January 20, 2014

Frenchman Bay Partners Executive Committee Meeting 4-9-13

Location: Forrest Conference Room, Davis Building, MDI Bio Lab.

Date and Time: April 8th, 2013, from 1:00 to 2:00pm.

Present: Jane Disney, Fiona de Koning, Chris Petersen, Bridie McGreavy, Bob DeForrest (called in), Shannon White, Emma Fox

  1. 1.       Updates from DMR and Zone B Lobster Council meetings

The meeting was called to order. Bridie and Jane updated everyone on the earlier Department of Marine Resources Biotoxin Management Program Meeting. There was a brief discussion about who was there—lots of partners, Kohl Kanwit and Meggan Dwyer from the DMR, a marine policy class from Maine Maritime, and a few municipal officials—and the general structure of the meeting, which was held in order to introduce the new monitoring program shift from mouse assay to newer HPLC methods. The DMR had not yet written a press release about the changes to the Biotoxin Monitoring Program at the time of the meeting, and there was a discussion about means of increasing public awareness about biotoxin closures in Frenchman Bay.

The Frenchman Bay Partners will try to work with Jeff Nicholls, DMR webmaster, about putting a link to our website on the DMR site. This way, mussel harvesters outside of Frenchman Bay will have access to information about the eelgrass restoration areas and what the Partners are doing. The Partners can have information about DMR closures in Frenchman Bay highlighted on the website and include information about volunteer red tide phytoplankton monitoring, as well as HPLC testing.

There was an update on the Zone B Lobster Council meeting, at which Emma presented on behalf of the Frenchman Bay Partners to a group of 6 board members and 20 audience members. Emma, Jane, Bridie, Shannon, and Jordan attended the Zone B meeting. Jon Carter offered to be a temporary liaison for the council until another could be designated. After Emma’s presentation, there was a longer presentation from a woman who instructed the lobstermen on words they should and shouldn’t use—it was about marketing the Maine lobster brand. After the presentation there was a discussion about the Marine Stewardship Council label on Maine lobster. The certification is expensive and difficult to obtain for smaller companies. It also has a negative reputation from many conservation groups. The Maine Aquaculture Association does the certification for aquaculture.

There was a discussion about the kinds of questions asked at the Zone B Meeting, which were mostly about why the Partners were interested in the Council (only a few lobstermen from Zone B fish Frenchman Bay), and also about the Karen Alexander study from UNH. Shannon informed the council about the studies the Partners are planning for this summer—revisiting the William Proctor sites with Charlie Wray from MDIBL. Someone on the Council suggested that Phil Corson was a good candidate for the liaison position—he worked with MDIBL interns back in 2011 on a lobster size distribution and proximity to habitat type study. Jane suggested that if he is interested, Dwayne Garver might be another good candidates for someone to include on the benthic subcommittee (or as a potential liaison) because he fishes on the upper bay.

  1. 2.       Grant updates

Bridie gave an update about her conversation with Jay Horshak about the “610 Project” grant—he had a really positive attitude about it and seemed to have a good ability to advocate for the Regional Shellfish Committee to get the Maine Community Foundation Grant. The 610 Project grant was written for capacity building for the Regional Shellfish Committee to work toward opening the 610 acres of closed clam flats in Frenchman Bay.

  1. 3.       Subtidal Benthic Subcommittee updates

Shannon updated the committee on the progress toward creating a subtidal benthic habitats committee. In her search for data, she is starting to pull together contacts for groups which haven’t yet been included in the stakeholder planning process, such as lobster and cucumber fishermen. There was a discussion about how to best incorporate groups that haven’t been included yet—scoping interviews is an option, as are invitations to sign up as a Partner. So far, the subtidal benthic habitats committee is as follows: Shannon White, Charlie Wray, Natalie Springuel, and possibly Jen Fortier, a UMaine student looking to get involved with the Frenchman Bay Partners. Eddie Monat is another good person to reach out to about the subcommittee formation.

The Partners would like to incorporate resources from the Rozalia Project too, which has representatives visiting this summer to work with Maine Coast Heritage Trust on benthic debris recovery on some of their islands. It will be an extension of Charlie Wray’s project this summer, which involves re-sampling some of the sites from the William Proctor study in Frenchman Bay in the 1800’s, and likely take place on the 16th-17th of August. Finding funding is still an issue, but that can be something the subtidal benthic habitats committee works on, in addition to where we sample and when. Ideally this group will meet before summer starts in order to determine areas of interest.

The executive committee discussed how best to get in touch with the local cucumber harvesters. Shannon has contact information from her interview with Yong Chen at UMaine. There was a suggestion that we get in touch with Dave Quinby as well, as he dives for Carolina Biological and is putting in a request for an experimental sea urchin lease on the Jordan River.

A discussion about the nature of the experimental lease followed. Experimental leases need a critical number of people to get a public hearing.

Fiona was invited to join the subtidal benthic habitats subcommittee and she agreed.

  1. 4.       Planning for Tundi Agardy’s visit

Jane wants Tundi Agardy to visit because she thinks Tundi will have some really valuable insights for the Frenchman Bay Partners about funding.  Tundi may be able to help the Partners get creative about incorporating money into what we do. Tundi’s organization is called Sound Seas and she works mainly internationally, as market-based solutions are difficult to implement in the U.S. The Partners are fortunate enough to have her scheduled for two days—one could have an evening seminar open to the public. The MDI Bio Lab may like to see it as a kick-off for the sustainability seminar on August 9th, at which the Partners will be featured as a local conservation group.

The plan is for Tundi to give a talk one day, and meet separately with the Frenchman Bay Partners in a workshop the next day. There was a discussion about which dates work best for Tundi and for the Partners, and it was decided that May 28th and 29th work best. Another discussion about the topic for her talk followed—carbon credits was dismissed as an option. There was a discussion about funding for Tundi’s visit and for the dinner after her presentation. Between Chris and Jane, the Partners will find funding to host her for the two nights.

Tundi’s advice about how to involve stakeholders in the real estate sector will be crucial as the Partners move forward with stakeholder involvement. She will give a talk on Wednesday at 3:00pm or 4:00pm so that College of the Atlantic students will be available to attend. There was a brief discussion about ecosystem services (non-market goods and services, such as erosion prevention by trees, provided by components of or the entire ecosystem) and about having Tundi talk about valuation.

Emma, Jane, Shannon, and Bridie will attend a seminar at the University of Maine on ecosystem service valuation. A summary of this event will be posted on the website later, along with a definition of ecosystem services. Jane mentioned her desire to engage representatives from the real estate sector as stakeholders, as it would be beneficial for Frenchman Bay to have developers thinking about ocean health as they build. Engaging that group is written into a grant which MDIBL submitted to the Walker Foundation.

  1. 5.       Frenchman Bay Partners logo/letterhead

There was a discussion about including Partners on the author list for papers, and putting individual Partner logos on posters. The executive committee decided that the Frenchman Bay Partners need a logo, which individual partners can put on their website and use as letterhead when sending Partner communications. The letterhead should also include committee and website contact information. Bridie suggested that the communications committee discuss the logo and letterhead at their first meeting, coming up on May 1st, 2013.

  1. 6.       Funding

Grants will be sponsored by whichever Partner group decides to write it. There was a discussion about market-based solutions and perhaps using the Saltwater Trail as a source of revenue, if it is sold at local stores. If that’s the case, the Partners need to start moving beyond grants for sources of money. The Maine Community Foundation has the means by which groups can deposit money that is donated.

Meeting adjourned.