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Water Data and Science Committee Meeting Summary: January 25th, 2023

Link to recording: https://youtu.be/Rxqbwr5r58M

  1. Call to Order: Chair Amy Shallcross, Delaware River Basin Commission
  2. Introductions of participants on the call : Amy Shallcross, Adel Abdallah, Beth Callaway, Chad Wagner, CHRIS KONRAD, Joy Loughry, Luigi Romolo, Randy Hadland, Wei , Han, Brian Bogle,  Laura St Pierre, Wade Loseman
  3. Guest presentation – USACE/DoD Climate Resilience
    • Topic: “How USACE/DoD are positioning themselves for climate change; Overview of USACE/DoD tools for assessing exposure to climate change” by Brian Bogle, US Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Planning SME Philadelphia District

Brian Bogle opened with discussion on how Executive Order 14008 is the most crucial directive to help create federal climate action plans, which has emphasis on what the DoD is doing right now in context to climate change.

Tools – DoD Climate Assessment Tool is a web-based collection of data used to provide assessment of DoD installations’ exposure to extreme weather. It provides a screening level analysis for further studies on climate hazard sensitivity and if investments in resilience are needed. Explore is important because you can be exposed without being affected. Hazard scores change based on scenario; a score of zero is where a scenario may not apply.

Readiness and Environmental Protection Program – REPI helps installation planners and leadership to partner with local communities to reduce impacts on military bases. It applies at the installation phase. For ICWP’s members this may be more of interest for agencies who manage installations.

Brian gave a list of Civil Works climate websites/tools.

USACE is big on standardizing practices across the board to address climate change. First is sea level change, then review policy, guidance for incorporating impacts to inland hydrology, direct and indirect effects of sea level change on USACE projects, detection of stationarities in annual maximum discharges in order to segment or adjust data conditions over time.

Additional tools – Climate Hydrology Assessment Tool provides a level of detail below the vulnerability assessments. Non-stationarity tool (NSD) detects nonstationarities in the historical record. The Time Series Tool characterizes data for short term forecasting, error handling, analysis.  The USACE Sea Level Tracker shows actual vs projected sea level changes and answers the question of what rate of sea level change is currently being observed at the selected gage?

CEQ just released interim guidance on how USACE will evaluate climate change as part of NEPA analysis.


4. Committee discussion

Brian was in a federal interagency coordination group that looked at corridors/connectivity, climate change. He recommends tying into CEQ coordination groups. Adel recommended looking into water security under the Western Regional Partnerships, Brian recommended Sentinel Landscapes coordination as well for installation.


5. Committee Assignment: USGS Streamgage gap analysis discussion (to inform L&P Committee’s FY2024 Streamgage letter)

  • Chad Wagner, Program Coordinator for the USGS Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program
  • Chris Konrad, USGS Washington Water Science Center

Chad Wagner – Current # of sites is 3500, 75% of those are funded through reimbursable funds. Back in 2020 was the breakeven point where the costs met the appropriations and since then the program has been in the red.  2020 lost 9 sites, last year only lost 3 after request for funding partners rescued the sites. Would need $1M to keep up; will lose 25-30 sites unless this is met. Will continue to be a mounting challenge.  President’s budget will be released in early March.

Hard to say where the breakeven point for the budget is. Key points to get across are federal agency priorities and how they use the data, how the network is providing for their needs. Example: streamgage data are core to NOAA/NWS flood forecasting.

Chris Konrad – The USGS network analysis speaks to 3 different important areas. Gap in coastal areas in context to seal level rise for flood forecasting and risk. Provides assessment of how well the gaging network represents different climates across the country; we know there is lacking information across the nation. Highlights areas that will receive significant amounts of snow which are at risk from warming.

The metrics for how USGS represents national climate is they look at NOAA’s data and whether or not we have multiple gages within one climate division. The divisions that don’t have little coverage show gaps on where there is underrepresentation.  Chris could give us those $ and where. USGS does not weigh which climate divisions might be more important than others. Congressional district individualized letters – look at how many fall in each district to throw out stats.

Next steps: USGS would find ICWP feedback useful especially on criteria for eligibility for Federal Priority Streamgages. Is there a gap that’s a priority from the federal perspective but not necessarily represented on the state level?


6. Next steps

  • Amy to prepare homework questions for next meeting
  • Strategize on how to best support USGS for FPS feedback on FPS criteria.
  • Chris to provide info on where there is underrepresentation, land use and climate, and/or funding needs for reference in ICWP’s USGS Streamgage letter.


7. Next meeting: February week of 22nd or 23rd same time or 24th, or beginning of March.