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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary January 23, 2020 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Interim Chair Katherine Zitsch called the committee to order at 10:02 a.m. Central time. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Katherine Zitsch, Sue Lowry, Tom Littlepage, Kelly Pennington, Sam Swartz, Peter Evans, Lauren Salvato, Matt Unruh, Amy Shallcross. 
  • WRDA 2020—The committee approved sending the draft WRDA20 letter to House T&I on to the Board for their approval.  Sue re-capped the USACE stakeholder meeting that was held on December 11 to obtain outside input on items to be included in WRDA or issues that USACE could begin to address under current authorities.  A second stakeholder meeting is to be scheduled for March.

Related to the USACE, the committee also discussed the recent withdrawal by the USACE for the Water Supply Rule.  The committee recommended drafting a letter for the Board’s approval stating our appreciation for withdrawing the rule, but asking the Corps to expedite handling the ancillary issues that were to also be addressed in the rule.  Sue will draft a letter for the committee’s review. 

  • Summary of January 8 all- Committee call–Drought was identified as a cross cutting topic across all committees.  The committee discussed drought aspects germane to the L & P committee, including seeing if there is already a listing of the responsibilities by federal agency related to drought response/mitigation; support for the Drought Impacts Reporter and reviewing the USDA drought declaration process for consistency across the nation. Tom and Sam commented on regional drought activities in the Carolinas and Missouri River basin. If Veva Deheza is asked to do an all-committee webinar, we will request that she update us on these topics.
  • National Drought Resiliency Partnership Action Plan—The committee wanted more time to review for any topics to include in workplan.  Sue will send out the Action Plan to all members and ask for them to review prior to our next call.  Also ask members to review for items that may be more appropriately handled by another ICWP committee. 
  • Develop 2020 workplan and identify 1-3 Principle Statements topics:

The committee discussed the high ranking priorities from the survey and felt like they were all good topics to keep as priorities on the committee’s workplan.  WUDR was also suggested as a high priority, particularly advocating for WUDR tools that build capacity at the state level and perhaps increasing the $250K/state cap on USGS WUDR grants. The 2020 workplan will be re-visited on the next committee call after members have reviewed the NDRP Action Plan. 

  • Internship Project ideas—Unfortunately no students responded to the ICWP request for interns.  We will send the announcement out earlier next year.  
  • Developing main message for USGS Stakeholder support letter for spring 2020—Sue is awaiting FY20 budget numbers for the streamgaging program from Bob Joseph and will complete the draft stakeholder letter after she gets those numbers. 
  • Legislation to track:
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) –Background document was sent to committee members—Mark Glaudemann, NWS, will be presenting on this topic later today during the Water Data and Science committee call. 
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act—Sue forwarded the US Chamber of Commerce’s support letter on this topic to the full committee. 
      • Keeping in parking lot
  1. Set next call or webinar—February 28 at10 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

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. Legislation Following:
    1. Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act (HR3779)