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Interstate Water Management Committee Meeting Summary May 18, 2021–Discussion with Erika Jensen–Great Lakes Commission

  1. Call to Order—Chair Drew Dehoff, SRBC called to order at 10:02 a.m. Central
  • Introductions of Participants on the call—Drew Dehoff, Chair; Sue Lowry; Rhonda Manning; Dan Miller; Ken Brazil

Erika was appointed to interim Director role last August and has been with GLC for 15 years, previously working on invasive species.  Consent authorized to develop a Compact in 1968.  Ontario and Quebec joined as associate members in 1999.  Started out focused on maritime navigation but mission has been expanded to issues that broadly affect the member signatories.  Commissioners number 3-5 from each of the 10 states and provinces. Board of Directors—1 from each of 10. 20 current full time staff members.  Have been as large as 35-40 depending upon funding.  Office in Ann Arbor. Current strategic plan runs through 2022, so beginning to explore needed updates for next 5-year plan. 

Building a Better Basin—Invasive species, climate resiliency, water quality improvements.  Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—federally funded program. Examples of Little Rapids, St. Mary’s River and Ford Cove, Lake St. Clair habitat restorations. Modernizing Infrastructure: $270B estimate of needs. Funding for Soo Locks replacement as it is a pinch point in the navigation system.  GLRI—funding at about $300M/year—EPA is authorizing agency and funds get divided in a number of ways to grants, cooperative agreements and funding for federal agency work. Some funds also passed through to fund state aquatic invasive species plans. 

Protecting Water Quality; Aquatic Invasive Species-work through Great Lakes Panel; Climate Resiliency;  Blue Accounting project with The Nature Conservancy.  Bringing the platform in-house and releasing new version this summer.  

Discussion of Great Lakes area being a “climate haven” and will look into challenges associated with potential population growth in next 5-year strategic plan, but in 2020 census Great Lakes states are losing congressional seats. 

  • Intern Topics related to Interstate river management—Update on Katherine Tucker’s project—Katherine’s survey found interesting differences in how interstate organizations are funded.  
  • Report out of other ICWP committee activities—Sue summarized the recent activities of the other 3 committees. 
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration/2021 Workplan
    • Other issues for committee presentations 
      • Compact case studies
      • Other Topics for committee
      • Ask Joe Manous to give update on USACE IWR at one of the upcoming committee calls
  • Next webinar—ask Katherine to summarize her report after fall semester begins.  If we have a summer meeting, see if Katherine Zitsch has a speaker recommendation to speak about the recent SCOTUS FL v. GA decision.  Set the date in July-Aug. based on speaker availability. 

The committee appreciates the contributions of Rhonda Manning—she let the committee know that she would be retiring on June 4 and this would be her last committee meeting representing PA DEP. 

Interstate Water Management Committee:  Educate public officials about value of interstate water management organizations.  Provide a forum for sharing current trends in interstate issues.

2019-20 Accomplishments:

  • Updated the 2006 “Interstate Water Solutions” report
  • Completed an Interstates Water Primer
  • Updated Interstate Water Management Case Studies
  1. Primer and Updated Interstates Report completed
    1. Update on MS/TN groundwater litigation at 2020 Annual Meeting
    1. Compact case studies—new ones were added to updated report

Issues for 2021 Workplan

  1. Invite speakers from the various Great Lakes Basin interstate organizations to better understand how the various groups interact and complement each other
  • Federal Reserved Rights Primer (perhaps Norm Johnson could do a similar webinar to what he presented at AWRA-SLC)
  • Ask member states/interstates to give talks on recent litigation

            Republican River Basin (KS and NE)

            Montana v Wyoming—Chris Brown from Wyoming AG’s office

            Ken Brazil mentioned some Water Quality interstate litigation

  • Work with interstate water organizations to highlight, promote and nourish regional approaches and effective organizations.
  • Summary from Katherine’s survey on interstate’s funding