April 16th, 2013
Meeting Minutes, Migratory Fish Subcommittee
Date: April 16, 2013
Location and Time: College of the Atlantic, Davis Building, 10am-12pm
Minutes prepared by Bridie McGreavy, Shannon White, Chris Petersen
Chris Petersen (College of the Atlantic), FBP Vice President
Natalie Springuel (Maine Sea Grant)
Bob DeForrest (Maine Coast Heritage Trust), FBP Executive Officer at Large
Bridie McGreavy (PhD candidate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center,
University of Maine), FBP Secretary
Gary Edwards (Town of Sullivan)
Shannon White (AmeriCorps Environmental Educator at MDI Biological Laboratory)
David Lamon (Somes-Meynell Sanctuary)
Claire Enterline (Maine Department of Marine Resources)
Bick Wheeler (Acadia National Park)
Gregory Burr (Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife)
Dennis Smith (Fisherman)
Ken Cline (College of the Atlantic)
Natalie expressed the interest of the Downeast Fisheries Trail group in historical species accounts for anadromous fish species in order to be able to write up this information.
Chris introduced the goals for the meeting as discussing past and current projects and focusing on needs for future projects. He is interested in helping Partners match people up for grant writing and sweat equity. He sees this group as a starting point for engaging others who also have a stake in migratory fish. He also asked about communication infrastructure and if there are website activities the Partners might develop to serve as a network or information repository across groups. He asked Gary Edwards and David Lamon to share summaries of their work.
David Lamon described the efforts of the Somes-Meynell Sanctuary, including river herring stocking by Maine Department of Marine Resources and repair of the fishway at the Head of Tide Dam. One of their primary needs is additional people to help with the counting during the spring migration. They are also interested in expanding a scale sampling effort.
Gary Edwards shared the success they had in Sullivan in Flanders Stream replacing a failed culvert and installing a fish ladder. Through a coordinated fundraising effort that included support from several different funding entities, they were able to take the old culver out, put in a new arch and replace the fish ladder with a rock weir system. This year, they will be monitoring the culvert to determine the success of the project. Town of Sullivan bought Gordon’s Wharf. The basement is available to use for whatever. If someone is doing scientific work, this space could be made available for their use. This summer they will be creating handicap access to the building.
Claire Enterline described the DMR monitoring effort for migratory fish and emphasized a need for volunteers. Monitoring to begin in the spring to determine if fish passage is effective and because there is an active harvest of alewives, it is important to have long-term monitoring to keep track of alewife population numbers/status. Monitoring in three four-hour blocks that people can sign up for and go count for 30 mins (twice a week).
Greg Burr described the status of several brook trout and smelt runs in streams in Frenchman Bay. He noted that there are brook trout and smelt in stream the goes by Gordon’s Wharf, Scott’s Brook. Gregory mentioned other waterways that have fish passage issues: Grey’s Meadow Brook, Sullivan Harbor, Clapham Brook, Mill Stream-Mill Pond dammed. Smelt Brook on the other side of Sumner High School has brook trout and has a dam that could be taken out.
Flanders stream used to have a huge smelt run. Flanders Bay- Morancy Stream – elvers, trout, and alewives used to be there. Morancy Pond so full of pickerel, some believe alewives could not be introduced there.
Jones Stream – some locals folks want to restore the run of alewives. There are huge falls there; 6 or 8 ft high. There is a dam at the pond, but the land owner has no problem putting a fishway in there. DMR worked with the town a little and encouraged them to work with engineering companies. Last Claire had heard they were sketching out something. Jones Pond plans are thus in the most preliminary stages.
The group discussed the decline of smelt. The DMR is actively recruiting people to monitor smelt and has a presence/absence datasheet with additional information at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/smelt/index.htm. Some of the smelt conservation ideas discussed included early education on differentiated males from females, increased signage, a story in the Bangor Daily News and other DMR outreach activities.
The group discussed the bill to legislature sponsored by Seth Goodall , LD 1171 (SP 408), “Resolve, To Allow Certain Holders of Lobster and Crab Fishing Licenses To Harvest River Herring for Personal Use as Bait”. The DMR is not in favor of the bill because it favors certain lobstermen and presents a potential sustainability issue. For more information on this bill see: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/SP040801.asp.
Follow up from Chris:
A request was put out for monitoring of flow levels at Denning Brook from a few staff gauges that will get set there. Once they are in, it can be looked at any time by anyone, and so it’s pretty easy data to get. I’m happy to take the sheets every time we have several measurements and copy them so that in case it gets vandalized we don’t lose data, and I’ll certainly do some measurements. It seems like we would just need one person to be there when Claire or whomever sets it up, and then that person could increase the network by showing others. Think of it as an excuse to go to the southwest harbor liquor locker. If it goes in before April 30, I can’t be there, but afterwards I can. I think between the park, COA, and the sanctuary we can cover this to make the set up worthwhile. Do we have a date for the culvert work there?
For Jones Pond, I’m not sure what the best next steps are, or if the group should help out, or if this is something more for Claire and Greg to work on. If there are things here that individuals or the group could do, anyone feel free to let us know. I’m very excited about this, especially given the size of the pond, but it’s not clear to me how I or FB partners can help.
Hearing everyone, it seemed to me that the best way to focus effort in the next year is to help on the projects that people have already implemented, like Flanders Stream, Denning Brook, the Mill Pond drainage in Somesville, and Jones Stream. The other part is trying to do some surveys for smelt, and perhaps trying to get an understanding of sea-run brook trout from Greg and other knowledgeable folks. There are other ideas out there, like assessing Little Long Pond, or looking at Morancy stream as a potential alewife run, but the ongoing projects seem to be better plug-ins for folks at the moment (but I’m open to conversation on this). From the perspective of Frenchman Bay Partners, we can advertise projects, but also be supporting letters for grants, and perhaps be in-kind volunteer contributions or other resources. I will be trying to get some GIS students to do some specific anadromous fish maps for the area in the fall class with Gordon Longsworth, as we work on the next version of the Frenchman Bay Atlas.
Finally, I’m putting together some links and PDFs for people to be able to do one-stop shopping for information, that I will put either on the Frenchman Bay website or on my own webpage. I have some state, ASMFC documents, etc., but if there is anything more local that people have (I’m thinking Gary and David here specifically), I’d love to have electronic copies of stuff if you are happy having them accessible to the public. Also, if you think there are any good links, I’d be happy to include those as well.
For Natalie – There are several of us interested in developing historical accounts of both specific fisheries and local streams, I’m happy to have you lead on this, or happy to collaborate with you on this.”