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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary December 6, 2019 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Interim Chair Katherine Zitsch called the committee to order at 10:03 Central time. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Katherine Zitsch, Interim Chair ARC; Sue Lowry, ICWP, Drew Dehoff, SRBC, Brian Atkins, OWR; Lauren Salvato, UMRBA; Matt Unruh, KWO; Kelly Pennington, MNDNR; Jennifer Hoggatt, MODNR; Peter Evans; Amy Shallcross, DRBC; .
  • WRDA 2020
    • ICWP Letter to Senate EPW sent Nov. 12
    • Sue met with House T&I meeting on Dec. 4.  The T & I committee plans to ask for Member requests in January and will start to hold hearings in Jan. and Feb.  We should develop a letter to send in that timeframe.  In addition to the issues raised in the Senate EPW letter, we may also want to add support for WIFIA.
    • USACE stakeholder meetings—1st one Dec. 11 in DC—Contact Sue if you need call-in number
  • Summary of Priorities survey—The summary by questions asked was shared prior to Committee call.  Many of the “traditional” ICWP topics were ranked high which was not surprising.  The Committee felt it might be useful to group the survey questions by federal agency to help think about any grouping of questions.  The Drought Action Plan ranked high and ICWP has been actively working on Flash Drought and how to better incorporate into US Drought Monitor.  Pam Knox at Univ. of GA is also working on Flash Drought. 
  • Sue met with Stacey Brown, USACE Planning Director on Dec. 4 and she was very receptive to knowing more about ICWP and penciled in the Roundtable dates for spring, 2020.  Drew mentioned that he had worked with Stacey while she was in the Baltimore District office.  Sue left a copy of ICWP’s WRDA2020 letter to EPW with Stacey. 
  • National Drought Resiliency Partnership Action Plan
    • NIDIS Executive Council meeting on December 5—Sue was hoping to connect with Mark Svoboda (Drought Mitigation Center) at the Exec. Council meeting on how ICWP can be most helpful in advocating for basin funding for the US Drought Monitor.  Unfortunately Mark called into the meeting rather than in-person.  Sue will connect with him separately to discuss funding strategy.
  • ICWP Congressional strategy
    •  Sue met with House Resources, House T & I, Senator Barrasso’s office while in DC this week.  
  • Developing main message for USGS Stakeholder support letter for spring 2020—The committee feels it’s important for the main thrust of the letter to remain on the gaging network and the need for a robust, federally supported network nationwide.  Pointing out that we support NGWOS and modelling work such as that completed by Rodney Knight for small HUC estimates can be included but make the point that on-the-ground gages are necessary for calibrating these sorts of models. 
  • Legislation to track:
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act—Chuck Chaitovitz, Environmental Director for the US Chamber of Commerce talked with Sue during the NIDIS Executive Council and they have written a letter of support for this bill.
      • Keeping in parking lot—HR3779
  1. Other items for the Committee’s consideration—
    1. Sue asked for any additional pilot/demonstration projects from ICWP members to offer to the Water Policy Committee federal agencies during the meeting planned for Dec. 17.  A list of projects will be developed for presenting to the Water Policy principals at the April 1 meeting during the Roundtable. Sue also mentioned the recent WSJ article on eastern US water issues.  The WSJ article can be used as a segue to improved Drought planning and resilience. 
    1. Sue also mentioned the recent notice from Don Cline, USGS that the Advisory Committee on Water Information has been suspended.  The memo stated that “other options” are being reviewed, but no details.  The Board will discuss whether ICWP should comment in any way on this decision. 
  1. Set next call or webinar—All-committee call Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. Central—committee felt it would be good to have webinar capabilities 

Next L &P committee call set for January 23 at 10 a.m. Central

List of Topics for Future Reference/Action:

Priority Topics for Committee:

  1. Dept. of Interior Re-organization
    1. USGS Streamgaging support—getting letter to more audiences and reviewing stakeholder list for omissions 
      1. Opportunity for a states’ support letter
      1. Whether to expand to Water Use and other topics beyond Streamgaging
    1. National Water Model—promoting water supply forecasting capabilities
    1. Drought Planning/Preparedness-NIDIS Support (& the DEWS)
      1. Items from NDRP’s Action Plan that ICWP supports
      1. Baseline funding for USDM
      1. Support for a new ag-centric product (better capture flash drought)
    1. Reauthorization topics for WUDR
    1. USACE Partnership Agreements
      1. Liability Clause
      1. Indemnification
      1. Other items for WRDA2020
        1. PAS cost share to include in-kind for Tech Services
        1. Major rehab costs relative to annual OMRR&R
        1. Spreading large OMRR&R costs over several years
    1. NOAA/DOI Improved Forecasting Action Plan