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Minutes for Methods Board Meeting

USGS, Reston, VA, October 28, 1997

Participants: Herb Brass (Chair), Merle Shockey (Co-chair),

Bill Battaglin, Marty Brossman, Adriana Cantillo, Mario Castenada, Gary Cottrell, Jerry Diamond, Michal Ann Harthill, John Klein, Glenn Patterson, Pete Rogerson, Tom Sanders, Ann Strong, Marion Kelly-Thompson, Wayne Webb

There will be a conference call meeting Wednesday, November 19 at 3 p.m. EST. Details will be sent separately.

National Council Meeting

John Klein gave a brief update on plans for the first National Council meeting which occurred on October 29-30 following the Methods Board meeting. He indicated that the Council had been formed and that there was great enthusiasm for the first meeting. John also indicated that there may be 3 rather than 4 meetings this fiscal year depending on travel funds available and the degree to which those funds are needed by participants.

The next Council meeting has been set for January 27-29 in the Washington, D.C. area. It is likely that the first Methods Board meeting will occur either just prior to, or immediately after, the Council meeting.

John also reported on a recent White House (October 18, 1997) press release by Vice-President Al Gore in which a new strategy is presented to protect the nation’s waters. The Vice President specifically requested that the Secretary of Agriculture and the EPA Administrator, along with all other affected agencies, develop a comprehensive Action Plan that: enhances protection from public health threats caused by water pollution; provides more effective control of polluted runoff; and promotes water quality protection on a watershed basis. The general institutional framework he proposes is very similar to the ITFM and the National Council. John suggested that EPA and USGS explore linking National Council activities to the Gore strategy. Herb later forwarded an emailed copy of the press release to Methods Board members. Contact either Jerry, Gary, or Herb if you did not receive the press release and would like a copy.

Discussions with EPA Office of Water regarding Endorsement of Board

Herb reported that he has had meetings with Jim Hanlon, Bill Diamond, and Mike Cook of the Office of Water and that both are supportive in principle of the Methods Board and its mission. Marion reported some of Office of Science and Technology’s (OST) concerns including:

! What impact will the Board have on EPA policy and regulations?

! Will industrial representatives unduly affect or "drive" the Board’s actions at times? What mechanisms will be in place to minimize this possibility?

! Substantial resources (direct and indirect) may need to be expended by EPA to adequately represent themselves in all of the Board activities. For example, will an EPA representative be needed on every workgroup the Board establishes as well as the Board itself?

Marion summed up by saying that EPA-OST has to fight many battles on many fronts. EPA prefers not to have the Board be another front on which they must battle other interests.

While these concerns are real, it is hoped that the Board can be structured and managed in such a way to minimize their impact.

Solicitation of Board Delegates

Gary distributed copies of delegate profiles for several potential candidates. All were from either the state or private (other) sectors. Methods Board members need to look over these profiles and be prepared to discuss their evaluations of these delegates by the next conference call meeting November 19, 3 p.m.

The following potential delegates were identified by sector:


Herb Brass - EPA

Merle Shockey - USGS

Adriana Cantillo - NOAA

Ann Strong - ACOE

Howard Hankin - NRCS

Alternates, Workgroups

Gary Cottrell - USGS

Pete Rogerson - USGS

Wayne Webb - USGS

Michal Ann Harthill - USGS-BRD

Bill Battaglin - USGS

Bill Telliard - EPA

Marty Brossman - EPA

Bill Potter - EPA

Marion Thompson - EPA


Chris Yoder (Ohio)

Barbara Erickson (Arizona)

Richard Ayers (Virginia)

Larry Ausley (North Carolina)

Catherine Alben (New York)


Wayne Hood (Arizona)

Giles Miller (Kentucky)

Mario Castenada (Arizona)

Someone? (Wisconsin)


Andy Eaton, Standard Methods, Montgomery Watson Lab, AWWA

Lawrence Keith - Radian

Robert Henry - Virginia Elemental, ASTM

Robert Held - ASTM

Several follow-up contacts and new solicitations are still needed:

! More information is needed for Howard Hankin to evaluate his suitability for the Board - Michal or Herb will attempt to obtain more information about Mr. Hankin.

! Other federal agencies need to be contacted such as Department of Agriculture, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish & Wildlife, Park Service, Forest Service, and NIST. Michal will make contacts with USDA, BLM, BLR, USFW, and Park Service. Marion and Herb will make contact with NIST.

Marion recommended that other biologists and microbiologists from EPA be considered. Names mentioned included: Deborah Denton (toxicology), Frank Schaffer (microbiology), Jim Smith (microbiology), Teresa Norberg-King (toxicologist), Jim Lazorchak (Ecology/Toxicology), and Jim Sinclair (Microbiology). For the state/tribal sector, current prospective delegates are primarily from the eastern U.S. Herb suggested that the Board really needs 5 delegates and 5 alternates representing all 10 EPA regions. Herb will finalize the state solicitation letter with Elizabeth and send out by 11/14/97.

Marion also mentioned that Bob Perciasepe, Assistant EPA Administrator for Water, sends out a monthly newsletter to states and tribes on water issues. This newsletter would be a useful forum to publicize the Board, its need for qualified state/tribal delegates, and the Board’s activities. Herb will follow up with Elizabeth.

Staging/Strategy for Board Formation

All agreed that the Board should form gradually and keep actively soliciting qualified delegates. It was also noted that more than 15 potential delegates could be recommended to the Council and the Council could help narrow down the pool to the 15 required voting Board delegates.

Board Meetings

It was agreed that the first Board meeting should occur in conjunction with the next National Council meeting at the end of January, 1998. Subsequent meetings may be held elsewhere to maximize Board exposure and regional participation.

Fact Sheet

Several suggestions were offered to improve the Fact Sheet:

! Add that the Council and Board are FACA-chartered when first mentioned.

! Should have both EPA and USGS logos somewhere on the Fact Sheet

! There should be an address along with the logos

! The Fact Sheet should have a date and a publication #

! Include a logo for the Board?

Jerry will revise Fact Sheet but Herb and Pete need to check out their respective offices to determine the most expedient way to get out the Fact Sheet.

Thinking about potential Fact Sheets for the Board in the future, it was agreed that many of the products already completed by the Methods Board (such as in the ITFM Technical Appendices) should be worked up as individual Fact Sheets for the Internet Web Page and for general distribution at meetings. However, the suggestion was also made that the Board consider distributing more detailed versions of particular items as well as summary Fact Sheets. For example, the Wisconsin Pilot Fact Sheet might be expanded so as to give potential users more detail concerning methods used, how different parties collaborated, and results of the comparability exercise.

Board Work Plan for FY98

Jerry distributed copies of the revised Draft Work Plan, including resource estimates, for the Board in FY98. All participants generally concurred with the tasks and schedule defined in the Plan. Pete recommended defining all acronyms in the document when first used. He also suggested that in order to address some of the initial technical objectives of the Board (defining and prioritizing methods in need of comparability demonstrations), the Board needs to first define data quality objectives for judging comparability of methods and data.

Presentation at National Council Meeting

Herb discussed a handout on the Methods Board which he prepared for his presentation the following day at the National Council Meeting. The handout includes background information and events leading up to the formation of the Board, the Boards’ mission, objectives, and priorities, membership and procedures for the Board, current technical projects, and preliminary work plan for FY98.

Getting the Word Out

A discussion took place about publicizing the Board and its activities. The following points were made:

! Careful consideration is required to gauge the impact of informational materials on targeted audiences.

! Conduct publicity that can be accomplished and do not over-reach.

! Organize publicity so that the news (the story) is told first and the details presented later.

! Describe what the Board can do and what has been done previously by the Methods Board.

! Let people know that the Board has influence and how they can participate.

! Tell a good news story and target audiences — what the payoff will be for organizations that are struggling with problems that the Board can address. The message is "this is what we can do for you — and we can save you money."

! Let people know that solutions to methods problems are or will be available that are national in scope.

! Have a canned talk that can be presented to multiple groups.

! Have presentations made at conferences and publish journal articles.

Status of Internet Home Page

Herb reported that Barry Price (EPA contractor in Cincinnati who is currently doing Internet support services for EPA) will not be available to work on the Board web page until after January 1998. Herb mentioned that Bill Potter of EPA has agreed to assume the responsibility of constructing the Board web page. It was noted that the Board needs to first define the purpose of the web page prior to any design work.

Status of USGS-DuPont CRADA

Glenn Patterson of USGS gave a brief update on the CRADA with DuPont. He and Bill Battaglin (USGS) informed the Methods Board that the CRADA has been signed by both parties and that the actual contract document is nearly complete and signed. Preliminary data for the CRADA have been collected by USGS this year and more sampling and analyses are projected for next year.

It was agreed by all that DuPont is a partner in the CRADA and therefore should have access to communications from the Board to USGS. Bill agreed to send Herb phone numbers, addresses, etc. for key DuPont contacts in the CRADA. Herb will forward the Boards’ letter (which included some concerns the Methods Board had with the CRADA) to the appropriate DuPont staff.

In regards to the Boards’ letter on the USGS CRADA, the question was raised as to the repository for such communications from and to the Board. There was agreement that the Executive Secretary’s file should be the repository for the Boards’ communications and that it would be inappropriate to widely distribute these communications publicly (such as on the Internet). They are public information and available from the Executive Secretary upon request.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


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