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Water Data and Science Committee Meeting Summary December 1, 2020 Webinar–Christopher Estes, America’s Conservation Enhancement Act/National Fish Habitat Conservation

  1. Call to Order—Chair Amy Shallcross DRBC called to order at 2:03 p.m. Central. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Amy Shallcross, Chair; Sue Lowry; Adel Abdallah, Joy Loughry, Brian Atkins, Ken Brazil, Wes Cattoor, Christopher Estes. 
  • Webinar presentation—Christopher Estes—National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships program.  Christopher gave background on the many years’ effort leading up to the culmination of the passage of America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, Public Law 116–188. 

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE

Christopher focused on TITLE II—NATIONAL FISH HABITAT CONSERVATION THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS and had sent out to the committee a listing of the existing National Fish Habitat Partnerships across the country and the contact for each.  Christopher mentioned that within the legislation, the most immediate obligation is seating a National Fish Habitat Board (Board).  The Board’s composition will differ from the previous National Fish Habitat Board seated after the inception of NFHP in 2006. As described in the ACE Act, the Board will consist of 26 members and will add new interest group representation, including national private landowner organizations, agricultural production organizations, local government interests involved in fish habitat restoration, corporate industries, and the private sector or landowner representative in an active Fish Habitat Partnership.  The first step in the process of seating the Board is to establish an initial Board composed of the following nine representatives:

Department of the Interior (1)

United States Geological Survey (1)

Department of Commerce (1)

Department of Agriculture (1)

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (1)

Regional Fish and Wildlife Agency Associations (4)

On November 3, 2020, Ed Schriever was appointed to represent the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) on the Board. By virtue of the ACE Act, the AFWA appointment serves as Chairman of the Board for three years. Mr. Schriever is no stranger to serving on the Board and began representing the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in 2015, before being elected as Board Chairman in 2018. Schriever served as the Chairman through the last meeting of the National Fish Habitat Board held in October 2020 before the ACE Act was signed into law.  

About the National Fish Habitat Partnership:

Since 2006, the National Fish Habitat Partnership has supported over 1,000 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships. For more information, visit http://fishhabitat.org/.

Adel mentioned that WestFAST and the Internet of Water are working on a compendium of various water related federal grant sources.  He will ask that Christopher and Sue be kept in the loop as to when the listing is finalized. 

  • The ICWP Internship announcement for Spring semester 2021 has been posted to the ICWP website and the deadline for applications is January 15. 
  • ICWP letter to Biden Transition teams—The Board will be considering the draft letter at their meeting on Thursday (12/3).  It highlights our USGS streamgaging support and water infrastructure needs. 
  • Workplan development for the Committee
    • Amy will send out a request for any other committee suggestions for topics to add to the 2021 workplan or webinar speaker suggestions. 
    • The ICWP Board will be taking action on the Principle Statements developed by this committee and presented at the Annual Meeting this Thursday. 
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14—Possible Passage of S. 4462 in lame duck—This FLOODS act has language in it ICWP supports related to Atlas 14 (Section 12) and formalizing the Water Sub-Cabinet (Section 13). 
    • Supporting NHD Plus and other mapping efforts
    • Timeline for 2021 Streamgaging support letter
  • Amy asked for suggestions for webinar topics for future committee meetings.  She specifically mentioned interest in groundwater had been expressed, but that doesn’t happen to be one of her areas of expertise.  Wes mentioned a case study in Illinois from an area experiencing groundwater shortages and compared regulated versus a voluntary program to limit withdrawals.  Brian also mentioned that a recent WUDR forum had an invited speaker from the USGS who have a good update on groundwater.  And lastly, Chad Wagner could be invited to speak about the groundwater portion of his program. 
  • Next call or webinar—All committee webinar planned for January 7, 2021—2 p.m. Central—Jim Schneider with Olsson will be presenting. 

Water Data and Science Committee:  Mission is to educate ICWP members on current data and science trends and to advocate support for data and science programs at the national level.

2019 Accomplishments:

Issues for 2020 Workplan

  1. Potential ICWP Support of USGS Efforts
    1. USGS NGWOS—including future basin selections
    1. Water-Use Data and Research—Review next USGS compilations
    1. IWAA indices that make sense as indicators (Mindi request at Mobile)
    1. Review of NAS Study on USGS Water Discipline
    1. Multi-Signature support letter for Streamgaging Programs (annually)
      1. Early spring letter signed by stakeholders
      1. Letter in the fall signed by states/interstates/tribes
      1. Improved coordination among 3 USGS support letters from coalitions
  2. Climate/Weather Extremes/Drought
    1. Flash Droughts
    1. NIDIS/NDRP—Support baseline, firm funding source for US Drought Monitor
    1. Support for a 2nd product similar to USDM specific to ag relief programs
    1. Support for expansion of Drought Impacts Reporter
    1. Baseline for determining Climate Change
      1. Impacts to Infrastructure planning
    1. Paleo-drought studies
  3. Other items the Committee could explore:
    1. Internet of Water
    1. Data Portals/Data Exchange
    1. Support for NRCS Snow Survey Program
  4. National Water Model Priorities
    1. Especially understanding the underlying models and how those could be used by others
    1. Support for NHDPlusHR and its modeling capabilities—add to 3DEP Coalition letter in 2021
  5. Tracking of Emerging Tools or Trends in Water Data/Science
    1. Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations
    1. Seasonal to Sub-Seasonal Forecasting
    1. NASA Western Water Office—Adel will keep the committee apprised of any activities of interest beyond the western states. 

Edits made to 2020 Workplan during July 30, 2020 Committee meeting