MEETING REPORT:

  NATIONAL MEETING OF
LARGE AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM
   PROGRAM MANAGERS

   OCTOBER 22 - 23,2007
    ST. Louis, MISSOURI
        OFFICE OF WATER
 U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
         APRIL 2008

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       NATIONAL MEETING OF LARGE AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM
                        PROGRAM MANAGERS
                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY	2

MEETING REPORT	4

  SESSION I: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND	4

    NATIONAL REVIEWS OF LARGE AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS	5
    BEST PRACTICES AND CHALLENGES	5
    SUMMARY OF SESSION 1	6

  SESSION II: STAKEHOLDERS, SCIENCE AND DATA, FEDERAL ROLE	6

    STAKEHOLDERS/PARTNERS	6
    SCIENCE AND DATA	7
    THE FEDERAL ROLE	8
    SUMMARY OF SESSION II	9

  SESSION III: SUPPORTING & ENHANCING LAE PROGRAMS	 10

    FUNDING	 10
    NON-POINT SOURCE/WETLAND DISCUSSION	 11
    LONG-TERM COORDINATION	 11
    SUMMARY OF SESSION III	 12

NATIONAL WATER DIVISION DIRECTORS MEETING	 13

ATTACHMENTS	 13

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                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The managers of Large Aquatic Ecosystem (LAE) programs met on October 22-23,2007, in St.
Louis, Missouri, at the request of EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, Benjamin Grumbles.
Large aquatic ecosystems represented at the meeting included:

       -   Chesapeake Bay;
          the Great Lakes;
          the Gulf of Mexico;
       -   Long Island Sound,
          South Florida;
       -   the Mexico Border;
       -   Puget Sound;
          the Columbia River; and
          the Pacific Islands.

Managers from the National Water Program and from the Office of Research and Development
also participated in the meeting, along with Water Division Directors from several regions. Jim
Giattina, Director, Water Management Division, EPA Region 4 chaired the meeting.

The meeting  purpose was to offer initial dialogue among managers of  LAE programs and
national water program mangers on how best to support and enhance efforts  to protect these vital
resources. LAE programs build upon and leverage their implementation within the boundaries of
the core water programs authorized in the Clean Water Act.  Three key objectives set the focus
for the meeting:

       1.  Share knowledge and experience related to managing large aquatic ecosystems.
       2.  Increase networking opportunities among ecosystem programs.
       3.  Agree upon key next steps regarding program support, reporting and coordination.
NEXT STEPS/ACTIONS

Four major policy-level actions were identified as a result of the meeting:

     Large aquatic ecosystem managers should respond to the several recent national large
      aquatic ecosystem reports and make recommendations to national water program
      managers concerning possible response actions;
     Large aquatic ecosystem program managers and national program managers should work
      together to communicate research priorities to the EPA Office of Research and
      Development and to comment on the ORD multi-year research plans related to large
      aquatic ecosystems;
     Large aquatic ecosystem programs need to be better integrated into Agency goal-setting,
      including development of the EPA Strategic Plan, annual program guidance, and budget;
      and
     Large aquatic ecosystem program managers should reconvene and develop a consortium
      of these programs with a clearly defined purpose.

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MEETING SUMMARY

Sessions I and II introduced the programs and participants and provided a summary of four
national reports on LAE programs.  The Meeting Chair acknowledged the  wide diversity of
ecosystem programs while also  indicating commonalities,  such as challenges to achieve non-
point source controls, and coordinating across many sectors and with many participants.

Session III discussed support mechanisms, such as budget and reporting, as well as challenges
facing non-point  source and wetlands management programs in EPA. The Chair acknowledged
that, despite good progress in the EPA mandated areas, wetlands loss and ecosystem degradation
continued. The Chair concluded that LAE programs must be embraced as critical to the national
environmental protection regime and  have strong ties to EPA's Strategic Plan and budget. There
was a consensus agreement to reconvene the LAE program managers in the future.

Additional important points made in the meeting were:

       LAE programs  share fundamental principles, challenges, and needs and there is general
       interest across the programs in exchanging knowledge and experience.

       Stakeholders and partners are  central to the management of LAE programs. While strong
       stakeholder efforts  are  evident  in every  program,  the group  acknowledged  that
       collaboration is never done.

   -   Both science and data are crucial elements of support to management decisions and buy-
       in from every level. Products need to be tailored to the end-user.

   -   EPA leadership is required on issues not traditionally within the OW or EPA purview,
       necessitating strong coordination across the federal sector.

       The LAE  programs should improve their reporting on success stories and innovations.

       The programs would benefit  from closer links with other EPA programs, such as the
       Office of Air and Radiation on mercury deposition and Superfund on sediment cleanup.

   -   A suggested strategy to help promote the LAE programs included the following:

          o  Track success of core EPA programs, especially  water programs, within
             individual Large Aquatic Ecosystems.
          o  Develop threshold criteria for Large Aquatic Ecosystem designation.
          o  Allow Large Aquatic Ecosystems to utilize performance partnership approaches
             to bundle and manage  resources.
          o  Commit to a regular schedule of rotating LAE program evaluations.
          o  Develop common suites of short and long-term measures to show results.
          o  Encourage program-level advocacy in budget and strategic planning efforts.

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                                 MEETING REPORT
SESSION I:  INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The Large Aquatic Ecosystem (LAE) program managers met on October 22-23, 2007, in St.
Louis Missouri. The meeting was held at the request of EPA Assistant Administrator for Water,
Benjamin  Grumbles  (see attached meeting  invitation  memo). Large  aquatic  ecosystems
represented at the meeting included:

   -   Chesapeake Bay;
       the Great Lakes;
   -   the Gulf of Mexico;
       Long Island Sound,
       South Florida;
   -   the Mexico Border;
   -   Puget Sound;
       the Columbia River; and
   -   the Pacific Islands.

Managers from the National Water Program and from the Office of Research and Development
also participated in the meeting along with Water Division Directors from several regions. Jim
Giattina, Director, Water Management Division, EPA Region 4 chaired the meeting. Martha
Shimkin, of The Track Group, facilitated the meeting. A list of meeting participants is attached.

The meeting purpose was to offer initial dialogue among managers of LAE programs and
national water programs  on  how  best to  support and enhance  efforts to protect these vital
resources. LAE programs build upon and leverage their implementation within the boundaries of
the core water programs authorized in the Clean Water Act.

Three key objectives set the focus for the meeting:

       1.  Share knowledge and experience related to managing large aquatic ecosystems.

       2.  Increase networking opportunities among ecosystem programs.

       3.  Agree upon key next steps regarding program support, reporting and coordination.

Interviews with each of the programs had taken place in advance and helped prepare the agenda
and discussions. The meeting began with introduction  of the participants  and the ecosystems
represented.  Desired meeting outcomes expressed by participants at their introductions fell into
four key categories:

   -   networking among programs, especially to share lessons and ideas,
       increasing program support,
       thinking strategically about new and existing ecosystem programs,
   -   and strengthening links with the core water programs.

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Each  program  shared its  unique features  and  highlighted a  recent  success  in  program
management. The features revealed the breadth and depth of the LAE programs, e.g:

   -   Largest land to surface water area (Chesapeake Bay)
   -   The only river among the programs (Columbia River)
   -   Largest of the LAEs - drains 40% of U. S. waters (Gulf of Mexico)
   -   Contains 3 distinct programs (South Florida)
   -   Bi-national (Great Lakes)
       Has 2 openings with the ocean (Long Island Sound)
   -   The only fjord system in the U.S. (Puget Sound)
       Largest wilderness east of the Mississippi (South Florida)

Reported   successes  by   some   participants   emphasized   management  and  structural
accomplishments, such as strong program initiation, solid authorizations and good fits within the
EPA strategic plan and core OW programs. Others reported programmatic successes including
such achievements as coral reef and forestry management, and consistency across states on
adopted water quality standards.
NATIONAL REVIEWS OF LARGE AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS

Katharine Dowell, Office of Water, presented four recently conducted national studies on LAE
programs. Studies considered were:

       Environmental Law Institute: Implementing Ecosystem-based Management:  Governance
       Gaps, Conflicts and Needs, 2005

       National Academy of Public Administration: Taking Environmental Protection to the
       Next Level:  An Assessment of the U.S. Environmental Services Delivery System, 2007

       Northeast Midwest Institute: Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration Initiatives: Lessons for
       Existing and Emerging Initiatives, 2005

       National Research Council:  Mississippi River Water Quality and the Clean Water Act:
       Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities, 2007

(The PowerPoint presentation on these reports is attached.)

Discussion following the presentation centered on three themes: 1)  cross-cutting budgets,  2)
opportunities for cooperation and linkages within and  across LAEs  and, 3) a  consensus
commitment to review and respond to the studies.

BEST PRACTICES AND CHALLENGES

Throughout the meeting, Martha Shimkin, the meeting facilitator, provided feedback from the
preparatory interviews conducted  with  each of  the LAE  programs.  Two interview topics
presented at the start of the meeting  concerned best practices and challenges:

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    -   Best Practices: The theme that LAE programs most often cited was coordination across
       federal agencies, state and local organizations. Nearly all programs noted the importance
       of federal agencies coordinating among each other to identify appropriate roles. Benefits
       from partnerships included fostering collaborative problem-solving, gaining buy-in and
       general consensus, and transparent decision-making. Good definition of the program was
       another best practice, as were success in leveraging resources,  working both within and
       outside  of  regulatory  programs, working  within  a  strategic   framework,  strong
       communication efforts, and securing long-term support.

    -   Challenges: The  challenges  presented were varied. They included  defining issues and
       priorities for investment decisions, and managing expectations of communities, states and
       the federal government.  Regarding program effectiveness, facilitation of both trust and
       consensus were deemed central to success, yet hard to quantify and measure. In many
       cases, access to data, data sharing and measuring results were viewed as tremendously
       complicated. Determining the federal versus  state roles in terms of accountability, and
       where resources come from, further challenged the programs. Programs wanted to move
       beyond planning  and management to program implementation, and they noted  that
       accomplishing  work by committee, while important for ecosystem programs, was time
       and resource-intensive. Other challenges mentioned included finding  sufficient  resources,
       obtaining political buy-in, and securing long-term support from the Agency.

SUMMARY OF SESSION I

The Meeting Chair summarized the first session, reminding participants that  all ecosystem
programs are unique yet they face a mutual challenge: to achieve non-point source controls, with
shared accountability,  sufficient resources, and long-term investment in natural resources while
coordinating across many sectors and with many participants. Two summary questions the Chair
raised  were:  What  is EPA  accountable for? And how best  do the  LAE programs describe
themselves? The chair also reminded the group of its recommendation to  respond to the four
studies presented in this session.
SESSION II:  STAKEHOLDERS, SCIENCE AND DATA, FEDERAL ROLE

The second session of the meeting focused on three of the themes that were raised by the four
LAE studies:  Stakeholders, Science and Data, and the Federal Role.

STAKEHOLDERS/PARTNERS

The session on Stakeholders began with a presentation by Mary Lou  Soscia of the Columbia
River Program, on their experiences in working to reduce toxics in the Columbia River through
partnerships and collaboration. This program gives primary focus to toxins in fish, an indicator
of water contamination and a sustenance issue for the many local tribes.  The  program had
employed a facilitated meeting technique  to bring together numerous  tribes, federal and state
governments  and other parties to develop focus, goals, and actions for the program. This enabled
the group to set priorities which were: monitoring, public information and toxins reduction. (The
PowerPoint presentation is attached.)

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The work not only achieved buy-in from all partners but has also resulted in successes, such as
Oregon's pesticide stewardship partnership, Washington's sediment cleanup program, and a push
to change Oregon's water quality standards to make fish consumption levels more reflective of
tribal  consumption patterns. A more general success has been widespread participation in the
program  for very  little  financial investment on  the  part of EPA.  Program  priorities include
monitoring, public information, and toxics reduction.

Martha  Shimkin  next presented pre-meeting participant  interview feedback regarding  the
importance of stakeholders. These benefits were  consistently cited across the programs: better
buy-in, better decisions,  improved resource leveraging, knowledge sharing, building momentum,
and achieving implementation. The programs named several categories of stakeholders, such as
states, local government, tribes, non-governmental organizations, federal agencies, other national
governments, the  polluters, and those who share  the  watershed resource. Many mentioned the
structures used to bring in stakeholders, which ranged from formal advisory committees, to
community groups and interested individuals. The programs shared their successes in bolstering
stakeholder participation, while highlighting continued needs for:

          Persistence
       -   Continued/additional human resources
       -   Long-term commitments
          Implementation commitments
          Sufficient/consistent funding

Methods used to bring in stakeholders included conference calls, outreach efforts, outreach to
schools,  meetings  and conferences,  sector and  media  based  initiatives,  well  defined
responsibilities, websites, and multi-cultural efforts (in particular, language).

The discussion on stakeholders concluded that they are central to the success of LAE programs.
There was a  distinction drawn between stakeholders that act as advisors and  those  who
implement. The programs need to focus efforts on finding stakeholders who can fill  gaps and
meet program needs.

Actions

The discussion identified two key points:
       -   Better coordination of stakeholders
       -   Dedicated  travel money and  human  resources  to  continue  strong  stakeholder
          involvement

SCIENCE AND DATA

To begin a discussion on Science and Data relating to LAEs, Paul Horvatin, of the Great Lakes
National Program Office (GLNPO) presented his program's experience in using the annual State
of the Lakes report to inform partners and the public. This program has years of experience in
tracking data relating to the Great Lakes. For example, the program reports that ten years into a
Bi-National Toxics Strategy,  the program's  focus  on decreasing backyard refuse burning has
resulted in a 60% reduction of toxics in the lake waters. The program highlighted that new and

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emerging science was needed to address issues of invasive species and crashing food webs in
some of the lakes. (The PowerPoint presentation is attached.)

Discussion followed the presentation, focusing on three topics: funding, reporting, and support
from ORD. It was noted  that GLNPO has achieved tremendous leveraging of EPA data and
assessment money; e.g., USFWS champions aquatic habitat and is able to tie their Great Lakes
support work into their own strategic plan.

Martha Shimkin again reported on  feedback from  the pre-meeting interviews, highlighting
strengths, challenges and needs for science and data support:
               SCIENCE
                 DATA
              Strengths
Strong science base
Sophisticated models
Strong science interest
Good tools
ORD collaboration
   -  labs, ecosystem services plan
Good role for EPA

             Challenges
Collaboration with ORD
Some science not available
How science aids at local level
Political disinterest
Lack of public understanding
                Needs
Bridge into ORD planning process
Better organization
Targeted investments
More science support	
               Strengths
Large dollar investment
Role for EPA
GIS-based data collection/report
NEP wealth of data
Information exchange
Stakeholder support
EPA data repository

               Challenges
Use at local level
Broader use of data
Lots of data: how to use
Transmitting data to stakeholders
       simple to understand and compelling
Data management
Synthesis
Money sink

                 Needs
Accessing,  analyzing & synthesizing data
Program input on data plans
Money to support and maintain systems
Data sharing (from collectors)	
Actions

The discussion resulted in two action items:
       The LAE  programs should attempt to bridge research needs into the  ORD planning
       process
       There is a request that the LAE programs input reports into STORET.

THE FEDERAL ROLE
Jeff Lape and Diana Esher presented the Chesapeake Bay Program experience on working with
states and other federal agencies. The Chesapeake  Bay Program has strong state and federal

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mandates which,  among other benefits, co-locate staff from several universities and federal
agencies in  one office in the Chesapeake Bay area. This has resulted  in strong,  day-to-day
working relationships across federal and state programs,  and it has helped  in the development of
program goals,  daily implementation, shared leadership  and problem-solving. (The PowerPoint
presentation is attached.)

With the Chesapeake Bay facing the prospect of decreasing water quality over the next 5-10
years   due   to  continuing population  growth  and   land  development,  despite excellent
environmental management progress, the discussion after the presentation centered on a common
LAE topic: how to foster sustainable development. The Bay program is developing an approach
to limiting stormwater impacts by promoting "no-impact development." Programs shared similar
concerns about  how to set manageable expectations of the federal role,  and how to deal with
accountability when ecosystem degradation is not under  the purview of the EPA or other partner
agencies. Other discussion points included providing flexible or combined federal funding for
programs so they can  better  invest in priorities. Programs  shared experience  with awarding
pooled funds, such as the Long  Island Sound "Futures Fund" that combines the resources of
EPA,  NOAA and NRCS. However, a note of caution was sounded about federal partners'
perceptions of losing control of their funds.

Martha Shimkin provided feedback from the pre-meeting interviews which confirmed the point
that the LAE programs rely on cross-agency collaboration in order to cover large  geographic
spans as well as a diversity of issues that fall under  various mandates. Coordinating across the
federal  sector was bolstered by mandates and  directives where  agencies were required to
coordinate. In addition, inter-agency agreements, flexible funding  mechanisms  to  pool funds
across agencies, and good definitions of agency roles were means to  support better coordination.
Success in cross-agency coordination was helped by  co-location of staff,  inter-agency panels to
address specific concerns (such as financing), and pooling expertise.

Programs shared that senior management interest from within  OW was important. Mandates and
directives were  especially helpful in achieving more  coordination across federal agencies. Staff
and money are needed, especially to support a long-term, sustainable perspective.

SUMMARY OF SESSION 11

Jim Giattina summarized the  session, reminding the  group that collaboration is never done and
recognizing that  there were  several models for managing  LAE  programs, which is to be
expected, given the diversity  of programs at hand. He helped to  define the  term  stakeholder as
anyone who wants to  help solve the problem, and he pointed out that science and targeted
monitoring support good communication. He referred to  a quote from Fred McManus, of the
South   Florida  Program,  "The  key  to  achieving environmental  results  is successfully
engaging/working with all stakeholders in a true partnership to implement priority actions to
reduce or eliminate sources of pollution. We should strive to build capacity of local stakeholders
to help solve problems."

The Chair highlighted the group consensus  to  provide  input to ORD's  multi-year research
agenda by coordinating a science needs plan for the LAEs, and that a data rich program leads to
better  policy decisions, thus the importance  of continued investment  in monitoring  and
information.  On  coordination across federal  agencies,  the Chair reminded the  group  that

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coordination is relations-based and that trust relations take time to build. He concluded that
EPA's leadership  role  as a  convener of  federal agencies is essential to good working
relationships in the future.
SESSION III!  SUPPORTING & ENHANCING LAE PROGRAMS

The  Meeting  Chair opened Session III, reminding the group  of two action items already
identified: the collective response  to national reports on LAEs, and  working with ORD to
integrate research needs for LAEs into long-term research planning. The Chair also brought forth
the challenge of accountability that the LAE programs face as they are responsible for programs
that span media and agency mandates or authorities.

FUNDING

Tim  Fontaine, Senior Resource Official, OW, and  Jeff  Peterson, OW/Immediate Office,
presented an overview of LAE programs in the EPA budget and strategic  plan. A copy of the
PowerPoint for this presentation is attached. This provided background to the federal budgeting
process, painting a global picture of continued growth in mandatory federal programs which
leads to decreasing availability of budget for  discretionary programs. He noted Congressional
interest in specific projects, for example  the Chesapeake Bay Program, Puget Sound, and the San
Francisco Bay - these will likely receive Congressional earmarks to secure funding. Another
positive note made was  that LAE programs to date have received relatively more funding that
other OW programs. Recommendations were  to strengthen links between  OW's core program
and the  LAEs, as well as  links to the EPA Strategic Plan. Of particular interest to  OMB was
strong data and clear endpoints. (The PowerPoint presentation is attached.)

Martha  Shimkin provided feedback from pre-meeting interviews  on funding,  stating  that
universally, the programs sought flexibility so they could invest in the program priorities. Not
only was sufficient funding needed, but  also consistent funding, and a long-term perspective. An
ultimate goal of some programs was to get a line item in the federal budget, which would address
funding sufficiency and consistency. Some flexibility came from pooling with other federal
agencies and seeking matching funds from state and local governments. A few programs pointed
out that  funding for  program  management was sufficient  but  funding needs for  ecosystem
restoration were in the billion dollar range.

Discussion

An involved discussion  followed, covering several areas, starting with recognition of the wide
disparity of funding levels and mechanisms across the LAE  programs. An  interesting comment
was made about the LAE programs serving as a "learning lab" for EPA, as the agency seeks to
trend away from traditional "stovepipe" management. It was  also noted that programs needed to
do a better job of reporting their accomplishments. Some points made were:

       The programs need to play strong roles in planning, budgeting and reporting processes to
       get the attention of Regions,  OW, the Agency, OMB and Congress.
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       Congress gets very  interested  and becomes willing to work with EPA once they
       understand and can support a program.  They like to see greater results in the shorter term
       vs. tiny increments at the national level.
       The programs need to link to core water programs, possibly helped by  a crosswalk
       between the water goal (goal 2) and the ecosystem goal (goal 4).  It was noted that
       experience with integrating other EPA core media programs has varied: some have been
       cooperative, while others have resisted using LAEs as a program delivery venue.
   -   Programs noted that annual reporting was less indicative of environmental results than
       multi-year reporting. Yet, for the agency results reporting, annual measures were needed.
       Good program evaluation was considered  essential and a possibility of following  the
       National Estuary Program reporting model was suggested.

Actions

The discussion identified three key points:
   -   Annual measures need to feed into longer-term measures and both should be reported.
       National LAEs should coordinate reporting for future budgets.
   -   LAE program leaders, and Regions as well as OW, must advocate for each of the LAE
       programs especially in the Agency budget and planning processes.

NON-POINT SOURCE/WETLAND DISCUSSION

The original agenda was revised to accommodate a desire on the part of the programs to discuss
the issues and challenges of nonpoint sources and wetlands. Tom Eaton, of Region 10, led  the
discussion, pointing  out  that EPA had a relatively  small role to  play in  overall ecosystem
protection. This presents accountability challenges and highlights a need to build stronger federal
agency as well as state and local cooperation, and to manage expectations. Despite good progress
in the EPA-mandated areas, both wetlands loss and ecosystem degradation continue, mostly due
to population growth and land development   areas in which EPA has no jurisdiction. The
programs agreed that they had to increase collaboration with some of the large federally funded
programs, such as  USDA and Department of Transportation. Other policy actions, such as  tax
incentives for zero-impact development initiatives, or withholding highway funds in association
with state decisions and actions that resulted in ecosystem harm were suggested.

Actions

The discussion identified two key points:
       Catalogue innovations and successes-
          o  tell a watershed success story, relate story to the larger program
          o  use measures as a base, developing a "logic model"
       Secure funding to address the problems through better inter-agency coordination and
       potential incentive/disincentive policies.

LONG-TERM COORDINATION

Martha Shimkin initiated the concluding discussion regarding coordination across LAE programs
and provided feedback from the interviews. The feedback was divided into both statements of
purpose and strategy for long-term coordination, and shared program concerns and needs. One

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shared advantage of long-term coordination was the opportunity to strengthen linkages among
LAE programs and with the core OW programs. In addition, the opportunity for sharing tools
and experience, networking, gaining input to problem-solving and having colleagues across the
country were foreseen as positive outcomes from a consortium of LAE programs.

Programs suggested various mechanisms of coordination, such as annual or bi-annual meetings
and periodic conference calls. They also suggested a central Headquarters coordinator for the
programs, which would also help them integrate with the EPA strategic plan. For the most part,
programs wanted  to  be part of this  formative LAE consortium, but noted as their primary
concern, that there must be an added value to participation  in such a group maintained over the
long term.

The following needs were identified to sustain long-term coordination:

   -   Clearly define the purpose and value of the consortium, including meaningful exchange
       of information.
       Manage accountability and expectation from the LAE programs.
       OW and EPA  leadership should reaffirm the importance of the LAE program to the EPA
       mission.
       OW leadership needs to make a  long-term commitment to the LAE programs and their
       consortium.

Actions

Several next steps were identified:
       Set up networks for practitioners to foster communication at staff level.
   -   Define a hard-hitting purpose that describes the value added by this consortium.
   -   Reflect the LAE program in EPA's next strategic plan. With this, promote the concept of
       the LAE programs as "geographical laboratories" for EPA.
   -   Bridge LAE research needs into ORD's research planning agenda.
   -   Reconvene the LAE program group with OW Headquarters and Regional support.
       Consider meeting around specific themes and actions.

SUMMARY OF SESSION III

The Chair summarized Session III, highlighting the rich discussion and dialogue that this one-
day meeting generated. He defined the LAE programs as loosely fitting within the Agency
framework, constituency-based, and unique multi-media programs. He concluded that, despite
this uniqueness, LAE  programs  must  be embraced as critical  to OW  and EPA's national
environmental protection regime with strong ties to the Strategic Plan and budget. Questions
remain on how to engage stakeholders and how to recognize innovation while also applying core
programs and overall accountability. The consensus agreement to reconvene the LAE programs
in the future would be a useful next step.
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NATIONAL WATER DIVISION DIRECTORS MEETING

The  Meeting Chair summarized  the National Meeting of Large  Aquatic Ecosystems at the
National Water Division Directors Meeting which followed the LAE meeting. This subsequent
meeting was chaired by the Office of Water Assistant Administrator Benjamin Grumbles.

Follow-up actions identified and tentative lead responsible parties:

   1.  Create collective  Agency response re: NAPA and other reports' recommendations and
       brief AA. [OW with all LAEs, Regions]

   2.  Develop program/region-based coordinated science needs list to bridge into ORD multi-
       year plan. Work with lead ORD Region (Region I) [Chesapeake Bay Program lead]

   3. Enhance accountability and reporting:
       -   Begin clarifying and  articulating EPA's LAE role  relative to restoration and
          protection expectations. [Jeff Peterson, Mike Mason, OWOW]
          Begin to  develop a process to revisit goal setting and Strategic Plan linkages.  [LAE
          lead TBD]

   4.  Consider drawing closer national connections with other media programs in context of
       Strategic Plan:  e.g.,  w/ OAR.  (Note: Superfund connection solid in several  LAEs
       already) [Jeff Peterson, Mike Mason with LAEs, Regions]

   5.  Reconvene LAE  program managers consortium around shared goals:  [OW,  OWOW,
       LAEs], e.g.
       -   Focus on tracking successes of core OW programs within LAEs.
       -   Develop threshold criteria for LAE designation and allow LAEs to utilize
          performance partnership (PPG) approaches to bundle/manage resources.
          Commit to regular (rotating?) LAE program evaluations, (e.g., NEPs)
       -   Develop a few common suites of short and long-term measures tied to the Strategic
          Plan to show results.
          Staff at HQ- OW and Regional levels  the role of advocate for LAEs.
 ATTACHMENTS

    1.  Final meeting agenda
    2.  List of participants
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                                          Attachment 1


             National Meeting of Large Aquatic Ecosystem
                             Program Managers
                             October 22-23, 2007
                              St. Louis, Missouri

Purpose:
      To begin the first step in a dialogue process among managers of large aquatic ecosystem
      programs and national program mangers on how best to support and enhance efforts to
      protect these vital resources.

Objectives:
      4. Share knowledge and experience related to managing large aquatic ecosystems.
      5. Increase networking opportunities among ecosystem programs.
      6. Agree upon key next steps re: program support, reporting and coordination.


October 22

               SESSION I - INTRODUCTIONS & UNDERSTANDINGS

1:00 pm      Introduction and Purpose                           (5 minutes)
             Jim Giattina, Region 4, Meeting Chair

             Participant Introduction                            (10 minutes)
             Each participant introduces themselves, stating hopes for the meeting.

             Large Aquatic Programs                            (10 minutes)
             Each Large Aquatic Ecosystem (LAE) program has one representative give a 3-
             sentence overview of their ecosystem program,  including  one statement about a
             unique feature of the program, and one success  of the program. Facilitator will
             record the feature and success of each program.  The purpose of this is to set the
             stage,  increase  awareness  of other programs,  and establish  grounds  for
             discussion throughout the meeting and breaks.

1:25 pm      Four Recent Studies & Reports:  Implications for Large Aquatic
             Ecosystem Program Management  Katharine Dowell, OW  (15 min)
               National Academy of Public Administration
               Northeast/Midwest Institute
               Environmental Law Institute
               National Research Council

"1:40         Lessons Learned  Feedback from the Interview Process (20 minutes)
                Coordination across agencies, governments, organizations
               Partnering with state and local governments
                Clear definition of the program

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                 Working within a strategic framework
                Integrating science into decision-making
                Need for long term support
                 Good internal and external communication
                Political will and good leadership

             Discussion
             Do you agree with this list? Is anything missing? Which are easily done? Which
             pose challenges? Opportunity to ask/answer questions among the programs.

2:00 pm     Challenges  Feedback from the Interview Process (30 minutes)
                 Coordination  difficulties and resource intensive
                Resources  human, financial, technical
                Political Will  interest, political baggage, transition
                Long-Term View  especially in HQ support
                Data  so much data, so little capability to deal with it
                Best Practices - how to share, promote them
                Issue Specific -- various issues found challenging (population growth, storms,
                toxics in fish, etc.)

             Discussion
             Do you agree with this list? Is anything missing? Which are easily done? Which
             pose challenges? Opportunity to ask/answer questions among the programs.

2:30 pm     Summary of Session I                                (15 minutes)
             Jim Giattina, Meeting Chair
                Heard from the various groups.
                Learned of commonalities on lessons learned and challenges.
                 Overall reactions? Other points?

2:45 pm     BREAK
           SESSIONII - PARTNERS. SCIENCE, AND THE FEDERAL ROLE

3:00 pm     Coordinating with Partners and Stakeholders

             Presentation by the Columbia River Program -Mary Lou Soscia Reducing
             Toxics in the Columbia River through Partnerships &
             Collaboration                                        (10 minutes)

             Stakeholders: Successes and Challenges                (20 minutes)
             What has worked and not worked. Why are stakeholders so important? What are
             the NAPA report, and other studies, saying about the need for more work here?
             Do you agree with the recommendations?

             Discussion                                           (10 minutes)
             e.g,, What is needed to better coordinate with partners and stakeholders?
             Opportunity for follow-up: What next steps could or should the group, including

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             headquarters, commit to in order to improve or support partner/stakeholder
             coordination?
3:40 pm     Science and Data
             Presentation by the Great Lakes Program - TBD    (10 minutes)
             State of the Lakes: Using Science to Inform Partners and the Public

             Science: Strengths and Challenges                     (10 minutes)
             Facilitator asks participants: what has worked, then highlights challenges.

             Data: Strengths and Challenges                       (10 minutes)
             Facilitator asks participants: what has worked, then highlights challenges.

             Discussion                                           (20 minutes)
             What is needed to improve science and data in the programs? Opportunity for
             follow-up: What can the group, including headquarters, commit to in order to
             improve science and data support for LAEs?

4:30 pm      The Federal Role

             Presentation by the Chesapeake Bay Program  Jeff Lape/Diana Esher Working
             on a Daily Basis with States and Other Federal Agencies  (10 min)

             Coordinating  across Federal Government              (20 minutes)
             Participants to share best practices, then discuss challenges.

             Discussion
             How can the LAEprograms improve cross-agency coordination? How can
             Headquarters help with this? Opportunity for follow-up: What can the group,
             including headquarters, commit to in order to generally help improve cross-
             coordination?

5:00 pm      Summary of Session II                                (30 minutes)
             Jim Giattina, Meeting Chair
             Note that today's discussion was one step in response to reports, and the types of
             success and challenges highlighted. Highlight any commitments to work towards
             improvements, and who is responsible. Next day will focus on support and
             enhancement, and coordination. Close for day.

5:30 pm      ADJOURN

6:30 pm      Optional Group Dinner  Hannegan 's Restaurant and Pub.
             The restaurant is a reasonably short walk from the hotel.
             Address:  719 North Second St., St. Louis 63102.
             Phone: 314-241-8877 http://www.hannegansrestaurant.com
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October 23

            SESSION III- SUPPORTING & ENHANCING LAE PROGRAMS

8:30 am     Opening                                            (10 minutes)
             Jim Giattina, Meeting Chair
             Review of day before. The purpose of today is to think about where the LAEs want
             to go as a group. Introduce next topic & speakers.

             Presentation from Office of Water - Tim Fontaine and Jeff Peterson
             Overview of Large Aquatic Ecosystem Programs in the EPA Budget and Strategic
             Plan                                          (15 minutes)

             Discussion                                          (20 minutes)
             Opportunity for dialogue between OW presenters and the LAE programs.

9:15 am     Funding - Feedback from the Interviews        (30 minutes)
                Flexibility of funding
                Allow program to fund the priorities
                Sufficiency
                Consistency
                Need for funding restoration, not just program management
                Matched funding with states, local governments
                Coordination with other federal agencies
                Line items in the budget
                Leverage funding

             Discussion
             e.g., Invite representatives from headquarters staff, core programs, ecosystem
             programs to comment. What are the reactions to the feedback? Talk about
             funding flexibility. How to address billion dollar price tags for restoration work?
             Opportunity for follow-up: Develop key messages on funding mechanisms, levels,
             etc. Next steps?

9:45 am     Progress Reporting/Identify Best Practices            (30 minutes)

             Presentation by the Gulf of Mexico Program  Bryon Griffith,
             "Setting Shared Goals Establishes the Best Foundation. " (10 minutes)

             Discussion
             There is consensus on the need for shared goals/ reporting. Currently, what is
             being asked of the programs is found in the EPA strategic plan. In the future,
             what will be reported? To whom? How can emerging best practices be promoted?
             Opportunity for follow-up: Agreement on next steps re: reporting requirements, to
             address, e.g., timing, updating and who programs  report to.

10:15 am    BREAK
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10:30 am    Defining Large Aquatic Ecosystem Programs     (30 minutes)
            In the interview process, there were questions on the definition of Large Aquatic
            Ecosystem programs.  How much variation in  geographic scale,  funding, and
            mission makes sense?  How should conclusions be reflected in the revision of
            Goal 4 of the EPA Strategic Plan?

            Long-Term Coordination  Feedback from the Interviews
            Facilitator will summarize.

            Discussion
            Are there key aspects of Large Aquatic Ecosystem Programs?

11:00 am    Summary of Session III                             (15 minutes)
            Jim Giattina, Meeting Chair
            Summarize discussion and next steps.

11:15 pm    Key Points for Afternoon's WDD Meeting Report-Out  (45 minutes)
            Jim Giattina, Meeting Chair, moderator
            Facilitator will summarize conclusions; discussion of next steps, and key
      messages for WDDs.

12:00 pm    LUNCH BREAK:  Join WDDs Meeting at 1 pm
               National Water Division Directors Meeting
                               St. Louis, Missouri
                              October 23 - 25,2007
1:00 - 1:10   Welcome to WDDs meeting
             [Jim Giattina, R4]

1:10-1:30   Opening Remarks
             [Ben Grumbles, OW\

1:30 - 2:00   Large Aquatic Ecosystem Report-Out
             [Jim Giattina, R4 / Jeff Peterson, OW\

             This session will provide an overview and report-out from the Large Aquatic
             Ecosystem Meeting held October 22-23, 2007.

2:00         LAE Meeting Adjourns/continue with WDDs ...
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Large Aquatic Ecosystem
  Meeting Participants
                          ATTACHMENT 2

Chesapeake
Bay
Columbia
River Basin
Great Lakes
Long Island
Sound
Puget Sound
South Florida
OW-
Immediate
Office
OW-
Wastewater
Mgt
OW -Wetlands
Oceans
Watersheds
Office of
Research and
Development
Region 3
Region 4
Region 5
Region 6
Region 7
Contacts
Jeff Lape
Diana Esher
Marylou Soscia
Ann Williamson
Paul Horvatin
Mark Tedesco
John Gabrielson
Tom Eaton
Mike Gearheard
Fred McManus
Benjamin Grumbles
Katharine Dowell
Jeff Peterson
Tim Fontaine
Judy Davis
Suzanne Schwartz
Benita Best-Wong
Paul Cough
Theresa Trainor
Chuck Noss
Jon Capacasa
Jim Giattina
Connie Roberts
Tim Henry
Miguel Flores
Betty Berry
Phone
410-267-5709
215-814-2706
503-326-5873
206-553-2739
312-886-3612
203-977-1541
206-553-4183
360-753-8086
206-553-7151
404-562-9385
202-564-5700
202-564-1515
202-564-5771
202-564-0318
202-564-0748
202-566-1233
202-566-1159
202-566-0688
202-566-1250
919-541-1322
215-814-5422
404-562-9470
404-562-9406
312-886-6107
214-665-7101
913-551-7279
Email
lape.ieff@epa.gov
esher.diana@epa.gov

soscia . marylou@epa .gov
wjlliamsoirann@epa.goy
horvatin.paul@epa.gov
tedesco.mark@epa.gov
gabrielson.john@epa.gov
eaton.thomas@epa.gov
gearheard.mike@epa.gov
mcmanus.fred@epa.gov
grumbles.beniamin@epa.gov
dowell.katharine@epa.gov
peterson.ieff@epa.gov
fontaine.tim@epa.gov
davis.iudv@epa.gov
schwartz.suzanne@epa.gov
best-wong.benita@epa.gov
cough.paul@epa.gov
trainor.theresa@epa.gov
noss.charles@epa.gov
capacasa.ion@epa.gov
giattina.jim@epa.gov
roberts.connie@epa.gov
henry.timothv@epa.gov
flores.miguel@epa.gov

berry.bettv@epa.gov





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