Minutes of the

93rd Quarterly Meeting

of the

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

February 23, 2005

La Crosse, Wisconsin

 

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m. by UMRBA Chair Gary Clark.  The following were present:

 

UMRBA Representatives and Alternates:

 

Gary Clark

Illinois (DNR)

Rick Mollahan

Illinois (DNR)

Mike McGhee

Iowa (DNR)

Harold Hommes

Iowa (Dept of Agriculture)

Dick Vegors

Iowa (Dept. of Economic Development)

Rebecca Wooden

Minnesota (DNR)

Mike Wells

Missouri (DNR)

Dru Buntin

Missouri (DNR)

Gretchen Benjamin

Wisconsin (DNR)

 

Federal Liaisons:

 

Mike Sullivan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (NRCS)

Linda Leake

U.S. Geological Survey (UMESC)

Charles Barton

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVD)

Bill Franz

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 5)

Charles Wooley

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Region 3)

 

Others in attendance:

 

John Pitlo

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Tim Schlagenhaft

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Janet Sternburg

Missouri Department of Conservation

Terry Dukerschein

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Larry Kieck

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Greg Ruff

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVD)

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Jeff DeZellar

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Tom Novak

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Chuck Spitzack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Ken Barr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Gary Loss

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Matt Zager

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Tim Yager

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Region 3)

Gary Wege

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Doug Aloisi

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Genoa NFH)

Don Hultman

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (UMR Refuge)

Sharonne Baylor

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (UMR Refuge)

Rick Nelson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (RIFO)

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (RIFO)

Dan McGuiness

Audubon

Gretchen Bonfert

McKnight Foundation

Robin Grawe

Mississippi River Citizen Commission

Cal Fremling

Winona State University emeritus

Mark J. Carr

AEP River Operations

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Holly Stoerker

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

 

Meeting Minutes

 

Mike Wells moved and Gretchen Benjamin seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the November 17, 2004 meeting, as drafted.  The motion was approved by consensus.

 

Executive Director’s Report

 

Holly Stoerker reported that the Chief’s Report on the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Feasibility Study was issued December 15, 2004.  She and Gary Clark thanked the Corps for making modifications to the draft report based on discussions at the November 2004 UMRBA meeting. 

 

Stoerker reported that there has been a change in the consultant services for UMRBA’s water quality coordination project.  UMRBA’s contract with Wenck Associates has been amended to reflect FTN Associates’ staff as the lead for both the fish consumption advisory tasks and the sedimentation criteria tasks. 

 

Stoerker distributed copies of a flyer announcing the UMR Fish Consumption Advisory Workshop being sponsored by UMRBA on March 30-31 in Davenport, Iowa.  The Workshop is designed to bring together natural resource, health, and environmental quality agencies from each of the five UMR States to discuss issues related to fish consumption advisories on the river, including options for achieving greater compatibility and comparability among State advisories and their use in listing impairments. 

 

Rebecca Wooden requested that Stoerker provide a list of workshop invitees.

 

Barb Naramore reported that updates to the UMR Spill Plan are ongoing.  As part of the update process, a new interagency Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will be signed.  The original MOA was signed in 1997 and none of the officials who signed that document still hold the same position. 

 

A Spill of National Significance (SONS) exercise, focusing on the Upper Mississippi River, will take place in Spring 2007.  By their very nature, SONS exercises are designed to exceed the region’s capacity to respond.  Barb Naramore has been working with the Coast Guard and EPA on SONS planning.  She will be working through the UMR Spills Group to seek State input and involvement in the exercise.  If there are others, in addition to emergency response personnel, who should be involved, Naramore asked that she be notified.

 

Interbasin Diversion Charter

 

Holly Stoerker explained that the Interbasin Diversion Charter, signed by the Governors in 1989, requires that, at the UMRBA Annual Meeting, each State report on out-of-basin diversion requests that may have been made during the previous year.  All five UMRBA State representatives reported that no diversion requests, exceeding the charter threshold of 5 million gallons per day average in any 30-day period, had been made.  UMRBA staff will transmit a letter to each of the five Governors describing the results of the required consultation on interbasin diversions.

 

Gary Clark noted that the diversion issue has been revisited on the Great Lakes as part of Annex 2001, an amendment to the 1985 Great Lakes Charter.  Constitutional issues regarding interstate consultations are being raised.

 

New Mississippi River Publication: Immortal River

 

Cal Fremling provided an overview of his new book, Immortal River:  The Upper Mississippi in Ancient and Modern Times.  The book, published by the University of Wisconsin Press, took him 14 years to write and is targeted to the “educated layman.”  Topics include geologic history, early exploration and exploitation, the steamboat era and early improvements to the river, the post-impoundment years, modern tows and barges, ecological relationships, flooding, pollution, and agency management roles. 

 

Gretchen Benjamin noted that Fremling’s description of river management is rather critical and asked for his suggestions about how it could be improved.  Fremling indicated that he covers that topic in the final chapter of his book.  Rebecca Wooden commented that river management is necessarily complex.

 

NRCS Reorganization

 

Mike Sullivan explained that the NRCS reorganization is above the State office level and should thus not affect program delivery at the local level.  NRCS’ six regional offices have been closed and replaced by three regional technical centers.  Each of these three National Technology Support Centers has specific focus areas and serves the entire country.  The central office in Fort Worth, Texas focuses on grazing, wetlands, and wildlife.  In addition, there is a national water management center in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Sullivan explained that he is stationed in Little Rock, but is filling an NRCS headquarters position.

 

Sullivan also described four NRCS programs:  the Conservation Security Program, Conservation Innovation Grants, the Conservation Partnership Initiative, and Drainage Water Management. 

 

The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a three-tiered program that rewards farmers for maintaining high levels of environmental stewardship.  In FY 05, there will be at least one CSP watershed in each State.

 

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are designed to stimulate on-the-ground demonstrations of innovative conservation technologies.  In FY 04, there were a number of CIG recipients in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, including American Farmland Trust Agriculture Conservation Innovation Center, The Nature Conservancy (Illinois), the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Soybean Association, the State of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources.  In FY 05, there is $15 million available in CIG funding.  Proposals are due March 28, 2005.

 

The Conservation Partnership Initiative (CPI) is a voluntary program aimed at fostering conservation partnerships in watersheds.  In FY 04, the Missouri Department of Conservation received CPI funding for Northwest Missouri Bobwhite Buffers Enhancement.  The FY 05 proposal period ended February 17.

 

Drainage water management is one of NRCS’ top national priorities.  The goal is to limit water release to only the amount necessary to insure fields are trafficable and the crop root zone is aerated.  Illinois and Iowa are among the highest-ranking States in terms of drained farmland.

 

Holly Stoerker asked if Sullivan will be UMRBA’s primary point-of-contact for NRCS and whether the NRCS/UMRBA partnering agreement should be revisited.  Sullivan noted that he still needs to learn more about UMRBA and consult with the State conservationists in the basin.  He suggested following up after this meeting.

 

FY 2006 Federal Budget

 

Environmental Protection Agency — Bill Franz explained that EPA’s budget is organized by goals, with approximately 37 percent devoted to the clean water goal.  National water priorities include improving water monitoring, increasing wetland acres and quality, restoring watersheds, and enhancing water infrastructure security.

 

The FY 06 proposed budget for Section 106 funding is $231 million, to be allocated among the States using a formula based on six factors: surface water area, groundwater use, point sources, impairments, nonpoint sources, and population. 

 

Approximately $209 million is proposed for Section 319 nonpoint source grants in FY 06.  Funds are allocated among the States based on a 2003 formula.  In 2005, the UMR States received the following percentages of the total national 319 funds: Illinois (4), Iowa (2.2), Minnesota (3.5), Missouri (2.3), Wisconsin (2.6).

 

The President is proposing significant cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving funds in FY 06.  Proposed funding for the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving funds remains flat.  Allocation of funding to the States for both accounts is based on a needs survey.  Franz presented lists of the amounts allocated to each of the five UMRB States in FY 04 and FY 05, as well as the amount proposed for FY 06.

 

The President is proposing to eliminate NPDES Section 104 funding in FY 06.  These funds are typically allocated to each EPA Region and considered discretionary.  Franz explained that 104 funding has been the source for EPA’s recent grants to support the work of the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force.  Holly Stoerker noted that UMRBA’s current grant is for a 2‑year period, including FY 05 and FY 06.  Franz commented that the States could support the UMRBA water quality work through their Section 106 funds.  Currently, only 6 interstate agencies nationwide are eligible for direct funding from Section 106.

 

A significant increase is proposed for the Water Security Monitoring program in FY 06.  Last year, $10.6 million was allocated and the President is proposing $55 million in FY 06.

 

U.S. Geological Survey — Linda Leake identified a series of USGS priorities for the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers: addressing needs of DOI partners, analysis of distribution and abundance of biota, invasive species (Asian carp), collaborative opportunities through NASQAN, movement of nutrients, and the National Streamflow Information Program.  Leake explained that USGS’ large rivers science initiative spans several programs and departments and is thus not specifically identified in the budget.  USGS’ budget theme in FY 06 is “Hazards.”

 

In FY 06, the USGS budget is proposed to be cut by $1.9 million.  However, there is a $750,000 add for “Science on the DOI Landscape.”  This is a national initiative that may or may not benefit the UMRB.

 

In response to a question from Gary Clark, Leake said the streamgaging budget is slated for a 7 percent cut.  Clark commented that States have an ongoing concern about the viability of the stream gaging program.  States need the basic flow data from the gages for all aspects of water management, including flooding, water allocation, and TMDLs.

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — Charlie Wooley said that the Service’s budget has basically been holding steady since FY 04, except for the Fisheries program, which has seen some cuts.  Funding for construction has also been declining over the past three years, reflecting its decreasing priority.

 

The Ecological Services base funding for the three UMR field offices totals approximately $375,000.  Wooley noted, however, that there are a variety of additional funding needs and opportunities.  FY 05 funding for the three refuge complexes along the river totals approximately $8.3 million.  Wooley said that the Comprehensive Conservation Planning (CCP) process for refuges has been a very intensive effort with the States, stakeholders, and general public.  The Upper Mississippi Refuge CCP is underway and the Mark Twain and Illinois River Refuge CCPs are complete.  The Mark Twain Refuge has land acquisition needs and opportunities that exceed its resources.

 

The Fisheries Resource Offices nationwide have seen some cuts, while hatcheries have seen some funding increases.  The areas of emphasis for the fisheries program in this region are large migratory species, aquatic nuisance species, and endangered mussels.

 

Gretchen Benjamin emphasized the importance of continued funding for the UMRCC coordinator position.  Wooley said the Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to its role as UMRCC coordinator.  However, the challenges include how to fund it in future years and how to avoid conflicts of interest.  Wooley expressed a preference for separate line item funding, rather than supporting the coordinator position out of base funding.

 

Homeland Security — In the absence of representatives from the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Holly Stoerker distributed excerpts from the FY 06 budget proposals for these two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.  She voiced the assumption that UMRBA’s FY 06 testimony for these agencies will continue to focus on the programs and themes from last year.  Namely, for the Coast Guard the testimony will stress the need to continue the non-security missions and will specifically address operating expenses, research and development, reserve training, and boating safety grants.  For the FEMA testimony, the emphasis will be on the pre-disaster mitigation grant program and flood map modernization.

 

U.S. Department of Agriculture — Mike Sullivan explained that USDA’s budget includes both discretionary and mandatory spending.  Mandatory spending includes Farm Bill programs, while discretionary spending includes such things as conservation technical assistance and watershed programs.  In FY 06, USDA discretionary spending is proposed to be $814 million, a decrease of $177 million from FY 05.  The FY 06 budget assumes a pay act increase of 1.5 percent and absorption of inflation costs.  In addition, it does not include funds for FY 05 Congressional earmarks. 

 

The FY 06 NRCS budget reflects a funding decrease for conservation technical assistance and zeroes out funding for watershed and flood prevention operations.  Sullivan explained that the issue of how technical assistance should be funded has been resolved.  Technical assistance for each conservation program is now being paid from that program account.  EQIP is no longer paying for technical assistance for CRP, WRP, and the Klamath Basin. 

 

With regard to Farm Bill programs, in FY 06 there will be a slight decrease for EQIP and a significant increase for WRP.  The Grassland Reserve Program is zeroed out because it is reaching the end of its authorization. 

 

Corps of Engineers — Greg Ruff described the goals upon which the Corps’ FY 06 budget is based: prioritize construction funding for projects with the highest net economic and environmental returns; reduce the construction backlog; improve recreation services through the Recreation Modernization Initiative; restore aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on the Everglades, Coastal Louisiana, Upper Mississippi River, and Missouri and Columbia Rivers endangered species recovery; and protect water and wetlands.

 

The Corps’ FY 06 budget is 7 percent lower than its FY 05 enacted budget.  There are nine specific projects identified as high priority in the FY 06 Corps budget, including “UMR Ecosystem Restoration,” which is the new name OMB has given the EMP. 

 

Ruff outlined MVD’s FY 05 and FY 06 budgets, noting that there is a small increase proposed for O&M in FY 06.  With regard to UMR projects, there is no funding proposed in FY 06 for NESP or the Comprehensive Plan.  However, the EMP is recommended for full funding ($33.5 million) and three lock and dam major rehabilitation projects are funded. 

 

Ruff explained that, since release of the budget, the Corps has continued to work on the justification documents for the EMP.  Of note, OMB has directed that the EMP name be changed to UMR Ecosystem Restoration and has identified the purpose as “commercial navigation and mitigation.”  In addition, OMB guidance calls for optimizing funding for resource monitoring and project monitoring and specifies that $3 million be used to develop a 10-year aquatic ecosystem restoration plan.  Ruff commented that the purpose of these changes is not clear.  However, the Corps has sought to clarify the origins of the EMP as restoration, rather than mitigation and has emphasized that a restoration plan was just recently completed as part of the Navigation Study.

 

Ruff explained that the Corps’ FY 06 budget proposal reflects performance-based budgeting.  In particular, navigation and flood control projects with ratios of remaining benefits to remaining costs (RB/RC) greater than 5 receive at least 80 percent of their capability needs.  Projects with an RB/RC less than 3 will be phased out.  In response to the question of how the UMR navigation improvements would fare under these budgeting criteria, Ruff noted that the Navigation Study showed B/C ratios of less than 2. 

 

Gary Loss noted that the Corps’ FY 06 budget includes $80 million to pay termination costs for ongoing contracts.  This is a new approach, in contrast to the Corps’ typical reluctance to terminate ongoing projects.  None of the $80 million is, however, for projects in MVD.

 

Linda Leake noted that the FY 06 budget requests no funding for NESP, despite the fact that Congress provided PED funding for NESP in FY 05.  Ruff explained that this is the result of the emphasis in FY 06 on reducing the construction backlog and not including any “new phase” starts.  Ruff also explained that the FY 05 NESP work is structured to permit a logical closeout if there is no funding in FY 06.  He commented that there is, of course, capability, if Congress chooses to provide funding for NESP in FY 06.

 

UMRBA Testimony on FY 06 Appropriations

 

Gary Clark thanked all the federal agency representatives for their presentations and background information on the President’s FY 06 budget proposal.

 

Holly Stoerker noted that the timeframe for developing and submitting testimony is particularly tight this year.  Appropriations for EPA and Interior agencies (e.g., Fish and Wildlife and USGS) have been combined under the jurisdiction of a single subcommittee.  That subcommittee and the Energy and Water Subcommittee, with jurisdiction over the Corps budget, have both set March 18 as the deadline for testimony from outside witnesses.  Stoerker therefore suggested the following schedule for development of UMRBA testimony on these four agencies:

March 9    UMRBA staff will transmit draft testimony to UMRBA representatives and alternates for review

March 15   Deadline for comments on draft testimony

March 16   Revise testimony as necessary and recirculate

March 17   Final approval by UMRBA

March 18   Submit testimony

 

EMP and NESP Authorization and Appropriations

 

Holly Stoerker outlined the issues related to appropriations and authorization of the two UMR ecosystem programs, EMP and NESP.  In particular, the two programs are viewed by some as duplicative.  With regard to appropriations, the Administration has proposed full funding for EMP in FY 06, but has not budgeted for NESP, which is not yet authorized.  In addition, this year there will likely be a major effort to pass a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), including NESP authorization.  WRDA would also be the vehicle for amending the EMP to allow NGOs to be non-Federal sponsors, as recommended in the EMP Report to Congress.

 

Stoerker commented that UMRBA’s message regarding appropriations should be that both the EMP and NESP are important and worthy of funding.  She expressed concern that Congress not make the trade-off it did in FY 05, by reducing EMP funding in order to fund NESP.  Gretchen Benjamin said it’s important for Congress to understand that EMP is up and running, with projects in progress.  It also funds long term monitoring, which is not included in NESP.  Both programs are important and are not duplicative.

 

Mike Wells asked if PED funding for NESP could be made available under General Investigations, in the absence of a construction authorization.  Greg Ruff explained that the Corps can move from the study phase to the PED phase without authority, as long as appropriations are provided.  This is what happened in FY 05.  Ruff also explained that when there is a Congressional add, as in FY 05 when Congress added funding for NESP, the Corps goes through a process with the Assistant Secretary’s office to ensure that PED work is consistent with Administration policy.  He also noted that the original Navigation Study was not specifically authorized either.  Instead, it was undertaken under the authority of Section 216, allowing for review of completed projects if conditions have changed significantly.

 

Holly Stoerker summarized the discussion by saying that UMRBA’s appropriations testimony will emphasize the need for both NESP and EMP, the lack of duplication, and the unique role of LTRMP.  In addition, she indicated that UMRBA staff will work directly with the Corps to identify specific NESP spending capabilities and needs, so that those figures can be included in the testimony.

 

With regard to WRDA, Stoerker said that Senator Bond is reportedly close to reintroducing last year’s Senate Committee bill, which did not make it to the Senate floor prior to close of the session.  The Senate bill did, however, include authorization of NESP.  On the House side, the Water Resources Subcommittee has asked members to submit their WRDA 05 project requests by March 2.  Last year, the House passed its version of WRDA, but it did not include NESP.

 

Stoerker expressed some concern that promoting authorization of NESP in WRDA 05 and also promoting an amendment to the EMP regarding NGOs as non-Federal sponsors may contribute to the confusion about the relationship between the two programs.  She noted that The Nature Conservancy has indicated it would like to pursue the EMP amendment in WRDA.  Dan McGuiness said Audubon also supports the EMP amendment, but would not be inclined to press for it, if it was clearly a “dangerous” course of action.  He also explained that NGOs can currently be EMP funding partners if they work directly through a State as non-Federal sponsor. 

 

Linda Leake cautioned against opening up EMP to amendment if it’s not a high priority issue.  She suggested that the EMP amendment not be raised by UMRBA, but left for others to advocate.

 

Gary Clark summarized the discussion by saying that UMRBA supports the EMP amendment regarding NGOs, but will not actively pursue the amendment in WRDA 05.

 

Institutional Arrangements

 

Chuck Spitzack provided an overview of the institutional arrangements proposal developed by a volunteer group that the Corps assembled to address integrated river management.  The initial focus of the proposed partnership structure would be on Fish and Wildlife Service programs (fisheries, ecological services, and refuges) and on Corps authorities (NESP, EMP, 9-foot channel, and Illinois River ecosystem restoration).

 

Spitzack described the roles, responsibilities, and proposed membership of the Federal Principals Group, Regional Principals Group, River Management Council (RMC), River Management Teams (RMT), and Science Panel.  He explained that the proposal calls for the Regional Principals Group to meet jointly with UMRBA and address policy issues.  In contrast, the RMC would focus on system wide program execution at the operational level.

 

Rebecca Wooden asked how the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) would affect the proposed institutional arrangements.  Spitzack said that FACA has been discussed with Corps counsel and it appears that these arrangements would be outside of FACA.  At the RMT level, FACA would not apply because NGOs are not proposed to be members of those teams.  Although NGOS will be members of the RMC, that would not trigger FACA because the RMC is “sharing information” and not “giving advice.”

 

Wooden also asked about lines of authority and reporting under the institutional arrangements proposal.  Spitzack explained that the lines on the organizational chart are lines of communication and not lines of authority.  Formal decisions are still made within agencies.  The RMC provides reports and its conclusions to the member agencies.  Its recommendations are not binding.

 

Gretchen Benjamin commented that UMRBA should have a strong presence in the RMC.  Although UMRBA would not be a member of RMC, it should help coordinate the States’ input and facilitate RMC activities, similar to its current role with the EMP Coordinating Committee.  Benjamin also noted that the RMC seems to have a heavy federal focus and that UMRBA involvement would help insure that the States’ voice is not lost.

 

Gary Clark asked Spitzack about the schedule for review and consideration of the institutional arrangements proposal and asked if UMRBA should submit comments.  Spitzack explained that the current schedule calls for a stakeholders meeting in May.  Between now and then, the proposal will be vetted with individual groups.  In June, the formal process of asking for State and federal agency review and concurrence will begin.  The target for beginning the implementation process is September 2005. 

 

Spitzack said a comprehensive document describing the proposal is still being prepared and should be ready for distribution soon.  It was agreed that once the proposal is available, UMRBA staff will draft comments for review and consideration by UMRBA representatives at the May 2005 quarterly meeting.  Spitzack said the stakeholders meeting would then be convened after the UMRBA and EMP-CC May quarterly meetings.

 

Holly Stoerker reported that the UMRBA members discussed the institutional arrangements proposal at yesterday’s UMRBA strategic planning meeting.  Their preliminary comments and concerns include the following:

§      There should be a way of coordinating State input to the RMC.

§      Consideration should be given to having UMRBA provide staff support to the RMC, similar to the role it plays for EMP-CC.

§      The structure should be efficient, recognizing the limited capacity agencies may have to participate.  Redundancy should be avoided. 

 

Gary Clark reiterated the importance of efficiency, noting that Todd Ambs has expressed concerns about similar redundancy issues on the Great Lakes.  Clark also suggested that the existing quarterly meeting cycle could work well in the future, with the new RMC meeting in conjunction with the UMRBA. 

 

Rebecca Wooden expressed concern with having flood control and recreation issues added to the responsibilities of the RMC.  Such a broad array of issue areas will make it difficult for agencies to decide who should participate.  She also asked what level of representation was envisioned for RMC members.  Would it be policy or technical representatives from agencies? 

 

Holly Stoerker noted that the focus of the institutional arrangements appears to be primarily on ecosystem restoration, even though navigation capacity issues are also clearly part of NESP.  This is particularly evident in the description of the Science Panel responsibilities.  Gretchen Benjamin agreed, observing that it will be difficult to engage State transportation and economic development agencies if the work of the RMC does not focus on navigation, as well as ecosystem concerns.  She also noted that States will have no way to monitor the work of IWR and NETS, if these activities are not covered by the RMC.

 

UMRBA Strategic Planning

 

Holly Stoerker summarized the issues discussed by UMRBA representatives and alternates at their February 22 strategic planning session.  With regard to water quality, Stoerker reported that discussions are still ongoing among the State water quality administrators regarding UMR coordination needs and opportunities.  It was agreed that UMRBA staff would continue to work with that group to help identify needs and ways in which UMRBA could be supportive. 

 

Stoerker also reported that UMRBA representatives agreed to devote staff effort to the following short term issues:  1) State input into the emergency action plans developed as part of the Comprehensive Plan and 2) follow-up with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the EMP Report to Congress recommendation regarding O&M of habitat projects on refuges.  Stoerker noted that advocacy efforts with the Fish and Wildlife Service may also be expanded to include a broader set of issues. 

 

Stoerker explained that other issue areas for potential future UMRBA involvement include State water planning, a national big rivers initiative, regional climate change impacts, and science planning and priorities for the UMR.  These issues will be discussed further at UMRBA’s May 2005 strategic planning session.

 

Election of Officers

 

Mike Wells moved and Mike McGhee seconded a motion to elect Todd Ambs Chair of the UMRBA.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Gretchen Benjamin moved and Mike Wells seconded a motion to elect Mark Holsten UMRBA Vice Chair.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Future Meeting Schedule

 

Holly Stoerker described the future meeting dates, which include the following:

 

May 2005 (Twin Cities)

May 24:             No GLC meeting

                      Possible meeting of UMRBA Water Quality Task Force

                      UMRBA Strategic Planning session

May 25:             UMRBA Quarterly meeting

May 26:             EMP Coordinating Committee

 

August 2005 (Davenport)

August 16:          UMRBA Quarterly meeting

August 17:          EMP Coordinating Committee

August 17-19:      EMP Habitat Project Workshop

 

November 2005 (Twin Cities)

November 15-17:  Meeting schedule to be determined

 

Holly Stoerker thanked Gary Clark for his year of leadership as UMRBA Chair.

 

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:00 pm.