Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Location: Smith Building, MDIBL, Director’s Conference Room
Date and Time: 2:00pm-3:45pm, Thursday, May 23, 2013
In attendance: Jane Disney, Chris Petersen, Bridie McGreavy, Fiona DeKoning, Bob DeForrest, Jordan Bailey, Shannon White, Emma Fox
Updates: Bay Plan and Conservation Action Planning
Shannon updated the Executive Committee on the progress she’s made on the Bay Plan. Currently, the partners are in step two of the conservation action planning process, in the “Plan actions and monitoring” stage. During this second stage, the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation suggest developing goals, strategies, assumptions, and objectives; developing a monitoring plan; and developing an operational plan. Shannon’s draft of the Bay Plan will include suggestions to each of the subcommittees about setting and refining goals, in order to help move the action plan along. Some subcommittees already have goals, which came out of the November 2012 goal-setting session, others have started to develop goals at subcommittee meetings. Shannon suggested revisiting the strategies drafted at the Schoodic Planning retreat. Results chains, which were started at the Schoodic Planning retreat, need to be developed for each of the conservation targets. The results chains help to underscore the immediate objectives for each target.
Developing a monitoring plan and an operation plan are a part of this step of the process as well. The operation plan should include the practices for each plan, such as funding and protocols. Shannon suggested that the Salt Water Discovery Trail, engaging businesses around the bay, working on grants, and voluntourism be involved in the Partners operational plan. Shannon is currently revising all of the goals and creating text for the Bay Plan. Jane asked that each subcommittee receive results chains and Key Ecological Attribute information applicable to their target.
Emma and Shannon are ending their AmeriCorps terms in a month. Emma is moving on and Shannon is going to become the marine specialist at the Community Environmental Health Laboratory (CEHL) at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. She will work with Charlie Wray and the Rozalia project on benthic monitoring. Shannon will complete the Bay Plan before the end of her term and post it on the website to make it available to Partners and the general public. The CEHL will also have Jordan Bailey working as the Education and Outreach Coordinator and Duncan Bailey working as the Special Projects Manager.
Bridie sent a paper to the attendees about a group studying the process of using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. A lot of groups are working on using the standards, but not many people are currently studying it. The paper highlights many of the troubles the Partners have experienced using the standards, particularly the confusing jargon and the amount of time it takes to sit down and move through the Open Standards. The paper does highlight the strengths of Miradi and the Open Standards. Bridie followed up with the author of the paper, Mark Schwartz, who gave her other contacts to explore a comparison between the Partners’ process and the groups studied by the authors of the paper. The paper was published in Biological Conservation, a peer-reviewed academic journal, so there are copyright issues with making it available on the FBP website. It may be good to share it around with the tier of people who have been following the Partners because of their process; after all, the Partners had always hoped their process could be a model for other groups. There was a conversation about the “threats” versus “pressures” terminology.
Jane gave a brief updated on the Marine Science Symposium for students recently held at the MDI Bio Lab. The students went through the Partners process using seaweed as a habitat of concern as sort of a case study. Dr. Raul Ugarte from Acadian Sea Plants spoke about Rockweed at the symposium, as did Jesse Muhlin, from Maine Maritime. The students talked about seaweed as habitat, not as an issue, and mirrored the stakeholder meeting process.
Jordan reorganized the projects tab to be divided by conservation targets so that the subcommittees may each update their own projects and have them readily accessible. Shannon will plan a benthic habitats meeting as soon as she can and will invite the Executive Committee as well as Charlie Wray and others who she has been in contact with about benthic resources.
The diadromous fish committee had their first meeting in April, and the minutes are on the Frenchman Bay Partners website: https://frenchmanbaypartners.org/publications/meeting-minutes/. Chris updated everyone about the diadromous fish committee meeting, which was a little broader than just Partner projects, as it included conversations about the Somes Sound watershed and MDI—both of which are fairly large projects in the state. Monitoring was a topic of conversation at that meeting—it is particularly important now in Sullivan. The committee spoke about acquiring baseline data, looking into restoration that is currently happening, and moving forward. Chris mentioned that he and others had been to field trips to show kids how to read fish scales.
Jane brought up the Sumner Memorial High School Marine Pathways event coming up on June 5th. She and others at the CEHL were invited to attend. Jane suggested people get in touch with the Principal if they’re interested in attending the dinner.
The communications committee had their first meeting in May. The committee is Jane, Bridie, Emma, Shannon, and Jordan, as well as Anne LaBossiere from the Lamoine Conservation Commission. The communications committee talked about e-newsletter articles, website reorganization, and developing an FBP logo. Jordan introduced the group to a few different versions of the image she and Duncan created from communications committee suggestions. There was a discussion about the pros and cons of each image, but ultimately everyone agreed that a logo was necessary. The Partners need some kind of identifier, to put on posters, letterhead, etc. A logo would be a unifying symbol. The executive committee discussed the benefits of having two versions of the logo to use interchangeably, depending on the occasion. The communications committee will discuss final changes at their next meeting on June 3rd.
Jordan and Jane asked that everyone take a look at the revised Frenchman Bay Partners website with fresh eyes, to see if they like the changes and to see if it’s user-friendly. Chris mentioned the recent event held by the Friends of Taunton Bay. There was a discussion about how the Partners should approach the Friends of Taunton Bay to sign on as Partners. The FBP could really help that group out.
Jane mentioned the need to get an eelgrass subcommittee meeting before the start of summer. The Community Environmental Health Laboratory has a lot of restoration projects planned for the summer and it makes sense to involve people before the projects really get underway. The summer restoration plans are for Jordan River, Goose Cove, Hadley Point, ThomasIsland, and Berry Cove. Eelgrass is up late this year, though. Jane mentioned that the eelgrass committee might need help in advertising eelgrass restoration events later in the summer.
The 610 Project Advisory Board had a meeting earlier in the morning. While not the official mudflats subcommittee, the 610 Project is a major project of that subcommittee. Bridie updated the group on the particulars of the 610 Project grant—HCPC is the fiscal sponsor, and 610 refers to the 610 acres of restricted harvest mudflats. The purpose of the grant is to build capacity toward opening the acres of restricted harvest mudflats. The plan is to hire Paul Davis as a clam harvester liaison, give him some training, and help the Regional Shellfish Committee build organizational capacity. Everyone on the advisory board is a partner: Joe Porada, Jim Norris, Tom Martin, Chris Petersen, Jane Disney, Jordan Bailey, Emma Fox, Hannah Annis, and Bridie McGreavy.
The purpose of the meeting in the morning was to try and reframe, based on the awarded $7500 for the project. Watershed surveys are not the first step for the 610 Project. Creating a flow guide to opening closed clamflats by contacting people through the correct channels in the DEP, DMR, and municipality levels is probably the first step. Hannah submitted a list of priority areas from the RSC to the DMR for watershed surveys, but the DMR has yet to share their thoughts about that list. There was a discussion about who the users of a flow guide like that might be; clam committees, for instance. The RSC has also expressed a need to check in with other ordinance groups—perhaps working across groups is an option for them.
Bob mentioned a proposed act for the Maine State Legislature, the “Act to Ensure Clean Water and Safe Communities.” According to the act (LD1455), state bonds would be used to acquire land. Information about this act is now on the FBP website forum: https://frenchmanbaypartners.org/forum/?mingleforumaction=viewtopic&t=16. Currently, the act is being supported by the Maine Municipal Association and others. There was a discussion about the possibility of adding a “pending legislation” tab to the FBP website, provided people get familiar with uploading documents and updating their projects through the WordPress platform.
There was a discussion about how the 610 Project does not encompass the entire mudflats conservation target, or include all of the goals around it. The mudflats committee will have to meet outside the 610 Project advisory board meetings, too. Chris suggested that both meetings be held one after the other. Jane updated the group on the 610 grant planning process back in January.
Casting a broader net for subcommittees
There was a discussion about including links to the FBP website in most emails to get people using it as a resource. Emma mentioned casting a broader net for subcommittee meetings and sending out mass emails to partners about the next meeting for each of the subcommittees, just so people aren’t missing out who might want to be involved. Advertising upcoming meetings on the Facebook page and the Events page of the website are both ways to prevent people from being left out. People on the former Steering Committee should be given extra consideration, to reincorporate them into the new organizational structure of the Frenchman Bay Partners. The subcommittees are closing in a little and need to be opened back up to remain inclusive and transparent.
Salt Water Discovery Trail
The CEHL has a new volunteer, Rick Martens, who happens to be a GIS mapper. He is interested in helping out the Partners with the Salt Water Discovery Trail map, originally Shaun Donovan’s idea. Jane mentioned that she is interested in creating an updated version with multiple GIS layers. The map would be printed and waterproof. Jane also mentioned Natalie Springuel’s expressed interest in the map. The Salt Water Discovery Trail map could have the logos of sponsors, in addition to the Frenchman Bay Partners logo. If the Partners got the kayak trail map sponsored, they could use it as a source of funding. Jane suggested approaching kayak companies about it. A discussion followed about public access points and exclusion of known eagle nests, so as not to disturb the wildlife. Bob mentioned including brief blurbs about wildlife observation protocols—how to act when you see eagles or seals or porpoises. A conversation followed about liability issues, should kayak renters get in over their head out on Frenchman Bay. The Salt Water Discovery Trail map is a project which may take some time to complete, so it’s not on a front burner right now.
Tundi Agardy’s Visit to MDI
Tundi is difficult to get a hold of, but this gives the Partners time to work on the stakeholder engagement piece. Bridie mentioned that Caroline Noblet and Todd Gabe will be meeting with the Lamoine Conservation Commission about a “Value of the Sea” project on June 5th. The Partners are going to ret and be a part of that conversation, to see if the project can be bigger than Lamoine. In working on our own Frenchman Bay economics report, Emma has found that there are many complexities to an economic valuation and that it might not make sense to look at it on a town level.
There was a discussion about people identifying (or not) as Partners—while this piece still needs some work, it is very clear that the Partner network is working.