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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary October 31, 2019 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Interim Chair Gail Melgren called to order at 9:04 a.m. Central time.  She and Katherine Zitsch will alternate as Interim Chairs during Kirsten’s time away on maternity leave. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call: Gail Melgren, Interim Chair SoWest MO, Sue Lowry, ICWP, Drew Dehoff, SRBC, Katherine Zitsch, ARC, Sam Swartz, WYSEO, Tom Littlepage, OWR; Kirsten Wallace and Lauren Salvato, UMRBA. 
  • Legislation to track:
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act—Rep. Craig’s office still interested, but will keep on our agenda into next spring.  
  • WRDA 2020
    • Items to advocate for in WRDA2020 letter—Sue provided a very rough draft letter to Senate EPW to work from on the call.  The 3 items discussed last call for inclusion: (PPA, PAS cost share language, and FIRO) are included.  A fourth topic was raised by Illinois on how major rehabilitation costs are determined relative to what is considered annual OMRR&R.  It was decided to keep this fourth topic, but make it more generic.  Kathrine will forward to Sue the language that NWSA is working on to spread large, unexpected OMRR&R costs over several years rather than all being due in one year as it is currently. 
    • Sue’s conversation with staff in Sen. Barrasso’s office—Sue spoke with Brad Bunning in Sen. Barrasso’s office last week and he said that if the ICWP letter were delivered to him in early November, that would be good timing for the committee’s consideration.   Sue will make the additions discuss during this call and send a new draft out to the committee for review.  The final draft will then be sent to the Board for action on their Nov. 7 call. 
    • USACE stakeholder meetings—1st one Dec. 11 in DC—Ada Benavides has sent out an invitation to a stakeholder meeting in Washington DC on Dec. 11 to discuss possible WRDA topics.  Sue does not plan to attend since she will have been in DC the prior week, but there will be a call-in number provided. 
  • Deadline for Priorities survey Oct. 31—survey was sent to all ICWP members after the Mobile meeting.  Sue will summarize the results and the Board will discuss committee assignments of the top priorities prior to the Jan. 8 all-committee call. A draft summary document will also be sent to the full membership for those who didn’t fill out a survey to weigh in. 
  • Update on PAS letter sent to ASA James at Mobile meeting—ICWP received response letter on Oct. 16 and is tied to supplemental language in FY20 USACE budget request.  USACE now pointing to flood mitigation exclusivity as an OMB add-on to their budgets. 
  • National Drought Resiliency Partnership Action Plan
    • NIDIS Executive Council meeting on December 5.  Sue may have more information on the groundwork that has already been laid for baseline funding for the US Drought Monitor after attending this Dec. 5 meeting. 
  • ICWP Congressional strategy
    •  Sue will have 2 trips to DC in December and can start to make committee contacts.  
  • Set next call or webinar—Set for Dec. 6 at 9 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