The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Board attempted to hold a public meeting on the topic of “cloud seeding” last Wednesday, September 6 through Zoom. The meeting was ended abruptly.
Members of the Idaho Water Resource Board include:
Jeff Raybould, Chairman
St. Anthony – At LargeAdvertisement
Jo Ann Cole-Hansen, Vice Chair
Lewiston – At Large
Dean Stevenson, Secretary
Paul – District 3
Dale Van Stone
Hope – District 1Advertisement
Boise – District 2
Twin Falls – At Large
Grace – District 4Advertisement
Sun Valley – At Large
This was the agenda for the September 6 meeting:Cloud Seeding CommMeeting No. 2-23 Finance9-23AgendaFINAL
It was immediately obvious there were potential problems. When joining online, all cameras and microphones defaulted to the ‘on’ position for every person joining the meeting. Typically in a public meeting of this kind, the moderator is knowledgeable in Zoom settings and can restrict participation to keep order.
Problems did arise, nearly immediately. Rowdy and disruptive participants wrote inappropriate statements in the chat window, shouted out offensive language, took control of the presentation screen, drew inappropriate doodles over the presenter’s slides, and verbally heckled acting Chairman Marc Gibbs.
The staff of the IDWR was able to quickly shut down the chat feature, but did not mute participants, did not find a way to stop the hijacking of the screen, and could not stop the disruptions.
Eventually it was suggested the meeting be postponed. Some attendees spoke up, voicing their frustration that the public would not be able to view the information, ask their questions, or in any way participate in what was supposed to be a public meeting. Despite those concerns, Gibbs agreed the meeting should be stopped and postponed for another time.
An email was sent on Monday, September 11 from Brian Patton, Executive Officer of the Idaho Water Resource Board, which included an amended agenda for a work session of the Board while they are on location in Salmon on Thursday, September 14, and the ‘cloud seeding’ presentation will take place Friday, September 15 beginning at 8:30am MT. Patton explained:
“You will notice that the Amended Agenda for the Idaho Water Resource Board does not include a Zoom link for remote participation. It has been replaced by YouTube link where the meeting will be streamed. I regret the necessity of making this change as I have worked to make the Water Board meeting as accessible as possible. However, as many of you are aware, the Water Board’s Cloud Seeding and Finance Committee Meetings last week were “Zoom-Bombed” forcing the Cloud Seeding Committee to adjourn without completing its business. Therefore, we are forced to make this change to prevent that unfortunate occurrence from happening again. Thank you for your understanding.”
The meeting will now be found on YouTube, which means viewers will likely not have an opportunity to ask questions or participate in any way: https://firstname.lastname@example.orgBoardMeetingWorkSessionAmendedAgendaFINAL (1)
You can find previous and future meeting dates and materials on their webpage here: Idaho Water Resource Board Meeting Materials | Idaho Department of Water Resources. The meeting from September 6 is not acknowledged in any way.
Tags: Albert Barker, Brian Olmstead, Brian Patton, Cloud Seeding, Dale Van Stone, Dean Stevenson, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Water Resource Board, Idaho’s Collaborative Cloud Seeding Program, Jeff Raybould, Jo Ann Cole-Hansen, Marc Gibbs, Patrick McMahon, Water, YouTube, Zoom