COUNCIL OF LAKE COMMITTEES
Host Marriott Inn -- Detroit Airport
Detroit, MI 48242
18 April 2000
Attendees – CLC members: Mike Costello (OHDNR), Bill Culligan (NYDEC), Ken Cullis (OMNR), Tom Gorenflo (COTFMA), Bill Horns
(WDNR), Neil Kmiecik (GLIFWC), Vice Chairman Bob Lange (NYDEC), Rob MacGregor (OMNR), Dave McLeish (OMNR), Sandra Orsatti
(OMNR), John Schrouder (MDNR), Tom Trudeau (ILDNR), Jack Wingate (MNDNR). Absent: Del Graff (PFBC), John Kubisiak (INDNR), Jim Moore
(WDNR), Tom Rozich (MDNR), Steve Scott (MDNR).
Others: Gavin Christie (GLFC), Marg Dochoda (GLFC), Randy Eshenroder (GLFC), Vic Gilman (DFO), Chris Goddard (GLFC), Roger Kenyon (PFBC), Joe Koonce (Case Western Reserve University), Nancy Milton (USGS), Cmr. Roy Stein (OSU).
1. Announcements and approval of agenda and meeting summaries
The CLC approved its agenda. CLC and Lake Committee meeting summaries were approved with correction of a typo in CLC-04/99-19. In addition, the total allowable catch for yellow perch in 2000 should be 1.3, rather than 1.2, million pounds in MU-3.
2. Topics for presentation and discussion at fall CLC meeting on fish issues of common concern
The CLC plans a 1.5 or 2 day meeting to be held 12,13 December in the Detroit area. Presentations and discussions were requested on the following topics:
Sport harvest – New cost-effective approaches are needed to provide information on sport harvest in a comprehensive, standard fashion, e.g., mid-day flyovers in coordination with DFO and USFWS hunting and fishing surveys. Each LC will summarize creel census status and plans, including gaps, for their respective lakes. An expert or two, e.g., Jim Bence (MSU), will be invited to discuss possible approaches and opportunities for standardization, aggregation of currently available info etc. Ken Pollock (NC State U.) was identified as a potential resource person for this topic, as he has extensive experience in creel census design and analysis.
Food web issues, including opportunities for restructuring fish communities – BOTE was invited to give its white paper on exotics’ impacts to CLC for input and endorsement.
Sturgeon rehabilitation – CLC agencies need a common basis for approaching sturgeon rehabilitation issues. Presentations could be sought from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, which is organizing a June workshop on information needs, the USFWS, or Michigan DNR (LHC is patterning its rehabilitation plan after the MDNR strategy).
Wild fish health – LMC and other fishery agencies would like to assess fish health on a lakewide basis, and need guidance on how to proceed in order to recognize problems early on. The LMC and GLFHC are invited to make presentation(s).
Water levels – Each agency will report on its position re water levels. Perhaps the IJC’s Water Levels Board could also give a presentation.
Lamprey control allocation – G. Christie will review the GLFC’s method for allocating sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes.
Environmental assessment tool for private aquaculture – A. Kapuscinski and/or D. Brister (UMN) are invited to give 30 minute update on the Environmental Assessment Tool.
3. Ensuring adequate vessels for management and research
The CLC requested that the Secretariat draft a letter for CLC to the USGS Director re the importance of the research vessel program.
CLC Vice-Chair B. Lange will accompany C. Goddard to discuss the importance of the USGS research vessel program with the Director of the USGS.
The CLC requested that the Secretariat draft a letter for signature by the Chair and Vice-Chair to Bill Hartwig (USFWS) re desirability of offshore stocking conducted by the Togue.
The CLC will sponsor a submission to the GLFC’ s Coordination Activities Program by Jim Peck (MDNR, retired) and C. Schneider (NYDEC, retired) to write a white paper describing fish assessment, research, and management needs, the status of the collective fleet and recommending options for replacement, additions, operating costs and maintenance, including vessel sharing among agencies. A 1995 Vessel Workshop report and the research inventory on the IJC’s web page could serve as resources for the white paper. UNOLS, an NSF-funded program that provides maintenance funds for research vessels, could be investigated for applicability in the Great Lakes (perhaps NOAA’s Steve Brandt can advise). The white paper should confine itself to fish assessment and research vessels.
4. Sea lamprey control allocation
G. Christie reported LSC concern that one large tributary fell below cut for basinwide cost-effectiveness in treating sea lamprey, In response to B. Lange, K.Cullis reported that fish community goals for lake trout mortality are not being met in Nipigon Bay. J. Schrouder added that application of the sturgeon protocol has added cost. See item 2 (presentation requested for December CLC meeting).
5. WDNR proposal to introduce new strain of rainbow trout
B. Horns reviewed that WDNR had proposed introduction of the London and Arlee strains of rainbow. As it turned out, a number of agencies stock Arlee, and the London strain, which would have been new to the Great Lakes, was not available. (WDNR would’ve provided the full prospectus under the Consultation Procedures if London strain had been available since MDNR had expressed concern re natural reproduction.) WDNR ‘s Mike Staggs would be writing C. Goddard to that effect.
6. Consultation Procedures for Introductions
The CLC re-endorsed its 1992 Consultation Procedures for Introductions as comprehensive enough to include consultation on proposed introduction of new strains. Consultation could protect agencies from an unforeseen consequence or from political pressure. Good neighbors consult.
Given WDNR’s recent consultation on proposed introduction of a new strain of rainbow trout, B. Horns commented that the Consultation Procedures were not burdensome, had a reasonable timetable, and should be followed for strain introductions. R. MacGregor was pleased to learn that the Great Lakes Fish Stocking Database (GLFSD) is on the web for review, and has the capability of listing strains stocked for all salmonid species. S. Orsatti suggested the GLFSD could be mined to create a ‘clean list’ of strains for stocking in each lake.
J. Schrouder found the Consultation Procedures unclear on kinds of new strains that should be discussed with other jurisdictions, e.g., humper lake trout? S. Orsatti suggested that a stocking proponent should ask oneself if one’s agency would be offended if another agency did what you were planning without consultation.
7. Environmental Assessment Tool for Private Aquaculture
c. Minutes production (attachment)
Gavin Christie (GLFC) conveyed a proposal from the administrative staff of the GLFC that Lake Committees endeavour to provide minutes within 90 days of a meeting and they would compile and distribute 90 days later.
Lake Committee members found producing minutes burdensome and asked if help could be made available. Randy Eshenroder noted that today’s Power Point presentations, while high quality, too often do not provide enough information. Minutes and attached reports continue to be valuable references (Eshenroder, Bence, LC members, Dochoda).
Action -- The CLC approved the following approach for the 2001 meetings. 1. Before meetings, lake committee chairs will request that presenters provide reports, or at least speaking notes for Power Point presentations. 2. Executive summaries prepared for the CLC and GLFC by Marg Dochoda will be substituted for minutes. If Marg is not available, a Lake Committee Chairman will arrange for a summary to be written. 3. The Chairman will ensure that a complete set of reports is provided to the Secretariat. The Secretariat will attempt to collect a complete set of reports as well. 4. The Secretariat will publish and distribute executive summary and reports within 180 days of the meeting.
The CLC asked that the PIs take into account input from MIDNR, MNDNR, and OMNR in revising the Environmental Assessment Tool for Private Aquaculture (In-Lake), and that the GLFC post it on the Web for public comment. The ‘Guidelines’ nature of the Tool should be emphasized. The CLC asked that in March 2001, PIs incorporate any subsequent technical suggestions that they judge improve the Tool, and report to the CLC in April 2001 re any management suggestions. PIs were requested to update the CLC at its December 2000 meeting (see Item 2). The Tool will be a focus for discussion at an industry workshop sponsored by the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (out of MSU). The GLFC is a co-sponsor of the workshop, which Ron Kinnunen (MI Sea Grant) is organizing.
During a February / March review period, MNDNR, MIDNR, and OMNR had provided PIs some suggestions for improving the Environmental Assessment Tool for Private Aquaculture. OMNR’s Sudbury District ‘field tested’ the Tool on a couple permit applications for net pens and found it very useful in bringing organization to issues the Ministry considers in issuing permits. Sudbury District had a couple suggestions re which issues are considered first. Ontario’s First Nations will have an opportunity to comment on the Tool when up on the Web.
8. Ballast water management
CLC members will alert their respective agencies of opportunity in wake of GLFC letter to Governments to write letters of their own re the need to prevent ship-mediated invasions.
The LEC urged agencies to read entire LaMP documents before endorsing. In its wildlife section, the draft Lake Erie LaMP indited TFM as a ‘contaminant’ causing ‘reproductive impairment’ in mudpuppies. Only a one or two weeks was provided to review the document. In the end, the LaMP Management Committee approved substitute language from G. Christie. OMNR plans are to endorse the process, but not the report. The GLFC is asking for input from LEC before deciding whether to endorse.
9. SOLEC: proposed fishability index , request for lake presentations
Lake Committee Chairs (plus other interested members such as T. Gorenflo and N. Kmiecik) will meet with SOLEC organizers 3-5 pm 5 June in Duluth (and possibly breakfast on the 6th), to discuss the proposed fishability index and related matters. M. Dochoda will supply a notice, the proposed fishability index, and the SOLEC indicators website.
While a couple members thought the proposed index was a constructive, helpful idea conceptually, they doubted that fishability could be quantified. There was concern re public misinterpretation of a SOLEC pronouncement that a stock was 60% fishable – excessive simplification ‘affects our business’.
Concern was also expressed re choice of one-species or entrainment as an indicator of fish community health.
Re lake committee presentations at SOLEC, there were reservations based on time demands. Also, one member believed environmental agencies could benefit from a presentation on the roles of the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries and the GLFC.
At the meeting, CLC members will raise the need for phosphorus loading reports listed in the SOLEC indicator document (see item 11).
11. Phosphorus loading reports
Members will discuss with SOLEC organizers the need for phosphorus loading reports listed in the SOLEC indicator document (see item 10). The CLC also referred the question to the CGLFA. Individual LC members should keep P loading in mind in discussion in reviewing LaMPs and in discussion with environmental agencies. (The IJC and GLFC have both recommended that P loading data continue to be collected.)
B. Lange explained that phosphorus loading data is no longer collected by water quality agencies because targets have been met. Measurement of ambient phosphorus concentrations are probably adequate for current purposes (meeting fish community objectives). Cmr. Stein added that P trend through time was originally based on phosphorus loading, and that it is difficult to relate changes in fish communities to phosphorus if P loading is no longer measured. Also, there are still questions around P management (managing below targets? distribution between mid-lake and tributaries?) that require continued collection of P loading data.
12. Proposed Great Lakes Fish Habitat Conservation Committee
The CLC approved the proposed Great Lakes Fish Habitat Conservation Committee if it reports to the CLC rather than the GLFC. J. Koonce will include this recommendation in his June report to CGLFA and GLFC. The CGLFA and GLFC would need to explicitly approve this variance from the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries.
J. Koonce explained that the Joint Strategic Plan requested that the GLFC establish a Habitat Advisory Board to assist Lake Committees with environmental objectives and monitoring progress toward same. It also could assist fishery agencies to deal with issues such as P, water levels, ‘fishability, TFM trade-offs, and other issues arising from cultural differences between fish and water quality agencies in a more comprehensive fashion, attracting expertise and resources to the task.
The CLC had previously had concerns re staff time commitments, nature of support for Lake Committee environmental objectives, interface role with LaMPs and SOLEC, and discharge of monitoring responsibilities. J. Koonce asked of CLC (1) agency commitment and support, (2) input re membership arrangements, (3) coordination of fish community objectives and environmental objectives, and (4) expectations re reporting and LaMP and SOLEC contributions.
Cmr. Stein reported that a couple of Commissioners have been particular advocates for habitat issues, and have found them difficult to address (witness difficulties in securing suitable proposal in response to BOTE RFP). Bur even if first steps are faltering ones, we needn’t stop at that. T. Gorenflo, previously a member of HAB, agreed that the proposed new committee was a better approach with closer linkages to Lake Committees and technical people, and that improvements could be sought as we go. J. Koonce agreed adding that commitment to the initial process is necessary, however. S. Orsatti identified CGLFA, the ‘keeper’ of the Plan, as the entity that can give this commitment.
There was discussion whether a GL Fish Habitat Conservation Committee was needed – couldn’t Lake Committees and LaMPs write environmental objectives for a particular lake, then seek outside resources for monitoring etc.? J. Koonce replied that such a partnership never developed, and that there was no momentum from SGLFMP, which asked the GLFC to support environmental objectives etc. K. Cullis reported that Lake Superior’s Binational Program attempted to address habitat issues from the bottom up in a piecemeal fashion, but there is no overall umbrella for big issues, cross-lake comparability, and attracting resources.
S. Orsatti, R. MacGregor, and J. Schrouder proposed that the new committee report to the CLC rather than the GLFC, a proposal which became a condition for CLC support. Dochoda explained that while pivotal environmental objectives would be developed for respective Lake Committees’ approval, the new committee was proposed to report to the GLFC, because the GLFC has that responsibility under SGLFMP and the GLFC might be better positioned to attract outside expertise and resources to develop monitoring needs and to explore and address habitat issues related to fish community objectives. V. Gilman proposed the GLFC’s Sea Lamprey Integration Committee as a good model: the right people are in the room and the structure is such that there is carry through.
Re membership, the new committee would look for both Lake Committee representation and each agency’s ‘habitat expert’, but this would depend on the task-of-the-moment and each Lake Committee’s interest. To link with LaMPs and SOLEC, and to map, inventory, and address issues such as nutrients, as well as work on environmental objectives, representatives would be sought also from water quality agencies previously appointed to HAB, according to J. Koonce. K. Cullis emphasized importance of including LaMP people.
Because of the central importance of environmental objectives, J. Koonce recommended that they be the first priority of the new committee. For example he hoped the LEC’s environmental objectives subcommittee would work with the proposed Habitat Committee, sharing information and extending lessons to other lakes, and benefiting from larger base of resources and expertise to better rationalize environmental objectives recommended to the LEC. Likewise, the larger base of expertise and resources would be brought to bear in monitoring progress on each lake’s environmental objectives and in developing important related issues, e.g., SGLFMP could be used to prompt free access to government databases on habitat. The Habitat Committee’s priorities of the moment would dictate agency choices for representation. V. Gilman reported that DFO is planning a habitat standards workshop, and that the first operational meeting of the proposed GL Fish Habitat Conservation Committee could be held in association with the workshop (17,18 January 2001, same location as OFPA).
Re meeting frequency, J. Koonce supposed the new Committee would meet no more frequently than HAB (~ twice a year) but that there would be more between-meeting tasks, especially in the beginning.
Re funding, GLFC reps confirmed that HAB’s budget ($20,000 annually) was being held in anticipation of a replacement committee.
B. Horns was concerned that environmental objectives implied that there’s some amount you can safely take and someday we’ll be able to say what that is. In the mean time, incremental losses are becoming significant in total. He preferred the tack implied in the BOTE RFP – to document and oppose any loss. Hope was expressed that the proposed Habitat Committee could develop and use these two tracks as needed: oppose habitat loss and promote fish needs. V. Gillman thought that establishing fish needs for habitat will be especially helpful in stemming habitat loss in particularly important, particularly stressed areas such as connecting channels and bays.
13. Contaminant advisory issue
Pennsylvania private aquaculturists were dismayed when EPA-based consumption advisories were issued for PFBC hatchery fish prior to stocking. Local markets refused the privately raised fish, which were actually under FDA consumption advisories. It looks like the source of contamination was primarily PFBC’s artesian wells, and not feed as was originally thought.
14. Law Enforcement Committee terms of reference
The CLC asked to be copied on Law Enforcement Committee meeting notices and minutes as appropriate. C. Goddard reported that the Law Enforcement Committee is organizing two subcommittees for the Upper and Lower Lakes, respectively. Terms of reference for the Law Enforcement Committee are being reviewed, and will be submitted for CLC approval thereafter. The Law Enforcement Committee is looking for appropriate agency representation.
15. Restoration Act issues
At Review Committee Chair Jack Wingate’s request, the CLC recommended that
(1) Late proposals – In future, establish the principle that the deadline is firm. It is unfair to those who did meet the deadline to consider late proposals. However, since this is a new process, and there was a short turnaround time, the CLC recommends considering late proposals this year only.
(2) Sturgeon RFP – The CLC left the decision on the sturgeon proposal to the discretion of the Review Committee. A sturgeon genetics RFP was let for 2000, per CLC. However, none of the Lake Committees ranked highly the subsequent proposal – apparently sticker shock was a factor.
(3) Multi-year proposals – Allocate all $500K of FY 2000 Restoration Act grants if there are sufficient desirable projects. The USFWS can carry FY 2000 funds one year if the Review Committee so elects. The CLC endorsed efforts to negotiate reduction in budgets of selected proposals in order to secure the most important pieces of information in each project , and to make most efficient use of available funds.
The CLC requested that the Secretariat draft a letter for signature of Chair and Vice-Chair to the Great Lakes Task Force supporting “continue current level of funding” for grants.
16. Coordination Activities Program
Information on the FY 2000 Coordination Activities Program can be found at http://www.glfc.org/fishmgmt/coacpro.htm. C. Goddard reported that the GLFC is listed in the Pittman Robertson bill to receive $200K beginning in FY 2001 for state fish rehabilitation projects, probably through the Coordination Activities Program.
17. Meeting schedule and arrangements
The Upper Lakes committees will meet the week of 20 March 2001, in Sault Ste. Marie. The LHC and its state of the lake report will occupy 1.5 days between LSC and LMC.
Lower lakes committees will meet 27-29 March 2001 in the NY Niagara area.
The CLC will meet on 12,13 December 2000 and 19 April 2001 at the Detroit Metro Airport.
[If approved, the GL Fish Habitat Conservation Committee could meet in association with DFO Habitats Standards Workshop, 17,18 January 2001, same location as the OFPA]
18. Other business