Minutes of the

95th Quarterly Meeting

of the

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

August 16, 2005

Davenport, Iowa

 

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:10 a.m. by UMRBA Chair Todd Ambs.  The following were present:

 

UMRBA Representatives and Alternates:

 

Gary Clark

Illinois (DNR)

Mike McGhee

Iowa (DNR)

John Hey

Iowa (DOT)

Rebecca Wooden

Minnesota (DNR)

Dick Lambert

Minnesota (DOT)

Mike Wells

Missouri (DNR)

Dru Buntin

Missouri (DNR)

Todd Ambs

Wisconsin (DNR)

Gretchen Benjamin

Wisconsin (DNR)

 

Federal Liaisons:

 

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:

 

Scott Stuewe

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

John Pitlo

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Tim Schlagenhaft

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

COL Duane Gapinski

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Rich Worthington

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (HQ)

Susan Smith

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVD)

Rebecca Soileau

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Tom Novak

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Don Powell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Chuck Spitzack

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVP)

Mark Cornish

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Marv Hubbell

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Denny Lundberg

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Scott Whitney

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Jack Carr

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVR)

Rich Manguno

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MVO)

Rick Nelson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (RIFO)

Don Hultman

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

Jon Duyvejonck

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (RIFO)

Tom Boland

MACTEC

Holly Stoerker

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Announcements

Holly Stoerker announced that UMRBA has hired David Hokanson to fill the new position of UMRBA Water Quality Program Director.  David has worked for six years for the Minnesota Department of Health in its Source Water Protection and Water Supply Units.  He has Masters degrees in Environmental Science and Public Affairs and past work experience at both EPA Region 5 and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

 

Todd Ambs thanked Gretchen Benjamin for helping with interviews of potential candidates for the position of Water Quality Program Director.

 

Todd Ambs thanked Gary Clark for chairing the last UMRBA in his absence.

 

Meeting Minutes

Gary Clark moved and Dru Buntin seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 25, 2005 meeting, as drafted.  The motion was approved unanimously.

 

Executive Director’s Report

Holly Stoerker reported that the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force had a conference call on August 11 to kick off its project on sediment-related water quality criteria.  The focus of the effort will be on both turbidity and sedimentation. 

 

Each state has been asked to confirm its representation on the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force.  Thus far, confirmed appointments have been received from Illinois and Iowa.

 

Stoerker noted that the Executive Director’s report printed in the meeting packet has a typographical error.  The FY 06 proposal to EPA Region 5, extending the OPA cooperative agreement, requested $175,000 in federal funding (NOT $75,000).  In response to a question, Stoerker explained that UMRBA contributes 5 percent of the cost of the OPA work effort.  This cost share is satisfied by a portion of the permanent staff time devoted to the project and does not therefore require a cash contribution.

 

Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP)

 

Congressional Update

Holly Stoerker provided an overview of the status of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and FY 06 appropriations.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved its 2005 WRDA in April, but has yet to bring it to the floor for action.  The House passed its version of WRDA on July 14, 2005, at which time two floor amendments related to the NESP authorization were offered.  The Flake-Blumenauer amendment would have made construction of the locks contingent on traffic levels over the next 3 years.  That amendment was defeated by a vote of 105 to 315.  The second amendment, offered by Representative Ron Kind, made relatively minor changes to the language regarding “comparable progress,” by increasing the role of Congress in determining that comparability.  The Kind amendment was accepted by voice vote.

 

Stoerker also summarized the differences between the House and Senate NESP provisions in WRDA.  She commented that the differences are relatively minor and relate to four issues: the definition of the Plan, the date and frequency of required reports to Congress, the Advisory Panel Chair, and the comparable progress provision.

 

Stoerker also reported that the “Statement of Administration Policy” on the House WRDA bill (H.R. 2864) included a number of specific references to the NESP authorization.  Stoerker commented that the Administration’s support for NESP seems somewhat qualified, noting that the Administration says it would like to work with Congress to “appropriately address the navigation and ecosystem needs of this part of the inland waterway.”  Also of concern is the Administration’s statement that the bill does not require a sufficient non-Federal cost share for the ecosystem restoration component of NESP.

 

Finally, Stoerker noted that, although the Administration did not request FY 06 funding for NESP, the Senate has included $20 million in its Energy and Water Appropriations bill.  The House bill does not include funding for NESP.

 

Program Management Update

Chuck Spitzack provided an overview of the FY 05 and FY 06 NESP work plan, communications efforts, Science Panel, and development of ecosystem goals and objectives.

 

Work plans and funding:  For FY 05, the initial NESP funding allocation was approximately $11.2 million.  The range of expected execution is between $10.2 million and $12 million.  For purposes of planning, it is assumed that FY 06 funding will be $12 million.

 

Spitzack provided information showing individual navigation and ecosystem project allocations for both the initial FY 05 allocation, the adjustments that were made in May 2005, and anticipated spending in FY 06.  Gretchen Benjamin questioned why funding for mooring cells and switchboats is being zeroed out in FY 06.  Spitzack explained that an adjustment will need to be made to change those two items.

 

Spitzack commented that the “no new starts” policy is constraining NESP planning and budgeting.  He also noted that maintaining a balance in navigation and ecosystem funding will be challenging, particularly over the 15-year program planning horizon, when navigation program costs have specific peaks. 

 

Communications:  Consideration is being given to establishing both a Communications Panel and a Communications Network.  The Communications Panel would be a corollary to the Science Panel.  The Communication Network would connect public affairs staff in partner agencies, to facilitate development of more consistent messages in public outreach.

 

Spitzack noted that the States are involved in all levels of the collaborative process, including UMRBA, NECC/ECC, River Teams and workgroups at the river reach level, and project delivery teams (PDTs).  As an example, Spitzack explained the interdisciplinary and interagency PDT for the Pool 5 drawdown project. 

 

Spitzack also provided an overview of the composition of the Science Panel and explained the relationship of the Regional Support Team and the Science Panel.  In particular, the Regional Support Team is composed of Corps personnel who work well with state biologists and are good communicators.  The Science Panel is charged with developing project evaluation and sequencing criteria, monitoring protocols, a “report card” framework; evaluating and refining goals and objectives; and defining projected ecological outcomes in terms of goods and services.  One of the challenges, according to Spitzack, will be how we reach agreement and understanding concerning initiatives that have systemic impact.

 

Todd Ambs asked how the work of the Science Panel will fit with the PDTs.  Spitzack explained that the Science Panel gives technical advice, available to all the PDTs.  However, the Science Panel also works on system-level issues and science questions.

 

Ambs commented that beginning all this new work on ecosystem restoration is exciting, but also rather daunting for the states.  He asked about the states’ ability to be involved.  Spitzack acknowledged that moving ahead with all 26 PDTs has been challenging for the states.  He commented that, as the level of investment increases, the staffing and involvement challenges will also increase.  He said it will be important to develop better communication tools.

 

Navigation Improvements

Rich Manguno explained the Navigation Economic Technologies (NETS) program, noting that NETS is not the same as NESP, but is certainly related.  NETS is a Corps research program led by a team composed of university academics, as well as Corps, IWR, and TVA.  The focus of NETS is on advancing state-of-the-art economic modeling and analysis for both inland waterways and deep draft navigation.  Manguno provided an overview of major NETS modeling activities including forecasting of commodity movements, development of a world grain model, and microscopic systems models, such as evaluation of tradable permits, appointment systems, and congestion pricing.

 

Manguno also described the “revealed choice and stated preference choice models,” which are attempts to develop demand curves for several commodities on several waterways.  The Mid-America Grain Study should be completed by the end of the year.  According to Manguno, this study demonstrates that it is possible, although difficult, to collect the data necessary to estimate shipper response.  The study also confirms the shortcomings of traditional methods of analysis.  Manguno also emphasized that an independent peer review process has been established for NETS research.

 

Finally, Manguno presented a timeline showing the major milestones in the Navigation adaptive implementation process.  He noted that the Evaluation report is scheduled for completion by March 09, although that may be optimistic.

 

Gretchen Benjamin asked if the NETS research would apply to NESP implementation, given that the NESP authorizing legislation does not address anything other than new locks.  Manguno clarified that the feasibility study did not really look at tradable permits, but there is, in fact, a commitment to explore an appointment system in the authorization.

 

In response to a question from Rebecca Wooden regarding past criticisms of the economic analysis, Manguno explained the difficulty of estimating demand elasticity.  The Mid-America Grain study shows that there is responsiveness to price shifts even before the price rises to the next best option.  However, some traffic is very captive to the river even when barge rates exceed the next best price.

 

Institutional Arrangements

Rebecca Soileau provided an overview of the ongoing efforts to address institutional arrangements.  She noted that the Corps intends to transition in late 2005 to new institutional arrangements, following a stakeholder workshop in October.  She cautioned however that the schedule needs to remain flexible.

 

Soileau described the Corps’ current thinking regarding assumptions and constraints.  In particular, she said that, in response to comments suggesting the focus of the institutional arrangements is too broad, the focus will be narrowed to the two primary purposes of navigation efficiency and ecological health.  Other key assumptions include: a) the institutional arrangements will not have veto authority over individual agency management responsibilities and b) NESP authorization is needed before institutional arrangements will be modified.  However, interim measures may be taken.

 

In describing the evolution of the various components of the proposed institutional arrangements, Soileau made the following points about the current plan:

§      The term “River Managers Council” has been changed to “River Council” to emphasize collaboration

§      The diagram includes a slot for an “LTRMP Workgroup” acknowledging concerns that have been expressed about the future of the A-Team.

§      A Communications Panel has been added.

§      A separate River Team has been added for the Illinois River, in response to a suggestion from the State of Illinois.

§      It is possible that a Navigation Science Panel may be added as a companion to the current Science Panel, which focuses exclusively on ecosystem science issues.

§      In response to suggestions from the Midwest Natural Resources Group (MNRG), a Regional Principals Group for States has been added.

 

Soileau also reviewed the roles identified for the UMRBA in the new institutional arrangements:

§      Include Corps and Fish and Wildlife river management issues as agenda items at quarterly UMRBA meetings

§      Serve the roles UMRBA identified in its letter of comment including focus on interstate issues, review of goals and objectives, address issues related to states’ sovereignty and statutory responsibilities.

§      Assist in calling meetings of the States’ Regional Principals Group

 

Soileau said that a Stakeholder Workshop is planned for October 19-21, 2005 in St. Louis.  The focus will be on design of the River Council.  Invitations from the Rock Island District Commander will be sent to agencies and organizations, asking that they select their representatives to the workshop.

 

Rebecca Wooden asked if the River Council is the same as NECC/ECC or different.  Soileau explained that since NESP is not yet authorized, a bridging strategy is necessary before establishing the River Council.  NECC/ECC is thus continuing to function.

 

Wooden noted that the comments UMRBA submitted last June urged that existing institutional arrangements be used rather than forming new groups.  However, the current plan proposes that a new States Regional Principals Group be created.  Wooden asked if the Corps believes UMRBA cannot appropriately fill that role.  Chuck Spitzack explained that the States Regional Principals Group was added because a higher level of State representation is needed.  Todd Ambs observed that the reality of the situation is that, if a letter is addressed to the Governor of Wisconsin regarding Mississippi River institutional arrangements, it would be passed down to the DNR Secretary and then to Ambs, resulting in no different representation than is currently on UMRBA.

 

NESP and EMP Transition Strategy

 

Holly Stoerker provided background on a proposal for UMRBA to initiate a strategic planning process for merging NESP and EMP.  She described both the similarities and differences between the two programs, noting that the programs seem duplicative to many people.  Stoerker expressed the opinion that two programs are not sustainable, given that they compete against each other for funding, as well as compete with other Corps ecosystem restoration programs across the country. 

 

Stoerker explained that the strategic planning proposal outlined in the agenda packet materials is based on a number of assumptions including:

§      Both programs will continue to be implemented as long as Congress funds both and until there is a merger.

§      Program implementation issues will be addressed in existing interagency forums, and not through this planning effort.  This effort will be focused instead on legislative authority and program frameworks.

§      Functions of the long term resource monitoring program (LTRMP) should be preserved.

§      All partners should be involved in this planning.

§      Institutional arrangements will not be addressed in this planning effort.

§      This planning effort will focus only on EMP and NESP, not on other related programs such as Section 1135, Illinois River programs, navigation O&M, etc.

§      Recommendations for merging NESP and EMP should be included in the first NESP Report to Congress, if not sooner.

 

Stoerker suggested that the issues to be addressed include the future of LTRMP, cost sharing, and the comparable progress requirement in NESP.  The approach to exploring these issues will include preparation of a series of issue papers and options by UMRBA staff, with the support and assistance of a Steering Committee.

 

Mike Wells asked if the LTRMP could be implemented under NESP.  Stoerker explained that the assumption at this point is that NESP does not include authority for LTRMP, because LTRMP was originally assumed to continue under EMP.  However, interpretations of NESP legislative language may reopen that question.  Gretchen Benjamin pointed out that the NESP budget and funding recommendations did not include funding for LTRMP.

 

Gretchen Benjamin questioned the assumption that having two programs is not sustainable.  Rich Worthington said that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee staff has frequently questioned why two programs are necessary and how they can both be justified.  Dick Lambert asked what parts of EMP the committees don’t like.  Stoerker explained that it is not a matter of not liking EMP, but rather a matter of redundancy.

 

Tim Schlagenhaft suggested that the planning endeavor look at the relationship between the LTRMP and NESP’s adaptive management approach.  Gretchen Benjamin suggested that the strategic planning address EMP’s continuing authority versus the way in which the NESP authority is structured.

 

Todd Ambs commented that the time frame for developing a merger strategy seems rather ambitious.  Rebecca Wooden asked whether the Corps would help with the planning, if UMRBA decides to take this project on.  Chuck Spitzack indicated that the Corps is willing and able to assist.

 

Todd Ambs commented that the “packaging” of the proposal will be important so that it does not appear that the EMP is being abandoned.  He suggested that the success of the EMP be celebrated and that the proposed merger be framed as building on the EMP and moving river restoration to the next level. 

 

Gary Clark moved and Mike Wells seconded a motion approving the EMP/NESP strategic planning concept outlined by UMRBA staff and authorizing the effort to move forward.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

Gary Clark and Gretchen Benjamin volunteered to assist as members of the Steering Committee to work with UMRBA staff on developing background materials and options.  Mike McGhee also expressed interest in participating.

 

FY 06 Federal Appropriations Update

 

Holly Stoerker provided an overview of the status of FY 06 federal appropriations and distributed a series of tables comparing the Administration’s request with the House and Senate funding allocations in pending appropriations bills.

 

With regard to the Corps of Engineers, Stoerker noted that the funding levels recommended by the House tend to be quite similar to the Administration’s request.  In contrast, the Senate added additional funds for a number of programs, such as NESP, the Comprehensive Plan, the Missouri and Middle Mississippi River Enhancement, Lock and Dam 3, and Lock and Dam 27.  In contrast, the Senate provided less for EMP, funding it at $20 million, rather than $33.5 million as requested by the Administration and included in the House bill.

 

The Interior and EPA appropriations bill is the only appropriations bill that has yet been conferenced.  Stoerker noted that, in the case of funding for the Fish and Wildlife Services’ fisheries program, the conferees actually provided more funding than recommended in either the House or Senate bills.  Within EPA’s budget, the conferees agreed to fund Section 106 grants at $219 million, which is lower than the Administration’s request.  However, the conferees have agreed to $900 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), which is higher than the Administration’s request.

 

Stoerker called attention to the Committee reports accompanying FEMA’s appropriation bill.  The Senate committee explained that it is concerned about FEMA’s unobligated balances in the Pre-Disaster mitigation grant program and is thus providing only $37 million of the $150 million requested for FY 06.  The House Committee provided $200 million for flood map modernization, but expressed concern that the 5-year $1 billion estimate originally given for the mapping program will not be adequate.

 

UMR Comprehensive Plan

 

Teresa Kincaid provided an overview of the work to-date on development of the Comprehensive Plan for flood damage reduction, authorized in the 1999 Water Resources Development Act.  The study was initiated in December 2002 and is anticipated to be completed in FY 2006.  The analysis is largely complete and the Corps must now decide how to report out the results.  The benefit-cost ratios of the flood damage reduction alternatives that were evaluated are all less than one.  Therefore, according to Kincaid, the “accomplishments” of the planning effort include:

§        Hydraulic modeling that the Corps can use on a daily basis

§        Increased understanding of the system

§        Systemic analysis

§        Analysis of emergency action scenarios

§        Enhanced collaboration

§        Analysis of alternatives

 

The alternative plans that were evaluated included different combinations of structural measures (500-year protection for urban areas, varying levels of protection for agricultural areas, and protection for critical infrastructure), nonstructural measures, floodplain management, and ecosystem restoration.  According to Kincaid, the alternative that is strongly preferred by at least one stakeholder group is Plan G, which includes 500-year protection for both urban and agricultural areas with no hydraulic minimization of impacts out of the study area.  Kincaid also observed that, although the alternative involving systemwide protection of bridge approaches was not economically justified, site-specific analysis of the Quincy Bridge indicates that single project has a positive B/C ratio.

 

Kincaid said the draft final report for the Comp Plan will be reviewed and discussed by the Collaboration Team before it is distributed for public review.  In general, the report will a) describe management of the existing system, including the emergency action scenarios, b) acknowledge the benefits of the existing system, but describe the lack of economic justification for a systemic flood control project, and c) describe potential follow-up federal actions such as buy outs when there are opportunities, seeking updated economic data, and levee reconstruction where appropriate.

 

In response to a question from Charlie Wooley, Kincaid explained that analysis of nonstructural alternatives is extremely difficult and thus was not pursued in-depth.

 

Gary Clark emphasized the value of the study in terms of “lessons learned.”  Kincaid concurred, noting that one of the important general conclusions was that changes made to the flood control system above Lock and Dam 13 will not have impacts on flood stages.  However, between Keokuk and Thebes, increasing the level of protection of non-urban areas will induce rises in flood frequency stages.

 

Fish Consumption Advisories

 

Holly Stoerker reported that the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force has finalized its report on Fish Consumption Advisories on the Upper Mississippi River.  She described the background for the project, conclusions resulting from the study, and recommendations being made by the Task Force.

 

The project began with publication of a background report in February 2005 describing how each of the five states issue fish consumption advisories on the Upper Mississippi River and how those advisories affect whether the State lists the river as impaired for mercury and PCBs.  The recommendations in the report are an outgrowth of a workshop held in March 2005 and a consultation meeting held in May 2005.

 

Stoerker described the states’ different approaches to sampling and analyzing fish tissue, differences in the Great Lakes Protocol and FDA action levels as the basis for advisories, and the different fish consumption advisories currently in affect on the river.  Stoerker also reviewed the recommendations resulting from the project, including the fundamental conclusion that there should be consistent fish consumption advisories on the river and that a minimum set of contaminants, fish species, size classes, sampling locations, sampling periods, sampling frequencies, and sample preparation procedures be established on the river. 

 

Stoerker noted that the final report will be published and distributed shortly and that the UMRBA Water Quality Task Force will meet in November to discuss the next steps in implementing the recommendations.  She also noted that John Olson of Iowa DNR would be making a presentation on the UMRBA fish consumption advisory project at EPA’s National Fish Contaminant Forum on September 18-22 in Baltimore.

 

Todd Ambs commented that it is always somewhat embarrassing when States do things differently on the Mississippi River and that he hopes the recommendations for enhanced consistency in fish consumption advisories will be implemented.

 

Organizational Capacity Study (Section 106 Evaluation)

 

Holly Stoerker reported that the State water quality administrators and UMRBA Water Quality Task Force had a conference call on June 10 to discuss the possibility of applying to the McKnight Foundation for a grant to help support an evaluation of the feasibility of establishing an organizational structure to administer and/or coordinate Clean Water Act programs on the Upper Mississippi River.  One of the specific issues to be addressed would be UMRBA’s eligibility for status as an interstate agency under Section 106 of the Clean Water Act.  As a result of discussion during the conference call, a letter of inquiry was submitted to McKnight on July 12, 2005.

 

Dru Buntin commented that one of the major questions that States need to address is whether they are comfortable with giving some of their authority to the UMRBA.  Todd Ambs indicated that there are a variety of questions about how States should coordinate water quality management on the UMR, regardless of whether Section 106 status is pursued.  He emphasized the value of using UMRBA, rather than a new interstate group, to explore these questions.  He noted that by way of this study, UMRBA will be consciously exploring whether it wants to expand beyond its existing activities and scope.

 

State Activity Reports

 

Todd Ambs explained that UMRBA is reinstituting the practice of having “Activity Reports” from each of the member states at the quarterly meetings.  These reports are intended to provide information about new initiatives and emerging issues in each state that may be of interest to others.

 

Missouri — Mike Wells reported that the drought in Missouri is severely affecting agriculture and the Governor has requested that USDA issue a natural disaster declaration for all but 5 counties.  Emergency water conservation provisions are in effect in 22 counties.  In addition, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are experiencing alarmingly low flows and there have been some barge groundings near the confluence of the two rivers.  If the drought continues, the navigation season will likely be shortened by 48 days to support upstream uses.  Flow reductions will start at Gavins Point Dam on October 5 and the effects will be felt at St. Louis by October 15 in the middle of the grain harvest.

 

Wells also reported that Missouri DNR is in the process of reorganization, under the leadership of the new Director Doyle Childers.

 

Minnesota — Tim Schlagenhaft reported that Minnesota is ready to pursue one of the first NESP ecosystem projects and has signed a letter of intent.  The project involves restoration of 4000 acres at the confluence of the Root River. 

 

Rebecca Wooden reported that industrial water pumping has been suspended as a result of low flow conditions in the state.  She distributed copies of a map showing stream flow conditions as of 8/15/05 in Minnesota’s 84 watersheds.

 

Governor Pawlenty has joined with Louisiana Governor Blanco in support of the Emergency Wetlands Loan Act.  The legislation is designed to advance funds from the future revenues received from the sale of federal duck stamps. 

 

A recent decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals may force Minnesota PCA to revoke a discharge permit for a new wastewater treatment facility in two North Metro communities.  The case was the result of a suit brought by environmental groups, challenging PCA’s decision to allow increased discharges of phosphorous based on the fact that the increase would be more than offset by decreased discharges resulting from the closure of other facilities in the watershed.

 

Iowa — Mike McGhee distributed information about a workshop entitled “Gulf Hypoxia and Local Water Quality Concerns,” to be held in Ames, Iowa on September 26-28, 2005. 

 

A meeting was recently held among state interests to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill.  Secretary of Agriculture Johanns was at the Iowa State Fair.

 

The far southeast portion of Iowa has been hurt by the drought, but not to the extent that Missouri has been affected.

 

Illinois — Gary Clark reported that the drought has been severely affecting agriculture in Illinois, although the southern part of the state is seeing some relief from rain.  However, there are Emergency Declarations in nearly every county and there are have been record low flows in many parts of the state.  No surface water restrictions have yet been required, but hydropower is being affected on the Rock River. 

 

Scott Stuewe reported that the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies has petitioned Illinois EPA to change the standard for dissolved oxygen, which is currently 5 mg/l.  The proposal is that the standard be a 3.5 mg/l minimum for June 30 to March 30 to protect larval fish and egg stages.  A hearing is scheduled for August 25.  Illinois DNR’s position is that there is not currently enough information to justify the change. 

 

Illinois DNR is proposing a season and size limit for taking shovelnose sturgeon.  Since a permit would be required, a change in the state code is needed and therefore the issue must go to the state legislature.  Permits for roe takers are also being considered.  Since the collapse of the Caspian Sea, 2100 pounds of caviar have been harvested from the Mississippi River.

 

Wisconsin — Todd Ambs reported that Governor Doyle has declared a statewide drought emergency, allowing temporary permits for riparian landowners to divert water for irrigation for the next 30 days.  DNR must respond to water diversion proposals within 72 hours. 

 

A small trout stream has run dry, raising concerns about high capacity agricultural wells in the area.  However, Wisconsin has a strong public trust doctrine and is thus not inclined to shut down wells.

 

Wisconsin’s shoreline zoning rules are currently being updated, particularly with regard to nonconforming structures.  Wisconsin has had stringent shoreline zoning rules, dating back to 1966.  No permanent structures are permitted within 75 feet of a waterbody.  Updating these rules is proving very controversial and raises the issue of State protection of public waters versus local land use decision-making.

 

A number of problems have been associated with manure and fish kills.  Wisconsin’s CAFO rules are being updated, with a proposal to ban the spreading of liquid manure on frozen ground or in February and March for any reason.  In addition, the state’s Manure Management Task Force will be recommending to DNR that a mandatory buffer be required for all agricultural lands.

 

Wisconsin is involved in the Lake Pepin TMDL that Minnesota is developing for phosphorous.

 

Wisconsin DNR’s Water Division will be adding a number of new positions, including five to implement groundwater programs and nine related to Stormwater Phase II.

 

Future Meetings

 

Holly Stoerker described the future meeting dates as follows:

 

November 2005 (Twin Cities)

         November 15         NECC/ECC meeting

         November 16         UMRBA Quarterly meeting

         November 17         EMP-Coordinating Committee

 

February 2006 (St. Louis)

         February 21-23         Meeting schedule to be determined

 

[NOTE: Subsequent to the August 16 meeting, the order of the November series was changed to reflect UMRBA on November 15, EMP-CC on November 16, and NECC on November 17.]

 

It was agreed that the May 2006 meetings would be held in La Crosse, Wisconsin on May 16-18.  [NOTE:  Subsequent to the August 16 meeting, the May 16-18, 2006 meetings were changed to the Quad Cities and the August 22-24, 2006 meetings were scheduled for La Crosse, Wisconsin.]

 

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.