The COVID-19 pandemic changed many of the ways we accomplish our mission, but it didn’t change the need for public involvement, which meant teams had to develop creative ways to engage the public in a virtual environment.When COVID-19 hit, Leslie Day, regulatory mitigation coordinator, knew what it would take to ensure the public was engaged.“An all-day workshop with mitigation bankers and consultants transitioned into virtual one-hour sessions,” explained Day. “After the first session we sent out a survey to get feedback on how it could be improved.” The first session was called “Ask the Agencies” and discussed agency initiatives and then opened it up to related questions.The team for the Upper Pool 4 - Lake Pepin Study involved the public by creating a YouTube video narrating a presentation that was in lieu of a public meeting during the public review period since an in-person meeting was not possible due to pandemic restrictions. The presentation included how to submit questions and comments, covered similar topics covered at a public meeting and included a frequently asked questions section at the end."It does not replace the interactive nature of an in-person public meeting, but considering the circumstances, we think it was a good alternative to offer," said Angela Deen, project manager."Not only did it cover the slides that we would have presented at an in-person public meeting, but we also included a 'Q&A session' at the end that included common questions as well as potential questions on the project to help simulate what may have been discussed at an in-person public meeting.” Deen said the presentation was well-received by agency partner, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.Sam Smith, project manager, and Tammy Frauenshuh, Sandy Lake park ranger, participated in a YouTube video about the Sandy Lake Dam rehabilitation project. The original plan was to hold a public meeting during the 30-day review period of the draft Environmental Assessment. Smith said, “Once we identified that a public meeting would not be feasible, we came up with the idea to develop a ten-minute informational video in lieu of the public meeting. We knew a video would be necessary based on previous high level of public interest surrounding the project; over 100 people attended a public informational meeting inNovember 2019.”Smith said, “The goal was to maintain an open channel of communication, keep the public informed and ensure a successful review of the draft Environmental Assessment. We feel that we accomplished those goals with the video. Creating this video required about the same time and energy as what would normally be required to prepare for a public meeting. Just like a public meeting, we had to develop our talking points and practice the delivery. It took multiple takes to get the delivery of our message just rights.”Frauenshuh said, “This video provided a really unique opportunity that isn’t normally afforded in a public meeting - a site tour. I was able to shoot on-site and showcase different features and perspectives of the dam and recreation site. This gave an opportunity to better explain the work that will be accomplished by showcasing the dam and give folks interested in the project a real sense of place.In addition, a video allows people to access the information at anytime, anywhere. In my opinion, this was an advantage over a public meeting in that interested parties did not have to attend with a set time and at a set location. There are certainly pros and cons to the video, but I think it was a great alternative given the circumstances.”Smith said, "Informational videos are a viable alternative to public meetings and will likely be utilized more frequently in today’s world."-30-