Minutes of the

112th Quarterly Meeting

of the

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

November 17, 2009

Rock Island, Illinois

 

 

UMRBA Chair Gary Clark called the meeting to order at 12:35 p.m.  Participants were as follows:

 

UMRBA Representatives, Alternates, and State Members of the Water Quality Executive Committee:

 

 

Gary Clark

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

 

Rick Mollahan

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

 

Marcia Willhite

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

 

Bernie Hoyer

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

 

Dick Vegors

Iowa Department of Economic Development

 

Laurie Martinson

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

 

Rebecca Wooden

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

 

Mike Wells

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

 

Todd Ambs

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

 

Federal UMRBA Liaisons and Federal Members of the Water Quality Executive Committee:

 

 

Mike Sullivan

Natural Resources Conservation Service

 

Elizabeth Ivy

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

Tim Henry

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

 

Bill Franz

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

 

Kevin Foerster

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

 

Mike Jawson

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

 

Others in attendance:

 

 

Robert Stout

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

 

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

 

Kevin Bluhm

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVP

 

Gary Meden

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

 

Roger Perk

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

 

Chuck Spitzack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVR

 

Ken Barr

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

 

Brian Johnson

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

 

Deanne Strauser

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

 

Charlie Hanneken

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MVS

 

Kayla Eckert Uptmor

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NWO

 

Rick Nelson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, RIFO

 

Rick Frietsche

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMR Refuge

 

Jack Waide

U.S. Geological Survey, UMESC

 

John Curry

Audubon Society, Minnesota

 

Gary Loss

HNTB

 

Brad Walker

Izaak Walton League of America

 

Angie Richter

JFNew

 

Mark Gorman

Northeast-Midwest Institute

 

Todd Strole

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

 

Christine Favilla

Sierra Club

 

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Dave Hokanson

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Kirsten Mickelsen

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Peg Donnelly

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association/
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

 

Announcements

 

Gary Clark announced that Dick Vegors will soon be retiring from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).  Clark thanked Vegors for his 13 years of service as a UMRBA Representative from Iowa, and presented a certificate expressing UMRBA’s appreciation for Vegors’ many contributions.  Clark observed that Vegors’ economic development perspectives have enriched UMRBA’s deliberations across a range of issues, and were particularly helpful during development of the Navigation Feasibility Study.  Vegors thanked Clark and reported Governor Culver is expected to name Thom Hart as his replacement on UMRBA.  A former mayor of Davenport, Hart now works for IDED.

 

Minutes

 

Todd Ambs moved and Mike Wells seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the August 4, 2009 meeting as drafted.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Executive Director’s Report

 

Barb Naramore highlighted the following items in addition to her written Director’s report included in the agenda packet:

 

·         President Obama has signed the FY 10 appropriations bills funding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.  A summary of major UMRS-related funding provisions for these agencies was included on pp. B-6 to B-8 of the agenda packet.  Some other federal agencies, including Transportation and Commerce, are still operating under a continuing resolution.

·         Naramore expects to execute a contract for the provision of support services to the Environmental Management Program (EMP) this week.  The contract will cover federal FY 10.  A separate agreement is anticipated for services related to the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP).  In addition, the EMP Program Manager has also expressed interest in having UMRBA staff assist in writing, editing, coordinating review, publishing, and distributing the 2010 EMP Report to Congress (RTC).  Any such RTC-related services would be addressed under a separate contract.

·         As directed by the UMRBA Board at its August meeting, UMRBA staff has drafted a letter outlining the states’ concerns regarding the Inland Waterway Trust Fund situation.  Naramore has recently completed revisions in response to Board comments, and the letter will be formally transmitted to members of the Administration and Congress within the next week.

 

Water Quality Executive Committee Report

 

Marcia Willhite, Chair of UMRBA’s Water Quality Executive Committee (WQEC), provided the Committee’s annual update to the Board.  She reported that the Water Quality Task Force (WQTF) continues to serve as a forum for information sharing and consultation on matters such as assessment procedures and impairment listings for the UMR.  The WQTF addresses program issues and developments of common interest to the five states, including emerging contaminants.  The WQTF also continues its efforts to explore shared and innovative approaches to water quality standards.  Efforts underway in this area include the Task Force’s designated uses project, made possible through an intergovernmental personnel agreement with US EPA, and the upcoming biological assessment project that the states are funding through UMRBA with their 604(b) stimulus grants.  Willhite emphasized that the state WQEC members view water quality standards as the fundamental building block of their clean water programs and thus as the key to the states’ collaborative efforts on the UMR.  She also noted that the WQTF continues its work supporting cross-program collaboration, most particularly through joint workshops with ecosystem restoration staff and participation in the Corps-led reach planning effort.

 

Willhite elaborated on the 604(b) project, which the states are funding using a portion of their state revolving fund (SRF) money that is set aside for water quality management planning grants.  Funding for this set aside has historically been quite modest, but received a boost with the large amount of stimulus money directed to SRF.  Willhite explained that UMRBA’s 604(b) project will include three major components:

 

1)      a biological assessment guidance document that will recommend UMR-specific approaches for the states’ consideration;

2)      a nutrient report summarizing what is known about nutrient patterns and impacts on the UMR; and

3)      cross-programmatic workshops to continue collaboration with other key programs, including ecosystem restoration and agricultural conservation efforts.

 

She reported that UMRBA has executed funding agreements with two of the five states thus far, with the remaining agreements expected to be in place shortly.  Total project funding will be approximately $322,000.  UMRBA has issued a request for proposals, seeking a qualified consultant to develop the biological assessment guidance document.

 

Willhite reported that the WQEC and WQTF also continue their outreach and communication efforts.  Over the last year, this included a March meeting in Washington with leaders of US EPA’s water program, efforts to secure a place for the UMR in EPA’s Strategic Plan, and presentations to the National Research Council’s most recent Mississippi River panel.  In addition, the WQEC has reached out to the McKnight-funded Mississippi River Water Quality Collaborative to discuss shared interests.

 

Reflecting on opportunities and challenges for the coming year, Willhite observed that nutrients and other nonpoint source issues are increasingly high profile.  While each state clearly has individual responsibilities in this area, Willhite said the five states will be jointly examining what their collective role might be and how that relates to their focus through UMRBA on the mainstem of the UMR.  She said the WQEC will also explore whether 604(b) might present an ongoing source of funding to support the states’ cooperative efforts on the UMR.  Willhite also acknowledged that constraints of available staff and travel represent very real challenges to the states’ collaborative water quality efforts, but emphasized the need for the states to remain engaged in these efforts.

 

Gary Clark noted that the UMRBA Board met with the WQEC members this morning and is very appreciative of their efforts.  In response to a question from Mike Jawson, Barb Naramore said she understands that restrictions under the 604(b) grant program would preclude the selection of a state or federal agency to prepare the biological assessment guidance document.  Aside from that limitation, Naramore said UMRBA is open to proposals from all types of entities, including private consultants and universities.  Todd Ambs thanked Willhite for her excellent leadership as the WQEC Chair and said he believes the states are making good progress.

 

Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative

 

Mike Sullivan reported that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) at the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force’s September meeting.  Using at least $80 million in conservation funding over the next four years, USDA’s MRBI will fund voluntary conservation practices in selected watersheds.  These practices will be designed to avoid, control, and trap nutrients; restore/enhance wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity.  The focus watersheds will be selected within the 10 Mississippi River corridor states, as well as Indiana and Ohio.  Sullivan explained that the $80 million in financial assistance to farmers will include $50 million for the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), $25 million for the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP), and $5 million for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG).  He noted that MRBI does not include any technical assistance funding.

 

Sullivan explained that the state conservationists in each eligible state will lead the process of identifying the MRBI watersheds.  Each state will identify 1-3 focus areas at the 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) level.  Within these relatively large watersheds, smaller (c. 12-digit HUC) watersheds will be selected on a competitive basis.  Leveraging partner contributions and the potential to achieve and document nutrient load reductions will be key criteria in selecting the smaller watersheds.  Sullivan noted that 12-digit HUCs typically range from 10,000-40,000 acres. 

 

MRBI will fund both core and supporting practices to control nitrogen and phosphorus.  Sullivan explained that core practices are those thought to produce the greatest and most efficient nutrient management benefits, while the supporting practices compliment core practices and will be implemented in conjunction with them.  According to Sullivan, MRBI will employ a three-pronged approach of avoiding, controlling, and trapping (ACT).  Results will be monitored and evaluated at the field, small watershed (i.e., 12-digit HUC), and basin scales.

 

NRCS will coordinate with the Farm Service Agency, EPA’s Section 319 program, state conservation programs, and other partners in implementing the MRBI.  Sullivan emphasized the range of critical roles for partners, including encouraging producer participation, leveraging non-federal funds, educating the public, supplementing NRCS’s technical assistance, and assisting with monitoring and evaluation.  He noted that the states will be encouraged to consider interstate watersheds, and said NRCS will support information exchange, monitoring, and program integration across state boundaries. 

 

In terms of timeline, Sullivan said the state conservationists will announce the 8-digit HUC focus areas in the near future.  This will be followed shortly by requests for project proposals under the three program areas.  Sullivan said he anticipates that the 12-digit project areas will be selected by late February 2010, with a target of obligating project funds and beginning to implement conservation practices by the end of federal FY 10.  In response to a question from Mike Wells, Sullivan said that any non-federal entity working in the focus area will be eligible to submit a project proposal.

 

Mark Gorman asked about accountability for monitoring and evaluation.  Sullivan explained that project proposals that include good monitoring plans will be ranked more highly.  Brian Johnson asked whether it will be possible to add additional focus areas in future years.  Sullivan said that remains to be determined, but said focus areas selected this year will likely have priority for project funding in future years.  In response to a question from Wells, Sullivan said that the CIG grants are designed to promote innovation, not support new research.  Priority will go to CIG proposals that are tied to CCPI projects.

 

Biological Indicators

 

Dave Hokanson briefly recounted the May 2009 biological indicators workshop and the nine potential next steps that emerged from the workshop discussions.  UMRBA staff captured those nine potential next steps in a workshop report that they presented to the UMRBA Board at its August 4, 2009 meeting.  At that meeting, the Board directed UMRBA staff to obtain further input from key state staff regarding the possible next steps.  Per this direction, UMRBA staff solicited input from the state members of the WQEC, WQTF, EMP-CC, and NECC, and then summarized the responses received and UMRBA staff’s resulting recommendations in a report provided on pp. E-1 to E-7 of the agenda packet.  Hokanson reviewed the report’s content, highlighting the following staff recommendations relative to each potential next step:

 

1.       Ad hoc ecosystem restoration/CWA interagency committee — ask USACE, US EPA, and UMRBA staff to function as a very informal committee for the near term.  Reevaluate the need for a broader committee in approximately one year.

2.       Ecosystem objective-setting — encourage and facilitate state water quality staff’s involvement in reach planning in the near term and explore how to best involve them over the longer term in restoration objective setting and project development.

3.       Biological condition gradient (BCG) workshop — no immediate action recommended, but consider the value of defining a BCG as related efforts evolve.

4.       LTRMP A-Team refinement of indicators — UMRBA staff should monitor the A-Team’s indicator discussions and facilitate coordination with water quality staff if/when appropriate.

5.       Development of biological assessment guidance — pursue as outlined in UMRBA’s 604(b) project proposal, with explicit consideration of existing UMR tools, appropriate involvement of restoration staff, and clarification that this effort need not forestall other ongoing assessment work.

6.       Inventory and compare sampling methods and data sets — no immediate action recommended, but reconsider once further progress has been made in defining ecosystem goals and objectives via other next steps.

7.       Potential use of LTRMP infrastructure to support enhanced monitoring — no immediate action recommended, but revisit the question after monitoring needs are more clearly defined.

8.       Learn from the Lake Pepin TMDL and Mississippi Makeover — UMRBA should continue to encourage information sharing regarding both efforts.

9.       Outreach and communication — no immediate action recommended, beyond the efforts UMRBA already has underway.

 

Marv Hubbell observed that two or three of the next steps relate to questions about goals and objectives.  With the Corps and its partners currently engaged in ecosystem restoration objective setting, Hubbell asked about parallel efforts to establish ecosystem health objectives.  Hokanson said that engaging water quality staff in the restoration objective setting effort is an important first step in determining whether fundamental goals and objectives between the two program areas align.  Hokanson said it is too early to draw any conclusions regarding that question.

 

Laurie Martinson said she is pleased the staff recommendations focus on relatively modest, doable actions for the priority next steps, with action on other steps being deferred.  She observed that making meaningful progress across all nine of the potential next steps areas would simply not be possible.  Martinson moved and Mike Wells seconded a motion to approve implementing the actions recommended by UMRBA staff in their report to the Board.  Jim Fischer expressed particular support for the recommendations to let work in some areas evolve a bit before attempting to coordinate across program areas.  Ken Barr said state water quality staff have provided very valuable perspectives in the reach planning discussions and said he appreciates their participation.  With no further discussion, Martinson’s motion carried unanimously.

 

Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study

 

Kayla Eckert Uptmor briefly reviewed the history of the Missouri River project, noting both similarities and differences between the issues and priorities that drove the original 1944 Pick Sloan authorization and those of today.  She explained that the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act authorized a $25 million Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) to “determine if changes to the authorized project purposes and existing Federal water resource infrastructure may be warranted.”  The study is to be conducted at 100 percent federal expense. 

 

Eckert Uptmor explained that the original 1944 project authorization, as amended, recognizes the following eight project purposes: flood control, navigation, fish and wildlife, irrigation, power, recreation, water supply, and water quality.  The Corps initiated work on MRAPS in October, following receipt of the study implementation guidance, with outreach to basin stakeholders about their interests and concerns relative to the study.  Eckert Uptmor said that, for any management alternative addressed in the study, the Corps will evaluate all relevant impacts, including impacts on the Mississippi River.  The implementation guidance calls for study completion in five years, with consideration of climate change and compliance with Corps planning guidance, including internal and external reviews.  The Omaha and Kansas City Districts are co-leads for the study, with Omaha having the management lead.  Eckert Uptmor said the Northwestern Division will also coordinate closely with the Mississippi Valley Division, and a St. Louis District technical team will assist in conducting the study.   Three levels of internal Corps advisory teams will guide study implementation.

 

Eckert Uptmor said the Corps will develop its project management plan (PMP) for the study over the next six to nine months.  This will establish the project delivery team (PDT) and study scope, as well as the communications and public involvement plan.  During this same period of PMP development, the Corps has also hired the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to develop a situation report.  As a neutral convener, the Institute is charged with conducting individual interviews and nine focus groups to explore the range of stakeholder perspectives and develop recommendations for ensuring these perspectives are engaged in the study process.

 

Upon completion of the PMP, Eckert Uptmor said the Corps will hold a series of seven to ten scoping meetings, most likely during the summer of 2010.  These scoping meetings will provide input to the formal study scope and external organization involvement plan, which is scheduled for completion by September 2010.  Eckert Uptmor stressed the Corps’ commitment to coordination with stakeholders throughout the study, and said a study web site has already been established at www.mraps.org.

 

Mike Wells encouraged evaluating Mississippi River navigation as a potential additional authorized purpose of the Missouri River project, including the possibility of a 12-foot channel below St. Louis.  Wells asked how states and others should offer scoping suggestions.  Eckert Uptmor said that PDTs for specific authorized purposes will not be established until after the study scoping is complete.  Wells expressed concern that the Corps has not yet met with the State of Missouri regarding MRAPS.  Eckert Uptmor said that the Corps has not yet begun the process of reaching out, beyond the focus groups, but will do so after it solidifies its internal structure for the study.

 

Marcia Willhite asked how the Corps will account for climate change in MRAPS.  Eckert Uptmor said the pending Principles and Guidelines revisions are likely to provide specific direction on how to address climate change in Corps studies.  In the interim, the Corps is considering the issue as it develops its study approach.  She said she anticipates that climate change will be an important consideration for several of the PDTs working on individual authorized purposes.  Willhite said it would be helpful for the Corps and other federal agencies to consider the issue of climate change across systems and projects to provide some consistency in approach.  Karen Hagerty asked how MRAPS will consider the impacts of the project’s profound alteration of Missouri River sediment loading.  Eckert Uptmor said sedimentation will be an important factor in MRAPS’ impact accounting.

 

Laurie Martinson emphasized that UMRBA and its member states are important stakeholders for the MRAPS.  She cited flow support and invasive species as two key issues for the UMR states, and said it will be important for the Corps to hold at least one of its scoping meetings in the UMRB.  Eckert Uptmor said the St. Louis District has offered similar observations and said the study staff are open to the idea of holding a scoping meeting in the UMRB.

 

Wells asked how invitees to the focus groups are being determined.  He stressed that representatives of UMRBA and the UMR states should be invited to participate in the focus groups.  Eckert Uptmor said she would share this recommendation with the Corps’ contractor, but said the Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (IECR) is operating independently in convening the focus groups and authoring the situation report for the Corps.  Wells expressed concern that the Corps is not communicating government-to-government with the effected states, and stressed that this needs to be done early in the process.  Eckert Uptmor said the Corps has not yet initiated formal scoping, but will definitely reach out to all of the states at that point.  At this juncture, she explained, the Corps is seeking an independent situation report from IECR and does not want to provide guidance or direction that would undermine that independence.  She expressed appreciation for the UMR states’ perspectives.

 

Ecosystem and Navigation Updates

 

EMP FY 10 Work Plan

 

Marv Hubbell reported that EMP’s FY 10 appropriation is $16.47 million.  While this is a below the President’s request and the House- and Senate-passed amounts, he said it is in keeping with the final FY 10 funding levels for other restoration programs and projects nationally.  Hubbell said the FY 10 Senate report language, which reiterates the call for an EMP/NESP transition plan but also recognizes the need to keep EMP fully functional until such time as NESP is adequately funded, will be tremendously helpful.  Assuming the program receives implementation guidance consistent with the report language, EMP will once again be able to initiate planning on new habitat projects and move projects from planning to construction, so long as the projects can be completed or readily transferred within two years of NESP receiving sufficient funding to support transition.

 

Hubbell reviewed EMP’s FY 10 work plan.  He explained that, at $600,000, overall funding for regional administration is being reduced relative to FY 09; but funding for the 2010 EMP Report to Congress is being increased.  Ninety-three percent of the LTRMP’s $4.983 million FY 10 allocation is going to the base monitoring program — i.e., Outputs 1.1 and 2.1 under the FY 2010-14 LTRMP Strategic Plan.  Of the remaining seven percent, approximately 2/3 will go to research and 1/3 to administration.  Funding for the HREP component is $10.887 million, which will support 22 existing habitat projects, 10 of which are in construction, with the remaining 12 in various stages of planning and design.  The Corps also plans to initiate planning on three or four new projects and move two projects from design to construction during FY 10.  Hubbell said the Corps will also be conducting model certification and developing an HREP component review plan in FY 10.

 

EMP/NESP Transition Plan

 

Hubbell reported that General Walsh’s EMP/NESP transition plan, dated June 18, 2009, remains at Corps Headquarters.  Corps HQ staff met with regional program staff on October 6 to discuss a range of EMP and NESP issues, including the transition plan.  At that meeting, staff agreed to revise and resubmit the transition plan.  Hubbell said the revised plan will more explicitly address two major obstacles to program transition — i.e., the Inland Waterway Trust Fund situation and obtaining construction general funding for NESP.  In addition, the plan will address the Senate’s FY 10 report language and elaborate on the measures the Corps is taking to ensure project transferability.  Barb Naramore thanked Hubbell and Chuck Spitzack for their efforts to engage the partners in developing the original transition plan.  She asked whether partners will have an opportunity to comment on the revised plan before it is submitted to HQ.  Hubbell said he anticipates sharing the revised transition plan with the partners for a quick turnaround review before MVD formally submits it to HQ.  He estimated this would be at the end of December.

 

Jim Fischer asked whether EMP’s reduction in funding to $16.47 million in FY 10 is a sign of things to come.  Hubbell said the Administration has indicated that overall domestic spending will decline in FY 11, but said he could not speak to the specifics of the EMP budget.  He did observe that any funding declines would significantly affect both the LTRMP, which is already devoting 93 percent of its budget to base monitoring, and the HREP component’s planning and construction capability. 

 

NESP FY 10 Work Plan

 

Chuck Spitzack reported that NESP received $6.2 million in FY 10 preconstruction engineering and design (PED) funding for FY 10.  He observed that this is a significant decline from FY 05-09 funding, which ranged from a high of $14.0 million in FY 07 to a low of $8.6 million in FY 09.  The overall trend in recent years has been toward declining PED funding for NESP.  Spitzack said the FY 10 work plan is still under development.  NESP has $500,000 in carry-over funding, and the $6.7 million total available for FY 10 will be allocated as follows:  $470,000 to program administration and $3.15 million each to the navigation and restoration components.  Major focus areas for the navigation component this year will include completion of initial design reports for the new locks at L&D 22 and 25, readying additional small scale measures for implementation, development of implementation strategies, and consideration of whether to undertake additional economic reevaluation.  Spitzack said ecosystem component efforts will focus on completion of additional project planning, processing of project approvals, and reach planning.

 

Other NESP Updates

 

Spitzack said the October 6 meeting with HQ staff was very helpful.  He said HQ plans to forward the NESP Implementation Report to the ASA(CW).  Corps HQ continues to support the NESP Chief’s Report and will be working with the ASA(CW) and program staff to explore the utility of additional economic reevaluation in the areas of sensitivity analysis, system reliability, and multimodal considerations.  Spitzack also reported that HQ will be holding General Walsh’s Advisory Panel recommendations in abeyance until NESP has a clear funding stream for project design and/or construction.

 

Spitzack said NESP staff have provided the Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS) Investment Strategy Team with information to assist the Team in developing its 20-year capital investment strategy for the inland navigation system.  He explained that NESP staff will review their implementation strategies in light of the IMTS Team’s forthcoming recommendations.  On the reach planning front, Spitzack reported that the four Reach Planning Teams (RPTs) are continuing their efforts and expect to present a final plan to the NECC and EMP-CC at their May meetings. 

 

In response to a question from Naramore, Spitzack said any additional sensitivity analyses for NESP would likely focus on key parameters, holding some constant while manipulating others.  Spitzack said questions remain about whether the existing models will support meaningful further analyses.  He said the multi-modal focus would examine how the authorized navigation improvements relate to the U.S. DOT’s integrated, multi-modal vision for the nation’s transportation future.

 

Public Outreach

 

Spitzack reported that, in September, MVD and the three UMR districts agreed to jointly support an integrated approach to public outreach and communication for the Corps’ UMR projects and programs.  The brand identity for this approach will likely be “Our Mississippi,” with additional details and graphics remaining to be developed.  Spitzack said two members from each district are serving on a Public Outreach Team (PORT).  The first newsletter reflecting this integrated communications approach is currently out for partner review and will be distributed soon.  Spitzack also noted that Jerry Enzler from the Dubuque Museum will be discussing a parallel “One Mississippi” campaign at tomorrow’s joint NECC and EMP-CC meeting.  He said the Corps is open to collaborating with the NGOs’ One Mississippi effort.

 

Bernie Hoyer asked about the differences between the Our Mississippi and One Mississippi campaigns, noting that they could easily be confused.  Spitzack said this will be a focus in tomorrow’s conversation.  But he stressed that the concept behind Our Mississippi is to have an umbrella that serves all UMR districts and programs for the Corps.  He said the name may be adjusted, but indicated that the idea is firm.  Kevin Bluhm said that the McKnight-funded One Mississippi campaign has a very different vision and focus from the Corps’ effort.  But Bluhm emphasized that there are important areas for potential collaboration.

 

Comprehensive Plan

 

Chuck Spitzack briefly recapped the status of the Corps’ recommendations coming out of the Comp Plan study.  In a January 2009 letter to the House and Senate authorizing committees, then-ASA(CW) Woodley concurred with the Comp Plan recommendations, including cost-shared feasibility studies on reconstruction of aging levees, analysis of the federal interest in protecting critical infrastructure, and extension of the Comp Plan’s mainstem analysis to major tributaries. 

 

Congress appropriated $269,000 for the Comp Plan in FY 10.  Spitzack said this year’s efforts will focus on identifying specific candidates for reconstruction studies, scoping a regional critical infrastructure study, and developing an approach to tributary analysis using the Iowa-Cedar Basin.  The tributary analysis will emphasize interagency, watershed approaches and seek to identify those elements suitable for work under the Corps’ Comp Plan authority.  Spitzack said the regional analysis of critical infrastructure will be 100 percent federal, but a non-federal sponsor would be needed for any follow-on feasibility-level analysis of an individual infrastructure site.  The tributary analysis does not require a non-federal sponsor.

 

In response to a question from Gary Clark, Spitzack said the Corps does not yet have a short list of key critical infrastructure sites.

 

Administrative Issues

 

Investment and Banking Resolutions

 

Barb Naramore provided background information regarding two resolutions she prepared for the Board’s consideration.  She explained that Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Wacovia Bank resulted in changes to Wells’ asset thresholds for its institutional brokerage clients.  UMRBA no longer qualifies as an institutional client, and thus needs to shift to a private client brokerage account with Wells.  The proposed resolution, included on p. H-1 of the agenda packet, would authorize Naramore, acting on behalf of UMRBA, to make investments with Wells Fargo Investments, LLC.  Naramore said she is also proposing two modifications to UMRBA’s Investment Policy, provided on p. H-2 of the packet.  The first change would explicitly add savings accounts to the list of allowable investments, something Naramore said is advisable in the current interest rate environment, where yields on bank savings accounts are routinely exceeding those on short-term CDs or money market accounts.  The second change would eliminate the reference to a $100,000 per institution limit for insured investments, and instead cap savings and CD investments with a single institution at the then-current FDIC insurance limit.  Naramore observed that this policy amendment would eliminate the need for future revisions to reflect changes in the FDIC insurance limit.  She noted that there is an error in the proposed policy on p. H-2, and requested that the Board change the word “deposit” to “depositor” in the second full sentence of Section C.2.c. — i.e., should read “Investment instruments are not to exceed the FDIC limit per depositor at each insured institution.” 

 

Mike Wells moved adoption of the investment resolution as stated on p. H-1 and the investment policy revision as stated on p. H-2, with the change of “deposit” to “depositor” as described by Naramore.  Todd Ambs seconded Wells’ motion, which carried unanimously.

 

Future Meeting Schedule

 

Naramore reported that the next two quarterly meetings are scheduled for February 23-25, 2010 in St. Louis and May 18-20, 2010 in the Twin Cities, with UMRBA’s meeting falling on the first day of each series.  The Board set the summer quarterly meetings for August 3-5, 2010 in La Crosse.  [Note:  Subsequently, the NECC elected to hold its August 2010 meeting via the internet and telephone.  Therefore, the summer meeting series will be August 3-4, 2010 with UMRBA’s meeting on the first day.]

 

Wells asked the Corps of Engineers to provide routine quarterly updates regarding the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study at future UMRBA meetings, at least through the scoping phase of the study.

 

Ambs moved and Wells seconded a motion to adjourn.  The motion carried unanimously.  With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:35 p.m.