Minutes of

Environmental Management Program Coordinating Committee

and

Navigation Environmental Coordination Committee

Joint Session

 

May 18, 2011

 

Holiday Inn

Rock Island, Illinois

 

 

Kevin Foerster of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the meeting to order at 10:45 a.m. on May 18, 2011.  Other EMP-CC and NECC representatives present were Charles Barton (USACE), Ken Barr (USACE), Mike Jawson (USGS), Butch Atwood (IL DNR), Rick Mollahan (IL DNR), Pat Boddy (IA DNR), Bernie Schonhoff (IA DNR), Janet Sternburg (MO DoC), Jim Fischer (WI DNR), and Bill Franz (US EPA).  Walt Popp (MN DNR) attended on behalf of Tim Schlagenhaft.  A complete list of attendees follows these minutes.

 

Minutes from the February 16, 2011 Joint Session

 

Jim Fischer moved and Rick Mollahan seconded a motion to approve the draft minutes of the February 16, 2011 joint session as prepared.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Reach Planning System Objectives Report

 

Ken Barr reported that USACE distributed the final 2009 System Objectives Report to partners on April 21, 2011.  He said this version reflects partner input on the January 26, 2011 draft.  The revisions are shown in Track Changes.  Attachment B of the meeting packet includes partner comments on the January 26 draft and the Corps’ responses to those comments.  Jim Fischer expressed appreciation to the Corps for sharing this summary.  He and Janet Sternburg said the use of Track Changes was very helpful in reviewing the April 21 version.

 

Butch Atwood asked why the Upper Impounded Reach Plan (Appendix A of the System Objectives Report) has not been revised to clarify that USACE should have the flexibility to use either dam or hinge point control for water level management in Pools 16 and 25.  Currently, it incorrectly states that partners are calling for dam point control to replace hinge point control in the two pools.  Barr explained that the River Resources Forum (RRF) endorsed the Upper Impounded Reach Plan as it is currently written, and any changes would need the Forum’s approval.  Fischer said that, since management of Pools 16 and 25 is outside of the St. Paul District’s jurisdiction, it should be relatively easy for the RRF to accept the revision.

 

In response to a suggestion by Karen Hagerty, Barr said a reference to Section 2039 of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act will be added to Chapter 7 Section 3 of the System Objectives Report.  Chuck Theiling suggested that partners endorse the System Objectives Report at this meeting, with the understanding that the two modifications will be made to the report.  Theiling and Rick Mollahan underscored the importance for the Corps to determine how it will manage the report as a “living document,” including communicating any revisions to partners.

 

Barr moved and Pat Boddy seconded a motion to endorse the 2009 System Objectives Report, with the agreed-upon modifications.  The motion carried unanimously.  Sternburg suggested that the date of endorsement be clearly highlighted on the report’s cover, in an effort to avoid confusion with 2009 reference included in the title.  Barr agreed. 

 

Reach Planning After Action Report

 

Chuck Spitzack distributed a May 15 draft Reach Planning After Action Report (AAR), which reflects input from the EMP-CC and NECC state members.  Through UMRBA, the states submitted joint comments regarding the April 5 version of the AAR.  Spitzack reviewed the states’ major comments, including the following:

 

·         Process complexity — The states support the draft AAR’s recommendations for addressing the overall complexity in the current reach planning framework, including the sixth recommendation regarding streamlined restoration proposals, the seventh recommendation regarding planning assumptions (i.e., sideboards), the ninth recommendation regarding consistency in planning across districts, and the sixteenth recommendation regarding communication and coordination among Corps staff and partners.  The states suggest refining the scope of the eleventh recommendation, or adding an additional recommendation, regarding the need to work with partners to refine the overall planning process.

 

·         Direct connection between System and Reach Plans — The states suggest that the AAR include recommendations for partners to a) identify a straightforward process for relating the system goals and objectives, floodplain reach planning, and project selection and b) develop a project ranking system that accounts for projects’ potential contributions to addressing system goals and objectives.  As a part of suggestion a), the states encourage the Corps to expand the sixth recommendation to also consider how the subarea restoration proposals will directly reflect the system and floodplain and geomorphic reach goals and objectives.

 

·         Overlapping geographic jurisdictions — The states support the draft AAR’s sixteenth recommendation regarding coordination on geographic areas of overlap between district and floodplain reach boundaries.

 

·         Program neutrality — The states recommend that the draft AAR provide a more comprehensive program neutrality recommendation, including that EMP and NESP co-lead future system and reach planning efforts.

 

·         Regional Support Team’s role and compositionThe states support the draft AAR’s thirteenth and fifteenth recommendations to consider the Regional Support Team’s (RST’s) role and composition in guiding reach planning.  However, the states suggest modifying the two recommendations to a) add that the RST will include both EMP and NESP staff and will report to both programs’ management teams and b) emphasize that the RST and partners will regularly coordinate with the Science Panel, LTRMP Analysis Team, and Illinois Science Advisory Committee regarding science needs.  The states also suggest including language on how the RST will communicate and coordinate with partners to make the process transparent and understandable.

 

Spitzack noted that UMRBA’s letter also expressed the states’ appreciation for the Corps’ efforts in implementing the first cycle of reach planning and pursuing process improvements.  Spitzack said he appreciates the states’ efforts in commenting on the draft AAR.  He said the comments were helpful in refining the report’s recommendations.  Spitzack and Marv Hubbell acknowledged that the RST’s make‑up and management may have led some to associate the Team’s work more closely with NESP.  However, they emphasized that Corps staff are not dedicated to specific programs and clarified that both NESP and EMP funded the RST’s efforts. 

 

Pat Boddy observed that the May 15 draft AAR does not address the states’ recommendation to provide experienced, neutral facilitation at key reach planning meetings.  Spitzack said that omission was an oversight and the Corps will address the facilitation comment in a revised version of the AAR. 

 

Spitzack reviewed the draft AAR’s 18 recommendations for improving reach planning.  Rick Mollahan said the Illinois Science Advisory Committee is incorrectly identified as the Illinois Science Team in the thirteenth recommendation of the draft AAR.  In response to a question from Boddy, Spitzack said the twelfth recommendation refers to implementing adaptive management on a systemic scale.  In reaction to a suggestion from Butch Atwood, Spitzack said the lists of participants in the various floodplain reach planning efforts will be removed in the final AAR.

 

Spitzack said the Corps will distribute a final AAR to EMP-CC members in advance of its August 17 meeting, in hopes of receiving the committee’s endorsement at that meeting.  Boddy expressed her appreciation to the Corps and UMRBA staff for their efforts to improve the draft AAR and future reach planning iterations.  Barb Naramore said UMRBA staff will review the May 15 draft relative to the states’ joint comments and work further with Spitzack if needed.

 

Partners’ Congressional Efforts

 

Barb Naramore said the EMP/NESP ad hoc coalition of industry, environmental, and state interests continues its Congressional outreach efforts.  Included in Attachment C of the meeting agenda packet is the House members’ April 4, 2011 joint letter sent to ASA(CW) Jo-Ellen Darcy.  The letter requests USACE’s support for EMP and NESP.  The letter had 29 signatories, which illustrates the UMRS delegation’s high regard for the Corps’ Upper Mississippi River programs.  Naramore explained that addressing the delegation’s letter to the ASA(CW) and copying appropriators allowed members to voice their support for EMP and NESP without violating House earmark restrictions.  She said the ad hoc coalition worked extensively with Congressional offices to encourage members to sign onto the letter.

 

Naramore said staff for Representatives Shock (R-IL) and Carnahan (D-MO) had hoped to craft a joint letter to the House Appropriations Committee expressing support for the two programs while not running afoul of earmark restrictions.  However, earmark issues could not be resolved prior to the Appropriations Committee’s deadline for letters. 

 

Naramore said the ad hoc coalition is also updating its EMP/NESP fact sheet, which the coalition uses when making Congressional visits.  She said The Nature Conservancy and Waterways Council Inc. have provided great leadership in reaching out to Congress and advocating for EMP and NESP.

 

Other Business

 

Upcoming quarterly meetings are as follows:

 

§         August 2011 — Davenport

o        UMRBA — August 16

o        EMP-CC — August 17 (a.m.)

o        Adaptive Management Workshop — August 17 (p.m.)-August 18 (a.m.) (tentative)

 

§         November 2011 — Moline

o        UMRBA — November 15

o        EMP-CC — November 16 (a.m.)

o        Possible IIA meeting — November 16 (p.m.)

 

§         February 2012 — Quad Cities

o        UMRBA — February 28

o        EMP-CC — February 29 (a.m.)

o        Possible IIA meeting — February 29 (p.m.)

 

The August 2011 NECC meeting is canceled due to lack of funding.  Any future NECC and joint EMP‑CC/NECC meetings will be contingent on NESP funding.  If NESP receives FY 12 funding, the schedule above will likely be revised to permit EMP-CC, NECC, and any joint sessions to be held on the same day (i.e., November 16, 2011 and February 29, 2012).  This would push the possible IIA meetings to the following day.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

 

 


Joint Session Attendance List

May 18, 2011

 

EMP-CC and NECC Members

Charles Barton

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Kevin Foerster

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuges

Ken Barr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Mike Jawson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Rick Mollahan

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Butch Atwood

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Pat Boddy

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Bernard Schonhoff

Iowa 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

Tom Crump

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Jeff DeZellar

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Chuck Spitzack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Marv Hubbell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Karen Hagerty

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Nate Richards

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Chuck Theiling

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Brian Markert

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Donovan Henry

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Rick Nelson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Amber Andress

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Bob Clevenstine

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Refuges

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Barry Johnson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Steve Shults

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Olivia Dorothy

Illinois Lieutenant Governor’s Office

Harold Hommes

Iowa Department of Agriculture

Walt Popp

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Robert Stout

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Steve Sletten

Atkins

Brad Walker

Izaak Walton League

Tom Boland

MACTEC

Cecily Smith

Prairie Rivers Network

Don Powell

SEH Inc.

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Dave Hokanson

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Kirsten Mickelsen

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association