Missouri River Flood Task Force

Missouri River Flood Task Force Howard & Gertrude Ettleman, Percival, IA. Courtesy of Leo Ettleman Hamburg Breach, Courtesy of Leo Ettleman Displayed Buck, Courtesy of Jason McCauley, BIA The Beast, Hwy 136, Courtesy of Leo Ettleman

Communications Working Group

  1. Background
  2. The Missouri River Flood Task Force (MRFTF) consists of agencies operating in the Missouri River Basin that have a shared vision and responsibility related to the immediate and long-term restoration of the Missouri River Basin flood plain. Regional federal offices and designated officers of state, local and Tribal governments within the States of Nebraska, Montana, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Missouri are charged with the task of seizing the opportunity to shape the future of the flood plain, and setting conditions for success for all involved by streamlining governmental processes; accelerating necessary assessments, coordination, and permitting requirements; and by applying agile and critical thinking to the problem set. These coordinated efforts will ensure timely progress and yield the intended results on the ground in the immediate future, and lead to a comprehensive recovery plan to achieve long-term flood risk management. Informing and engaging the region in a collaborative process is critical to successfully completing initial repairs by 1 March 2012; to conducting long-term recovery activities in response to the Missouri River Basin flood of 2011 to address flood-plain management challenges; and keeping comprehensive flood risk reduction as a top priority. To this end, the MRFTF has formed the Communications Working Group (CWG).

  3. Communications Working Group
  4. The Communications Working Group (CWG) supports the mission of the MRFTF and is composed of representatives of the task force member agencies. Each CWG member is the official liaison between that member’s agency and the CWG. Partners, contributors, and observers also participate in this working group.

  5. Mission
  6. The mission of the CWG is twofold: 1) it exists to provide interagency communications, coordination and timely and factual information on the repair and restoration efforts in the Missouri River Basin, and 2) to serve as a conduit for broadening task force members’ communications efforts and opportunities for information sharing. The CWG will:

    • present a positive and professional image of the MRFTF to the public and media,

    • develop communications plans that reflect joint agency positions,

    • coordinate agency communications for greater effectiveness and credibility,

    • offer timely and factual information, emphasizing MRFTF accomplishments, providing early awareness of information and/or decisions affecting other agencies in regard to the Missouri River Basin.

    • provide a forum for discussion and sharing information related to current and future decisions and activities throughout the Missouri River Basin by agencies and stakeholders (routine agenda topic dring each conference call)

    • Provide support to other MRFTF working groups, including disseminating products and developing outreach strategies and educational material

  7. Organizational Framework
  8. The CWG provides a cooperative organizational framework for consistent communication with media; tribal, state and local governments; the general public and other stakeholders. The CWG co-chairs are chosen by agreement among the CWG members, with concurrence of the MRFTF co-chairs. The CWG co-chairs are the liaison to the MRFTF, responsible for informing the MRFTF of CWG communication efforts and reporting back to the CWG. The role of the co-chairs is to set CWG meeting agendas, ensure coordination among CWG members, represent the CWG to the MRFTF, and to ensure MRFTF and other working group requests are appropriately presented to and followed up by the CWG. The position of CWG chair does not carry any inherent supervisory authority over CWG members and does not in any way supplant the supervisory authority of task members’ agencies. The CWG will continue to follow the National Response Team Joint Information Center Model for collaborative communications during emergency response situations involving the cooperative agencies. In those cases, a JIC will be established and the Incident Command System will be followed in accordance with Presidential Directive 5.

  9. Operational Framework
  10. The CWG will work together to

    • develop and implement communications plans for continuing and emerging events related to the mission of the MRFTF. These communication plans will ensure consistent, factual and timely messages;

    • advise the MRFTF on likely public reaction to MRFTF work and develop tools and techniques to increase the likelihood that this work will be understood by media; tribal, state and local governments; the general public and other stakeholders;

    • maintain a team approach to information management within and among agencies on MRFTF topics, promote consistency and develop key messages that can be used by all agencies, as appropriate.

Courtesy of Leo Ettleman Big Elk Park, Courtesy of Leo Ettleman Courtesy of Maddison Sieck Courtesy of Maddison Sieck