Council of Lake Committees

Detroit Airport Marriott Inn

Romulus, MI

16 April 1996

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Attendees:

Members -- Chairman Doug Jester (MDNR), Vice Chairman Ron Desjardine (OMNR), Tom Gorenflo (COTFMA), Bill Horns (WDNR), Roger Kenyon (PFBC), Neil Kmiecik (GLIFWC), Rob MacGregor (OMNR), Ken Paxton (ODNR), Bob Thomson (OMNR), Bob Lange (NYDEC), Jim Moore (WDNR), John Schrouder (MDNR), Jack Skrypek (MnDNR), John Trimberger (MDNR), Tom Trudeau (IDOC), Bernie Ylkanen (MDNR)

Other -- Dale Burkett (USFWS), Gavin Christie (GLFC), Margaret Dochoda (GLFC), Doug Dodge (OMNR), Randy Eshenroder (GLFC), Vic Gillman (DFO), Chris Goddard (GLFC), Mike Klepinger (MSG), Mike Millar (GLFC), John Robertson (MDNR), Greg Smith (NBS)

1. Approval of agenda, April and November 1995 CLC minutes, and 1996 LC executive summaries

The agenda and minutes were approved with the following revisions:

1996 LSC executive summary -- Item 8 should read "The Committee declined to support a proposal to ..."

1996 LEC executive summary -- Change to 11 million walleye with no breakdown by management unit. add statement on productivity developed by LEC.

1996 LOC executive summary -- Change to "The decision has been made to open the fishery."

Nov. 95 CLC executive summary -- The draft distributed for the meeting was an earlier one and did not contain a previously requested comment on humpers (a strain of lake trout).

2. GLFC responses to 1995 Lake Committee concerns

Doug Dodge (OMNR) suggested that a letter be sent to the IJC strongly recommending that they address the issue of biological pollution in their reports to Governments. Marg Dochoda (GLFC), Joe Leach (OMNR), and Ed Mills (Cornell U.) had organized a 3-hour session for the IJC in September 95 on this topic and had a detailed report in draft. The IJC referred to report recommendations in preparing its report to governments and priorities for the next two years, but apparently did not act on them.

Vic Gillman (OMNR) noted that Transport Canada was satisfied with existing ballast exchange regulations, and would not initiate change.

3. Sea lamprey budget cuts -- LHC-96-11

CLC members characterized the Canadian cuts to the sea lamprey program as abrogation of obligations under the treaty, as well as to Canada's constitutional responsibility for preservation and conservation. Federal responsibility for sea lamprey control is mitigation for the Seaway. All benefit from the Seaway and thus sea lamprey control should be funded from general funds. The responsibility for finding alternative sources of funds -- if that is Canada's decision -- lays with the Canadian federal government. However if a group should be targeted for "user pay" it should be shippers not fishermen.

The CLC will write Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy and the Minister of Fisheries, and otherwise endeavor to keep the issue in front of key people.

The CLC will write each director (cc fish chiefs) requesting that the topic of sea lamprey budget cuts be scheduled for the summer meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors. The CLC requested the Secretariat to provide facts for CLC use in developing a model briefing for each director's use with his director. The CGLG would be asked to write the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. State Department, asking the latter's help on the states' behalf. Ambassadors Chretien and Blanchard would be sent carbon copies.

The CLC will also refer the issue to Congressional Representative / Member of Parliament meetings on the Great Lakes.

4. Private aquaculture safeguards to ensure biological integrity in the Great Lakes

The CLC asks each Lake Committee to assist in building a "clean list" of aquatic species which may be cultured in the Great Lakes watershed without undue risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem. The clean list could consist of organisms now present minus those considered problematic.

The CLC will develop a process for amending the clean list as needed.

The CLC will advise the Great Lakes Panel that the Council is developing a clean list, and has an interest in focusing on vectors, particularly in developing a private aquaculture model plan. The CLC has concerns re the limitations of the dirty list approaches used thus far, i.e. identifying and focusing on nuisance species.

The CLC accepted Doug Dodge's offer for the Habitat Advisory Board to work on this, to start a model management program for private aquaculture.

5. Ballast water invasions

Bob Thomson reported that a flounder was again reported in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Lake Superior). Not thought to reproduce in freshwater, catches of flounder are evidence that existing ballast management is not 100% effective in protecting the Great Lakes from invaders.

6. Common contaminant advisory

New York now advises that Lake Ontario rainbow trout not be consumed (not the "ban" per se that appeared in this CLC meeting agenda) due to exceedance of federal standards for Mirex; Ontario's 1995/96 advisory for Lake Ontario rainbow trout range from 8 meals per month for the smallest trout to 1 meal per month (for adult males and women not of childbearing age), and does not invoke the "no consumption advised" recommendation. Michigan revised its advisories for salmon as PCBs are under current standards, although not the protocol developed by the Governor's Task Force.

Doug Dodge offered to send CLC members a copy of an IJC recommendation that the two governments move toward a common advisory. 7. Toxics and fish health

Information item. Margaret Dochoda (GLFC) will provide Mike Gilbertson's half of correspondence when available.

8. EEDV diagnostics tool

The CLC requested that the Great Lakes Fish Health Committee seek regular updates on NBS Leetown researchers' progress on an EEDV diagnostics tool.

9. Whirling disease

Information item. John Schrouder (MDNR) reported that Whirling Disease spores had been found in the north branch of the AuSable River, and they are looking for the source. Michigan has been monitoring since the 1970s when Whirling Disease was found in the Sturgeon and Tobacco River watersheds as a result of private sector activities. The Tobacco River system was chlorinated in 1971 to remove all fish (carriers).

10. Great Lakes Fish Health Committee

Information item. The CLC requested Sue Marcquenski (WDNR) to draft a one or two page description of EMS issues for CLC use in writing the Great lakes Protection Fund recommending a focus on Early Mortality Syndrome in their next solicitation.

11. Law Enforcement Committee

Information item.

12. LAW Terms of reference

The CLC had no concerns re the progress being made by their Law Enforcement Committee.

13. Science and assessment needs

The CLC will write NBS re the importance of boat-research, i.e., that this information is #1 priority.

The Panel that reviewed NBS priorities will reconvene at the ComW Operations Subcommittee at the GLFC Annual Meeting, to review progress and advise USGS of Great Lakes priorities. At that meeting the Operations Subcommittee will also consider a course or mechanism for pursuing research and assessment on a collaborative basis, and, upon agreement, forward recommendations, as appropriate, to the GLFC. (MDNR's John Robertson chairs the Operations Subcommittee of the Committee of the Whole.)

In the mean time Lake Committees will develop assessment on a collaborative basis, perhaps developing a common stock assessment agenda beginning in 1997, based on common priorities, that feeds common longterm databases and models, and that maximizes efficient use of collective capability. Freed up capability should be focused on ecosystem questions and analysis, not just short-term management questions. (When ecosystems flip, often the information you most need is on a species not obviously of interest previously.)

Doug Jester (MDNR) and Chris Goddard (GLFC) will convey to fellow members of the SGLFMP Review Steering Committee, CLC interest in research and assessment collaboration mechanisms.

*****

Bob Lange (NYDEC), concerned with NBS tie-up of boats this year and projecting that, after several years of tie-up, lake offices will be closed because they aren't producing, characterized the problem as two-fold: (1) Governments diverting scarce funds to purposes other than research, (2) internal priorities, e.g. to other regions or other kinds of research. A number of people who had participated in last year's panel on Great Lakes priorities were dismayed that the Panel's recommendations had been ignored. New Director of the Ann Arbor NBS Lab, Greg Smith, explained that the Great lakes Science Center has barely enough funds for salaries and that soft monies are being sought for operations. For example EPA funds the boats for mass balance studies in Lake Michigan.

Vic Gillman (DFO) reported that DFO's freshwater research program begins implementation this month of a 55% cut, projecting 20% operational capacity in 1998.

Ron DesJardine and Doug Dodge (OMNR) reported that OMNR is facing a 1/3 downsizing in addition to cuts that have been made in the last few years.

Dale Burkett (USFWS) reported that his agency had mothballed its Great Lakes Coordination Office. With a flat line budget, Region 3 would be reduced 10% in 2 years, and 25% in 4 years. This would leave Ashland Fisheries Resource Office, the lake trout hatcheries, and sea lamprey control funded by the GLFC.

Doug Jester (MDNR) and Chris Goddard (GLFC) reported that the Northeast Midwest Institute's recommendations do not constitute a work agenda. There will however be a change in the Great Lakes program summary provided Congress to give a more integrated overview.

The proposed collaboration on assessment and research would hopefully result in more efficient use of collective capability, as well more informative interplay between research and management. Discussion converged on whether to drive collaboration with information needs or a research-collaboration mechanism.

Some thought that mechanisms will be found once needs are collectively identified in a short research agenda that's attainable with collective capabilities. Once a management vision is outlined, an expression of commitment by ComW would bring researchers into a dialogue with managers on what research could offer. The Lake Committees' #1 need is ongoing long term databases and models with associated stock assessment, and, since collective capacity does not exceed these needs by much, it was thought that assessment needs should be the starting point. Because information you most need when ecosystems flip is on a species not obviously of interest previously, it is important that assessment and research agendas not confine themselves merely to species of current management interest.

On the other hand, some believed it is easier to identify agenda if intent to act is clear from commitments and mechanisms are visibly in place. Identifying efficiencies through assignment of priorities would win support from management agencies. Three options for identifying mechanism were (1) GLFC work group or other support, (2) SGLFMP review process, (3) organization via Lake Committee on lake basis.

The following were raised as potential models or mechanisms: (1) common project description for U.S. federal funds; (2) university partnerships with management agencies (e.g. PERM); (3) renting vessel time; (4) the Lake Superior programs Office staffed by OMNR, OME, DFO, and EnvCan and funded by EnvCan Cleanup Fund; (5) LEC-approach of common sampling protocols, shared database, common report; (6) GLFC as central coordinating body with central fiscal role; (7) formal consortium agreement (to protect collective research from shortfall and political changes); (8) explicit role or opportunities for academic researchers; (9) support from Council of Great Lakes Governors to counter western and southeast pull on federal funds; and (10) CLC subcommittee as agreed by states in drafting new version of Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.

As one participant wryly noted, the U.S. federal budget will devoted to defense and entitlements and state budgets to prisons unless we demonstrate the need for and value of Great Lakes research.

14. Stocking database

The CLC welcomed COTFMA's offer to update the fish stocking database for the three Upper Lakes. Doug Jester suggested that once the database is on the GLFC page of the Internet, and available to all in its most up-to-date form, there will be more incentive to keep it current. John Trimberger (MDNR) added that joint reports from the stocking database to Lake Committees would also provide incentive. Dale Burkett (USFWS) reiterated the Green Bay Fishery Resource Office offer to update the stocking base, and that MSU's Jim Bence would write software to convert each agency's data into the required format. 15. SGLFMP implementation review

Information item. See item 13.

16. Coordination Activities Program

The CLC supported a Secretariat effort to have the GLFC included as a possible recipient of Interjurisdictional Fishery Act monies, for example of unspent IFA funds or of IFA funds directed to the GLFC by a state. The objective is to create potential additional support for coordinated activities at states' discretion. Move is consistent with Act objective of supporting interjurisdictional fish management, and with intent of agencies in SGLFMP to coordinate management via GLFC committees.

The CLC Chair will explore willingness of Great Lakes Commission to receive and forward such funds for interjurisdictional fishery management.

A couple of suggestions were raised for Canadian match, but further discussion on procedures will await success in amending the Act.

17. ComW Operations Subcommittee (page 113)

John Robertson (MDNR) will call a meeting of the Operations Subcommittee to discuss sea lamprey program budget cuts and science collaboration. Personal notes or calls would be useful in securing full attendance.

18. Publicity and procedures, e.g. news releases, FORUM articles, Internet

The CLC appreciated Marc Gaden's (GLFC) efforts in preparing post-meeting press releases for Lake Committees. Conceding that review had taken time, members thought it important, however, that each committee's members review their press release before sending. It was suggested that Marc try pre-writing a press release in consultation with the Chair, adding details at the meeting for review before members leave.

19. Meeting schedule

The LSC, LMC, and LHC will meet 18-21 March 1997 in Ann Arbor, MI.

The LEC will meet 24 March 1997 in Ann Arbor, MI.

The LOC will meet later the week of 24 March 1997 in Kingston, Ontario.

The CLC will meet 15 April 1996 at the Detroit Metro Airport. A one-day meeting is still preferred over a noon-to-noon meeting.

20. Other business

The CLC approved the Chair's exercising the need to exclude non-members in certain discussions, but do not plan to take actions in in camera meetings.

19 April 1996

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