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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Habitat Needs Assessment

Technical Committee Meeting Highlights 21, 22 January 1999 Rock Island, Illinois

(25 January 1999)


Thirty-three persons attended the meeting to discuss the Technical Tasks listed in the HNA Project Management Plan. All five states, three Corps Districts and Mr. Jeffery Stein, of American Rivers were present. Mr Gordon Farabee, Missouri Department of Conservation chaired the meeting. Mr. Bob Clevenstine, Fish and Wildlife Service and Co-Chair of the HNA also led the discussion.


Mr. Bruce Carlson, St. Paul District and Chairman of the Public Involvement Committee, led off the meeting. He related that the Audubon Society, the Upper Mississippi Conservation Committee and the HNA are preparing to establish together a series of public meetings at cities in the UMR. The purpose of these meeting is to gather public input concerning the resources and future needs of the UMR. The public expectations and the science from the technical committee will form the basis of the desired habitat needs. Once complete these compiled needs will be revisited with the public for comments. Bruce also handed out materials which explains the Team's rationale for considering public involvement in the context of public, institutional and technical expectations for the "desired future conditions" of the Upper Mississippi River.


Mr. Paul Clouse, St. Louis District and Chairman of the Mapping Committee, followed and stated that the technical committee will lead the identification of mapping products. They must produce a work plan for the mapping group. He related some of the pit falls that the technical group should be aware of concerning the production of large numbers of maps. For example, there could be up to 48 maps produced per species! Everyone agreed that, considering the time and funds limitations for the HNA, that this would be an impossible task. Paul also expressed the need to establish a clear distinction between mapping and modeling. Modeling will need more data. Maps will be available in digital form either on the internet or on CDs.


Mr. Mike Davis, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, followed with a reference to work by Rip Sparks concerning the natural flow regime of the river and the need for biologists to work with these flows. He also wished for the HNA to consider past ecological conditions and physical processes in order to forecast the rate of change in selected resources (guilds and habitat types).


Mr. Chuck Theiling, Upper Midwest Science Center--USGS, discussed the available literature for much of the existing data that will form the basis of the HNA. He is presently working on the Navigation Study--Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway Cumulative Effects Study. This study may be available by March 1999 for members of the technical committee to review. Everyone agreed that they are looking forward to seeing the document. Chuck noted that there is a considerable difference in biological data available for the pools and the quality of the data is mixed. The LTRM trend pools are the only ones that have adequate data (Pools 4, 8, 13, 26, LaGrange and 80 miles, out of 200 miles, on the open river). The guilds are also complete in the study. They identified 23 aquatic and 52 terrestrial guilds to be considered. He related that water velocity data in the river is a problem as some of the large side channels in the lower pools carry more water than the main channel in the upper pools. A discussion followed concerning guilds, gap analysis and species/habitat and the seasonal selection of habitat, i.e.--spawn/food/over-winter. Ken Lubinski noted that identification of habitat needs will allow for a better understanding of EMP II products.


Mr. Dan Wilcox, St. Paul District, also reviewed the available data and literature on which the HNA will be built. He stated that river and floodplain geomorphology will determine future habitat needs and is the preferred source of available literature on which habitat change should be based. The Navigation Study includes a forecast of 50 years in the future for geomorphological changes. The Nav. study habitat types are based on the main channel area and the effects of passing traffic. Backwater analysis of habitats was not included in the study.


A lengthy discussion on determining habitat conditions followed. Concern was voiced with utilizing a classification that has not been applied systemwide. Dan noted that the 1989 data set on landuse/land cover classification was the most recent set available systemwide. The group recognized its limitations and acknowledged that it is the most coverage to date and will likely be our best base for which to aggregate habitat types. Problems with retrieval of State Natural Heritage data were discussed as was the National Gap Program, and the application of the Gap methodology to the HNA.


Chuck Theiling volunteered to head the group, which will write up the scope of work for Subtasks 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. Several other individuals volunteered to work with Chuck. The group will also provide sidebar directions for the Mapping Group so they can begin work. Chuck has announced that the first meeting is scheduled for 9 Feb. 1999--0900 at the Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center, West Campus, LaCrosse, Wis.


Gordon and Bob asked if the group was satisfied with the technical tasks as written in the Project Management Plan. They agreed that they were.


Respectively submitted:
Ron Yarbrough, St. Louis District

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