Brian Atkins, Chair; Sue Lowry, Executive Director; Drew Dehoff; Earl Lewis; Amy Shallcross; Kirstin Wallace; Heidi Moltz; Jen Orr Greene, Jennifer Hoggatt; Dru Buntin; Julie Cunningham; Matt Unruh
Brian called the meeting to order at 10:16.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. Drew moved. Second: Earl. All in favor.
Opening and Goals for this Strategic Planning session
Brian thanked Sue for all her hard work. The Board is trying the webinar format for the strategic planning meeting this year due to travel constraints, but it would be valuable to have the Strategic Planning Meetings in person in the future.
Brian reviewed ICWP’s accomplishments. ICWP now has a more stable budget with a better reserve policy. Over the past two years, more than $30,000 has been added to the reserve. Sharing the Roundtable with NWSA worked well and will be with WSWC next year. The new website was launched and is working well. Sue had a very good experience with Liz.
All committees are active and running smoothly and Sue has received requests from people to be on Committees.
Several former members have rejoined. The Complimentary registrations are being used to solicit new members from other states.
Sue is co-chair of the Streamflow Information Collaborative (SIC), which provides more exposure for ICWP.
ICWP Committee Work
From Sue’s perspective, the Committees are doing great work.
Legislative and Policy (Kirstin): A survey is being developed to determine what topics the Committees should be discussing. The Committee has mostly focused on the USGS budget, streamgage letter (from funding to strategy), the DOI reorganization. Raising awareness and explain the implications of the USGS Budget and DOI reorganization is an appropriate role for ICWP. The Committee submitted a letter to DOI expressing concern. Issues coming up include WRDA 2020, USACE cost share issues, limitations on PAS, and the resilience of the revolving loan fund (bill in congress). ICWP needs to review appropriations as they are more confusing than last year.
Interstates (Drew): Currently, the Committee is finalizing the update to the 2006 report. The Committee will be looking for direction from the Board once that report is completed.
Water Data and Science (Amy): The Committee has a running list of topics, but direction from the Board or members would be useful. So far, the WDSC sent support letters to USGS for the compilation of information from the WUDR grants and is working on another for the NWIS Modernization. Members were solicited for their needs regarding NWIS. It was noted that when writing letters, our ask needs to be clear and up front.
Water Planning (Jen H.): The Water Planning Committee is still sharing information and learning from each other. L&P is also working on the member survey and the associated communications and outreach.
Reviewing the desires of the membership on priority topics
The Board discussed position papers. Earl suggested that ICWP have a limited number of positions papers to avoid diluting our message. Julie noted that the papers are something for the members to see. However, it may be more useful to notify members when legislation is pending to convey positions.
Dru noted that in the past the papers were too long and that they should not be more than a page. Papers may be worth the effort if there is a near-term ask to provide background information. Julie suggested a paper could be a summary on the first page and talking points for members on the back. The information should be prominent and include a statement of principles.
ICWP should focus on topics that are not necessarily covered by other organizations (e.g. water quality) to avoid spreading ourselves too thin. Water quality issues can be captured by recognizing that quality and quantity issues are not separate. ICWP should coordinate efforts with similar organizations. On infrastructure, there are other organizations, but we may want to comment on WRDA and funding (e.g. WIFIA). For example, stormwater requirements have created an unfunded infrastructure mandate.
The Board considered if there a niche for ICWP to for stormwater – WQ, GW Recharge, flash flooding, municipal implications. We need to identify areas where we have overlap and work in a coordinated effort. Infrastructure need to be part of ICWP discussions – water planning – stormwater – crosses multiple boundaries. It was suggested that another committee may be needed to cover infrastructure. With Climate Change, going from extreme drought to extensive flooding year to year for example, ICWP should look at what the states may need in next 50 years. Once Interstate report is finished, the Committee may be able to cover infrastructure. Jen Hoggart also noted that infrastructure is a very important topic in water planning, specifically related to treatment. Infrastructure may be a good joint Committee topic.
The Board needs to determine/define our advocacy role. ICWP should thoroughly review WRDA for requirements that hurt funding programs. Joint committee meetings will avoid silos. One of recommendation in the interstate report is to engage feds to promote interstate arrangements and influence policy. The federal agencies need to consider regional impacts – MS4s and overlapping watersheds. MS4 is largest driver is EPA. Julie noted the NFIP, Hazard mitigation programs, Emergency Managers, Dam safety, levee program and funding for FEMA. Sue requested that the Board members send references as she is not familiar with some of the issues. Sue will draft a position/mission statement to explore infrastructure and water quality and how they related to other ICWP priorities.
The Board discussed two surveys: members vs. non-members. The non-member survey can be used to highlight the value of ICWP. It was recommended that the survey be multiple choice and possibly organized by federal agency or Committee. The goal is to provide the survey at the annual meeting. For WRDA, the survey information is needed it sooner because the bill is being drafted. Kirstin could summarize the issues that we know about. The survey will be shared by the 26th.
Last year, Sue’s efforts were successful in building membership and showing ICWP activities. She will continue to target States/affiliates/firms and will work through the spreadsheet of identified targets. Peter had a good spreadsheet to target the states and will be helping here this fall.
Sue reviewed list of prospective members and noted that she will attempt to reach out to every state that is not a member. Board members need to provide contacts. Letter to interior (some states cannot send a letter to congress). It was suggested that ICWP consider state geological surveys, but sometimes they are separate agencies. Some possible members: NJ, NYS, MD, TX, LA, TN, MS, IL, NC, GA, Great Lakes. One issue has been turnover of contacts. Complimentary registrations for the annual meeting were accepted by IL, MS LA and TX. The Board had previously agreed to a total of five complimentary registrations (LA, TX, NC, Great Lakes Commission, CO water cons board). There are a few interested firms and affiliates. Sue is reaching out the Ed Swaim for Bayou Meto to join. Board members offered to reach out to their counterparts in other states and organizations. We need a one-page document explaining the benefits of being an ICWP member. Sue noted there is one on website.
The dues structure has not been changed for 15 years. Sue provide a breakdown of membership types on the spreadsheet. This year, it was decided not to raise dues until we demonstrate that we are doing more. Now, members are getting value. A 20 percent increase may be palatable. Brian noted that the states are either in or out. Thus, an increase is not likely to deter membership. We need to note that as a non-profit, we are building reserve, but not banking money. Sue will hold off on updating affiliates. As the prospect list grows, Sue would like to consider using a program like constant contact.
Sue attended a seminar/webinar, titled “Selling” Advocacy as a membership benefit. The topic was about non-profits doing advocacy and it was stressed that the organization must showing this as a benefit to its members.
Drew reviewed our financial situation and the FY20 budget. Treasures report. Assets. $114 k. Outstanding Liability was a new bill from Sue. Total assets are $107k and the checking balance was $92k. We may give Xylem a spot in Mobile and their logo may go on our website. ORSANCO came back as an affiliate. Dues paid thus far are $51k of $100k invoiced. AR joined. PA is going through the approval process.
The Board discussed an increase in Sue’s travel budget because she represents ICWP well and her participation in meetings raises ICWP’s profile. Sue is comfortable with a $10K travel budget. She was invited to speak at a NIDIS regional meeting but has a conflict. A Board member could potentially cover. As visibility expands, there will be more opportunities/needs to have others travel. It was suggested that multiple agencies of same state could split dues. It was noted that two people from the same agency cannot be on Board at same time.
In the next three to five years, the goal is budget stability and ability to support a full-time staff person. Sue will draft this for release at Mobile.
Filling Board vacancies
Several potential members may be considered to fill Board vacancies. A few Board members have resigned, and we did not fill the positions. Members with expiring terms are DB and KW. The annual meeting is a good time review the Board membership. Both DB and KW intend to continue on the Board. The by-laws allow up to 13 Board members, but that seems too many for the size of the organization. Nine to ten is a good size. Adding to the Board with members from KS, NE or WY would be good. It would be best if the Board could be more geographically diverse. Dru moved to approach WY to fill vacant slot, KW seconded, All in favor. Sue will approach Jodee Pring. We would like to engage Wyoming to bring western states in. It was noted that a slate of officers must be presented at the meeting.
Heidi summarized how the first set of interns worked out. Overall went well, she felt it worked well. We engaged three very good interns who produced quality products. If we decide to engage interns in the future, the process needs to be refined and more advance planning must take place. Theresa is still finishing some work. We now have a handshake account now available (4 universities – could add more). We could consider expanding to other DC area universities for next year. In advance, we need to identify and select the topics and final products.
The Board likes the website and Sue is doing a great job keeping it current. Sue will update the full membership on the drought meeting.
Expanding our Congressional Presence
Sue is working on expanding our presence in front of congressional aids and committees. She had an appointment at House Resources, and she spoke for an hour. As we begin work on new topics, Sue should be in D.C. more often. She plans to meet with OMB, the head of planning at USACE, and USGS. With lack of earmarks, decisions reside in administration, so meeting with OMB is critical. We also need to approach congress with unified voice to support agency priorities (on which we agree). Sue is able to minimize expenses by staying with Peter.
We should be pursuing partnerships with other Water Organizations. We need contacts at WEF. Sue has a good relationship with AWRA, NWSA, and WSWC. WSWC may have a joint meeting with us at the next DC Roundtable. Sue will continue to participate in the AWRA National Leadership Institute. It is a smaller group with more opportunities for interaction
The Strategic Plan may be useful at the business meeting session. To keep it looking fresh we need to remove the dates. It was recommended that we move to a five-year plan. We also need to report what we have accomplished. Ask members what items interest members: Data, policy, integrated water resource management.
Mobile meeting is coming together. Almost all of the speakers were confirmed. We have requested that speakers need to pay $200. Brian will watch for hurricanes. Sue is still working to identify moderators. Sue reviewed the agenda items. Brian would like to see both presentations and panel discussions. Brian will moderate panel 1. Kirsten would like to participate remotely so we need to ensure that capability.
Brian thanked everyone for participating and joked about the lack of snacks. He briefly reviewed some of the discussion. In particular, he mentioned that the organization could grow if each of us reached out to our contacts and discussed the value of ICWP.
Next Board call is on Sept. 12, 11:00 Central. [Changed]