual storage fee of $4,550 (with the current 5 year lease expiring 10/1/12).

        Approximately $14,000 for an annual Preparedness Response Exercise Program (PREP) drill. 

        Maintenance contract travel expenses of $2,000.  Any charges for maintenance services actually performed are in addition to this. 

For these reasons, as well as increased capacity of regional oil spill response organizations (OSROs), Peterson explained that USCG is considering re-locating the Granite City-based VOSS out of the Eighth District.  He noted, however, that USCG is currently still planning to hold a VOSS deployment exercise in Dubuque on July 25-27, 2012.

 

Davis asked where USCG planned to locate the VOSS if it were to be removed from the Eighth District.  Peterson replied saying that this had not yet been determined.  Davis asked whether the VOSS could be exchanged for other resources, such as additional boom or boats.   Peterson replied that USCG is not moving in the direction of acquiring more equipment and as such placing other equipment in lieu of the VOSS is not a likely outcome.

 

First Aid Response Trailers

Peterson next described the issues USCG is facing regarding the First Aid response trailers located on the UMR as follows:

        Several trailers in need of extensive maintenance and repairs.

        Trailers do not meet minimum DOT standards.

        They are plagued with wiring issues, corrosion and brake problems.

He said USCG is considering the following options regarding the disposition of the First Aid Response Trailers:

 

US Coast Guard Evaluation Steps

Before making final decisions regarding the VOSS and the First Aid Response Trailers, Peterson said USCG is taking the following steps:

Peterson said the Eighth District will have final approval over any decision made. 

 

Bryan Klostermeyer cautioned the Group to remember that the VOSS is not “plug and play,” in that significant time and effort is required for its deployment.  Frank Catalano asked whether the VOSS was effective during its Deepwater Horizon deployment.  Tucker said that it had been effective in this incident, as it was deployed on open water.  Tufts added that the type of boom provided with the VOSS results in a lot of entrainment in a fast water environment and therefore it is not an effective riverine response tool. 

 

Stitz said other USCG response assets, such as the First Aid Response Trailers or disaster assistance response teams (DARTs) are more likely to be of benefit during a river response.  Peterson noted that USCG’s perspective is that OSROs will largely be the ones actually deploying boom for a River response.  Klostermeter concurred, saying USCG’s direct role in pollution response is declining with an expectation that OSROs will be the first line of response. 

 

Whelan noted two issues related to USCGs consideration of response assets:  1) there remains a lack of readily available response equipment in the region, so any loss of equipment from the area is problematic, and 2) in light of resource constraints and changing priorities, it would be beneficial to see USCG looking for solutions in supporting response capacity and working with other agencies such as those on the UMR Spills Group.  Davis concurred, noting that while USCG’s direct role in pollution response is declining, it is important to maintain and enhance response capacity on the UMR. 

 

Morrison said this appears to be an opportunity for the UMR Spills Group to provide comment to USCG, in response to its request for input.  Hokanson said the UMR Spills Group has previously commented on the disposition of UMR response assets, so there is precedent for engaging in this manner.  Morrison asked if there is any timeline for getting comment to USCG.  Peterson indicated that as soon as possible would be helpful.  

 

Greaney suggested that the Group consider the likely timeline of response on the UMR, and what equipment would be needed when, noting that not all types of equipment are necessarily needed immediately.  Stitz said local hosting of response trailers may make the most sense in light of the reduced direct role for USCG.  Tucker and Klostermeyer noted that, in regard to the VOSS, its deployment time is not likely much different if it is located within or outside the Eighth District.

 

Faryan asked what the total number of First Aid Response Trailers currently held by USCG is.  Peterson responded that USCG currently holds a total of 11 trailers in the District, and that these are in varying states of repair. 

 

Area and Sub-Area Planning Updates

Great River Sub-Area

Heath Smith said work in the Great Rivers Sub-Area meeting had been initiated in 2009, with mapping conducted in 2010.  He reported that the first full sub-area meeting was held in June 2011 and followed by a series of more localized meetings in October 2011.  Smith said a hazard analysis for the sub-area is currently being drafted.    

 

Quad Cities Sub-Area

Davis reported that a Quad Cities Sub-Area had been held in the morning before the UMR Spills Group meeting.  He said discussion focused on revisiting sub-area planning committee membership and specifically on bringing more local representatives to the table.  Among the ideas discussed for enhancing local participation included training activities, participating in the meetings of local emergency response agencies, expanding focus beyond oil, and potentially modifying the geographic boundaries of the sub-area. 

 

Region 5

Whelan said the approach to planning in the Region is being reconsidered, particularly how sub-area planning has been conducted and in recognition of the reality that it is not feasible to plan for everything in all areas.  As a result, she said, there is an interest in specifically addressing the most vulnerable areas across the Region.  Whelan added that the incident action plan (IAP) approach appears to have applications in numerous settings and that there is a lot of interest in this approach.  Additionally, she noted that threat models also appear to be a potentially useful tool, particularly for pipelines.

 

The meeting adjourned for the day at 5 p.m. and reconvened at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 25th.

 

UMR Spills Summary

Steve Faryan distributed a summary of UMR spills for the period of November 2011 to March 2012 as reported to the National Response Center (NRC).  Stephanie Guerrero asked why many of the amounts on the report are zero.  Tim Ross said initial reports to the NRC often do not include estimates of the amount of product released and, as this summary draws from NRC reports, it reflects this absence of a reported amount as a zero.  Eric Prufer concurred, saying that initially it can be very difficult to estimate an amount released.  Klostermeyer added that in some cases a third party makes the initial report and may not be in a good position to estimate volume.  Faryan said it is possible to use other sources to find the final estimate of the amount released in a spill. 

 

Approval of Previous (October 2011) Meeting Summary

Stitz noted that the transition point between USCG Sector Lake Michigan and Sector UMR still needs to be corrected in the meeting summary.  He said he would provide Hokanson with the information needed to make this correction.  With this pending correction noted, the Group approved the previous meeting summary by voice.  

 

Mapping Updates

Region 5 Inland Sensitivity Atlas

Hokanson said work continues on the Wisconsin statewide update, which will be completed no later than March 2013.  Whelan added that the Indiana atlas is also currently being updated and should be completed soon.  

 

UMR Response DVD

Hokanson said UMRBA staff have completed an update to the UMR Response DVD, which incorporates Inland Sensitivity Atlas maps and relevant plans for the UMR corridor.  He noted that this update includes recently completed maps for Illinois, new response strategies for UMR Pools 7 and 13, and updated response strategies for the Greater St. Louis area.  Hokanson said he the new DVDs are available for the Group to pick up during the meeting’s morning break. 

 

Region 7 Mapping

Davis demonstrated Region 7’s current sensitivity mapping approach, noting that the Region has moved from a Google Earth-based platform to one utilizing an Esri GIS product (though the newer approach should be able to integrate KML files).  He said the new mapping application covers the entirety of Region 7 and is currently in a trial version being tested behind Region’s firewall.  Davis explained that Region 7 is planning for the mapping tool to eventually be made available to interested parties outside the firewall.   

 

Ramon Mendoza asked if the application could be made available at the present time via osc.net.  Davis said the application is currently in a beta version and therefore not yet available on osc.net.   He said he would inform the Group when the application becomes ready for viewing by outside agencies. 

 

Morrison asked how a web-based approach such as Region 7’s compares with the disc-based approach taken by Region 5.  Whelan said the disc-based approach was taken in large part as it allows for functionality independent of internet connectivity.  She asked Morrison whether, in his experience, a lack of internet access continues to be a consideration.  Morrison replied that, at least in recent exercises, connectivity has not been an issue.  Davis added that the main advantage of web-based approach is interactivity with the maps.

 

Davis also mentioned the availability of information about facilities required to do Risk Management Plans (RMP) under the Clean Water Act in KMZ file format.  Whelan said this group is a subset of extremely hazardous substances (EHS) facilities.  Gann concurred, adding that this type of facility is required to develop worst case scenarios as part of response planning.  Tucker asked who maintains lists of RMP facilities.  Davis said that US EPA staff have access to this information.  Whelan cautioned, however, that there are legal constraints on the release of RMP-specific information.  Davis said that local emergency planning agencies typically have RMP information available.  Lauder concurred, but added that in Illinois at least, there can be significant variation in the ways that communities maintain the information.  Gann said Missouri has developed a statewide database to help standardize RMP information.    

 

Ecological Collaboration and Related Efforts

Initial UMR Spills Ecological Coordination Conference Call

Morrison and Hokanson reported that the initial UMR Spills-Ecological Coordination conference call had taken place February 12, 2012, including fifteen individuals involved in UMR spill response and resource management programs.  Morrison noted that one of the desired outcomes of this conversation is to encourage earlier engagement of natural resource professionals in responses. 

 

Pool 13 IAP Tabletop Exercise

Coffey briefly summarized the Pool 13 incident action plan (IAP) tabletop exercise held at Harpers Ferry, Iowa on March 8, 2012.  He noted that one gap in response planning highlighted by this exercise was the lack of an oiled wildlife plan.  Faryan said the exercise also brought out the lack of response resources in the area, a finding relevant to the preceding day’s discussion regarding the disposition of US Coast Guard response assets on the UMR.  Whelan said another need illustrated by the exercise was the lack of safety training for some individuals potentially engaged in a response.  She said that some of these potential responders need HAZWOPER training.  Faryan agreed, but noted that some of these (USFWS) personnel have indeed completed HAZWOPER training. 

 

Pool 10 Geographic Response Planning

Coffey said, per the decision of the UMR Spills Group at their previous meeting, geographic response planning had commenced for UMR Pool 10.  He noted that there will be a responder-focused meeting for Pool 10 taking place at McGregor, Iowa on May 1, 2012. 

 

Morrison asked about the possibility of ICS training being provided to natural resource trustees.   Coffey agreed that this would be desirable and is something he’d like to see grow out of the spills-ecological conference call forum, with a 100 level course being offered.  Whelan suggested that this could be via an online mechanism as well.

 

Faryan suggested that one way to minimize contact with oil by responders, particularly those who might be pulled in from natural resource agencies, would be to pre-stage boom that could be simply pulled out to protect sensitive areas.  Davis asked if there is good site for boom storage in the area, as the IAP exercise had highlighted a lack of local resources.  Faryan replied that there is not a good field location, but at least a more local partner could perhaps be found to house a trailer.   Punkiewicz suggested that one possibility would be to store a trailer at Lock and Dam 13.  Mark Ellis said lockmasters have offered to store trailers, but are not able to deploy boom.

 

Whelan said the largest population center in this area is Dubuque, followed by McGregor and Guttenberg.  Stitz suggested that a fire department in one of these municipalities could potentially host response equipment.  Davis suggested that, in such a case, it would be beneficial to have any loan agreement structured so that the equipment could be reclaimed if need to be used in a response elsewhere.  Peterson agreed, adding that equipment loan agreements are typically structured in this way. 

 

UMRCC Wildlife Tech Section Meeting

Whelan reported that she, Hokanson, Megan Carlson (UMRBA) and Mike Rose (MPCA) had presented to the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee (UMRCC) Wildlife Tech Section on March 20, 2012 in Winona, Minnesota.  She said the purpose of this presentation was generally to encourage collaboration between UMR resource managers and responders and, specifically, to share ideas for response tools such as the draft habitat-specific response fact sheets.  Whelan described the Wildlife Tech Section as having been interested in the material presented, if not particularly interactive at this point, which she described as fairly typical for initial discussions such as this.  She suggested it would be beneficial to continue to stay in touch with this group and seek to be on their agenda periodically.  Hokanson concurred with Whelan’s assessment, noting also that several individuals from the Tech Section had volunteered to review drafts of the habitat-specific response fact sheets.  Morrison suggested that the fact sheets, as well as shoreline cleanup assessment techniques (SCAT), would be beneficial topic in which to engage the Wildlife Tech Section.

 

Habitat-Specific Response Fact Sheets

Whelan reported that work on habitat-specific response fact sheets continues, and that these should be view not just as a tool for SCAT, but as a way of building out from geographic response strategies to provide tools in areas where such strategies have not yet been developed.  She reminded the Group that these new fact sheets essentially add detail to the general vegetation categories described in the existing net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) fact sheets.  Whelan said draft fact sheets would soon be made available for wider review, which would include natural resource managers.  She added that links will be made between the fact sheets and the inland response tactics manual.  Coffey agreed that the connection to the tactics manual will be important, as will training in the use of the fact sheets.  Whelan said these fact sheets are focused on habitats in the upper Midwest, and that a next step may be to develop fact sheets for Western habitats. 

 

Chemical Countermeasures

Whelan said the fact sheets have addressed in-situ burning, but she is interested in the Group’s input regarding the use of shoreline cleaners and solidifiers.  Davis said solidifiers had been used at least once on the UMR, during the Clark Oil spill.  He also cautioned that “pre-approval” of a product schedule does not necessarily mean that a particular product is automatically okay to use and FOSC/RRT approval is still needed. 

 

Guerrero asked for clarification on the process by with chemical countermeasures are tested.  Whelan said dispersants are tested for their actual effectiveness in dispersing oil, but that other products are only examined for toxicity, to make sure that they are not doing more harm than good.  She added that many chemical countermeasures require salt to work, and therefore may not be effective in a freshwater environment. 

 

Developing Eco-Collaborative Teams

Hokanson said another component of collaboration with natural resource managers has been the concept of developing eco-collaborative teams which would be composed of both spill responders and natural resource managers.  He said these teams had been discussed at previous UMR Spills Group meetings and had also been mentioned in the recent conference call and meeting with UMRCC Wildlife Tech Section.  Hokanson suggested that a goal of the conversation today is to consider the possible composition of eco-collaborative team(s) in the region.

 

Coffey said the appropriate membership in teams from states will vary among the states, depending on how their agencies are organized.  He added that it is important to target individuals who would be directly involved in response for membership in the team(s).  Lauder added that local responders would like be first on the scene for many incidents, asking how they would be integrated into an eco-collaborative team.  Coffey replied that use of a wildlife branch within ICS would help provide the scaffolding to support the integration of local responders. 

 

Guerrero asked what steps are to be taken when personnel or volunteers are not trained to work with oiled waterfowl.  Coffey replied that a first step is to separate the people from the birds, as more harm than good can result in such situations.  Anderson asked whether veterinarians are typically trained to deal with oiled waterfowl.  Coffey said that some veterinarians do have appropriate training, but legal issues often come into play and that this is why specialized contractors, who include veterinarians on their staffs, typically are engaged in oiled wildlife recovery and care.  Anderson concurred, saying that this had been the case in the Marshall, Michigan pipeline spill.

 

New UMR Navigation Charts

Dan McBride of USACE gave the group an overview of the newly updated UMR Navigation Charts.  He said all three UMR districts – St. Paul, Rock Island, and St. Louis – are covered in the Navigation Chart update, and that this update is part of USACE’s nationwide effort to standardize the look and feel of navigation charts.  McBride highlighted the following changes included in the Navigation Chart update:

 

§  The scale of the charts is now one inch = 2,000 feet, a scale which has resulted in more individual pages within the chart.

§  In the hard copy edition, all charts are bound so that they face up, so that the document does not need to be flipped to read consecutive maps.

§  Supplemental information is now included on the reverse side of each map. 

 

McBride noted that electronic (PDF) versions of the Navigation Chart maps are now also available at http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/omni/webrpts/nav_charts/navigation_charts.html adding that a variety of other navigation references are available on the Rock Island District website.  He said the Navigation Chart PDFs are geo-referenced and adapted for use on portable devices.  McBride also offered to provide hard copies of the Navigation Charts to any interested agencies, noting additionally that hard copies can be purchased at Lock and Dams. 

 

UMR Spill Response Cooperative Development

Klostermeyer gave a report on behalf of Matt Stokes, regarding progress in the formation of spill response cooperatives on the UMR.  He reported that the Red Wing cooperative has organized itself into subcommittees matching ICS structure, noting that there also has been increased public and private sector participation in this cooperative.  Klostermeyer said there has also been interest in the formation of a cooperative south of Lake City, and that this would likely be separate from the Red Wing group. 

 

Klostermeyer also noted from Stokes’ report that the First Aid Response Trailer previously located at Lock and Dam 7 had been moved to the Winona Fire Department, and that there is interest in locating a trailer at a location south of Winona.  He added that a response training will be held at Winona on June 6th and that CP Rail is also working to schedule a rail-focused response training.  Lastly, Klostermeyer noted that Stokes continues to work on the UMR response equipment inventory.  

 

Comprehensive Update of UMR Spill Plan

Hokanson reminded the Group that a comprehensive update of the UMR Spill Response Plan and Resource Manual has been initiated.  He said the update is to be completed by September 30, 2013 and that support for this update of the plan is being provided in part by UMRBA’s cooperative agreement with US EPA Region 5. 

 

Hokanson reported that, following the October 2011 meeting, comments on the plan had been requested from the Group.   He said comments were received during the period of November 2011 through March 2012 and came from the following agencies:  Illinois EPA, Iowa DNR, Minnesota PCA, Missouri DNR, Scot County (Iowa), US EPA and the US FWS.  Hokanson explained that comments had been requested in response to six specific questions.  He summarized the responses to these questions as follows:

 

1.      What UMR needs does plan meet? Not meet?

§  The plan generally meets agencies’ needs.

§  The plan appropriately focuses on spill basics, and contains valuable contact info.

§  Resource information and contacts are very important

2.      Is the Plan’s scope still appropriate?  How should this plan relate to other plans and pool-specific efforts?

§  The UMR Plan should explicitly describe its relationship to other plans and provide (electronic) links to other plans (e.g., sub-area plans, area plans).

§  The UMR Plan should be very specific about and connected to recently-completed UMR pool geographic response plans.

3.      What parts most valuable?  What’s missing?  Anything to drop?

§  Several respondents said the resource manual is the most important part.

§  Others noted the notification protocol and contact lists as being especially valuable. 

§  Items identified as missing included detailed introductory text to help set the context for the plan, the UMR Emergency Action Field Guide and/or a key contact phone list, and detailed descriptions of agencies’ roles in response.  Commenters also suggested that a diagram accompany the notification protocol and that USACE and US EPA boundary maps be included.  Numerous suggestions were made for topical additions to the response protocol discussion, including:  ICS in long term cleanup, joint information center (JIC), assessment/classification of discharge, sensitivity atlases, SCAT, and NRDA, floods/catastrophic events, hazardous materials, lock adjustment, volunteers, early warning monitoring network, communications, exercising, and a map of tributaries likely to affect main stem. 

§  The only item identified to be dropped from the plan was the fax component of notification protocol

4.      Does your agency use the plan?  Why or why not?  How can we make it more useful?

§  Plan is primarily utilized in agencies’ central offices, less so in field offices.

§  The resource information and contacts are highly valued and utilized components.

5.      Recommended changes to form, content and function?

§  Enhance electronic functionality, but do not make internet-dependent.

§  Rely on DVD format for electronic functionality.

§  Perhaps make the public version of the plan shorter and more accessible.

6.      Preferences for the plan update process?

§  The scope and extent of the plan update will determine what process is necessary.

§  Coordinate closely with USCG throughout the process.

§  Use webinars/calls between meetings to facilitate update.

§  Two in person meetings, as currently exists, should be year sufficient.

§  Look at Great Lakes and Ohio River for ideas.

 

Hokanson then presented a proposed draft outline to guide revisions to the UMR Spill Plan.  This proposed draft reflected the comments received to date (as described above), resulting in the potential addition of many new sections to the Plan.  He then asked for feedback on the proposed changes to the Plan.

 

Whelan said one key aspect to consider is whether the Group wishes the Plan to be oil-focused or to address a broader range of issues, such as floods and hazardous materials.  Coffey asked whether the UMR Plan has been viewed as being a sub-area plan.  Whelan said her recollection is that the Group historically did not want an oil-only focus or the requirements for a sub-area plan to be the drivers of the UMR plan.

 

Lauder said he favors making the plan inclusive of issues beyond an oil-focus, and that he would like to see the plan be made more useful to all the agencies involved in the Group.  He said he is comfortable with the proposed additions to the plan, as long as they are communicated well and helpful to the Group.  Davis noted that some of the proposed changes will result in the UMR Plan beginning to look more like a sub-area plan.  Coffey noted that the proposed addition of agency roles descriptions may be duplicative of what is found in other plans.

 

Whelan said that she sees the UMR Plan as an umbrella plan for the River that should be related to other plans, such the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Quad Cities, and St. Louis sub-area plans, but not duplicative of these plans.   She suggested that the Plan revision consider oil specifically, but also address a broader variety of spills and spills to water, such as ethanol spills.  Gann pointed out that Missouri DNR has been able to successfully adapt the plan to other spills, so a key element is making sure that he plan is flexible.  Morrison suggested that the proposed changes to the plan be circulated to the Group with some prompting questions to consider in advance of the Group’s next discussion of plan modifications. 

 

UMR Response Training

Davis said the three important questions about a next UMR Spill response training are when the training will be held, where it will take place, and what content will be covered.  He added that the last time training was discussed, Keokuk, Iowa had been identified as a likely location.  Lauder said that travel restriction will to some degree govern where a next training takes place.  Whelan suggested that a training could be developed featuring a central component that could be shared as a webinar, with field training being held on site in multiple locations.  Coffey suggested a training that combines both oil spill response and related wildlife response/recovery topics.  Morrison said Keokuk appears to be a promising location to bring training to a new area.

 

Whelan asked whether completing one or two trainings a year is a realistic goal for the Group, as well as bringing in resource managers into the training.  Davis replied that both seemed to be realistic goals.  Davis suggested that the group target an August training as its next training event.  All agreed to pursue the possibility of an August training in Keokuk, Iowa.

 

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Group will take place in October 2012, with the location and specific date to be determined.  Hokanson said he would send an email to determine a date and will also look into location options.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at noon on April 25, 2012.