January 26, 2012
Southern Division AFS Reservoir Committee Meeting
Biloxi, MS
9:20am – 12:00am; 2:00pm – 4:35pm
Recorded and submitted by Michael A. Abney, Secretary/Auditor (Duke Energy)

Reservoir Committee (RC) Chair Steve Sammons called the meeting to order and recognized the good attendance in light of traveling restrictions. There was a summer 2011 meeting in Warm Springs, GA focusing on habitat mapping with side-scan sonar including actual collection of data and analysis of those data. We hope for a summer 2012 meeting at Lake Texoma at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. He also provided a few copies for review of our unit report to SD-AFS.

Sammons also recognized the really good meeting held in Tampa, FL and mentioned that the minutes are available online at the RC website. He asked for approval of the minutes. Motion: Joe Slaughter, Second: Mike Allen

Financial Report – Michael Abney presented, and passed around summary, current financial standing of $19,560 in Edward Jones investment account at end of 2011. Abney noted that all RC monies are still consolidated into a single account with Edward Jones. He mentioned the downward slope of our financial account over the years and the typical annual expenses of

$2,500 – $3,000. Our current trend is not sustainable, although it’s also not grave at this point. Sammons asked that the committee members think about ways to improve funding in future years and opened the floor for discussion.

Larry Pugh asked if holding a workshop at the SD-AFS meetings and charging $40 a person would be possible. The Catfish Committee currently does that. Pugh later added that state funding may be more available if travel is for education/training. Allen later mentioned that the SD-AFS excom is looking into standardizing workshops and distribution of money. Currently, organization, cost, and profits are determined by the workshop organizer.

Slaughter mentioned that corporate funding sponsorship might be more readily available for educational purposes such as a workshop relative to just funding a meeting. Abney later concurred that Duke Energy is cutting meeting sponsorship, but that educational courses may provide a funding avenue.

Kurt Kuklinski asked if symposia, similar to the 2007 reservoir symposium in Atlanta, were even viable these days. Sammons will look into how much money was made from book sales from the 1995 symposium in Chattanooga. The resulting book is sold out and no longer available from AFS. Jeff Boxrucker added that AFS publishing costs these days prevents making a substantial profit on the books. Abney mentioned that book sale profits from the 1983 symposium is minimal (~$30/year) and that we see no profits from the 2007 symposium as AFS published the book at their cost. Sammons and Boxrucker both suggested that funding these days isn’t really towards reservoirs. Dan Shoup added that the minimal funding that is available is from sportfish restoration.

Discussion moved towards organizing a workshop at the 2013 meeting in Nashville, TN. Kuklinski said that a habitat workshop should be received well, but that we need a TN representative to serve as a local organizer. Sammons mentioned the availability of local reservoirs for a field component and the likely inclusion of Adam Keiser with sidescan sonar.

Rick Ott mentioned that links to habitat manual, and links in general, are dead on the RC webpage. Kuklinski said the webpage and document access will be one of his top priorities as Chair. Allen mentioned that original documents may reside with Kim Bonvechio.

Scholarship Committee Report – Kurt Kuklinski reported that 2012 is the second year for our Jenkins Memorial Scholarship winners of $1,000 each. The winners were Jonah Dagel (Mississippi State University) and Ryan Lothrop (Auburn University). We will have two new recipients for 2013. Sammons mentioned that Lothrop is presenting during the meeting.

Old business:

Summer Meeting Recap – Sammons mentioned that there were 18 attendees at the summer meeting and learned about habitat mapping using sidescan sonar. The first day was spent on the water collecting data while day 2 was spent analyzing data in the classroom. Equipment cost is relatively cheap (~$3,800) and analysis is very fast. 1 km of habitat acquisition and analysis takes about 2 hours total.

Slaughter mentioned that he and Thom Litts (GA DNR) will utilize 2 boats to acquire shoreline habitat data from Lake Oconee, GA. They think it will take about 1 week to acquire data and another 2 weeks to analyze data. Many in attendance mentioned the increased use of sidescan sonar for habitat mapping. Sammons said some companies are currently mapping entire reservoirs for commercial sale. The question was asked to Abney whether the DIDSON is a viable means to collect habitat data. He said the cost alone is prohibitive, but that it could be used to obtain high resolution imagery.

Kuklinski said that he was trying to get field crews in OK to incorporate habitat into standard studies, but was meeting with some resistance. A standardized assessment procedure would be a great help. Ott and Neal Jackson agreed that we need consistency within and among states, that there’s too much subjectivity to it. Mark Oliver and Sammons agreed that it might be time to convert talk/presentations of mapping into an actual standard mapping publication. Allen said the process must incorporate reservoir ageing and resulting changes in the fish community.

Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) – Boxrucker began by showing time lapse photography of reservoir headwaters filling in from siltation. Discussion began regarding teaming with fishing groups on reservoirs and educating them on partnering with agencies to go beyond simple projects such as brush piles. Fishing groups also need to realize that water allocation is beyond state agency control and that relicensing (every 30-40 years) is the best avenue for success. The peak of reservoir construction was in the 60’s and has been declining precipitously ever since. Therefore, ageing reservoirs are resulting in decreases in fishing.

Boxrucker noted that the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and Steve Miranda found that almost all impairment in reservoirs is due to watershed management. Issues such as thermal pollution rank very low. Insufficient macrophytes are another big issue for southern

Appalachian reservoirs. Future workshops with anglers and the help of Bass Pro Shops and BASS should help educate the public. Their website also offers information: reservoirresearch.org

 Lunch

 New business:

 Website – same question as last year: who can take over as webmaster of RC website with Fred Janssen’s departure? Fred can work with that person over next year prior to handing it over for good. Slaughter, Ott, and Gene Gilliland might have some leads, will check on them and get back to Kuklinski. A short discussion about facebook occurred with Ott mentioning the need for close monitoring. No attendees use facebook regularly.

 Secretary/Treasurer – Sammons announced that Abney will be stepping down as secretary/treasurer at the 2013 Nashville meeting. Lawrence Dorsey will assume the position. The two will transition materials and names on account prior to Nashville.

 Scholarship Committee – With Kuklinski assuming Chair the committee will need new members. Neal Jackson will assume lead with Brent Hess, Chad Holbrook, Ott, and John Odenkirk volunteering as reviewers. They will also contact past recipients of the award for assistance. Members also discussed adding a condition to the award that recipients must be willing to serve as reviewers thereafter.

 Reservoir Partnership reviewers for rating/scoring of proposals will change to Hess, Colton Dennis, and Ott. Pugh may also be able to assist.

Committee chair – Kuklinski was installed as the new chair (2 year term). He presented Sammons with an appreciation of service plaque to applause. Kurt said he would focus on revamping the habitat manual, updating the website, and proposing a workshop for the 2013 SD- AFS meeting.

Striped Bass Committee representative Jim Bulak updated the committee on their goals to develop an accurate pelagic/forage fish condition index, evaluate stocking (genetics) and parental lineages, and analyze genetic risks associated with stocking of hybrid striped bass. Bulak said their new chair is Tim Churchill and that they’ll discuss future collaborations with the RC with Kuklinski.

Summer Meeting – We’re aiming for a July meeting to be held on Lake Texoma at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. Facilities include dorms, eating hall, and boats.

Round-table discussion ensued with much of focus on blue cat sampling techniques and ageing.

Motion to adjourn at 4:35pm: Sammons; 2nd: Jackson

Attendees:

Steve Sammons Auburn University
Gene Gilliland Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Dan Shoup (phone) Oklahoma State University
Clint Peacock Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Brent Hess Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Joey Slaughter Georgia Power Company
Rick Ott Texas Parks and Wildlife
Ashley Nealis Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Kurt Kuklinski Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Mark Oliver Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Tim Churchill Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Jason Schooley Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
David Wellman West Virginia Department of Natural Resources
Chad Holbrook South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Jeff Boxrucker Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership
Larry Pugh Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
Jessica Baumann North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Chris Racey Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Michael Abney Duke Energy
Damon Abernathy Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Dave Terre Texas Parks and Wildlife
Mike Allen University of Florida
Jim Bulak South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Neal Jackson Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Stephen Brown Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
John Odenkirk Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Lawrence Dorsey (phone) North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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