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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary February 25, 2021 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair called to order at 2:03 p.m. Central. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Chair; Sue Lowry; Peter Evans; Brian Atkins; Sam Swartz; Summer Kunkel; Christopher Estes. 
  • Legislative Strategy for ICWP in 2021 approved by Board and Sue/Kirsten will review with Geoff and John from VSA once the contract is in place for their implementation input. 
  • Priorities for new Administration and 117th Congress and how to deliver ICWP’s message—Biden Administration top-priority issues such as climate change and equity—we should be giving thought on how to tailor our requests to fit with these overall themes.  We will also develop questions for the Congressional staff at the Roundtable and the agency representatives on these topics.  An infrastructure package separate from WRDA might move forward.  Expressing our support for continuing the Sub-Cabinet will be conveyed to our CEQ Roundtable speaker.
  • Legislation to track: 
    • USGS/DOI FY21 Appropriations -President’s budget won’t be released until late April. 
    • Drafting priorities for FY22 Stakeholder Letter for USGS Streamgaging—Sue will have a draft ready for review soon with the goal of delivering the letter to Approps Sub-committees prior to the Roundtable (April 15-16). 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) or other Extreme precipitation estimating tools—PRECIP and FLOODS legislation to be re-introduced soon. 
    • Sen. Markey’s interest in telecom infrastructure/tie to water infrastructure needs/flood mapping—Sue participating in coalition with ASFPM and 3DEP with Markey’s staff. 
    • WRDA 2022-start to develop topics for member’s requests
  • Review Action Items for 2021 and develop working groups to accomplish
    • Nearing completed contract with Van Scoyoc
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration
    • ICWP asked to support NOAA Seasonal to Sub-seasonal FY22 Budget request—Sue will draft letter for Board’s consideration
  •  Set next call –Thursday, March 25 at 10 a.m. Central.

Legislation and Policy Committee:  Stay abreast of national legislation important to ICWP membership; Educate and advocate for state/interstate positions to Congress and federal agencies

2019 Accomplishments:

  • Submitted a letter on Dept. of Interior Re-organization
  • Sent letter to ASA Rd James regarding PAS funding for full range of authorized purposes
  • Submitted WRDA20 support letter to Senate EPW committee

2020 Accomplishments:

  • Submitted WRDA20 support letters to House T&I committee, Senate EPW and to House and Senate leadership 

Issues for 2021 Workplan

  1. WRDA2022 Preparation Topics
  • USGS Streamgaging support—getting letter to more audiences and reviewing stakeholder list for omissions 
    • Opportunity for a states’ support letter
    • Whether to expand to Water Use and other topics beyond Streamgaging
  • Drought Planning/Preparedness-NIDIS Support (& the DEWS)
    • Baseline funding for USDM
    • Support for a new ag-centric product (better capture flash drought)
  • Reauthorization topics for WUDR
  • National Water Model—promoting water supply forecasting capabilities
  • NOAA/DOI Improved Forecasting Action Plan
  • NWS Atlas 14 –Support for PRECIP legislation
  • Legislation Following:

2021 Action Plan Items

  1. Provide broader leadership on PPA Liability and Indemnification Barriers
    1. Pursue Congressional hearing on this issue
    1. Arrange for meeting with USACE Office of Counsel
  2. Develop Advocacy “How To” webinar series
  3. Facilitate a national conversation on Extreme Precipitation Products and Models
    1. Invite organizations to form coalition to work on issue

Arrange Forum in 2021 to hear current state of Atlas 14 and other non-federal products that provide similar extreme precip estimates