Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River System

Navigation Environmental Coordination Committee

 

May 19, 2010

Quarterly Meeting

 

Ramada Mall of America

Bloomington, Minnesota

 

 

 

Ken Barr of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called the meeting to order at 8:05 a.m. on May 19, 2010.  A complete list of attendees follows these minutes.

 

Minutes from the February 25, 2010 Meeting

 

Janet Sternburg requested that her question, in the last paragraph of page A-3, specifically reference willing sellers.  She also asked that, in the fourth full paragraph of page A-5, the first sentence end after “project.”

 

Brad Walker provided more detail regarding his statement in the first paragraph on page A-7.  After the first sentence, the following will be added:  “He asked if the cost share recommendations would have the net effect of increasing the federal portion of funding for the navigation construction program from 50 percent to 70 percent, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers.  Spitzack said this appears to be a reasonable estimate of the change, based on the IMTS Team’s figures.  Walker also asked if the Corps has implemented any major rehabilitation projects with costs over $100 million within the last 20 years.  [Scott] Whitney said he does not know of any such projects, at least in the recent past.”

 

Walker also offered additional clarification regarding the cost share discussion at the February meeting.  He said Section 9506 of WRDA 86 specifically states that Inland Waterways Trust Fund money shall be available for rehabilitation.  [Note:  Section 102(a) and (b) of WRDA 86 clarified that construction of navigation projects applies to Sec. 9506, but that O&M of navigation projects is a 100 percent federal responsibility.  In 1986, Congress appropriated major rehab from the O&M account, and therefore, major rehab was not subject to industry cost share.]

 

Sternburg moved and Jon Duyvejonck seconded a motion to approve the draft minutes of the February 25, 2010 meeting as amended.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Program Management

 

FY 11 Appropriations Status

 

Scott Whitney said the President’s FY 11 budget request does not include funding for NESP, and thus funding is contingent on a Congressional add.  He noted that Congressional staff have inquired into NESP’s FY 11 construction capabilities at $15 million.  The Corps’ FY 11 work planning currently assumes $10 million in general investigations (GI) funding.  Whitney said he will present draft FY 11 work plan scenarios to the NECC at its August 10, 2010 quarterly meeting.

 

In response to a question from Jon Duyvejonck, Whitney said the Administration and Congress considers annual appropriations for EMP and NESP individually.  Whitney said the Corps explicitly distinguishes between the two programs when discussing their capabilities.  In response to a question from Bernie Schonhoff, Whitney said the Congressional inquiries regarding potential NESP construction funding of $15 million are likely a result of coordinated advocacy efforts among NESP’s state and NGO partners.

 

Partner D.C. Visits

 

Paul Rohde overviewed feedback received during Congressional visits last spring and highlighted challenges in the FY 11 budget cycle.  He said there is constant turnover among Congressional staff, requiring continual education efforts.  Specific FY 11 challenges include House Republicans’ stance on earmarks, bipartisan concern with the budget deficit, and the election cycle.  Rohde reported that only eight Congressional members signed this year’s Dear Colleague letter in support of EMP and NESP.  No Republicans signed due to the earmark issue, which has sidelined some of the programs’ strongest advocates.

 

Gretchen Benjamin reviewed The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC’s) spring visits with Congressional members.  She said TNC showcased both NESP and EMP and described the capacity to transition smoothly from EMP to NESP when circumstances warrant.  Benjamin reported that TNC and others in the EMP/NESP ad hoc coalition of industry and environmental groups advocated for FY 11 CG appropriations of $15 million for NESP and $25 million for EMP.

 

Benjamin noted that the Corps ASA(CW), Jo-Ellen Darcy, is interested in exploring the Corps’ international civil works activities.  TNC is coordinating with Darcy on a June/July 2010 trip to China, which will showcase USACE’s Mississippi River programs’ collaboration with Chinese river managers and scientists.  [Subsequent to the meeting, ASA(CW) Darcy’s China trip was postponed.]

 

Implementation Strategy

 

Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS) Investment Strategy Team

 

Paul Rohde said the nation’s inland waterway infrastructure is aging and needs significant capital investment.  More than half of the nation’s 240 locks and dams are over 50 years old, and many of the UMRS locks and dams are over 70 years old.  He explained that the current funding and project delivery system is inefficient, resulting in significant lost benefits from delayed infrastructure improvements.  Rohde said several of the nation’s inland navigation projects currently under construction are significantly over budget and long-past their original scheduled completion date.  Partly as a result, the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) balance is depleted and insufficient to meet the current and future needs of the inland navigation system.  Under the current IWTF revenue structure and project delivery process, Rohde said only 7 large-scale navigation projects will be completed in the next 20 years, and no new large-scale navigation projects will be initiated until after FY 40.

 

Rohde said the Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB) and the Corps formed the Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS) Investment Strategy Team to address the IWTF balance and develop a long-term capital plan.  On April 13, 2010, the Team released its Inland Waterways Capital Projects Business Model Plan, which includes recommendations for establishing project priorities, increasing revenue to the IWTF, modifying cost share requirements, and enhancing the project delivery process.  Rohde explained that the Plan’s recommendations include:

 

  • Maintaining the 50/50 cost share formula for all new lock construction and for major lock rehabilitation costing more than $100 million.  Exempting major lock rehabs costing less than $100 million from cost sharing.
  • Eliminating cost sharing for dam construction and rehabilitation.
  • Capping the industry cost share for individual projects at the original cost estimate plus inflation and other agreed-upon costs.
  • Increasing the fuel tax between 30 and 45 percent — i.e., an increase of $0.06 to $0.09 per gallon.
  • Starting lock construction at L&D 25 in FY 11, although the earliest feasible start is likely FY 12; La Grange in FY 17; L&D 22 in FY 22; and L&D 24 in FY 24.
  • Starting major rehabilitation at L&D 25 in FY 12, O’Brien in FY 13, Mel Price in FY 23, and L&D 22 in FY 30.

 

Rohde outlined the Plan’s project delivery recommendations, as follows:

 

·         Projects employ risk based cost estimates.

·         IWUB representatives participate on project delivery teams.

·         The IWUB Chairman and project representatives sign project management plans.

·         The Corps implements quality project management.

·         Contractors participate in the early stages of project design.

·         The Corps establishes navigation lock design centers of expertise.

·         The Corps develops a standard design for some navigation components. 

 

Rohde said industry is concerned that routine maintenance costs are being incorrectly categorized as rehabilitation, and thus are inappropriately subject to cost share.  Establishing a $100 million threshold for cost shared rehabilitation is designed to address this issue.  He also noted that Team’s recommendation that dams should be a full federal responsibility recognizes that the dams have many non-navigation beneficiaries, including municipal water systems, electrical utilities, manufacturing companies, hydroelectric power, local communities, and recreational users.

 

Rohde said industry organizations are strongly encouraging the Administration and Congress to implement the IMTS Team’s recommendations.  Efforts include promoting the Plan through television commercials, Op-Ed pieces, press releases, a YouTube video, and various other communication means.

 

In response to a question from Don Arnosti, Rohde said a user tax is more equitable to the locked portions of the inland waterway system than a lock fee, and thus is preferred by the navigation industry.  He noted that even businesses solely operating on the Lower Mississippi River and other unlocked portions of the system do not support a lock fee because they recognize the economic importance of treating all navigation segments as the networked system that they are.  Mark Gorman asked why the Team is proposing a dollar value, rather than functional, threshold for cost shared rehabilitation.  Rohde said he is uncertain, but will report back with an answer to the NECC at a future meeting.  Ken Barr noted that the definitions of major maintenance and major rehabilitation have evolved over the years.  Scott Whitney said the basic distinction is that major rehabilitation involves significant structural work, while major maintenance consists of repairs and improvements that are beyond what can be addressed through the regular O&M budget but can still typically be performed by the Corps’ own on-site crews. 

 

Brad Walker acknowledged the difficulty funding all manner of federal projects in the current fiscal environment.  He questioned the public benefit of shifting an additional $100 million to $200 million in costs annually to the federal treasury.  Rohde emphasized that project delays do not benefit anyone.  Conversely, completing projects more quickly, at less cost would benefit both industry and the public. He also reiterated that there are many non-navigation beneficiaries that use the dams for a variety of purposes, but do not contribute to financing the system.  Rohde also noted that dams were not part of the original negotiations on cost sharing, and said the Team’s recommendations would partially restore the historical cost sharing responsibilities.  In response to a question from Walker, Rohde explained that there is no viable mechanism to tax the non-navigation beneficiaries.  Walker asserted that taxpayers already pay approximately 90 percent of the inland navigation system’s O&M and construction costs.  Walker contrasted this with the freight rail system, which does not currently receive subsidies.  Rohde emphasized that every member of the nation’s consuming public receives benefits from lower transportation costs and that the presence of waterway transportation contributes significantly to these lower costs.  Whitney also clarified that railroads received significant subsidies during rail’s era of major construction.

 

In response to a question from Walker, Barr said the Corps will report back to the NECC on the IMTS Team’s use of high traffic estimates in its Report.

 

NESP’s Future Direction

 

Whitney observed that NESP planning originally focused on the best value implementation scenarios.  However, program managers have had to adjust their approach to reflect the realities of the actual funding stream.  Whitney said a sustainable navigation system requires dual purpose O&M, timely major rehabilitation, and efficiency improvements (both large and small scale).  He said NESP will achieve success through an effective partnership; reliable, adequate, and timely funding; efficient and effective contracting; and a fluid planning and decision process for ecosystem restoration. 

 

Whitney described NESP’s two-phase best value implementation scenario, with each phase estimated at $2.1 billion.  Phase 1 includes small-scale navigation projects, new locks at L&D 22 and 25 (as one project) and LaGrange, and moderate funding for ecosystem restoration.  Phase 2 includes continued switchboat operation, new locks at L&D 24, 21, and 20 (as one project) and Peoria, and moderate funding for ecosystem restoration.  Whitney noted that the best value implementation scenario provides a base for estimating cost implications from delaying construction.

 

Whitney observed that the IMTS Team’s Capital Plan offers several opportunities for NESP, but is not consistent with NESP’s best value implementation strategy.  Further, under the Plan, NESP would not achieve the objectives identified in the Navigation Study in the expected timeframe.  He said Corps staff will present a revised NESP implementation scenario that aligns with the IMTS’s Plan at the August 10, 2010 NECC meeting.  In the interim, the Corps developed a Blueprint for Action as a framework for discussion.  The Blueprint, which aligns more closely with the Capital Plan, outlines the following three-phase approach:

 

·         Phase 1:  construction of small-scale navigation projects, comparable progress on ecosystem restoration, and a L&D 22 guidewall, supported by modest appropriations (estimated total cost of $90 million, with annual costs increasing from $15 million in year 1 to $50 million in year 3).

·         Phase 2:  construction of one lock, continue small-scale navigation improvements, and comparable progress on ecosystem restoration, requiring increased funding for the lock and other projects (estimated total cost of $780 million, with roughly $150,000-$170,000 million in annual expenditures).  [Whitney noted that the Corps will consult with partners regarding the priority first lock for construction.]

·         Phase 3:  systemic approach to constructing the remaining locks, continue small-scale navigation improvements, and comparable progress on ecosystem restoration, requiring significantly higher funding levels (estimated total cost of $3.3 billion, with increased annual appropriations ranging from about $102 million to $585 million).

 

Whitney reported that NESP’s priorities for the remainder of FY 10 include preparing scopes of work for adaptive evaluation, selecting the first lock to construct, and convening a Navigation Interests Coordination Committee (NICC) this August.  He explained that adaptive evaluation will consider possible follow-up to the 2008 Reevaluation, NED benefits of externalities, and the potential for greater utilization of navigation via the Chicago-to-Gulf of Mexico corridor.  Whitney said the Corps will continue to produce the Our Mississippi newsletters, which have focused on broad, regional outreach for all of its UMR-related programs.

 

In response to a question from Bernie Schonhoff, Whitney said Corps staff will consider both potential benefits and estimated costs when sequencing lock construction.  In response to a question from Janet Sternburg, Whitney said the Department of Transportation’s Chicago-to-Gulf of Mexico Corridor Study will examine Chicago’s current infrastructure to support multi-modal transportation through the corridor.  He said the study will involve several other contributing federal and state agencies.  NESP will fund a small portion of the study. 

 

Barr mentioned that the Corps’ Navigation Center of Expertise is developing new methods and tools to assess multi-modal issues.  Brad Walker asked if the 2008 reevaluation report met the requirements set forth in the authorized recommended plan.  Whitney said the answer to Walker’s question is not clear, given that the reevaluation report was completed before construction was underway and before completion of the new tools referenced in the Feasibility Study.  In any case, Whitney emphasized that the Corps will continue to evaluate the project’s economic justification, after it implements the authorized first increment.  [Note:  The Reevaluation Report examined the full Recommended Plan (12 locks and small-scale projects), not the authorized first increment of seven locks.]

 

Water Level Management

 

Ken Barr noted that NECC held an April 9, 2010 webinar to discuss water level management (WLM) and the Science Panel’s draft report on applying adaptive management to WLM.  Partners were invited to provide written comments on the Science Panel’s report.  Barry Johnson said the Science Panel is currently revising its March 2010 draft in response to comments received.  The Science Panel anticipates distributing a final report to partners approximately one month prior to the August quarterly meetings.  In response to a request from Bernie Schonhoff, Johnson said he will share the WLM comments with partners.  Jim Fischer encouraged the Science Panel to look for ways to coordinate its work with related research by LTRMP and others. 

 

In response to a question from Schonhoff, Barr said USACE will submit a revised proposal on Pool 18 drawdown, reflecting Iowa’s comments, to Iowa and Illinois for consideration.   In response to a suggestion from Schonhoff, Barr said NECC’s August 10, 2010 meeting will include a discussion of the Pool 18 WLM plan.  In addition, Barr said the August NECC meeting will also include a report on the Science Panel’s 2010 Side Channel Restoration Workshop and a discussion regarding the group’s FY 11 work plan.

 

Status of Fish Passage/Barrier Activities

 

Mark Cornish overviewed the proposed fish passage and barrier projects on the UMR.  He said NESP’s authorized fish passage projects are at L&D 4, 8, 22, and Mel Price, plus design at 19.  In addition, the EMP is evaluating fish passage at L&D 3.  WRDA 07 authorized a fish barrier at L&D 11, but that project has not received any funding.  Cornish reported that the Corps anticipates soliciting public and agency review of the L&D 22 fish passage design this fall, following completion of the alternative formulation briefing.

 

Cornish described FishPro’s 2004 report entitled, Feasibility Study to Limit the Invasion of Asian Carp into the Upper Mississippi River Basin.  Prepared for Minnesota DNR, in coordination with Wisconsin DNR and the USFWS, the study provided a foundation for the L&D 11 barrier authorized in WRDA 07.  It recommended a combination of bioacoustic devices, attractants, harvest plans, tributary barriers, and an Asian carp decision support system.

 

Cornish briefly described a range of other developments related to fish passage and barriers, including:

 

·         Three U.S. Supreme Court actions denying motions and injunction requests from Michigan and several other Great Lakes states related to closure of the Chicago area locks.

·         The Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today (CARP ACT) Act of 2010 (H.R. 4472 and S. 2946).  The CARP ACT would direct a number of measures, including immediate closure of certain Chicago-area locks and increased monitoring.

·         A May 5, 2010 revision to the federal Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework (http://www.asiancarp.org/Documents/AsianCarpControlStrategyFrameworkMay2010.pdf), developed by USACE, USFWS, US EPA, US Coast Guard, and Illinois DNR.

·         The Corps’ Efficacy Study and Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study.

·         PIANC’s 2010 Fish Passage Report, examining the efficacy of existing fish passage practices.

 

Cornish observed that fish barriers are short term solutions to a long term problem, while fish passages attempt to improve native fishes’ ability to access critical habitats, enhancing their ability to overcome impacts from exotic fish over time.

 

Mike Jawson stressed the importance of eradicating and controlling Asian carp in the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to maintain the rivers’ ecological integrity.  Don Arnosti asked if the Corps has discussed closing the locks at Upper and Lower St. Anthony to prevent Asian carp from possibly expanding upstream of Minneapolis.  Terry Birkenstock said MVP received a letter from the Izaak Walton League suggesting closure of these locks in order to prevent the spread of exotics.  Birkenstock said MVP is currently preparing its response to the letter.

 

In response to a question from Bernie Schonhoff, Cornish said the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study is examining the transfer of exotic species in both directions and through all potential pathways, not merely those in the Chicago area.  Schonhoff said young Asian carp closely resemble gizzard shad, highlighting the need for substantial educational outreach if there’s any hope of preventing inadvertent transfer of carp by anglers.  Kevin Stauffer said Minnesota prohibits anglers from personally collecting and moving bait between water bodies.  While this is very unpopular with some members of the public, Stauffer said it is designed to address just the kind of unintentional transport of exotics that Schonhoff mentioned.

 

Dan Larson cautioned against closing the locks at St. Anthony, noting the significant amount of cargo that would otherwise have to move to the roadways of downtown Minneapolis.  Jim Fischer reported that the Minnesota Attorney General’s office will convene a meeting in the near future with Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs and MVP staff to discuss options for preventing Asian carp from moving upstream on the UMR in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

 

Floodplain Restoration

 

Draft UMR Systemic Forest Management Plan

 

Randy Urich said NESP’s FY 10 budget includes $75,000 for the Forest Management Team.  The Team is currently revising its January 8, 2010 draft Systemic Forest Management Plan to reflect partner comments.  Other FY 10 work plan items include updating the project management plan and convening a product delivery team (PDT) meeting on the Systemic Plan in late summer/early fall.  Urich explained that the Systemic Plan recommends that forest restoration project feasibility reports include a programmatic implementation report (PgIR), in addition to a regular project implementation report (PIR), that would outline the site’s ongoing forest management needs.  This recommendation recognizes that forestry typically requires repeated management activities within individual stands over time.  Urich briefly overviewed the types of comments received on the draft Systemic Plan.  He said the Team received a total of 71 comments from 16 partners.

 

Urich reported that Corps staff anticipate finalizing a draft Hydrogeomorphic Modeling (HGM) Evaluation Report of Geomorphic Reach 3 [from the confluence of the Chippewa River (in Pool 4) to the Wisconsin River (in Pool 10)] in August 2010.  He said Corps staff also plan to finalize a PIR for Reno Bottoms reforestation in FY 10.  Contingent on additional funds, the Corps will develop plans and specifications for Reno Bottoms in the first quarter of FY 11.  The project area encompasses up to 1,100 acres in upper Pool 9, and project features include eradication and control of reed canary grass, enhanced topographic diversity, and forest establishment.  Urich explained that previous efforts to manage Reno Bottoms as grasslands have not been successful.

 

In response to a question from Dan Arnosti, Urich said the draft Systemic Forest Management Plan recommends completing HGM modeling for the entire system.  Chuck Theiling noted that many of the base layers required to complete HGM modeling either are, or soon will, be available, including hydrology, historic vegetation, and geomorphology.  Arnosti asked how the Systemic Forest Management Plan will inform mitigation for forest impacts.  Urich said the Plan is program-neutral and can be used as a framework to identify priority areas for mitigation efforts.

 

Floodplain Restoration System Team

 

Todd Strole said the Floodplain Restoration System Team has focused primarily on developing potential strategies for floodplain restoration and a list of opportunity areas for future restoration activities.  Identified strategies include:

 

·         building upon existing easements;

·         integrating flood storage easements into flood protection strategies;

·         participating in ecosystem services markets, such as carbon sequestration, nutrient processing, and flood storage;

·         integrating biomass crops into reconnected floodplain; and

·         pre-planning to incorporate floodplain restoration elements into member P.L. 84-99 repairs.

 

Strole overviewed the Team’s identified list of future opportunity areas, emphasizing that the current list reflects a top-down, system-level attempt to identify possible projects and has not been coordinated with landowners and field-level managers.  He explained that the Team’s next steps will include forming subgroups to further assess the restoration potential within specific geographic areas, including individual levee and drainage districts.  Other next steps include maintaining the refined list of opportunity areas and the Team’s distribution list and coordinating with the reach planning effort and Forest Management Team.  The subgroups will be tasked with identifying the critical issues associated with their particular potential projects. 

 

In response to a question from Vince Shay, Strole said he plans to incorporate these opportunity areas into GIS and compare them with NESP’s authorized restoration acreage amount.  In response to a question from Jim Fischer, Ken Barr said Corps staff are developing a white paper regarding the definition of ordinary high water mark (OHWM) as it relates to cost sharing, and will present it at a future meeting.  Barr said the white paper calls for examining multiple lines of evidence in making OHWM determinations.

 

UMR Curriculum Guide Book

 

Ron Deiss presented the Cultural Resources and Stewardship Team’s UMR Curriculum Guide, which will help students understand the UMRS’s multiple uses.  He said the Guide will partially fulfill a National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 commitment, which includes listing lock and dam sites on the National Historic Register.  The Guide targets grades 5-8, but can be adapted for lower and upper grades. 

 

Deiss reported that the Team held three regional workshops to seek input from educators this past winter.  The Guide will include chapters on the Upper Mississippi River’s watershed, ecosystems, history and culture, navigation infrastructure, and various uses as a resource.  Deiss said the Team anticipates finalizing the Guide in July.  He said partners can contact Kimberly Rea (636-899-0050, kimberly.g.rea@usace.army.mil) or Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann (618-462-6979,
erin.a.hilligoss-volkmann@usace.army.mil) for further information.

 

In response to a question from Bernie Schonhoff, Deiss said the Guide describes the river’s recent history, including invasive species and other controversial issues.  In response to a question from Gretchen Benjamin, Deiss said the Team has yet to consider how the Guide will be distributed on a large scale.  He anticipates that might include at least some free distribution of hard copies, as well as access on the internet.  Ken Barr said USACE will be prepared to print the Guide shortly after it receives the first construction funding under NESP.

 

UMRS Outreach

 

Kevin Bluhm reported that the Corps has distributed the 2010 spring edition of Our Mississippi newsletter, which included a number of stories on non-NESP and non-EMP initiatives.   He said the newsletter has gained broad support internally within the Corps, though funding sources beyond NESP and EMP have yet to be identified.  Bluhm said the Outreach Team is seeking to make the newsletters more seasonal, in keeping with the quarterly publication schedule.  Bluhm said the Corps is currently distributing 30,000 copies of the newsletter and hopes to double the distribution in two years.  The Outreach Team has installed the first Our Mississippi kiosk at Upper St. Anthony Falls, and is also developing an outreach web page and coordinating with the Cultural Resources and Stewardship Team.

 

Barb Naramore applauded the Our Mississippi newsletter, but urged that future issues clearly label opinion pieces as such and highlight the author’s affiliation.  Don Arnosti suggested that the newsletter focus on the upcoming, rather than the current, season - e.g., highlight summer activities and stories in the spring newsletter.  In response to a question from Gretchen Benjamin, Bluhm said he expects the Corps will need about $350,000 annually to support the Our Mississippi-related activities, including the newsletters, website, database, displays, and other initiatives.

 

Partner Reports

 

Rick Mollahan said Illinois is working with USACE on 10 restoration projects (4 construction and 6 planning) on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers this fiscal year.

 

Brian Johnson announced that Kat McCain will be joining MVS next week.  She is currently with MO DoC.

 

Jon Duyvejonck said many USFWS staff are deployed to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, likely affecting the Service’s availability to respond to partner requests.  Duyvejonck reported that USFWS is initiating landscape conservation cooperatives (LCCs) to coordinate management responses to climate change at the landscape level.

 

Jim Fischer announced that Todd Ambs recently accepted a position as the President of River Network.  Bruce Baker is now serving as Wisconsin DNR’s Water Division Administrator.  Fischer reported that WI DNR will hire about 134 federally funded positions, which may lead to some staff shuffling.  Fischer said Matt Frank, Secretary of the WI DNR, was pleased with the February 8, 2010 White House Summit on Asian carp.  However, WI DNR will continue to advocate for an ecological separation of the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River Basins.  Fischer reported that WI DNR has issued a permit for the L&D 3 lower embankment project and is currently reviewing a draft appraisal report for L&D 3 fish passage.

 

Janet Sternburg reported that Mark Boone is the new Big Rivers Specialist for MO DoC.  It remains to be determined how big river-related duties will be allocated.  Sternburg said six Division Chiefs are retiring within the first half of 2010.  As a result, action on some issues is being delayed, in order to allow the incoming Chiefs to make those decisions.

 

Bernie Schonhoff announced that Diane Ford will act as Iowa DNR’s Conservation and Recreation Administrator, following Ken Herring’s retirement.  Bernie Hoyer will also be retiring shortly.  Schonhoff expressed appreciation to the Corps for renewing efforts on Huron Island.

 

Kevin Foerster said USFWS anticipates hiring a Corps liaison within the next month.  The position will be stationed in Rock Island or St. Louis.

 

Mark Gorman said the Northeast-Midwest Institute hosted an April 15, 2010 briefing for Congressional staffers regarding federal programs in the Mississippi River Basin.  USACE, NRCS, and US EPA participated.  Briefing materials are available at http://www.nemw.org/images/20100415MRBBriefingPackage2.pdf.  Gorman said the Institute also coordinated an 8-House member Dear Colleague letter in support of EPA’s proposed $16.8 million in Mississippi River funding included in the President’s FY 11 budget request.

 

Don Arnosti said Roger Still has resigned as Audubon’s Mississippi River Campaign Director.  Audubon will likely hire a replacement for Still in the coming months.

 

Scott Yess said the UMRCC is completing a Fisheries Management Plan and also coordinating with EPA and FWS on distribution of an outreach poster highlighting Mississippi River resources.  Other efforts include developing a database of mainstem water quality monitoring, housing the River Alert Network, and coordinating sampling for summer vegetation in two pools.  Yess also reported that Tom Boland received UMRCC’s first 35-year River Rat Award at the Committee’s annual meeting.

 

Other Business

 

In response to a request from Janet Sternburg, Barr said NESP staff will post webinar presentations on the Corps’ FTP site.

 

The upcoming meetings are as follows:

·         August 10, 2010* — Web-Based Meeting

·         November 2010 — Quad Cities

§         UMRBA — November 16

§         NECC — November 17

§         Joint EMP-CC/NECC — afternoon of November 17 (if needed)

§         EMP-CC — November 18

·         February 2010 — St. Louis

§         UMRBA — February 15

§         NECC — February 16

§         Joint EMP-CC/NECC — afternoon of November 16 (if needed)

§         EMP-CC — February 17

 

* The August UMRBA and EMP-CC quarterly meetings will be held in La Crosse on the 3rd and 4th, respectively.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.


NECC Attendance List

May 19, 2010

 

NECC Members

Ken Barr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Kevin Foerster

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

Mike Jawson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Butch Atwood

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Bernie Schonhoff

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Kevin Stauffer

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

Charles Barton

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Renee Turner

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVD

Terry Birkenstock

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Tom Crump

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Jeff DeZellar

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Randy Urich

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

Kevin Bluhm

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

COL Shawn McGinley

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Scott Whitney

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Mark Cornish

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Chuck Theiling

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Ron Deiss

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Marvin Hubbell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Karen Hagerty

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

Brian Johnson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Brian Markert

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

Todd Strole

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

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

Barry Johnson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

Rick Mollahan

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Bernie Hoyer

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Robert Stout

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Don Arnosti

Audubon

Brad Walker

Izaak Walton League

Mark Pranckus

JFNew

Tom Boland

MACTEC

Mark Gorman

Northeast-Midwest Institute

Vince Shay

The Nature Conservancy

Gretchen Benjamin

The Nature Conservancy

Dan Larson

DjL Inc.

Paul Rohde

Waterways Council, Inc.

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Dave Hokanson

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Kirsten Mickelsen

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association