|Date:||March 31, 2003|
|To:||Regional Interagency Executive Committee Members & Alternates Only|
|From:||David E. Busch, Acting Executive Director /S/ Dave Busch|
|Subject:||March 2003 Regional Interagency Executive Committee Meeting Notes|
Enclosed please find notes briefly summarizing the discussion and agreements from the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC) meeting on March 11, 2003. The primary focus of the meeting involved further discussions concerning the future interagency and intergovernmental organizational structure under the next NWFP Memorandum of Understanding. This topic was followed by multiple items including the upcoming Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC) and Northwest Natural Resources Forum agenda and format, follow-up on various assignments, progress reports from the various subcommittees, as well as, several hot topic presentations and announcements.
The RIEC calendar has been updated and clarified:
April 1, 2003 - Early morning RIEC meeting followed by an all day IAC meeting
May 13, 2003 - Cancelled
June 3, 2003 - Northwest Natural Resources Forum (all day)
Details and pre-work for these meetings will be sent to you shortly. This calendar is available on our website, along with meeting notes, prework, participant lists, etc. (www.reo.gov).
Steve Odell has departed to his new position with the U.S. Attorney's Office as of March 21, 2003. During a short transition period, the RIEC agreed that I would serve as the acting Executive Director. Anne Badgley, the outgoing Region 1 Director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, will be stepping into the role of REO Executive Director on April 7, 2003.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these notes, do not hesitate to contact me, your REO representative, or REO Management Analyst Kath Collier (503-808-2179).
• March 2003 RIEC Meeting Notes1804/kc
To: Regional Interagency Executive Committee Members & Designated Alternates
Anne Badgley, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Rowan Gould, US Fish & Wildlife Service (Alt)
Elaine M. Brong, Bureau of Land Management
Judy Nelson, Bureau of Land Management (Alt)
Jon Jarvis, National Park Service
Jim Shevock, National Park Service (Alt)
Linda Goodman, Forest Service
Lisa Freedman, Forest Service (Alt)
Bob Graham, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Col. Richard W. Hobernicht, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Curt Loop, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Alt)
Anne Kinsinger, USGS Western Region
Dave Busch, USGS/REO (Alt)
Robert Lohn, National Marine Fisheries Service
Mike Crouse, National Marine Fisheries Service (Alt)
Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Western Ecology Division, EPA
Dan McKenzie, Western Ecology Division, EPA (Alt)
Dave Powers, Environmental Protection Agency
Dan Opalski, Environmental Protection Agency (Alt)
Stan M. Speaks, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Alex Whistler, Bureau of Indian Affairs (Alt)
Tom Quigley, Pacific Northwest Station, Forest Service
Cindi West, Pacific Northwest Station, Forest Service (Alt)
California Federal Executives
Kent Connaughton, Forest Service
Kathy Anderson, Forest Service (Alt)
Steve Thompson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
John Engbring, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Alt)
Phil Detrich, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Alt)
Michael Pool, Bureau of Land Management
Paul Roush, Bureau of Land Management (Alt)
|Presenter/Sponsor: Steve Odell, Elaine Brong, and other RIEC members|
|REO Staff: Steve Odell (503-808-2166)|
|Topic: Executive Session RE: Future organizational structure|
|Issue Statement: This session provided an opportunity for committee members to receive some feedback related to the recent visits and presentations in the Washington Office by several executives. It also provided an opportunity for the executives to discuss in detail transitions, vision, and next steps.|
|Summary of Discussion: Steve Odell reviewed
the February 2003 RIEC meeting notes, process and the agreements made for
five key elements (REO Leadership; REO Tasks/Roles of REO Staff;
Administrative Support and Other Forms of Meeting Support; Location; and
Funding). Details on these agreements were included in the February
Elaine Brong recapped her visit to the Washington Office and presentation to the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture. She thanked the Regional Ecosystem Office staff for their 'lean and mean' presentation and indicated that the participants were very interested and discussed the matter for almost 45 minutes. The presentation, which will be summarized at the April IAC meeting, helped keep the audience focused. All of the recommendations made by the RIEC were supported by the group, and the desire to review and approve the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in an Interagency Steering Committee (ISC) meeting was expressed.
There was a discussion regarding the role of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC) and the other various FACA (Federal Advisory Committee) Groups. She indicated that the IAC had begun working better in the last year or two but that we needed to continue to keep the IAC focused on the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) and find ways that they can provide advice in an effective and timely manner.Elaine had an opportunity to speak with Don Knowles (previous REO Executive Director now with NOAA). He shared his concerns about maintaining relationships and making a commitment to participate and be involved in the process by both the executives and representatives. Elaine reiterated the agreement/commitment to continue to have a designated person to work on NWFP issues. Elaine indicated that the various players need to have regular contact and coordination so that issues can be addressed early on. Mike Crouse had also spoken recently with Don Knowles regarding the Healthy Forests Initiative and indicated that they were interested in adapting the NWFP implementation monitoring module for potentially other resource projects. He stressed the need to make sure that we had good documentation regarding this process because it was highly likely that other projects would be seeking it in the future.
Bob Graham was also recently in the WO making presentations regarding the Klamath Basin. Bob described the briefings that they had developed and how they had been used by the various Secretaries for higher level briefings. He discussed the new processes and progress that the groups were making, as well as the various aspects of the process. This project is particularly interesting because of the desire to create a collaborative plan together with members of the public. This idea was very receptive to upper management and will result in some funding support. Bob offered to share his presentation and summary plan with the RIEC.
|RIEC Decisions/Tasks/Assignments: Continue development of a new MOU, for IAC and ISC review|
|RIEC||During transition||RIEC agreed to appoint Dave Busch as the Acting Executive Director during transition|
|REO||March 21, 2003||Prework for the April 1 RIEC meeting should
- Draft summary of the RIEC operating principles
- Draft MOU
|REO Futures||Continue analysis regarding RMG, GIS, and PIEC/PAC support|
|REO||Develop a list of 'loose ends' that need to be addressed which could include AMA, RMG, GIS, PIEC/PAC support, IAC/RIEC, etc. As well as looking at how we will help the IAC move forward on these issues and help them provide meaningful advice (loose end).|
|Next Steps (who/what/when):Details regarding the April 1 RIEC meeting, and the following IAC meeting, will be distributed to you shortly.|
|Presenter/Sponsor: Dave Busch, 503-808-2192|
|REO Staff: Teresa Kubo, 503-808-2171|
|Topic: Preview of April 1, 2003 IAC|
|Issue Statement: Preview of April 1, 2003 IAC|
|Summary of Discussion: Two principal agenda themes were discussed. The first of these is a planned panel discussion on social and economic factors. The proposed panel speakers and topics were identified and highlights from an executive summary about this session were presented. The RIEC concurred that the panel presentation was a good idea. The second major theme will be an update on the future direction of the NWFP, including the development of a new MOU. The RIEC was comfortable with this portion of the agenda as well.|
|RIEC Decisions: The RIEC concurred with the draft IAC meeting agenda as discussed. The goal is to present the IAC with an overarching concept, sharing briefings and presentations, and look for advice on the overall direction for the MOU.|
|Next Steps (who/what/when): The IAC meeting is scheduled for April 1, 2003 following a RIEC meeting and pre-briefing for the non-Federal IAC members.|
|Presenter/Sponsor: Dave Busch|
|REO Staff: Dave Busch (503-808-2192); Jay Watson (503-808-2178)|
|Topic: Northwest Natural Resources Forum|
|Issue Statement: This discussion was targeted at building a clearer vision of what the NWNRF might include and how it might be structured and sponsored. The goal in this meeting is to get a sensing of Executive preferences, identify where there may be some broad agreements, and identify a sponsor to begin working on the initial meeting, which has been scheduled by the RIEC for June 3, 2003.|
|Summary of Discussion: Initial planning for
the forum could include a: summary of Federal, state, and local issues,
definition of success, definition of value (need), methods/procedures for
communication between entities, discussion of scales (e.g. regional,
provincial, watershed), review of lessons learned in other areas and
initiatives where collaboration was not the norm and has resulted in
better alignment and the establishment of a science subcommittee. Forums,
in other areas have resulted in increased agency involvement in policy
development, greater collaboration, greater use of global approaches,
increased efficiency and collaboration. Forums build on existing
structures and are not necessarily staff intensive.
Many members of the RIEC have had experience working with the California Biodiversity Council (CBC). In their view, the CBC has many features that could be used for the proposed Forum. For example, the CBC has an executive level commitment, includes local interests, identifies emerging issues, reduces duplication, and fosters cooperation. It was suggested that a catalog of existing groups (Western Governors' Association) with similar structures would be useful.
The results of the RIEC poll on forum topics and methods of presentation are appended to the end of these notes.
|RIEC Decisions: The initial forum should be small, without pre-briefs, encourage information exchange, include broad issues like and involve non-NWFP agencies and their research components (e.g. Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration). Meeting could involve field trips. Possible outcomes from the first meeting could include a future meeting with the states, tribes and others. Operational details will have to be worked out. It was agreed the presenters should identify the participants for the forum.|
|RIEC||Revisit in April||Share the idea of the NWNRF with State representatives and see if there is any interest and value at that level|
|Early April||Develop a purpose and Goals for the NWNRF|
|Next Steps (who/what/when): REO Executive Director Anne Badgley will meet with Bob Graham (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and others (USGS-BRD, NOAA-Fisheries, Farm Service Agency), in early April to initiate planning for a June 3, 2003, Northwest Natural Resources Forum. Forum topics, as detailed by the RIEC during their discussions, could include: issue identification and background (airsheds, fire, water issues including water allocation and quality, drought), agency activities associated with these issues, and lessons learned. During a close-out evaluation, the utility of the forum to various interests and governments, roles, sponsors, and participants could be determined next steps. The group agreed to focus on water issues for the coming year as their topic for the June NWNRF.|
|Presenter/Sponsor: Steve Odell (503-808-2166)|
|REO Staff: Gary Benson|
|Topic: AMA Interpretive Guidance Assignment|
|Issue Statement: During a RIEC Core Group Executive Session in October 2002, executives reviewed a matrix of potential actions that could be taken to help improve NWFP implementation. One such potential action called for development of interagency interpretive guidance for AMA standards and guidelines (S&Gs) to clarify that the primary goals of AMA management are to encourage a stronger role for affected communities and enhanced management flexibility to appropriately test S&Gs. The anticipated outcome was RIEC direction or guidance to be completed by approximately April 2003.|
|Summary of Discussion: The RIEC discussed a range of options, as outlined in the pre-work. These options were not inclusive and other ideas were welcome. During the discussion, the executives discussed the desire to encourage sharing successes at the local level, look for opportunities to coordinate with plan revisions, and look at a way to set the future long-term course in a more effective manner.|
|RIEC Decisions: RIEC agreed to focus on the #3 option: Encourage PIECs to utilize the new delegation criteria to utilize a much broader interpretation of the AMA S&Gs to allow for more innovative activity in AMAs within their respective provinces and more community involvement and participation. Local Federal land administrators could use the criteria to propose explicitly less stringent S&Gs, and/or increased use of the Research Exemptions for research activities specifically designed to test assumptions and hypotheses of the current S&Gs. In addition, the RIEC agreed to monitor and re-evaluate this decision after the EISs are done; to re-examine this discussion in 12 months; further discussions within REO.|
|Next Steps (who/what/when): Language regarding the RIEC decision will be added to the Exemption Criteria memo that is due to go out shortly.|
|Presenter/Sponsor: Elaine Brong, BLM (Subcommittee chair)/Dick Prather (503-326-2354)|
|REO Staff: Jay Watson (503-808-2178)|
|Topic: Summary Report from Survey and Manage Subcommittee|
|Issue Statement: The agencies continue to move forward with implementation of the S&M mitigation measures of the NWFP, as amended in January 2001. At the same time, on October 21, 2002, the Forest Service and BLM published a Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to remove the S&M measures from the NWFP and instead rely on other elements of the NWFP and existing FS Sensitive Species and BLM Special Status Species programs to provide habitat for rare or little-known species. The scoping period for the SEIS closed on November 20, 2002. The SEIS Team is currently in the process of preparing a SEIS that will analyze three alternatives.|
|Summary of Discussion: None|
|RIEC Decisions: None|
|Next Steps (who/what/when): The draft Survey and Manage SEIS is expected to be available for public comment in May.|
|Presenter/Sponsor: Kath Collier|
|REO Staff: Becky Loomis (503-808-2167)|
|Topic: FY 03 Agency MOU for Budget Exceptions|
|Issue Statement: The goal of this discussion was to close the discussion begun in September 2002 regarding how best to transfer funds between agencies to support the core REO expenditures. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recommended as the best way to document agreements made between agencies regarding surcharges. A simple MOU and documentation were created to support the September 2002 RIEC decision to look for ways to avoid surcharges since all of the agencies are benefitting from this exchange of funds and services. Agencies were asked to review the MOU and supporting documentation, so that the MOU could be signed off by the RIEC. Some agencies requested additional opportunities for review.|
|Summary of Discussion: In September 2002, the RIEC
unanimously agreed to find a way to avoid these surcharges, which could be
as much as 40 percent, to support the core REO services. Recently, there
have been changes in accounting processes within some agencies that have
necessitated the use of surcharges when monies are transferred between
agencies. Surcharges are typically assessed (based on the Economy Act of
1932 as amended, 32 U.S.C. § 1535) for fund transfers where there is not
a reciprocal agreement or benefit to agencies. Documented reciprocal
agreements and benefits, in theory, would make it possible to waive
surcharges. Signature of the MOU is totally voluntary but can save
The end goal is to ensure that the REO receives the basic funding and agencies have a clear idea of what they are spending to support the Northwest Forest Plan.
-- Agencies that choose to sign the MOU may
waive all surcharges.
The need to understand the impacts and processes involved in assessing surcharges, or documenting agreements and benefits, under the Economy Act is new to many agencies. Based on the recent audit by GAO of one of our partner agencies, it appears that these surcharges will need to be required on a routine basis for projects that use the Economy Act to transfer funds and where the reciprocal benefits have not been documented. This process, even though cumbersome, has helped to educate employees as to this change and may help agencies address similar future issues.
|RIEC Decisions: Provide authorization for signature if you are able to participate and close this issue as of April 1, 2003.|
|Next Steps (who/what/when): As signatures are approved, our staff will work to finalize the Interagency Agreements, and get funds obligated.|
NWFP-related Litigation - Steve Odell provided a brief update on some recent developments in NWFP-related litigation.
S&M and Annual Species Review - Terry Brumley reported that the FY 2002 Annual Species review has been completed for all 313 S&M Species. Eight species will be removed from Survey and Manage in all of their range and 5 others from part of their range. The preliminary estimate of known sites released for other resource considerations is 2075. Results will be sent to the field units shortly.ESA Status review on Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet - Jay Watson reported the Fish and Wildlife Service, in response to two lawsuits, has been directed by the Department of the Interior, to conduct 5-year reviews of the status of the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet. Team leaders have been assigned to these reviews.
Identification of non-high-priority sites for Red Tree Vole - Terry Brumley stated that the Survey and Manage Intermediate Managers Group has reviewed the Supplemental direction for programmatic identification of non-High Priority sites for red tree vole within the "Pilot" area. The supplemental direction has been forwarded to the RIEC Survey and Manage Subcommittee for approval.
Federal Executive Board meeting: RE Partnership for Public Service - Cathleen Callahan, Chair of the National Labor Relations Board, shared information about a March 20, 2003 meeting of the Oregon Federal Executive Board that will feature Max Stier, President of Partnership for Public Service, who will give an uplifting presentation on the Federal workplace. All are invited.Reminder/reaffirming near-term RIEC meeting schedule - Kath reviewed the schedule with the executives and reaffirmed that the May 13 meeting was canceled. Executives will want to revisit the calendar in June to assess the meetings that might be needed this calendar year.
Status Reports included in the meeting's prework materials provided updates on the following:
• Passage of FY03 Omnibus Appropriations Act
• 2003 REO Annual Report (provided as a handout)
• FWS's Not-Warranted Finding on Petition to List the California Spotted Owl under the ESA
• Latest developments on designating critical habitat and developing recovery plan for Bull Trout populations
An opportunity was provided for RIEC members to ask questions concerning the foregoing Status Reports. No such questions were asked. There was a comment however, regarding distribution and problems receiving multiple copies of the prework. We have been revising and streamlining the distribution lists within the REO for several months. Additional steps will be taken to further streamline this process and eliminate duplicates coming from the REO.
Meeting evaluation: A 'Plus/Delta' method was used to evaluate the meeting. Comments on the change side included suggestions to improve the number of copies and distribution problems, and that some participants felt uncomfortable with the unstructured time. On the 'Plus' side, Executives were very complimentary regarding the facilitation, the 'found time' during the Executive Session where they were able to talk in a more unstructured way and the opportunity to express differences of opinion. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to end the meeting 15 minutes early.
Reminder: Be sure to mark your calendars for April 28-30, 2003, for the "Innovations in Species Conservation" symposium. Assistant Secretary Craig Manson is the keynote speaker and RIEC Chair Elaine Brong will provide the summation address at the close of the conference.
March 2003 RIEC Meeting Attendees (update)
|Anderson, Kathy||FS-R5||Kinsinger, Anne||USGS/RES|
|Badgley, Anne||FWS||Loomis, Becky||REO|
|Brong, Elaine||BLM||Loop, Curt||USACE|
|Busch, Dave||RMG/USGS||Mabery, Ken||REO/NPS|
|Collier, Kath||REO||Mohoric, Shawne||REO/FS|
|Connaughton, Kent||FS, R5||Odell, Steve||REO|
|Crouse, Mike||NOAA-Fisheries||Pietrzak, Debbie||REO/BLM|
|Freedman, Lisa||USFS||Powers, Dave||EPA|
|Graham, Bob||NRCS||Shevock, Jim||NPS|
|Gravenmier, Becky||PNW||Watson, Jay||REO/FWS|
- Meeting Agenda
- FY 2002 Regional Ecosystem Office Annual Report
- Draft Budget MOU and Interagency Agreements Process Review documentation
- Proposed agenda for the April 1, 2003 IAC meeting
- Copy of the briefing paper and Powerpoint presentation made by Elaine Brong on March 5, 2003
- Executive Summary regarding the proposed IAC Socio-Economic Panel Discussion
- Extra copy of the Preference for the Northwest Natural Resources Forum FAX
- Copy of the May 16, 2000 memorandum to FS and BLM from REO RE: Policy Paper on Standards and Guidelines for the Adaptive Management Area System for Distribution
- Copy of the March 6, 2003 letter from REO to the RIEC regarding the Aquatic Restoration Project Information Coordination
- Copy of the flyer for the "Celebrate a Century of Conservation" Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge celebration
- Job opening information for an Executive Staff Assistant in BLM
- February 24, 2003 letter from the Oregon Federal Executive Board regarding the upcoming March 20, 2003 meeting and presentations
- Draft MOU in April - Red Tree Vole
- IAC feedback - did we hear you? - Effectiveness Monitoring Updates
- Potential Implementation Monitoring Modeling (Healthy Forests counterpart regulations)
- Wrap on Budget MOU