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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary January 11, 2019 Conference Call


Legislation and Policy Committee

January 11, 2019

8 a.m. Mtn, 9 a.m. Central; 10 a.m. Eastern Time

  1. Call to Order—Chair Kirsten Wallace; UMRBA
  2. Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Sue Lowry, Executive Director, Beth Callaway, Wyoming SEO; Ed Swaim, Arkansas NRC; Brian Atkins and Tom Littlepage, Alabama DECA; Jennifer Hoggatt, Missouri DNR.
  3. Dept. of Interior Reorganization Plans—Letter approved by Board on 1/3/19.

As the western states (via a Western Governors Assn. letter in Feb., 2018 along with several county government organizations) have supported using state lines as the DoI regional boundaries, discussion was held on whether any other edits should be made to the letter prior to sending. Beth was going to check with WGA. After we have made the final edits, Kirsten enumerated the places that the Board felt copies of the letter should be posted or circulated, including Congressional offices for the committees with DoI oversight, LinkedIn posts, ICWP website and the letter cc:’s which include the DoI agency directors and Ass’t. Secretaries. 

  • USGS Streamgaging Support multi-signature letter—Current activities to reference in letter:
    •  Presidential Memo on Promoting Reliable Supply—dated October 19, 2018 (discussed on last call)
    • NAS recent report on the USGS Water Discipline

Sue described the various multi-stakeholder letters that ICWP has coordinated over the past decade or so, some to the Administration and some to Congress.  No letter has been sent for the past 2 years, so the first focus will be on a letter to Congress.  As USGS Water Disciple line item funding has changed since the last letter was sent, a discussion was held on whether the letter should continue to focus only on the two main physical streamgage funding budgets, or if we should support modeling advances, knowing that a strong streamgaging network is still required for modeling improvements to occur.  The goal is to have a draft streamgage letter ready for the Board to review on their Feb. 7 call.  The draft letter will be circulated to this committee as well as the Data and Science committee for input. 

  • Discuss panels/agenda outline for Washington DC Roundtable (outline attached)

The PAS program was discussed and Beverly Hayes could be asked to provide some further clarification on in-kind matching requirements. Also, some of the NWSA members attending the RT may not be as familiar with the PAS program.  Sue asked if anyone on the call had a contact for either the PL566 discussion or the DoE Water Challenge.  Ed provided a contact name at NRCS for the PL566 item. Tom noted that WEF has the RCPP Farm Bill program on their list of items for their Fly-In which are the same dates as the RT.

  1. Determining additional advocacy issues for ICWP—are there other topics that the membership would like us to be addressing:
    1. National Water Model
    1. Drought Planning/Preparedness
    1. USFWS LCC program 
    1. Others??
    1. How best to receive input on topics from the membership?

The committee decided that 4 would be a good number of topics for the Roundtable Hill Visits: 1) DoI Reorganization; 2) USGS Streamgaging Support; 3) National Water Model (particularly stressing the need to expand beyond flood level forecasting into water supply/volume forecasts); and 4) NIDIS Drought Early Warning Systems (DEWS). 

  • Potential Internship program with ICWP—could help with developing Congressional spreadsheet showing ICWP membership and corresponding Committee assignments in the House and Senate—other tasks?

Sue summarized the discussions she had yesterday with Peter Evans and Heidi Moltz who are taking the lead on the Internship Program for ICWP.  This first round of interns for Spring semester 2019 will be focused on the universities in the Washington DC area.  The students can attend the RT to make contacts.  In the future the program might expand to universities near the location of the fall annual meeting. A list of potential topics has been developed and the announcement will be ready to go out soon with an application deadline of Jan. 28, 2019. 

  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration
  • Set next call or webinar—continue with second Friday of each month—next Call Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 MST; 9 CST and 10 EST.