Committee Meetings and Priorities
Legislation & Policy Committee: Dru Buntin (UMRBA) has agreed to lead this committee, with general plans to meet for 1 hour on the last Thursday of each month by telephone starting at 10am Central Time. The meetings are always open to any ICWP Member and the agenda will be distributed during the week before each meeting. If you are interested in this Committee, contact Dru Buntin.
Priorities of the Committee: Current priorities include monitoring WRDA/WRRDA implementation guidance, the Corps’ pilot project to evaluate watershed-based priorities for future budget requests, enhancing the design for the National Water Census, and reducing gaps in the USGS National Streamgage Network. Testimony and policy statements will be presented to and approved by the Board of Directors. The Committee will also seek opportunities to assert the primacy of states, tribes and interstates in making planning and policy priorities for water resource management.
The most recent meeting summary summarizes the Committee’s specific plans and our Letter to Congress Supporting PAS is the latest accomplishment of this Committee.
National Policy Initiatives
“Planning Assistance to States” Initiative:IWP continues to support a helpful National Water Census with USGS in charge. In 2008, ICWP examined USGS plans to start a new national program of regional water planning assessments, and raised concerns related to funding (the risk of consuming funds that might otherwise be available to increasing the USGS national monitoring network), and concerns that the plans for local (HUC-8) watershed budgets were too vague to assure the results would be useful to water managers. Since 2009, ICWP has been promoting state and interstate participation in that design.
One of the next critical pieces will be water use data, which USGS needs, but is collected in various forms by state and local agencies. ICWP has consistently promoted more and better data to support water policy, planning and infrastructure. Additional background on the USGS initiative is available on the USGS website. Let Dru Buntin know if you have any suggestions or questions.
Assessment of State and Interstate Water Planning Progress:Based upon discussions initiated by ICWP, the Corps of Engineers orchestrated a series of three regional meetings and meeting summaries, followed by a national conference in August 2009. They established a website providing public access to the information derived from this “Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future” initiative. ICWP submitted comments in response to their December 20009 draft report, along with many other stakeholders, and have begun evaluating the potential use of the Corps’ conclusions and recommendations.
Concerns raised by ICWP (and by other leading stakeholders) were not resolved. Nonetheless, the Corps report draws many concerns and ideas together and we hope that considerable benefit can still be derived from the substantial investment of expertise and funding.
As soon as the Corps makes its summary of state and interstate water planning progress available, the ICWP will schedule a webinar for members to discuss the recommendations and assessment and to develop ideas for making the best use of this information. Let Sue Lowry know if you are interested or have any suggestions or questions.