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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary January 14, 2021 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair called to order at 2:04 p.m. Central time
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Chair; Sue Lowry; Drew Dehoff; Peter Evans; Steve Wolff; Amy Shallcross; Kelly Pennington, Jennifer Hoggatt.
  • Legislative Strategy for ICWP in 2021—draft sent on 1/12 to committee

Discussion was held on the straw dog strategy and drought should be added as a 5th topic area emphasizing the importance of DEWS.  ICWP could help organize a nation-wide discussion on how to react as drought and flash drought set up in a region and help NIDIS staff expand beyond the researcher-heavy audience that participated in the early December 2020 Flash Drought Workshop sponsored by NIDIS.  Peter agreed to review and get additional comments back to Sue based on his experience while ED. 

  • Transition issues—Cabinet selections—Priorities for new Administration and 117th Congress and how to deliver ICWP’s message—As more Cabinet and deputy level appointments are released, we will discuss who to invite to the April virtual Roundtable and develop our priorities to share with the various federal water agencies and congressional staff.  
  • Internship project ideas from this committee—Project mentors?—Ten applications have been received so far and the deadline for applying isn’t until the end of this week.  Once the 3 successful candidates are selected, their interest in legislative projects will be determined and brought to the committee on their Feb. call. 
  • Legislation to track: 
    • USGS/DOI FY21 Appropriations 
    • Drafting priorities for FY22 Stakeholder Letter for USGS Streamgaging—Sue mentioned that she has a call scheduled this week with Bob Joseph and Chad Wagner to better understand the ramifications of the increases in the FY21 Water Mission Area budget and how those increases may impact the message for the stakeholder letter.  Sue has also spoken with JB Byrd concerning the 3DEP coalition’s support letter and they are working together to assure that both letters give the same massage related to the build out of LIDAR coverage and the next steps in developing a National Terrain Model. 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) or other Extreme precipitation estimating tools—PRECIP legislation –Sue and Kirsten were contacted by ASCE and the ASDSO to present details on the PRECIP act and plans for its re-introduction in the 177thCongress.  The FLOODS Act, sponsored by Sen. Wickers in the 116th Congress did not pass during lame duck, but it also had language beneficial to both Atlas 14 funding and to codifying the Water Sub-cabinet. 
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act—passed in lame duck
    • WRDA 2020–passed in lame duck
  • Review Action Items for 2021 and develop working groups to accomplish
    • Potential relationship with Van Scoyoc—Sue and Kirsten described their recent call with Van Scoyoc as well as the Board’s discussion on vetting what a contract with Van  Scoyoc could entail.  The Legislative Strategy discussed above will be shared and Van Scoyoc will likely respond with how much time they can spend aiding our advocacy work with the budget ICWP can make available.  
  • Set next call  –Set for Thursday, February 25 at 2 p.m. Central time. 

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