December 28th, 2015

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Minutes Frenchman Bay Partners Executive Committee Meeting

December 28, 2015 3-5 pm

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

In attendance: Jane Disney, Chris Petersen, Bob DeForrest

  1. We discussed Jane’s roles and responsibilities in FBP, recognizing that a lot of coordination of the Partners is happening out of the Community Environmental Health Laboratory (CEHL). Jane works closely with Anna Farrell, who was an AmeriCorps Environmental Steward and as of January 6th will be the Program Coordinator for CEHL and Duncan Bailey, who is the systems developer at CEHL. They both update the website, Facebook Page and work on the e-newsletter. When Jane sees an announcement of a public hearing or meeting relevant to Frenchman Bay, she often forwards it to Anna and Duncan for posting on the website. In a recent case, Jane sent out an announcement of a public hearing directly to the Steering Committee, which may have been misconstrued as a call to action.

Perhaps Anna and Duncan can sit down with executive committee for a training session on posting to the website and Facebook page so others have the ability to post things as well.  But for all of us, we need a policy about what gets posted and how it might be perceived.

Potential FBP Policy:  Any posting of meetings, public hearings, or other events relevant to Frenchman Bay or the Frenchman Bay Partners, when applicable, should include a statement that indicates we are not taking a position, just sharing information, somewhat like a disclaimer. We may add a relevant statement such as “Frenchman Bay Partners acknowledge that this is a complex issue and recommend communication among all stakeholders.”

We should consider this policy and others at our annual meeting in May.

We discussed Anna’s new job, the time she has devoted to Frenchman Bay Partner coordination in the past, and how much time she might have to devote to it in the future. Perhaps on a routine basis, she can send out an announcement of public meeting hearings that are coming up. She could set up a monthly e-mail to Partners to see what meetings might be on the horizon. Then maybe it will become part of people’s routine to check our website and Facebook page for information.

  1. Rockweed Meeting:

What should be the scale of this meeting?

We don’t want to re-invent what the state did. NOTE: Maine Conservation Law Foundation thought the state process could be more transparent.

We discussed a 2-3 hour meeting for Partners and other interested stakehoders which would include some background information from experts, a panel discussion with these experts, and breakout sessions for further discussion and action planning.

Possible Expert Panel:

  1. Community Ecology of Rockweed—range–what is it—Fishermen are interested in seeing the habitat preserved for marine organisms. Jessie Muhlin from Maine Maritime Academy spoke at a Student Marine Science Symposium for middle school students at MDI Biological Laboratory a couple of years ago and did a good job at communicating complex information in an accessible way.
  2. How and why is Rockweed harvested? Perhaps a Harvester or production facility (DownEast) representative can give a talk– Paul Anderson or Natalie might have a good idea. This expert could address scale, use, production, collection techniques
  3. Federal Lands—what constitutes this—questions about whether the state’s access rules for intertidal areas apply to federal lands. Public Trust Doctrine: is Rockweed Harvesting a fishery? State says we license it so it is a fishery so fits in fishing fowling navigation rules. – Conservation Law Foundation or Ken Cline might be able to speak to the complexities of this topic.

Panel Discussion: A time to have questions answered related to the three talks

Breakout Session:  Action Planning: What do we want to accomplish?

Overall Goals for this meeting:

  1. More informed group
  2. Add a new Conservation Target? Should we add intertidal? Revisit threats?
  3. Action Group Summary Document: ID what is known, what is not known, what are the trade-offs, public private, economic, ecologic?

January: Steering Committee Meeting mid-late January at Gordon’s Wharf: we will take our ideas from this meeting to the larger group and let them decide the goals and details of the Rockweed Meeting.  Then plan the meeting for March.

Good locations for the meeting might be:

Sullivan Town office, or Taunton Bay Education Center. Gordon’s Wharf might be too small, Schoodic Institute might be too far away. We could also consider Dahlgren Hall at MDI Biological Laboratory or the Gates Center at College of the Atlantic.

We should bring a little reference material to our next meeting…digest what we know for the group.

**There is Lawsuit going on..a couple of landowners were going to give courts the opportunity to make a decision about fishing fowling navigation. Is this a topic to include in the Rockweed Meeting?

Should we also plan for the annual meeting while we have the steering committee together in January? We can talk about how Rockweed might fit into our existing Frenchman Bay Plan.

3.Grant funding: Opportunities for FBP Coordination:

Elmina Sewall, it is late for a re-submission at this time.

Why did we not get the grant last time? Jane wrote the grant with Chris and Bridie. Although University of Maine and College of the Atlantic made a clear commitment with MDI Biological Laboratory to the project, Jay Espy, the director of the Elmina Sewall Foundation, said that there was not enough evidence of Buy-in from diverse stakeholders and non-traditional partners (ie the fishing community).

We discussed that we should make an annual report that documents resources that have been brought into the organization from diverse partners so that we can point to this in future grant applications.

Perhaps if we want to pursue Elmina Sewall funding for 2017, we should communicate again with them and put a plan together well in advance.

Categories of contribution to coordination of the Frenchman Bay Partners.

What are we currently tracking?

Have Anna calculate what amount she has done in terms of time in the past year. This will help to inform our needs in the future.

Opportunity:  Jane has recently finished a cruise ship study for the Town of Bar Harbor. The results indicate a clean harbor with cruise ship compliance with Harbor Policy. Jane has recommended to the town that it continue to monitor water quality, but that the monitoring does not have to be focused on cruise ships. She presented her findings and made recommendations to the Cruise Committee. Funding for a more general monitoring program would probably not come from cruise passenger fees. However, Amy Powers from Cruise Maine thought that Royal Caribbean might be interested in some level of community support for a clean harbor. Jane may look into possibilities of support for the work of Frenchman Bay Partners. Possibly a fund set up with Maine Community Foundation that could support any of our Partner Organizations launch a project or could help support continued coordination of the Frenchman Bay Partners.  We need $25,000 to set up a fund at Maine Community Foundation. Then we would need annual support. A quick calculation: If Royal Caribbean contributed $1 per Royal Caribbean passenger, that would total $47,870.  This may be a target.