February 26th, 2015

Published by Anna Farrell on

Frenchman Bay Partners Executive Committee Meeting

Location: Forrest Conference Room on the MDI Biological Laboratory campus

Date and Time: Thursday, February 26, 2015 3-5pm

 MINUTES

 

In attendance: Bob DeForrest, Duncan Bailey, Jane Disney, Chris Petersen, Anna Farrell

On conference call: Bridie McGreavy

  1. Frenchman Bay Partners Annual Meeting

We talked about dates for rescheduling the annual meeting and arrived at Saturday, May 2, 2015. Location and time remain the same: COA Gates Center, 9-2pm.

We also discussed the proposed agenda. Round one of the flash talks and small group discussions is meant to prompt specific next steps for getting involved, initiate projects, allow participants to ask more questions of the speakers, and  lead to a better understanding of the targets. Chris is willing to do the diadromous fish talk, but we’d like to get a subset of diadromous people there, perhaps Gary Edwards and Alan Kane (a.k.a. Chubba).  Round two speakers aren’t officially established: Anna will reach out to Jenn Booher to speak about her coast walk, and Brian Reilly to talk about market based solutions; Bridie will contact Joe for the mudflat talk.

We’re still planning on re-implementing a steering group, and talking about that during the informal discussion period. Two weeks before the event, Anna will email partners asking for officer nominations, making sure to include that the existing slate of officers are willing to remain. She will also send follow up emails.

  1. Committee Updates

Diadromous Fishes

Chris went to a Downeast Fisheries Partnership workshop in January about alewives, and a follow up monthly meeting last Friday. The Downeast Fisheries Partnership is made up of Downeast Salmon Federation, Penobscot East Resource Center, and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences as well as the Maine Seacoast Mission. They’re working with the Friends of Taunton Bay to do culvert work, and are going to hire someone to look at smelt fish runs. The Downeast Salmon Federation has some data on their website regarding smelt, including a layer of a GIS map that encompasses some of the Frenchman Bay watershed.

We should approach the Downeast Salmon Federation about becoming a Frenchman Bay Partner. Regardless of whether they become partners or not, we should connect with them. Both the Downeast Fisheries Partnership and Frenchman Bay Partners are operating as constellation models: a variety of organizations all connected to each other what is termed “lightweight governance”. DFP has some literature on the model here, and you can read about constellation models here. Their website has more information (www.downeastfisheries.org). Bridie said what we really need is a network analysis: what are the different ways we’re connected across this region? How can we get people from separate networks to connect? She mentioned a paper called “The Strength of Weak Ties” by Mark S. Granovetter.

The director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary moved to Herring Gut Learning Center and is hiring a new director. Chris will be taking a leadership role in the alewife restoration project in the Somes Pond watershed and will need others to take the lead on Jones and Morancy stream.

The committee would like to get other people and other streams involved: Alan Kane “Chubba”, might be interested in working on Jones Stream, and Gary Edwards, Morancy Stream, were suggested. Jane suggested that we approach Chubba about becoming a Frenchman Bay Partner. Talking to the Youngs, who hold the alewife harvesting permit for Franklin, were also suggested.

Upcoming plan for the diadromous fish committee include: possibly doing smelt work again. Chris would like to look at Cromwell Brook. Acadia National Park is going to be doing a lot of work there in the next five years. Back in the day, it was reported as a brook stream. Its culverts need fixing, and there are lots of facets to Cromwell, including mountains and a golf course.

Bob mentioned the upcoming Stream Smart Crossing workshop March 26. It’s already on the Frenchman Bay Partners website and Facebook.

Communications

Jane mentioned the summary from the eelgrass meeting on January 22 was drafted, edited, and sent out. Ditto for the Ecosystem Services summary– sent out to all participants as well as those who signed up, but didn’t show up–about 50 people in all. Both publications are on the website and were posted on Facebook.

We’re going to circulate the Rockweed Harvesting survey again to the partners before the annual meeting. Anna will share the results we have so far with the Executive Committee via email. Results will be shared at the Annual Meeting during the afternoon discussions. Survey results will be put in the next newsletter and on the Facebook page.

The next newsletter should be sent out before this year’s Annual Meeting so we can advertise the meeting in it.

Continue to send events and such to Anna (afarrell@mdibl.org) and Duncan (dbailey@mdibl.org) so they can post them on the website. Also put out a call on the website and Facebook for partner events.

Bridie is impressed with the technical reports as a communication strategy and an archive. Anna is going to send them out to the executive committee for a second round of editing. We discussed merging the reports into a single document or keeping them separate. Duncan suggested combining them into one PDF under Documents, but putting individual documents under the appropriate conservation targets–the more ways to link to it, the better. This developed into a conversation about what to call the document: Jane suggested State of the Bay 2014. Bridie amended this by saying it was more than a state of the bay, since it also demonstrates processes and outcomes. Chris said they’re not progress reports and not an annual report. It was decided that Anna will solicit a brainstorm of name ideas via email. Bridie would be willing to write a short introduction giving the document context and tying it back to the mission.

Mudflats

Bridie reminded us of the Fishermen’s Forum March 5-7. Jane and Chris will be part of a panel discussion. The overall theme is how do we create partnerships? It’s an obvious opportunity to bring Frenchman Bay Partner work to the table. Speakers will be focused on applied marine sciences, and the goal is mutual understanding: opening up understanding from the DMR perspective and learning on the DMR side of the constraints researchers are under. Bridie is planning on presenting the Frenchman Bay Partners as a Case Study, with actual action planning sessions following the presentation that lead to actual ideas addressing people’s concerns and how we can better work together.

The New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST) is working with a massive dataset from the DMR, parsing out data site by site. They’re doing a tidal analysis to get an overall sense of how sites respond to rainfall (i.e. residence time of bacteria), and trying to predict how certain sites will respond to rainfall events.The ultimate goal of the study is shorter closure times issued by DMR.

The Regional Shellfish committee needs support in sustaining their governance model. They’ll need assistance getting experiments up and running; we can link to RSC conservation events on the FBP website and Facebook, and ask for volunteers via those platforms if necessary.

Eelgrass

MDI Biological Laboratory hosed an eelgrass meeting on January 22. We’ve made up a summary of the meeting with next steps. We’re also writing an editorial/press release to share the meeting with the public with the intention of bringing the State’s attention to eelgrass. A joint project between Casco Bay and Frenchman Bay is the works for this summer. Casco Bay will be looking at best placement, methods, and environment. It’s a difficult study for Frenchman Bay to parallel (for one thing, we don’t have all the necessary equipment), so we’ll do some pieces of the replicate work. We plan on supporting their efforts to trial different methods and will donate 75 grids to them.

The Sierra Club and 350.org are interested in doing eelgrass restoration in Southern Maine. Jane directed them towards Hilary Neckles for potential collaboration.

Mary McInnes at Alfred University is facilitating the development of ceramic washers to be used as “restoration weights”. The ceramic department is holding a competition to develop the best prototype. 1000 washers from the chosen model will be sent to MDI Biological Laboratory. They’re also working on developing a dissolvable disk. We’d like to send some to Casco Bay for an additional parallel study.

Benthic Habitats

Jane mentioned Karen James is expressing increasing interest in getting a DNA barcoding project off the ground, so Jane sent her Shannon White’s thesis data from 2013.

Bev Johnson, who spoke at the eelgrass meeting, studies food webs. She contends more things eat eelgrass than we think. She wants samples from across gradients to look at isotopic ratios and hopes to mobilize citizen scientists or student interns to get samples in Casco Bay and Frenchman Bay.

Bridie wants to link up with Karen James about identification of sources of E. coli (i.e. typing E.coli).

  1. Discussion

Scallop dragging in Frenchman Bay: Theo mentioned to Jane he hasn’t seen much scallop dragging going on in Frenchman Bay. Chris said in the past few decades, Frenchman Bay hasn’t seemed to have much in the way of scallops. It’s been a successful year so far, particularly in Gouldsboro and Cobscook Bay. Either the scallops are doing really well independent of local/regional management, or the management has been doing really well regulating dragging.

Oyster Aquaculture proposal for Thomas Bay: Jane thinks this is great opportunity to apply the ESValue decision support tool since it would identify priorities outside of a public hearing, which can be divisive and don’t allow for much discussion and conversation. Chris responded that scoping sessions accomplish discussion pretty well. The landowner of Israel Point, along with his development, is really the only one that will be impacted. It was suggested that the aquaculturists put a small trial in the water this summer before making a big commitment. They haven’t submitted a LPA (Limited Purpose Aquaculture) lease yet, or a standard lease. Jane asked about pre-project water quality monitoring. Chris said he thinks once the aquaculture site is established, the aquaculturists work with the state to monitor, but we can ask Kohl Kanwit at the Fishermen’s Forum about pre-monitoring.

ESValue Decision Support Tool: Bob suggested we try out the tool on a theoretical scenario rather than the oyster aquaculture proposal. Bridie wondered if there is a way to integrate the ESValue Tool into a multi-criteria framework. Jane asked if anyone had any ideas of real scenarios to apply the tool to, and the ferry terminal was suggested. Jane is working on Phase II of the ESV tool’s implementation, with funding from the Walker Foundation.

Meeting adjourned at 5pm.