FISH & WILDLIFE INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE
4469-48th Avenue Court
Rock Island, Illinois 61201
COM: 309/793-5800 X521
To: FWIC Distribution
From: FWIC Chair
Subject: March 13, 2003 Meeting Summary
The meeting was called primarily to review the status of the Pool Plans and discuss future steps per the agenda (attachment 1). Introductions were made per the attendance list (attachment 2).
Agenda item 2: Drafts of pool plans with incomplete map sets were provided for discussion. The attendees generally felt that the text style and map content are sufficient to continue the planning dialogue and engage other stakeholders and the public. Splitting the pools into sections to facilitate reproduction in 8 ½ by 11 format was acceptable Some site and pool-specific comments were provided, such as a need for additional levee discussion in the Pool 18 section, the need to check and see if some objectives aren’t already being met, i.e. through WRP, the need for a table of conservation programs or options available to landowners, the delineation of levee and drainage districts as geographic units, and the need to incorporate FEMA-identified hydraulic pinchpoints as the basis for placement of connectivity and landcover icons.. Discussion of a landowner program option table resulted in a decision to seek advice on its necessity at the open houses discussed subsequently.
The attendees were advised that a hardcopy with maps would be provided following some additional map revisions after the meeting, and that comments should be made based on that distribution. Iowa DNR has WRP information digitized and could be added as icons on our current map set. Mike Griffin offered to locate this data for Iowa and provide to Mike Stueck. Other state agency attendees offered to check for GIS data availability from their respective states’ wetland specialists.
Participants discussed products prepared by the Fish and Wildlife Work Group and the decision by the River Resources Action Team to hold off preparation of plans. The RRAT considered pool planning would only cover a small area of their interest (Pools 24-26) and would be redundant to the effort undertaken by the Restructured Navigation Study (RNS). The FWIC recognizes that the RNS will only deal with a subset of the total objectives documented in the RNS and that the Pool Plans need to be beneficial to the entire range of Federal, State, and local programs, as a consensus-based record of stakeholder objectives.
Agenda item 4: Attendees agreed to a 2 week FWIC “internal”review period, originally anticipated to be 3/17 through 3/31, following which the plans would have graphics added and text corrections made for distribution back to the FWIC and out to other interested stakeholders, particularly floodplain landowners. Based on this distribution, the time period is now anticipated to be April 8 through the 22nd. Attendees agreed that getting assistance from the agriculture community is vital to the success of the plans. The FWWG products were subjected to substantial public review prior to approval by the River Resources Forum, and the FWIC agreed to follow a similar course. Attendees expressed a desire to serve the drafts on the web as a pdf file set. There is a dormant FWIC link from the RIFO website that the Chair will investigate for update and capability to serve this function. Corps staff also offered to post the draft pool plans. FWIC members were encouraged to submit digital photographs suitable for populating figure boxes noted in the draft. These photographs should be submitted as .jpg or.bmp files. In addition, graphs and charts appropriate to the text were also requested within the review timeframe.
Agenda item 5: Attendees discussed public involvement at length, and it was suggested that every available avenue be pursued to notify the interested public that the pool plans are being developed and their input is welcome. Some non-traditional approaches included notices in Soil and Water Conservation District newsletters, and RC&D newsletters. The chair agreed to explore these suggestions through the Service’s Illinois Partners for Fish and Wildlife Coordinator (Wayne Fischer). Other suggestions included the newsletters of sportsmen’s chapters of B.A.S.S., D.U., Pheasants Forever, and the Turkey Federation. Relative to this agenda item and agenda item 6, the attendees suggested that the open houses be jointly sponsored by UMIMRA, UMRBA, UMRCC, and that open house notices should be distributed under those groups’ logos. The FWWG open houses were sponsored by the Boundary Area Commission, and were considered to be agency-nuetral. The chair agreed to contact these groups for support.
Locations suggested were Quincy, Wapello, Rock Island, Clinton, Savanna, and Dubuque
Dates – Because we wish to maximize landowner participation it was suggested that we request a timeframe from UMIMRA preferably late May to early June to meet our July 1st deadline for completion of the plans.
Input management logistics were discussed. Attendees considered the spreadsheet record of raw comments by river mile used during the FWWG exercise seemed to be functional. Mark Cornish (Corps) volunteered to collate comments, and Mike Griffin (IaDNR) offered to take the first cut at comment response.
Agenda item 6: A concern expressed earlier in the meeting involved the general appearance of the pool plans as a “top-down” agency product versus a “bottom-up” or grassroots collaborative product. It was determined that FWIC partner agency logos should only be provided within the document, as a front piece or inside the back cover for example, versus on the cover. Other concerns involved the timing of the open houses, considering the upcoming field season and other ongoing activities such as the Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Study, for which public meetings may also be held. Other pitfalls are the usual reprioritizing of staff time for those responsible for plan products or processes. As a volunteer effort, the Pool Plans may continue to be negatively affected by other activities.
Agenda Item 7: At this time the FWIC is striving to complete these plans by July 1st, and anticipates future updates as appropriate when new information becomes available or technology advances change the ability to meet objectives. Discussion of tying the pool plan update cycle to the Habitat Needs Assessment cycle was inconclusive.
Water Level Management Subcommittee – The chair requested an updated participant list and those nominated or conscripted in absentia were Mike Griffin (IaDNR); Gretchen Benjamin and Jeff Janvrin (WIDNR); Ken Brummett and Janet Stern (MoDOC); Charlene Carmack and Kevin Landwehr (Corps), and a representative of the Corps Operations Division responsible for Locks and Dams (Bill Gretten has since volunteered for this); Ed Walsh, Tom Beissel, and Dan Sallee (IL DNR); Catherine McCalvern (TNC); Ed Britton and Karen Westphall (FWS).
The attendees reaffirmed the FWIC’s standing request to implement a drawdown in Pool 13 as the hydrograph allows, as described in the existing NEPA document. In addition, the FWIC requested that the District reanalyze the lower discharge limit, incorporating advanced dredging and placement of dredged material for island creation as described in the Sabula/Dark Slough Dredged Material Management Plan and draft Environmental Pool Plan. Charlene Carmack (Corps) suggested that a letter to the District Engineer would be appropriate to support our request. The chair agreed to provide correspondence.
Winter and small-scale drawdown suggestions were provided by the chair. The purpose of the winter drawdown would be to recreate a natural seasonal condition, to examine changes in soil/substrate chemistry and structure, and to examine plant and organism response. This suggestion raised a number of questions concerning impact to socially valued resources, water supply, and navigation structure effects. It was noted that such a drawdown may only be acceptable after completion of backwater dredging to ensure adequate overwintering habitat for fish.
The chair noted the Aqualevee Corporation’s interest in participating in a small-scale drawdown to demonstrate their product’s performance. Potential locations on lower Andalusia Island (Pool 16), Blackhawk Island (Pool 18), or on the Odessa management area were suggested. Discussion of NEPA compliance requirements for implementing drawdown-related habitat management resulted in a general opinion that such small scale activities are included in an FWS programmatic document for General Plan Land activities pursuant to the Cooperative Agreement.
Mike Griffin added that it may be very difficult to get the soils to dry because of seeping through and under the levees, based on St Paul District’s experience with Lizzy Paul Pond.
John Lindell (FWS) wants to look at Island 189 (Pool 11) for some rock work, wants to get it done before the small problem becomes a much larger one. An OSIT meeting to visit the site was requested as soon as condition allow.
Corps staff reviewed rock work priorities and noted that budget issues continue to impact priorities and completion dates. Reference the CARS spreadsheet (attachment 3).
Attendees were asked to consider developing an EMP-HREP proposal for bank protection similar to that undertaken through St Paul District’s program. Attendees agreed that it should be done, and it should be based on the developing pool plans.
The status of the Canton Chute Lower closing structure was discussed. In 2002, Corps maintenance staff struck the rock down to 6 feet below flat pool. Surveys were provided to demonstrate the before and after elevations at the site. Corps staff provided that even after knocking down the structure, an appearance of the structure remains, due to a large surface swell or boil in the vicinity. Corps staff agreed to survey the Chute up to the head of Deadman Island to detect any sediment transport response due to reduction of the structure.
Dredging for 2003 was discussed briefly, reference the spreadsheets for the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers (attachments 4 and 5).
Corps staff asked if island creation could be considered as wetland mitigation (if an island’s purpose is to create a sheltered littoral zone for establishment of a wetland gradient from submersed aquatics to emergents)? Attendees generally concurred that it could be an approach to mitigation if the island is stabilized.