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Water Data and Science Committee Webinar–May 4, 2021–Gary Whelan–National Fish Habitat Partnerships

  1. Call to Order—Chair Amy Shallcross DRBC—called to order at 2:01 p.m. Central
  • Introductions of Participants on the call –Amy Shallcross, Chair; Sue Lowry; Shawn Jackson; Eric Robertson; Christopher Estes; Ken Brazil; Michael Hill; Ole Mikkelsen; Adel Abdullah; Gary Whelan; Randy Hadland; Wayne Slade; Matt Unruh; Wade Loseman. 

Gary provided an excellent summary of the history of the National Fish Habitat Partnership.  The 2020 ACE Act (Title II) authorized the activities of the NFHPs.  The NFHPs are still state led, but ACE specified an Interagency Operational Plan to bring in the federal programs that could help reach the goals of NFHP.  A list of projects needs to be submitted to the Dept. of Interior by July 1 of each year.  Initial Conservation Priorities are:

  1. Protect intact healthy waters
  2. Restore hydrologic conditions for fish
  3. Reconnect fragmented fish habitats
  4. Restore water quality
  5. Coordination and operational support for FHPs to make on the ground progress.

Gary described the make-up of the current Board determined by the ACE legislation as well key milestone dates for project selection. An important aspect of the Fish Habitat Assessment to see if  the nation is making progress on fish habitat. Key Processes and Factors are reviewed for the assessment, such as Connectivity, Hydrology, Geomorphology, Material recruitment, water quality and energy flow in the Aquatic community.  Use NHDPlus for assessment. Want to get to finer scale as habitat managers can’t influence land use at a big scale. 

  • Interns project reports –Sue reported that the 3 spring semester interns are finishing up their projects.  One intern reviewed state water plans for climate change and drought preparedness; another sent a survey to interstate river basin organizations to summarize their funding sources; and the third updated the USGS Streamgaging Fact Sheet. 
  • Report out of other ICWP committee activities & Roundtable-Amy recapped the panel participation by NOAA-NWS, USGS and NIDIS during the April Roundtable.  The Legislation and Policy Committee is following the development of the FLOODS Act in the Senate and the PRECIP Act in the House.  Amy asked Sue to send the latest version of the draft legislation to this committee. 
  • Workplan development for the Committee
    • Workplan list – any additional topics for developing Principle Statement.  Sue and Amy will work on paring down the workplan list into priority levels, focusing on what the committee can accomplish in the next year or so. 
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14—FLOODS and PRECIP legislation
    • NOAA Seasonal to Sub-Seasonal Forecasting—Congressional report and pilots—Appropriations request sent on pilot project
    • Supporting NHD Plus and other mapping efforts
    • 2021 Streamgaging support letter—Delivered mid-April—The affiliate members on the call today agreed to make their policy/DC staff aware of the letter and use it as a leave-behind in any congressional meetings. 
      • USGS NexGen Stakeholder groups—Amy will reach out to other stakeholders in the Delaware basin for their perspectives. 
  • Next call or webinar—Amy will reach out to the USACE Groundwater Research Team to see if they can make a presentation on our next call.  The date will be determined based on their availability.

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.

2019/20 Accomplishments:

Issues for 2021 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
    1. NFHP—Ask Gary Whelan for presentation on Partnership model and tool development.  Interagency federal team to be determined this year.
  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