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MINUTES SUMMUARY – 24 April 2001 draft

Attendees - CLC members Vice Chairman Bob Lange (NYDEC), Mike Costello (OhDNR), Bill Culligan (NYDEC), Ken Cullis (OMNR), Steve Hewett (WDNR), Bill Horns (WDNR), Roger Kenyon for Del Graff (PFBC), Neil Kmiecik (GLIFWC), Dave McLeish (OMNR), Phil Ryan (OMNR), John Schrouder (MDNR), Tom Trudeau (IlDNR), Jack Wingate (MnDNR). Unable to attend: Brian Briedert (InDNR), Tom Gorenflo (CORA), Tom Rozich (MDNR), Steve Scott (MDNR), Gary Towns (MDNR).

Bob Adair (USFWS), Deb Brister (UMN), Gavin Christie (GLFC), Marg Dochoda (GLFC), Gene Fleming (COE), Vic Gillman (DFO), Chris Goddard (GLFC), Paul Horvatin (EPA), Anne Kapuscinski (UMN), Chuck Krueger (GLFC), David MacDonald (OMNR), Nancy Milton (USGS), John Maeffei (OMNR), Cmr. Roy Stein (GLFC)

1. Introductions, announcements, approval of agenda, approval of minutes from April 00 & Feb 01 CLC meetings and March 2001 LC meetings 

Vice Chairman B. Lange assumed the chair as Rob MacGregor (OMNR) had resigned. Minutes were approved upon assurance that February 2001 CLC minutes included previously submitted MnDNR revisions and that non-Party (such as agriculture depts.) membership on management committees was described as not appropriate. February CLC minutes were amended to reflect that the percid strategy presented by P. Ryan was for all Lake Erie and on behalf of all agencies on that lake. 

2. 1992 Consultation Procedures (

B. Horns reported that WDNR will prepare a response to MDNR concerns re a proposed introduction of a new strain of rainbow trout, for discussion by GLFC.  The proposal had been tabled internally by WDNR when Wyoming was unable to supply. However, fingerlings may now be available and WI hopes to stock in 2002.

B. Lange tabled an after-the-fact report that a new strain of northern pike had been stocked in NY waters of the St. Lawrence, noting that experience shows it’s important to report accomplished introductions. In the instance the permitting district office was not aware of commitments to consult, and the anglers who did the stocking have been informed that additional stocking of new strains will not be allowed without consultation. Relatively few fish were stocked.

In response to C. Krueger, B. Lange noted that Quebec is not party to the consultation procedures. [The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, however, is advised of proposed introductions and offered the opportunity to comment in an ex officio capacity.] 

J. Schrouder offered to share with the CLC guidelines on introductions and stocking being developed for the State of Michigan. B. Horns noted that because all tributaries to the Great Lakes are SGLFMP’s area of concern, when actions may impact the Great Lakes, Parties should communicate consultation commitments to managers of inland waters. 

3. Responding to GLU resolution on stocking 

D. McLeish and J. Schrouder will modify for consideration by the CLC, the February draft response to GLU resolution on stocking, to state that individual agencies may also respond with their specific situation and additional information.

4. Barriers to partnerships 

K. Cullis will chair an ad hoc committee to document in the next 3 weeks institutional, administrative, and technical impediments to partnerships envisioned by SGLFMP, to see if situation warrants referral to the Council of Great Lakes Fishery Agencies, which could, for example, consider the need for basin agreements to facilitate data sharing, money-passing, vessel sharing, etc. Peck and Schneider’s report on Great Lakes fish research & management vessels, due in June, may provide some insights on vessel sharing. B. Lange suggested that technical data-sharing questions are CLC questions whereas administrative or institutional roadblocks are issues the Council of Great Lakes Fishery Agencies should address. P. Ryan commended Jim Johnson’s (MDNR) discussion paper on standardizing habitat classification and database formats.

Willingness to share data: The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act ensures access in the U.S. although there may be photocopy fees etc. In Ontario, there is a cost recovery policy that may require data sharing agreements to access databases. Thus far, collaborative data sharing for example in the technical committee process has proceeded unimpeded, however lake-based GIS data systems may require more formal agreements. Proprietary attitudes toward data may create difficulties, FOI and SGLFMP commitments notwithstanding. (SGLFMP allows 1-3 years to process information.) Is a 30-year, ongoing database freely available or the property of the last person to enter data? 

How to share data: USGS posts “metadata”, descriptions of what and how data is collected, so that others are at least aware that a database exists, and can negotiate collaboration or access with its ‘owner’. Standards can minimize differences in how information is collected: Lakes Erie (yellow perch and walleye databases) and Huron (GIS) conduct product-oriented data-sharing that results in standards for participating agencies on the project, but question remains how to maintain comparability among lakes. LEC supported funding for Lake Huron GIS project with hope that it will provide de facto standards for the other lakes. D. McLeish recommended peer review of projects being considered as potential templates for other lakes, e.g., sturgeon genetics, Lake Huron GIS, DFO habitat standards workshop, etc. D. McLeish further  wondered if the time had come when technical committee reps should meet annually to work toward standard approaches. 

Administrative fees: Concern was expressed that administrative fees might compromise interagency transfer of money for joint assessment, research, and management. With respect to partner contributions to large vessel assessment, N. Milton stated that while USGS is moving toward full cost recovery, she is hoping to find a mechanism to facilitate interagency transfer of money under the Strategic Plan. C. Goddard offered that should an internal fix prove elusive, OMB can waive an administrative fee if it finds that a partnership is in the public good. 

5. Formation of blue ribbon panel 

J. Schrouder conveyed a letter from Tom Gorenflo (CORA) who was unable to be present. Schrouder apologized that the letter had not been available earlier. The letter recommended that the CLC endorse the establishment of a panel to recommend an organizational/structural arrangement to further cooperative Great Lakes fisheries management and research and to deliver quality science products.

N. Milton, referring to a March letter to C. Goddard and B. Lange which had been distributed to Lake Committee members, stated that progress is being made, that all cruises are funded, and that the Great Lakes Science Center is faring relatively well in funding allocation within the USGS. Problems still persist and will take time to address. She had not received any feedback to this letter in the March lake committee meetings, nor though personal communications. She was planning an external review in 2002 and welcomed CLC assistance in framing the review. 

The CLC discussed the choice of reviewers, e.g., local, NRC, Ecology Society, and AFS. Cost was a possible constraint in choice. Too, each candidate had varying strengths with regard to science and management needs, as well as distance from the issues. C. Goddard assured members that GLFC funding of reviews of its own programs did not seem to inhibit external reviewers from being very, very frank.

As suggested by N. Milton, T. Gorenflo or LHC designee was named by CLC to assist in framing scope of an external review of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center’s program. The CLC endorsed an (perhaps by Ecological Society) external review in 2002 funded by USGS. N. Milton will come back to CLC before an external reviewer is selected. She urged each Lake Committee to advise if the Science Center is not meeting its needs. 

6. Law Enforcement Committee terms of reference and report 

The CLC accepted terms of reference for the Law Enforcement Committee as written, asking that LAW consider including fish habitat enforcement.  DFO’s enforcement responsibilities are largely confined to fish habitat.

7. GL Fish Habitat Conservation Committee 

The CLC debated how much autonomy the Habitat Committee should have in promoting initiatives such as the USDA buffer strip program for waterways. B. Lange thought it important that the new committee avoid the problems of its predecessor by embedding initiatives in the environmental objectives of Lake Committees. Cmr. Stein agreed, stating that the Habitat Committee’s predecessor had not assisted Lake Committees enough in producing environmental objectives. He did think, however, that some of the other activities (HabCARES symposium, buffer strip campaign etc. ) did and could be useful contributions to conserving fish habitat. B. Horns thought it enough that Lake Committees set fish community and environmental objectives and that other entities be encouraged to gear their programs and initiatives to those objectives, so that other sources of energy (such as LaMPs) might be employed on behalf of Lake Committee objectives. S. Orsatti suggested that Habitat Committee first discuss strategic, basin-wide issues with the CLC, and that 1-3 Habitat Committee members work with each lake Committee environmental objectives task group, suggesting that Lake Committees need to be a little more formal in stating its needs and deadlines. S. Hewett recommended Lake Committee members attend Habitat Committee meetings, perhaps holding meetings in common. 

J. Schrouder will draft a letter for CLC consideration referring to Jim Johnson’s (MDNR) paper on habitat classification and GIS standards (discussed in agenda item 4) and urging lake committees and technical committees include agency habitat reps to clarify roles and objectives. Each lake committee is asked to send a representative plus the CLC Chair to the next Habitat Committee meeting, and the Habitat Committee is asked to form a lake task report to each Lake Committee. 

8. Trophic transfer white paper 

The Chair will send a letter to C. Goddard endorsing the trophic transfer white paper, for BOTE use in encouraging funding partnerships for food web research. C. Krueger will draft the letter.

9. Documenting impacts of Ponto-Caspian invaders 

In their June reports to the GLFC, each Lake Committee will include as a point of emphasis, recent impacts of invaders on fish, populations, communities, and fisheries. Lake Committee chairs will assist B. Lange in preparing a presentation that he will give to the fall 2001 ANS Conference to be held in Washington, DC. If available (P. Ryan will check and advise B. Lange), John Cooper (OMNR) and M. Gaden will work with B. Lange and the Lake Committee chairs to produce a CD, pamphlet, or information sheet, that can be used by all to ensure that current and projected costs to environment of shipping introductions are recognized by the public and their representatives.

10. GL Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act Review Committee recommendations 

J. Wingate, Chair of the Restoration Act Review Committee, reported on the Committee’s recommendations for funding. Principal Investigators are being contacted, and the Review Committee will soon write the CLC Chair (cc B. Adair) with its recommendations. He noted that while there was support for USGS trawl standardization and the LHC’s whitefish and Diporiea proposals, the Review Committee urged that funding be sought internally and from Coordination Activities Program, respectively.

B. Adair noted that $1.5 million of Restoration Act grants are or soon will be let, and that he was gratified by Lake Committee and Secretariat support in soliciting and reviewing proposals, and especially by the number of presentations at this year’s Lake Committee meeting made possible in whole or in part by Restoration Act grants. 

With regard to future directions, the CLC’ Review Committee will need to identify any priority research areas by December 2001, in order that they may be included in the 2002 Request for Proposals. CLC may need to meet in December. The Secretariat was asked to issue a reminder.

The CLC continued the item 4 discussion of how best to ensure compatibility among projects and databases, this time for Restoration Act projects: 1.) develop templates upfront or 2.) adopt standards in benchmark projects such as Scribner and May’s sturgeon genetics or Zorn’s Lake Huron GIS database. Cmr. Stein raised the question, “What if the PI did it wrong?”, and D. McLeish agreed with him that peer review should be sought if a project was being evaluated as a future standard. 

The CLC discussed whether to seek full appropriation. J. Wingate stated that more could have been done if monies were available, and that potential PIs tend to decide on whether to invest in developing proposals based on the amount available and likely number of competitors. The Review Committee usually recommends full funding for multi-year proposals because of year-to-year appropriations uncertainty. (Restoration Act grants are not yet a regular part of appropriations, but rather a combination in recent years of $400K Congressional add-on and $75K from the USFWS.)

The CLC will consult with M. Gaden re appropriations cycles and develop a strategy and talking points re additional needs for state and tribal use.  Lakebed mapping was a need that had already been raised, and might be accomplished through transfer to the USGS of monies directed to the USFWS. J. Wingate asked that P. Horvatin send him a copy of a letter Congress had sent Governors asking their input on a federal funding proposal for the Great Lakes, although Restoration Act grants was a relatively small amount compared with what Congress was discussing with Governors. The Restoration Act authorizes $4.5 million for grants and $2 million for USFWS fishery resource offices, etc. It would become difficult to administer the RFP and grant program as previously if much more monies became available; under the Act, the USFWS cannot charge for administration of grants.

11. Opportunities to comment on USFWS cormorant environmental impact statement 

B. Adair advised that the cormorant environmental impact statement will be available for comment in the Federal Register in July or so. Cormorant fact sheets can be obtained from USFWS’s Steve Lewis at 612-713-5473.

12. State of the Lake Ecosystem Conference: leveraging Water Quality Agreement and Joint Strategic Plan assessment activities 

SOLEC organizer Paul Horvatin (EPA) requested assistance in reporting on fishery indicators ( ). He invited summaries at the 2002 conference from the LHC’s and LSC’s state of the lake conferences.

The CLC appreciated the opportunity for fish people to work with environmental agencies on ecosystem reports, and encouraged SOLEC organizers to request lake summaries of LHC Chair Tom Gorenflo (CORA) and LSC Chair K. Cullis. Likewise, organizers are encouraged to contact lake committee chairs for updates and interpretations of fishery indicators. (Lake Committee chairs might refer to their technical committees or work with the Habitat Committee to supply the needed information.) 

13. Next meetings 

The CLC will not meet in late 2001 unless necessary. It will use e-mail to identify priority areas for Restoration Act research, coordinate responses to cormorants, etc.

The Upper Lakes Committees will meet in Duluth 18 – 21 March 2002, Monday to Thursday, in order of LHC, LSC, LMC. LSC may need 1.5 days for its state of the Lake conference.

The Lower Lakes Committees will meet in Niagara Falls, ON, 25-27 March 2002, Monday to Thursday, LEC first followed by LOC.

The CLC will meet 24 April 2002 at a Detroit Airport hotel. The Review Committee will meet the day before (23 April).

(The LEC and LHC may elect to meet together in 2003, in order to focus on St. Clair in LEC’s state of the lake conference.)

14. Election of officers 

The CLC elected Bob Lange (NYDEC) as chairman and Dave McLeish (OMNR) as vice-chairman, effective through the 2003 meeting. C. Goddard reiterated the GLFC’s standing offer to pay for CLC officers’ travel to Lake Committee meetings they wouldn’t otherwise attend.

15. Other business

M. Gaden encouraged Lake Committees to post reports on their web page, offering to provide guidelines on formatting etc.

Further to discussion in item 7, the CLC considered a proposal for a buffer strip campaign on streams tributary to the Great Lakes. B. Horns proposed that the CLC write a letter endorsing the buffer strip campaign in principle, assert the role of lake committees in setting fish community objectives, and encourage the buffer strip campaign as supporting those objectives. B. Lange did not think it appropriate for HabCom to work outside Lake Committees, although the proposed campaign was appropriate for WDNR itself to propose. B. Lange felt very strongly that HabCom should not pursue its agenda in high level committees without Lake Committee approval. 

16. Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program 

Gene Fleming (U.S. Army COE) presented his agency’s new Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program, asking CLC support, in particular in identifying priority fish habitat projects and in cost-sharing. The CLC was pleased to hear the good news and awaited opportunities to support.

17. Environmental Assessment Tool for Great Lakes Aquaculture

Anne Kapuscinski and Deb Brister (UMN) presented the land-based Environmental Assessment Tool which built upon the lake-based tool which is out for review ( ).

Re the Great Lakes drainage basin, the tool covers tributaries inasmuch as aquaculture activities there have the potential to affect the Great Lakes. Perhaps the introduction should state that while the Tool will have utility in protecting other waterbodies, it was designed to protect the Great Lakes (per area of concern defined in SGLFMP and Convention). A graphic showing the extent of the Great Lakes water basin should be included.

Situating an aquaculture operation in a flood plain is a special situation that should be flagged in a text box.

Landbased aquaculture could have habitat issues different than those encountered in-lake, e.g., disruption of breeding animals (heron rookery) and endangered plants. While the Tool shouldn’t become impossibly broad, endangered species could be referenced, and users encouraged to contact their natural resource agency. The Tool does not excuse users from consideration of permit requirements. 

CLC members agreed to send D. Brister their jurisdictions’ current aquaculture regulations.

The CLC committed to a concerted effort to obtain public review of the Environmental Assessment Tool for shore-based and lake-based aquaculture:

30 June – D. Brister and A. Kapuscinski finish text for public review

early July – M. Dochoda arrange to have posted on Web in prominent place in easy-to-read format (original in Mac format).

mid-July – CLC members supply A. Kapuscinski and M. Dochoda mailing list of industry and interested persons. The CLC will send its letter requesting public input by October to CLC members who can forward as is or adapt and send under jurisdiction’s letterhead.

31 October – D. Brister and A. Kapuscinski submit final report. 

M. Dochoda will provide CLC members with copy of  Kapuscinski, A.R. and D. J. Brister. 2001. Genetic impacts of aquaculture. Pages 128-153 in K.D. Black, ed. Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture. Sheffield Academic Press.