, ,

Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary February 28, 2020 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, Chair-called to order at 10:04 a.m. Central
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Chair; Katherine Zitsch, Sue Lowry, Kelly Pennington, Sam Swartz, Brian Atkins, Amy Shallcross. 
  • WRDA 2020
    • Letter submitted to House T&I meeting -Sue reported that the Board of Directors approved the WRDA 20 support letter and it was sent to House T and I in early February.
    • USACE stakeholder meetings—meeting summary from Dec. 11 sent to committee—Sue participated remotely in this meeting and was able to raise each of the issues that were in the Senate comment letter ICWP submitted this fall.
  • Drought identified as cross cutting topic across all committees
    • WD&S Committee plans to schedule Veva Deheza—NIDIS for all committee webinar ( perhaps in mid-late April)—Veva will be asked to touch on topics related to all four committees. Sue also has spoken with Mark Swoboda from the National Drought Mitigation Center and he has meetings with appropriations staff in late March. We will have a better idea on the best advocacy approach for baseline funding for the USDM after Mark’s meeting.
    • National Drought Resiliency Partnership Action Plan—Review for any topics to include in workplan
    • Rep. Huffman FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act—Sue mentioned that this legislation has not yet been introduced but we will continue to follow
    • NIDIS is planning to hold a Flash Drought workshop and several ICWP members are interested in participating.  Sue will try and find out additional information and circulate. 
  • Develop 2020 workplan and identify 1-3 Principle Statements topics.  Committee chairs for the other committees are developing draft principle statements. Kirsten said that she will put that on her radar. A good timeline would be for the committees to review the draft principle statements on early summer calls, then the board can review and finalize so that the principle statements are ready to distribute to the full membership at the fall annual meeting.
  • Developing main message for USGS Stakeholder support letter for spring 2020—Sue just received final budget numbers from Chad Wagner and she will be updating the stakeholder letter to reflect those amounts. We plan to distribute the final letter to appropriations staff during the Washington DC roundtable.  Sue also asked the committee to send her any other NGO contacts that might be willing to sign on to the streamgage letter. 
  • Legislation to track:
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) –Background document was sent to committee members last meeting—the Water Data & Science committee has also reviewed the background information for Atlas 14. Sue will be reaching out to the -Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations subcommittee to discuss a $7 million budget for updating the entire country. Amy mentioned a benefit of having seamless analysis across state lines is that everyone is then using the same storm prediction numbers. Kirsten mentioned that Atlas 14 recently came up at one of her board meetings related to the flood prediction. Her board would likely favor updating the report
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act
      • Coalition letter sent to House Leadership—ICWP signed on to the Coalition group
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration—Sue mentioned that the USACE water supply rule comment letter from ICWP was sent to Mr. James earlier this month
  • Set next call or webinar—Thursday, May 14 at 10 a.m. Central—next separate call after the all-committee call on drought in late April. 

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

Issues for 2020 Workplan

  1. WRDA2020 Topics
    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. Support for FIRO
      1. Support for WIFIA
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. Reauthorization topics for WUDR
  5. National Water Model—promoting water supply forecasting capabilities
  6. NOAA/DOI Improved Forecasting Action Plan
  7. NWS Atlas 14 Update
  8. Legislation Following:
    1. Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act (HR3779)
    1. Rep. Huffman FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act