Frenchman Bay Partners Executive Committee Meeting
Location: Forrest Conference Room on the MDIBL campus.
Date and Time: Thursday December 18, 2014 3-5 pm
Attendees: Jane Disney, Chris Petersen, Bob Deforrest, Fiona deKoning, Bridie McGreavy
Discussion of Rockweed Harvesting:
The group discussed the proposal to close areas around marine labs to rockweed harvesting. Chris referred back to the DMR recommendations that were posed in January 2014 by the DMR with the Rockweed Plan Development Team.
“Recommendation: Designation of no-harvest areas
Legislative or Department Action Required: Department rulemaking
Description/Rationale: The PDT recommends that the Department implement no-harvest areas that consider the impact of rockweed harvest, if any, on sensitive wildlife areas (e.g., shorebird habitat, seal haul out, previously mapped critical areas) and conserved lands. Additionally, the PDT recommends that the Department implement reference sites along the coast and control plots in and/or around sectors. Establishing these no-harvest research areas will allow for comparisons between harvested and natural areas to evaluate the long- term impacts of harvesting on rockweed beds.
Additional Considerations: All PDT members agreed that the best approach for no-harvest recommendations given their timeline and the scope of this FMP is to provide general recommendations for further development. It is important to note that PDT endorsement of this approach is dependent on the future process and actual designation of closed areas. The PDT recommends that the Department convene a working group in 2014 to develop no-harvest areas.”
This Working group did convene and has considered areas to be designated as no-harvest areas. Caitlin Cleaver, a Field Research Coordinator for the Hurricane Island Foundation is interested in seeing marine laboratories with shorefront property to be considered no-harvest areas. She sent an e-mail to Patricia Hand, Administrative Director of MDIBL to ask for their endorsement on this proposal. Dr. Hand asked Jane’s opinion on the MDI Biological Laboratory supporting this effort to designate marine labs as no-harvest areas. Jane referred this topic to the Frenchman Bay Partners executive committee because we make these kinds of decisions as a group.
We don’t have any rockweed harvesters in our Partners network; we are unaware of rockweed harvesting anywhere in the vicinity of MDI Bio Lab which is located in upper Frenchman Bay, or elsewhere in Frenchman Bay.
If the Frenchman Bay Partners executive committee were to weigh in on this request, we would first want to understand stakeholder perspectives about rockweed harvesting on the Bay. We will put something on the FBP website to collect feedback from our group. We are interested in reaching out to SERC to see what their response is. We agreed that we would like to see “no-harvest” areas for research opportunities to understand the differences between harvested and “no-harvest” areas. We discussed having a conversation about this issue at the Frenchman Bay Partner Annual Meeting on January 31.
There is an interest in learning more about what the Schoodic Institute thinks about the rockweed proposal. Jane indicated that Mark Berry, Director of the Schoodic Institute, expressed an interest in meeting up with us as Partners to explore collaborative opportunities.
MDI Bio Lab is not bound by decisions of the Frenchman Bay Partners; MDIBL can independently decide how they want to respond to the request. However, we will share our stakeholder responses in case they help to inform MDIBL’s decision.
Bob described a need to pay attention to the distinctions between harvesting practices and species so that responses to concerns about rockweed are not conflated with other marine vegetable harvesting.
FBP Annual Meeting Agenda Planning
COA campus, January 31st, Snow date February 1st
Jane described why we wanted to host the Annual Meeting at COA: to broaden participation and include students in the event.
Anna will be back Jan. 5th and will help coordinate details.
Annual meeting dedication: Everyone proposed Jane Disney as the nominee. There was a discussion about other possible candidates. AmeriCorps as an organization was proposed.
The group decided to create an agenda which will feature Flash talks (5 minutes each) in two morning sessions. The first session will highlight biophysical work related to the conservation targets and the second session will focus on social and capacity building efforts with the Partners. Following each session, the group will have World Café conversations in which participants will learn more about each focal area and find ways to participate in the science and project activities.
Bridie will provide a World Café training for COA students involved in hosting the annual meeting. Here is a web link for more information about this process: http://www.theworldcafe.com/index.html
We identified a need to leave the sessions open enough so that attendees can tell us what they want to focus on. We also need to do targeted invites to people in Bay organizations.
We will have lunch, followed by elections, and a poster session and informal conversation session at the end of the day.
Technical Reports Timeline
Here is a link to an example: http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/cascobay/pdfs/shellfish_factsheet.pdf
Nomination: Slate of New Officers
We discussed the process for nominating officers. The 5-member executive committee is coming up for election. Could put up a slate for the officers (President, Vice President and Secretary) and then see if anyone else is interested.
The group discussed the possibility of forming a Board of Directors. We discussed possible formats for an advisory committee meeting. At the annual meeting, we will express that we feel like we have moved away from broader participation, we are looking for more input.
Possible nominees: Carol Korty, Bob Pulver, Roger Bowen, Emma Fox, Molly Miller, Jim Norris, Terry Towne, Billy Helpren; All members of the existing committee indicated that they would still want to be involved.
Discussion about Elmina Sewall Grant
We are at a point as an organization where we need a Coordinator. Funding would be directed to salary and travel around the Bay to strengthen and continue to build the Partnership network. The group discussed the similarity between the DEREN proposal and the Partners and about the possibility that we review a copy of their Sewall proposal.
MDI Biolab has a 10% overhead on foundation grants which is acceptable to Sewall. Sewall Foundation has no parameters attached to their budget. How do we sustain the funding? We have built capacity for understanding some of our options for sustained funding but the coordinator would help us define and select our options. The group discussed the possibility of sharing advising and oversight of the coordinator across organizations.
Need to prepare a 6-item budget for MDIBL for end of December.
a) Diadromous Fishes:
Update—Chris Petersen and Bob DeForrest
See the website and the newsletter about the Flanders Stream project. Chris mentioned that he owes Claire Enterline from the DMR a report related to diadromous fish monitoring.
The Friends of Taunton Bay group is having an annual meeting in January and they are interested in talking about culverts and connectivity of streams and diadromous fish issues. The focus will be on working with communities on culverts.
Bob mentioned an effort to bring municipalities together on culvert restoration and improved fish passage. This would focus on recruiting local partners. Acadia National Park and researchers involved with the NEST grant at UMaine are also working on Cromwell Brook. Jane mentioned that Cromwell Brook had high bacterial counts after the November storms.
The newsletter went out and Anna did a great job on it. Jane encouraged us to forward it to everyone in our organizations.
Update—Bridie McGreavy on Project 610 and Frenchman Bay Green Crab Control Project
Bridie gave an update on the status of closures and the need to hire people for the watershed surveys and green crab work. She shared the investigative report that DMR provided at the October shellfish committee meeting which indicated improvements in water quality in select coves and the need to better understand pollution that may be contributing to the Martin and Weir Cove closures.
Maine/New Hampshire Eelgrass Meeting Thursday January 22nd, Snow Date January 23rd at MDIBL. Presentations/Lunch/Discussion
Jane described the upcoming meeting that will focus on sharing learning from other parts of Maine. Long Cove provided additional funding for eel grass research and Anecdata.
e) Benthic Habitats
Jane noted the report that Shannon provided from her research in summer 2013. Provides a baseline for detecting year-tooyear and longer term changes.
She is paying attention to the scallop harvesting and aquaculture farm in Thomas Bay. There is an applicant who intends to put oyster farms there, presumably suspended culture. She has not applied for the permit yet. Fiona asked Jane to send her contact information.
Jane is still working with website developer Duncan Bailey to promote the citizen science data portal, Anecdata.org. They are going to the Citizen Science Conference in San Jose to share a poster and may be working with Penobscot East to potentially create a private site for their fishing data.
The King Tides project will link with Anecdata as the web-engine and data repository.
Jane described Jennifer Booher’s Coast Walk Project where she is going to circumambulate the island. Low tide on Jan. 1st is the initiation of this project. http://jenniferbooher.com/wp-walking/
Jane described the status of the following grant proposals which are all in process or have been funded.
Elmina Sewall Grant due January 15th
NOAA B-Wet Grant submitted Oct. 31st
We talked about the need to share the Frenchman Bay Partner process on engaging stakeholders, creating bay management strategies and working together to accomplish goals. Bridie would be interested in writing up the FBP as a model that can be adopted in other communities.
Jane gave an update about the Army Corps funding. Jane is working with a Representative Brian Hubbell to bring the cooperative agreement to the State for their approval. The agreement would require the state to assure protection of the proposed eelgrass restoration areas in perpetuity. The Nature Conservancy, along with dozens of other organizations, did not receive these funds from Army Corps.
Something related to the protection of research areas came up at the Maine Shellfish Advisory Committee, so they decided that in areas where clams are being restored, the mussel harvesters would be made aware that these areas are important for restoration and be restricted from dragging.
Davis Conservation Fund
Jane announce that the Davis Conservation Fund $5000 for continued work with ESV-Decision Support Tool on other side of bay in 2015.
Finally, Jane shared the results from the ESV Decision support tool work in November. She is planning to share a report out of the data analysis from the two events that explored perceptions related to ecosystem service values in the Bay. Fiona recommended that we take a cautious approach to using and reporting out from the ESV. The group discussed how it can be useful to help people understand the multiple values, like for water quality and recreation in the Bay but that it is limited because the process was unclear for some of those who participated. In the future, we need to mix the groups, with a mix of Partners and local businesses, rather than hosting separate stakeholder events.
The business stakeholder meeting was one of the times when food got in the way. The restaurant did not work well as a venue.
In general, the data show universal priorities and it increases communication and a good networking opportunity. The ESV process provides a pool of people to call on to draw people in to participate in the Partner activities in different ways.