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TO: Watershed Evaluation Team (WET) Members
FROM: Dan Farrow
DATE April 1, 1997
SUBJECT: April 14 WET Meeting

The next WET meeting will be held on Monday, April 14th at 1:30 p.m. in the sixth floor conference room of the Department of Environmental Quality headquarters, 7290 Bluebonnet Road, Baton Rouge, LA. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and make decisions on a variety of topics concerning the next steps for the Barataria/Terrebonne Shellfish Challenge Implementation Assessment.

The results of our discussions will be incorporated into a presentation on the status of the Shellfish Challenge initiative being made to the Oyster Restoration Review Panel (ORRP) and the Management Conference of the Barataria/Terrebonne National Estuary Program on Wednesday, April 16th, so your participation in this meeting is very important. An annotated agenda of the discussion topics is presented below. We have also tried to identify the decision or action required for each topic.

1:30 Determining Support for Priority Projects Within the WET.
Issue - Through a consensus process, the 60-plus attendees at the Targeting Workshop identified eight priority projects from an initial list of 61 projects. As a group, the WET and the project team now have to determine the best way to move all or some of these projects to implementation. Given our limited resources, we need to focus our efforts on the projects that not only will make progress toward meeting the goals of the Shellfish Challenge, but have the greatest potential to be implemented.
A first step in doing this is to understand the level and type of support each of these projects would receive from the agencies and stakeholder groups represented on the WET. To help characterize this support, please complete Attachment 1. If possible, fax your response to us by COB Thursday, April 10th so we can compile the results and present them at the meeting. If this is not possible, please bring your response to the meeting . We would like to have a frank and open discussion of the support issue as our first order of business.
Decision/action required - Discuss and reach agreement on the likely level of support from stakeholder organizations for the priority projects.
2:30 Options for conducting the implementation feasibility assessment.
Issue - The Project Team is proposing an approach for developing the characterization reports and holding the feasibility workshop. A diagram showing the major milestones of this approach, and a description of the approach is included in Attachment 2. Prior to the meeting, please review this approach and note any comments or alternatives you would propose.
Decision/action required - Agree on the best approach for conducting the implementation feasibility assessment, better define the purpose, objectives, and desired outcome of the implementation feasibility workshop, and develop a preliminary schedule.
2:45 Defining the relationship between the Shellfish Challenge Project and BTNEP.
Issue - The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) has been an active supporter of the Shellfish Challenge Project. As we move towards implementation, how can BTNEP participate in the implementation process? Suggestions have ranged from assisting in public outreach and education, to becoming a champion for one or more projects, to being the lead organization for ensuring progress will continue to be made on the Shellfish Challenge.
Decision/action required - Discuss and reach preliminary agreement on BTNEP's participation in this phase of the Shellfish Challenge Project.
3:00 Reviewing and finalizing the characterization report outline.
Issue - The Project Team has developed a preliminary outline for the Project Characterization Reports (see Attachment 3). During the meeting, the outline will be discussed and revised as needed, so please review the outline and bring your edits to the meeting.
Decision/action required - Review and agree on a final outline for the characterization reports. The revised outline will be sent out to the WET after the meeting.
3:15 Agreeing on the process to write the characterization reports.
Issue - Once the level of support for priority projects has been determined and the approach for conducting the implementation feasibility assessment has been agreed upon, a more detailed discussion is needed on how the reports will be produced, who will produce them, and the time frame for report development. We propose that WET members serve as "section editors" who provide information to project staff on specific topics, and review/edit draft text developed by staff. If this proposal is accepted, we would like to identify initial section editor volunteers at this meeting.
Decision/action required - Discuss and agree on the tasks, responsibilities, and time line for report production.
3:45 Identifying project champions, stakeholders, and key decisionmakers.
Issue - To increase the probability of project implementation, champions, stakeholders and key decisionmakers need to be identified and brought into the process. Attached is a preliminary list of possible candidates for each category (Attachment 4). Champions would promote and guide the selected projects to implementation. Stakeholders are those individuals or groups directly affected by implementation, and who therefore need to be informed and involved. Identifying and enlisting the help of key decisionmakers who can make one or more of these projects a reality is critical to the success of this phase of the Shellfish Challenge Project. Please review the list and bring your additions and deletions to the meeting.
Decision/action required - Review and revise the attached list of suggested champions, stakeholders, and key decisionmakers, and discuss how and when to contact these individuals or organizations, and how they should participate.
4:10 Reviewing the preliminary public education and outreach (PEO) strategy.
Issue - A strategy is needed to create public support for project implementation. A well designed education and outreach strategy would enhance public support for projects ranging from the improved use of pumpout stations to upgrading failing septic systems. How can this be accomplished? Diane Altsman from the GMPO and Lynn Schonberg from BTNEP will present a preliminary strategy for discussion.
Decision/action required - Discuss and decide on a public education and outreach strategy. Specifically, what do we communicate to the public, when and how is this accomplished, and who does the outreach?
4:30 Adjourn
Please call me (301.713.3000 x156), Fred Kopfler (601.688.2712), or Brent Ache (504-561-6618) if you have any questions regarding these issues or would like to add a discussion topic to the agenda. Thanks again for your participation and continued support for the Shellfish Challenge Project.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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