Minutes of the

70th Quarterly Meeting

of the

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association


May 19, 1999

Bloomington, MN



The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. by Chair Kevin Szcodronski.  The following State Representatives and Federal Liaison Representatives were present:


Gary Clark

Illinois Alternate (IL DNR)

Kevin Szcodronski

Iowa Representative (IA DNR)

Jim Hall

Iowa Representative (IA DOT)

Harold Hommes

Iowa Representative (IA DALS)

Steve Johnson

Minnesota Alternate (MN DNR)

Jerry Vineyard

Missouri Alternate (MO DNR)

Terry Moe

Wisconsin Alternate (WI DNR)

Michael Lester

Wisconsin Alternate (WI DATCP)

Ellen Fisher

Wisconsin Alternate (WI DOT)


Dusty Rhodes

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVD)

John Blankenship

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

Bill Franz

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 5)

Leslie Holland-Bartels

U.S. Geological Survey (BRD)

Dave Carvey

U.S. Department of Agriculture (NRCS)


Others in attendance:


Janelle Collier

Minnesota DOT

Steve Morse

Minnesota DNR

Tom Pullen

Corps of Engineers (MVD)

Don Powell

Corps of Engineers (St. Paul)

Dudley Hanson

Corps of Engineers (Rock Island)

John Barko

Corps of Engineers (WES)

Aukje Massoldt

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 5)

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/UMRCC

Dan Larson

River Resource Alliance

Mike Harley

Minnesota Environmental Initiative

Chris Brescia

MARC 2000

Richard Moore

Izaak Walton League

Tom Adams

National Audubon Society

Dan McGuiness

National Audubon Society

Jim Harrison

Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission

Barry Drazkowski

Resource Studies Center

Rory Vose

Resource Studies Center

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

Holly Stoerker

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association


Meeting Minutes


Jerry Vineyard noted that, on page 2 of the February meeting minutes, the spelling of FEMA Director James Lee Witt’s name should be corrected.  Terry Moe moved and Steve Johnson seconded approval of the minutes of the February 17, 1999 meeting as corrected.  The motion passed by consensus.


Terry Moe requested updates on a number of items described in the February 1999 meeting minutes.  With regard to Devil’s Lake, Dusty Rhodes explained that the St. Paul District had submitted its report to the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), where it is now under review.  General Anderson plans to meet next week with the Governor of North Dakota and members of the North Dakota Congressional delegation to discuss their concerns regarding the report.  In addition, a team of Corps District and Division personnel is reviewing the engineering concepts in the report.  According to Rhodes, MVD is expected to release its position on the Devil’s Lake project by early June.


With regard to the issues of Section 106 funding and UMRBA legal status, Holly Stoerker explained that both of those two lines of inquiry have been put on hold as a result of her reduced work schedule.


Executive Director’s Report


Holly Stoerker reported that, following the federal budget presentations at the February UMRBA meeting, UMRBA staff prepared testimony for submittal to Congressional Appropriations subcommittees.  UMRBA testimony was developed for six agencies including the Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey (both BRD and WRD), Maritime Administration, Coast Guard, and NRCS.  She noted that, next year, testimony will also be prepared on the EPA budget.  Terry Moe commended the staff efforts and commented that the process of developing the UMRBA testimony was also helpful to the individual states.  John Blankenship noted that the UMRBA testimony served to generate helpful Congressional inquiries regarding the Fish and Wildlife Service’s capability.


Stoerker reported that the NACEPT Reinvention Committee that she chairs met on March 15-16 to discuss incentives that EPA uses with states. She noted that the role of interstate agencies and organizations was also addressed.  The Committee’s final meeting is scheduled for June 28-29, at which time the draft Committee’s final report will be developed.  Stoerker will distribute copies to UMRBA representatives for review.


Stoerker noted that a partnering agreement between the UMRBA and NRCS is expected to be finalized soon.


With regard to administrative issues, Stoerker reported that the UMRBA office will be temporarily relocated within the Hamm Building beginning in mid-June.  The UMRBA’s permanent space is undergoing major renovation as part of the new office lease.  In addition, Stoerker announced that she will be taking time off from work during the next few months to provide care to her mother who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She noted that her absence might require a few of the UMRBA’s new initiatives to be placed on hold.  Stoerker praised the talents of the UMRBA staff and thanked the UMRBA members for their support.


Terry Moe inquired about recent concerns that have arisen regarding the use of heritage data in the OPA project.  Barb Naramore expressed optimism that the problems obtaining data from Wisconsin would be worked out, explaining that the concerns were related to how the data will be represented.  Moe offered to assist in resolving the issue in Wisconsin, if necessary.


Moe also asked for an update on AEA parameterization.  Stoerker and Naramore indicated they had no new information.


Minneapolis Riverfront Plan


Judd Rietkerk of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board described the UMR Master Plan being developed by his agency for the Mississippi riverfront area north of Plymouth Avenue.  The goals of the plan are to a) continue and extend recreational parkways and trails, b) enhance public access, c) enhance neighborhood’s access, d) establish river-enhancing businesses and uses, e) restore river banks, and f) reduce sources of pollution.  Funding for the plan is being provided by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR), the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, and the Minneapolis Park Board. 


Rietkerk emphasized the extensive outreach effort, noting that, in addition to utilizing a national advisory team, the Park Board has sponsored 5 neighborhood open houses, 32 kitchen table meetings, 4 open houses with political leaders, and 4 specialized meetings with affected parties.  In addition there is a newsletter, telephone comment line, and web site. 


In describing the history of the riverfront planning area, Rietkerk noted that, originally, the upper river reach served the timber industry.  As that declined, the riverfront filled in with miscellaneous other industry.  In 1937, Congress authorized extension of the navigation channel and in 1963 the work was completed when the upper terminal was opened.  Originally 6 million tons of commodities were expected.  However, no new industry developed in the area and the river’s navigation use has been largely confined to a city sand and gravel operation and coal for Northern States Power Company (NSP).


The City of Minneapolis subsidizes approximately $750,000 of the $1 million annual operating cost of the upper river harbor. Maximum tonnage is 3 million tons, with a typical range of 1-1.8 million tons.  According to Rietkerk, the Corps of Engineers has indicated it will require at least 1 million tons annually to justify the $3 million annual lock operating costs.


Rietkerk said that three alternative plans were considered, with one of the two “River Green” plans being the preferred alternative.  In part, the decision was based on the expectation that the threshold of one million tons will not be met in the future because the City will likely close its upper terminal within the next ten years.  Other considerations in choosing the plan were the potential benefits of residential development and the potential for light industry to create more jobs and tax revenue.  The selected plan includes extending the parkway and green space; building 2,400 housing units; and creating 1,000 new light industrial jobs.  The plan will require $200-300 million in public investment and $500 million in private funding.  Rietkerk closed his presentation by noting that the plan will be implemented gradually over the next 30 years.


Dusty Rhodes asked if the City is planning to maintain the pool or if it intends to revert to open flow or run of the river.  Rietkerk explained that Northern States Power (NSP) maintains the dam and is expected to continue to do so.  He clarified that the City is not promoting closure of the Upper St. Anthony Lock, but rather is assuming that the Corps may do so based on its economic analysis.


Steve Johnson explained that St. Anthony Falls is the only natural falls on the river and will obviously remain.  However, three locks would be potentially affected by the redevelopment plan.  If no traffic moves above the Upper St. Anthony Lock, then there would be no need for the Lower St. Anthony Lock or Lock and Dam 1 because the only commercial traffic those two locks carry ultimately goes through the Upper St. Anthony Lock.  Johnson also noted that when the Upper and Lower St. Anthony Locks were originally planned, the City of Minneapolis believed that it would attract grain terminals that ultimately located on the Minnesota River instead.


Chris Brescia asked what the city intends to do with the existing river-dependent industries along its riverfront.  Rietkerk noted that not all riverfront industries are river-dependent, but those that are will need to be relocated as part of the implementation plan.  He explained that the City is not trying to force industry out, but is also not likely to continue to subsidize industry’s river use.  Jim Harrison noted that the Sheily Company used to be located downtown, but was moved to the Upper St. Anthony area by the Park Board as part of a conscious effort to expand navigation.  Rietkerk confirmed that the City has tried in the past to enhance commercial navigation, but said the City no longer believes that strategy will work.


Dan Larson urged consideration of regional transportation impacts, noting that the elimination of navigation will cause increased truck and rail traffic, both of which will have negative impacts on local neighborhoods.  He also commented that the City’s building moratorium on businesses in the Upper Harbor is not consistent with the desire to attract business to the city.


Dan McGuiness reported that the National Audubon Society had consulted with many of the interest groups involved in the riverfront plan and believes that the three primary issues are: the economic viability and environmental impacts associated with industrial relocations; the importance of the recreational use of the locks; and the potential for restoration of natural river processes in the event that commercial navigation use is not going to be maintained.


EMP Update


LTRMP Restructuring


Barb Naramore described the recent efforts to restructure the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP) in response to projected budget shortfalls ranging from $1.05 million in FY 2000 to $1.259 million in FY 2002.  The projections are based upon assumptions of full funding, 3 percent inflation, and 15 percent savings and slippage.  Naramore indicated that the EMP partners are in the process of reviewing alternatives and developing recommendations to the Corps regarding how the LTRMP might be structured to address those shortfalls. 


Naramore explained that the on-going Information Needs Assessment (INA) and data analysis are expected to provide insight into the relative tradeoffs among restructuring alternatives in the long run.  However, those efforts will be of more limited usefulness in evaluating changes that will be necessary in FY 2000.


Naramore then described the three principles which General Anderson has indicated will guide the LTRMP restructuring including:

·     increased emphasis on data analysis relative to monitoring,

·     increased flexibility to deal with budget variability, and

·     application of savings and slippage to the LTRMP consistent with other Corps projects.


According to Naramore, the states have identified a variety of concerns related to LTRMP restructuring including:

·     the balance between decisions made to address the immediate budget situation and those made based upon the review of the program science.  In this regard, the concern is that there may not yet be sufficient information to do the latter.

·     how to reconcile flexibility with maintaining the integrity of long term monitoring.

·     addressing General Anderson’s principles while still preserving the LTRMP infrastructure in anticipation of reauthorization and the potential for increased appropriations.


Naramore reported that, at tomorrow’s meeting, the EMP Coordinating Committee (EMP-CC) will discuss restructuring alternatives, including the A-Team’s proposed “share the pain” approach.  This proposal would involve changes in the monitoring structure and staff, with personnel cuts at both the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center and the field stations.


Terry Moe urged that UMRBA consider what additional actions may be necessary following tomorrow’s EMP-CC meeting, if the LTRMP restructuring issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the states.  Jim Harrison said that the Boundary Area Commission’s Mississippi River Regional Committee believes that it may be possible and necessary to seek additional FY 2000 appropriations if the 1999 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is passed, thus increasing the EMP funding caps.


Dusty Rhodes indicated that the range of alternatives for LTRMP restructuring will be reviewed at tomorrow’s EMP-CC meeting, but that the Corps’ preferred plan will be offered as well.  Soon after the EMP-CC meeting, the Rock Island District will forward its recommendation to General Anderson.  Rhodes thus urged the states to offer any additional input they may have as soon as possible after the EMP-CC meeting so that it can be considered prior to finalizing the District’s transmittal.



Legislative Developments


Holly Stoerker referred to three items in the agenda package including the UMRBA comments on reconciling the House and Senate versions of the EMP reauthorization language and annotated versions of the original 1986 EMP authorization showing the amendments that would be made by the current House and Senate bills.  She noted that, while both the House and Senate have passed their respective versions of 1999 WRDA, conferees have not yet been appointed. 


Stoerker explained that the UMRBA comments on the EMP WRDA provisions express a preference for the House version.  In particular, the comments address four specific issues:

·     Program duration — The House bill’s continuing authority is preferred over the Senate’s eleven year authorization.

·     Cost-sharing — Maintaining the nonfederal cost share at 25 percent, as the House does, is preferable to the Senate’s increase to 35 percent.

·     Technical Advisory Committee — Since both bills include provisions for a Technical Advisory Committee and the UMRBA did not originally support establishment of such a group, the UMRBA’s comments simply clarify the States’ expectations regarding the role of the Committee if it is created.

·     Project Requirements and Criteria — The House bill, which does not set forth requirements, is preferred. 


Stoerker also indicated that the UMR Congressional Task Force is reportedly working to develop a joint letter to the WRDA conferees that will express a preference for the House version.  Dan McGuiness reported that the National Audubon Society also supports the House version.


Water Resource Development Act Update


Barb Naramore described a variety of provisions in the 1999 WRDA, other than EMP reauthorization, noting that UMRBA has not offered comments on these provisions, with the exception of the Missouri and Middle Mississippi Rivers Enhancement Project:


Navigation Modernization — The Senate bill authorizes preconstruction engineering and design of 5 locks on the UMR and 2 locks on the Illinois River.  No similar provision is in the House bill.  In response to a question regarding how this provision differs from what is already being done in the Navigation Study, Dusty Rhodes explained that the Corps typically completes the feasibility study, which may include some engineering work, before initiating plans and specifications.  The Senate provision would speed that process by putting both efforts on a parallel track, thus allowing the engineering and design to proceed about one year earlier than normal.


Comprehensive Plan — Authority is included in both the House and Senate bills for the Corps to prepare a comprehensive plan for the UMR.  The plan is to address flood control, floodplain management, navigation project maintenance, bank erosion, nutrients and sediments, habitat, and recreation.  The House bill specifies that the plan be done at full federal expense.  Dusty Rhodes explained that, in the absence of such a directive, it would be assumed that the reconnaissance study would be 100 percent federally funded and the feasibility study would by cost-shared 50-50.  Gary Clark expressed disappointment that the legislative language developed by a committee of partner agencies and interest groups to describe the planning effort was not ultimately incorporated into the bill.  Chris Brescia explained that flood control interests, who were the original proponents of the plan, preferred their own language.


Missouri and Middle Mississippi Rivers Enhancement Project — The Senate bill would authorize development of a plan to protect and enhance habitat on the two rivers.  Projects identified in the plan would require 35 percent nonfederal cost share, with operation and maintenance as a nonfederal responsibility. The House bill does not contain a parallel provision, but does include a study of similar project opportunities on the Missouri River only.  Implementation of those projects would then be considered for implementation under the Corps’ Section 206 authority.  Naramore explained that the UMRBA comments on WRDA endorse the Senate provisions conceptually, but recommend that the plan be completed at federal expense and that in-kind contributions be recognized in satisfying the 35 percent nonfederal cost share for project construction.


Steve Johnson asked if the 180 days for completion of the plan and 2 years for implementation would be adequate.  Gary Clark commented that if the nonfederal sponsors want the projects implemented they will need to get the program reauthorized after its initial two years.  Dusty Rhodes said that the Corps has not been following this proposal closely, but that two years would seem difficult from MVD’s perspective.  He noted, however, that the Corps’ Northwest Division may have potential projects already identified on the Missouri River.  Chris Brescia indicated that the Kansas City and Omaha Districts do indeed have projects on the shelf.  In addition, Brescia noted that the original proposal for this program called for five years and $50 million.  He expressed surprise that the Senate reduced the scope.


Terry Moe expressed concern that the proposed Missouri and Middle Mississippi River Enhancement Program overlaps, in part, with the EMP and may therefore generate both confusion and competition for funds.  Moe also asked if there is a habitat needs assessment (HNA) for the Missouri River similar to the one underway for the Mississippi River as part of the EMP.  Kevin Szcodronski replied that an HNA for the Missouri River is being done as part of the Missouri River mitigation work.  He also commented that the states will likely not find the new enhancement program as attractive as the Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation, which is already being undertaken at full federal expense.


Challenge 21 — This provision would authorize a new Corps program for projects that combine flood damage reduction and riverine ecosystem restoration.  While the House and Senate versions are more modest than what the Administration had originally proposed, both would emphasize nonstructural approaches.  The House bill would require a lower nonfederal cost share for nonstructural projects.  Naramore noted that both the House and Senate bills identify specific priority projects for implementation under the new program.  There is little overlap between the two project lists.  Projects within the 5-state region include Le May, Missouri (Senate version) and Lincoln Creek, Wisconsin (House version).  The House bill makes future appropriations for the Challenge 21 program contingent on prior year expenditures in the priority areas identified in the legislation.


Holly Stoerker asked what new authority is provided by Challenge 21, given that the type of work involved in most of the projects appears to be possible under other existing authorities.  Dusty Rhodes explained that Challenge 21 would be a continuing program authority that would not require Congressional authorization of individual projects.  He commented that it would be difficult to combine existing continuing authorities to accomplish the same sort of projects as those envisioned in Challenge 21.  In addition, the project cost limits under other continuing authorities can also be a barrier to implementing these types of projects.


Flow Frequency Study


Dudley Hansen distributed copies of the overheads he used in his presentation to describe the history, purpose, and status of the Flow Frequency Study.  According to Hansen, following the Great Flood of 1993, the accuracy of existing flood profiles was questioned and the Galloway Report recommended that flow frequency analysis methods be reassessed. Flow frequencies on the UMR were last updated in 1979.  Since that time, new scientific tools and an additional 20 years of data record have become available.


The Flow Frequency Study area includes the Mississippi River between St. Paul and the Ohio River, the Illinois River, and the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam.  The purpose of the study is to update discharge-frequency relationships and update predicted flood profiles.  To help guide the study, the Corps established a Task Force that includes representatives from 7 federal agencies and 7 states.  The Corps has 2 Divisions, 5 Districts, and 2 Laboratories involved in the study.  In addition, a Technical Advisory Group comprised of national and international hydrology experts will be recommending a methodology for determining flow frequency on large rivers.


Hansen reviewed the study tasks and budgets for FY 1998 through FY 2001, noting that the budget allocations identified in the meeting background package are not entirely correct.  In FY 1999, an additional $269,000 will be added, bringing the funding for this year to $1.75 million.  The budget request for FY 2000 is $2.1 million, leaving $480,000 as the balance to complete in FY 2001.


Hansen described the challenge of taking individual watersheds and combining them into a larger hydrology model and then modeling the system hydraulics, including the effects of human structures such as levees, locks and dams, and reservoirs.  However, the UNET Unsteady Flow Model is superior to past models because of its ability to model impacts of floodplain storage and timing of tributary flows.  In addition, the model is based on improved topographic data and reflects current hydraulic conditions.  The result will be updated profiles for 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year flood events and digitized aerial mapping of the floodplains.


Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) may require updating as a result of the new flood profiles.  But Hansen emphasized that task would be the responsibility of FEMA and the states.  Toward that end, a Sub-Task Force for FIRM Updates is being created and is scheduled to have its first meeting on June 4.


Dave Carvey asked if the model could be used to address sediment and nutrient transport in individual watersheds and the larger basin.  Gary Clark indicated that the scale of the model is not small enough for that purpose.  John Barko noted that the UNET model was considered for use in evaluating sediment transport in the Navigation Study.  While it handles flood and water flows well, it is not suited to sediment transport analysis. 


Terry Moe noted that Wisconsin is quite interested in getting updated FIRMs and asked if the proposed FIRM Sub-Task Force will be a means of accomplishing that.  Barb Naramore clarified that, although the states did not reject the idea of creating a FIRM Sub-Task Force, FEMA was the proponent of the approach, which was first raised at the April 29 Task Force meeting.  Naramore said she was unaware that a meeting of the proposed Sub-Task Force had been scheduled for June 4.


Dusty Rhodes questioned how many FIRMS would require updates, noting that significant long-term changes in flood profiles would need to be verified before the maps are changed.  Gary Clark commented that changing FIRMs would be very difficult and expensive and could have significant implications if areas behind existing levees change.


Barb Naramore reported that she had attended the April 28-29 meeting of the Flow Frequency Task Force, at which time she had the opportunity to discuss the need for enhanced interstate coordination with the state representatives to that Task Force.  The states expressed interest in having the UMRBA facilitate interstate coordination on issues related to the Flow Frequency Study including some, but perhaps not all, of the following:

·     technical issues related to study methodology;

·     policy questions related to the application of study results to levee certification, floodway delineation, etc;

·     public involvement; and

·     funding for development of new FIRMs based on the study results.


Terry Moe indicated that Wisconsin is quite interested in having the UMRBA assist in coordinating interstate and joint state efforts related to the Flow Frequency Study.  He suggested that the UMRBA may want to consider reactivating its Floodplain Management Task Force.


Jerry Vineyard commented that funding the cost of nationwide map modernization is a large challenge.  Although FEMA has proposed fees on flood insurance policies to fund such an effort, the agency does not yet have authority to redo the FIRMs.  Naramore noted that another proposal for raising the funds is to include a fee on mortgages.  However, the banking community opposes such a plan if applied to mortgages on properties that are not in floodplains.  Hansen noted that FEMA has estimated the cost of nationwide remapping to be $800 million.


Dusty Rhodes indicated that the Corps would not likely be receptive to continuing or expanding the Flow Frequency study efforts under the Corps’ GI budget to address FIRM update needs.  He said that the Task Force will be terminated at the conclusion of the Flow Frequency Study.  Jerry Vineyard acknowledged that the FIRM updates will be a separate issue and one which the UMRBA should monitor.


Barb Naramore suggested that UMRBA staff schedule time for the state members of the FIRM Update Sub-Task Force to meet informally in conjunction with the next meeting of that group.  In addition, UMRBA representatives agreed to contact their state’s representatives to the Task Force and Sub-Task Force to discuss the UMRBA’s potential role in coordinating state input and activities.


Water Quality Issues


UMRBA Water Quality Task Force


Barb Naramore reported on the results of the first meeting of the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force.  The meeting took place in Moline on April 8, 1999.  The state representatives in attendance identified the following three top priorities for the Task Force:

·     Nutrients/Gulf Hypoxia — The Task Force is recommending that the states develop joint comments on the six Gulf Hypoxia technical reports, with the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force members and the state representatives to the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force working closely together.

·     303(d) Listings and TMDLs — The Task Force would like to develop coordinated 5-state comments on EPA’s guidance regarding TMDLs for interstate waters.  The draft guidance is expected to be released for comment later this summer.  In addition, the states will be using the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force to enhance interstate coordination on 303(d) lists.

·     UMR Water Quality Assessment — The Task Force has asked UMRBA staff to prepare comments to EPA regarding the proposed UMR Water Quality Assessment.  In particular, the states believe that the assessment should not be a 305(b) report, should make use of existing data, and should be targeted to a non-technical audience that includes the Governors and general public.  In addition, the Task Force is urging that a formal report outline be developed.


With regard to other issues on the agenda at the April 8 meeting, Naramore reported that the Task Force members concluded:

·     State water quality staff should be involved in the proposed biocriteria pilot being proposed by EPA.

·     UMRBA staff should provide state source water protection program staff with data from the UMRBA spill database compiled under the OPA cooperative agreement with EPA.

·     The concept of having Section 106 interstate funding provided to the UMRBA should be explored further.

·     The recent Unified Watershed Assessment process which EPA required was not particularly useful or productive.




Gulf Hypoxia Science Assessments


Holly Stoerker invited UMRBA representatives to provide guidance on how staff should proceed with regard to the recommendation that the states prepare a joint letter of comment on the six Gulf Hypoxia scientific assessments recently released for public review and comment.  She noted that, in response to a UMRBA request made in early March, the comment period for those assessments was extended to approximately 90 days.  The Federal Register deadline for comments is August 2, 1999.


Kevin Szcodronski questioned whether even 90 days would provide adequate time for developing joint comments, given that individual state comments will not likely be completed much in advance of that deadline.  Barb Naramore suggested that UMRBA staff could seek input from individual states as the states work to prepare their own comments.  Staff would then develop the draft joint comments on a parallel track with the individual state efforts.  Holly Stoerker proposed the following specific schedule for development of coordinated comments:

      June 30 - July 1 — UMRBA staff consult with state members of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force (Hypoxia TF) during their meeting in Memphis

      July 7 — Conference call including state members of Hypoxia TF and UMRBA Water Quality TF

      July 16 — UMRBA distributes draft joint comments for review

      July 23 — Deadline for States’ comments on UMRBA staff draft

      July 30 — Revise comments and submit for August 2 deadline


Kevin Szcodronski expressed support for the proposed process and schedule and recommended that UMRBA members also consult with their state’s Hypoxia TF member to insure that they are willing and prepared to participate in the coordinated effort.


UMRBA staff distributed copies of a draft letter to the Administration which Ron Kucera had proposed UMRBA send.  Jerry Vineyard explained that the letter requests that the August 2 comment deadline be adjusted to reflect a true 90-day review period given that some of the technical reports were not available when the Federal Register notice was published.  Stoerker noted that the letter also expresses concern about the remainder of the process, including development of the Congressionally-mandated plan.  She said that the process concerns were probably the most important part of the letter.


Kevin Szcodronski suggested that each UMRBA member consult with their state’s member of the Hypoxia TF and provide comments on the draft letter to UMRBA staff by June 1.


American Heritage Rivers


Barb Naramore reported that Owen Dutt has been named as River Navigator for the Upper Mississippi American Heritage River designation.  Although he had to cancel his presentation at the UMRBA meeting, he had expressed an interest in enhancing the states’ involvement in the American Heritage Rivers program, particularly since many federal programs come through the states.  Specifically, Naramore indicated that Dutt had wanted to discuss the possibility of having a single point-of-contact (POC) assigned by each state.


Steve Johnson indicated that he will likely be the POC in Minnesota, given the fact that he has recently been assigned as the Minnesota state agency contact for a committee composed of all Minnesota communities involved in the American Heritage Rivers initiative.


Kevin Szcodronski said that there is no single POC in Iowa, but that Michelle Wilson will be the Iowa DNR contact.  In addition, Nancy Landis of the Iowa Department of Trade and Economic Development may be involved.


Terry Moe suggested that Dutt write a letter to Chris Spooner in the Wisconsin Governor’s Office and request appointment of a state POC.  He expressed disappointment that the states had not previously been consulted on American Heritage Rivers activities and suggested that individual local communities determine when and who in the state needs to be involved in the future. 


Gary Clark suggested that, in Illinois, Dutt work through Don Vonnahme and Clark on American Heritage River issues until further notice.  He also suggested that Dutt be invited to address the UMRBA at its next meeting in August.


Administrative Issues


Bylaws Amendment


Kevin Szcodronski explained that the proposed bylaws amendment contained in the agenda packet provides that minutes be prepared for UMRBA meetings that are held by conference call.  Steve Johnson moved and Terry Moe seconded a motion to adopt the bylaws amendment as drafted by UMRBA staff.  With no objection, the motion passed unanimously.


FY 2000 Budget


Holly Stoerker explained that the draft FY 2000 UMRBA budget developed by staff reflects a number of category changes to accommodate the UMRBA’s new accounting software.  She noted that the FY 2000 budgets for both Travel and Legal/Financial have been reduced from FY 1999 levels and that the revenue projections reflect assumptions regarding which states will be prepared to contribute the increased dues assessment.


Kevin Szcodronski reported that Iowa is trying to incorporate a $12,000 UMRBA dues line item in each of four state agency budgets by FY 2001.  Terry Moe reported that the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin state legislature recently rejected the Governor’s request for a $13,000 increase for UMRBA dues.  Both DNR and the Governor are attempting to get the funds restored.  Steve Johnson indicated that Minnesota would not be requesting travel reimbursement in FY 2000 in light of the fact that the state will not be paying the dues increase.  He also noted that the Governor’s budget is flat for the biennium and therefore, Minnesota will not be paying the dues increase in FY 2001 either.


Jerry Vineyard moved and Terry Moe seconded a motion to approve the FY 2000 budget as prepared by staff.  With no objections, the motion passed unanimously.


Future Meeting Schedule


Holly Stoerker announced that the UMRBA summer quarterly meeting will take place in Rock Island, Illinois on August 18, 1999, preceded by a two-day GLC meeting and followed by an EMP-CC meeting.  The fall meeting series will be held in St. Louis on November 16-18.  It was agreed that the winter meetings would be tentatively scheduled for February 15-17, 2000.


With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.