SDAFS Reservoir Committee

Minutes of the Reservoir Committee Meeting

The Drury Inn, Nashville, Tennessee, July 15-16, 1998

  • Meeting Convened July 15, 1998
  • Mark Webb (chair) called the Reservoir Committee (RC) meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. A quorum was determined with 18 members present initially, and attendance increased to 22 later in the day. Members introduced themselves and the meeting convened. Attendees:

    Mark Webb, chair Mike Alexander, USACE Mike Allen, Univ. of FL
    Phil Bettoli, TN Tech Dick Christie, SC Tim Churchill, TN
    Mike Colvin, MO Mike Duval, VA Mike Garthaus, KY
    Gene Gilliland, OK Scott Hale, OH Fred Heitman, American Aquatics (TN)
    Scott Hendricks, Georgia Power Fred Janssen, TX Donny Lowery, TVA
    Frank Massie, Virginia Power Mark Oliver, AR Rick Ott, TX
    Steve Sammons, TN Tech Tom Swor, TVA Michael Smart, USACE
    Gary Tilyou, LA    
  • Minutes Approved
    • Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
  • New Secretary Appointed
    • Mike Duval suggested that Scott Hale be appointed secretary for the next year. Since I have now memorized the RC SDAFS Creed, how could I say no?
  • Newsletter Editor’s Report:
    • Frank Massie provided the newsletter editor’s report. The RC newsletter was developed to disseminate RC information to the general fisheries and aquatic resource community. Massie lead a discussion concerning future newsletter distribution. Massie asked the RC if the newsletter should continue to be distributed in hard copy, or whether it should only be distributed electronically. He added that only two requests were received for hard copies of the newsletter during the past year. A primary concern is that if the newsletter is distributed electronically, then some distribution will be lost. Tom Swor suggested that the newsletter be placed on the RC web page, and further distributed by each agency or university contact within their respective states. Tim Churchill agreed, but suggested that the AFS web site might be a better location for the newsletter. Gene Gilliland and others approved of these approaches to distribution.
    • The RC resolved to take the electronic route for distribution with a combination of committee members as contacts within each state, announcements in Fisheries, and web links from the AFS home page, SDAFS newsletter, chapter newsletters, and division newsletters. Some discussion was also made concerning links to agency home pages, but this will require more information from each state.
    • Newsletter Editor Massie will continue to coordinate distribution and annual production of a newsletter.
  • Financial Report:
    • Webb reported that current assets are $54,789, and that investments are earning approximately 10% annul interest, thereby meeting investment objectives.
  • Old Business:
    • Student Scholarship: Gilliland announced that one student scholarship will be available February 1999, and that applications should be submitted to him by December 31, 1998. He will place an announcement in Fisheries.
      • Webb remarked that one of the criteria for the scholarship was that the students present their information. Gilliland responded that both current recipients did so at the 1998 mid-year meeting in Lexington, KY. FredHeitman asked if the students could be encouraged to present to the RC. Gilliland said yes. Webb remarked that we would hope the students could do so to allow RC members to offer advice, and to allow the students to network with RC members, but added that the RC needed to remember that the intent of the scholarship is to benefit students, the amount is only $1,000, and therefore we shouldn’t require too much.
    • AFS Annual Meeting, Year 2000: Mike Colvin asked if the RC was interested in offering assistance in putting together a special symposium on black bass at the AFS Annual Meeting in 2000 at St. Louis, Missouri.Webb said yes, and recommended following up.
  • New Business:
    • Sponsoring Symposiums at the 1999 Mid-year SDAFS Meeting: Webb asked if the RC was interested in co-sponsoring special symposiums with the Warmwater Streams Committee (WSC) focused on either FERC relicensing or habitat enhancement. Duval stated that the FERC relicensing session would be timely given our years of experience, and the contrasts between older system and the new "applicant referred" system. ScottHendricks agreed that Chattanooga would be a good place to do this. Webb asked if this would involve invited papers or an informal information exchange. Duval said that he would follow up, call Mike Meador, and serve as the RC contact.
      • Webb said that co-sponsoring a habitat enhancement symposium would also a good idea, but suggested that the RC is not ready for this quite yet. Mike Alexander and Mike Allen indicated that the RC is not ready yet. Donny Lowery said that TVA needed another 1.5 y to really contribute. Allen said that he will call Chris O’Bara to express our concerns, and suggest holding off for a couple of years.
    • From Arkansas: ark Oliver announced that Arkansas has hired a new reservoir biologist.
    • TN Chapter Donation: Allen announced that the TCAFS Chapter will donate $200 from the 1999 Mid-year SDAFS Meeting workshop to the Bob Jenkins Scholarship.
  • Work Session:
    • Habitat Enhancement Manual (Alexander and Allen)
      • This session was the continuation of a project to develop a manual that will provide information about the enhancement of desirable aquatic vegetation and the construction and placement of artificial fish habitat structures.
      • Allen (FL) started the session by providing an overview of habitat enhancement projects in Florida and circulating an overview of that information, distributing a summary of habitat enhancement projects with aquatic plants by state, and then inviting each state to present habitat enhancement information.
      • Duval (VA) indicated that Virginia had added cedar trees to some reservoirs, but, without any follow-up concerning fish or angler use, and that very little work was done with aquatic plants. He also referenced work by Eric Prince in the 1970’s with structures in Smith Mountain Lake (ms thesis, and NCD AFS Special Publication #6).
      • Churchill (TN) reported results similar to those in Virginia, but added that bald cypress had been planted, and that benches had been placed in some reservoirs (contact Frank Bulow, TN Tech for spawning bench information). He added that TWRA biologist feel that placing and maintaining artificial fish structures is second only to fish stocking as a positive public relations tool, ant that they are using phone surveys of anglers to better understand use rates of artificial structures. Churchill concluded by indicating that TVA was doing some shoreline planting of button bushes and similar plants in reservoirs.
      • Swor (TN) described two TVA feasibility studies on Old Hickory Reservoir of renovating silted in areas in the reservoir and vegetation plantings. He also briefly discussed the spawning benches (r.e. Churchill) evaluated in Dale Hollow Reservoir, and added that copies of the final ms thesis should be available via Bulow (project advisor).
      • Gary Tilyou (LA) stated that Louisiana hasn’t needed to do much work with natural vegetation, although they are developing projects on two reservoirs where vegetation has been lost, one due to grass carp, and the other for unknown reasons.
      • Colvin (MO) indicated that Missouri primarily uses artificial structures to "get fish and anglers together" on small impoundments and a few large reservoirs. The MDC uses a habitat barge that travels throughout the state to meet needs in placing artificial structure. Some trees are cut off of USACE lands for construction purpose, and some hinging of trees is also done on Lake of the Ozarks. Most Missouri reservoirs don’t have conditions that favor the use of natural vegetation due to water level fluctuations, but a new project (first year) has begun on Smithville Lake to establish spike rush, bull rush, and pickerel weed. Colvin distributed an overview of Missouri’s work with aquatic vegetation reintroduction and the use of woody habitat structures in large reservoirs.
      • Steve Sammons (TN) concurred with other Tennessee reports.
      • Massie (VA) described Virginia Power’s use of cinder block and tree structures, cedar trees, corrugated drain tubes, and catfish condos and said that most evaluation had been done with diving during the 1980’s. He also discussed trials of Berkley "Fishing Trees" (remember Loren Hill?) and indicated that they worked best in high productivity areas and poorly in low productivity areas. Virginia Power has also tried the 4×4 structures commercially available through Berkley. Massie made available brochures of fish structures in Lake Anna and Mount Storm Lakes.
      • Gilliland (OK) indicated that each of the 10 ODC districts have a habitat barge for placing artificial structures in reservoirs. Currently, the ODC has two dedicated crews that use prison labor to construct fish attractors during 50 weeks each year. In addition to traditional brush attractors, also included among Oklahoma habitat structures are catfish condos, gravel placement for smallmouth bass spawning, and spawning benches for smallmouth bass. Comparisons of fish use of different types of habitat structures have been made in hatchery ponds of oak vs. cedar structures, and a graduate student has taken the next step and compared them (fish use, species composition) with hinged trees and "Geoweb" (an artificial netting/fencing product). An evaluation of vegetation planting using a GIS began at Lake Arcadia during 1998. The species include American pondweed, vallisinaria, and water stargrass, and water willow.
      • Webb (TX) stated that TPWD had used a lot of tires, brush, and more recently, cypress trees as fish attractors, but with minimal evaluation. Currently, vegetation plantings are being evaluated in seven Texas reservoirs and preliminary information will be available in the next few months (via Michael Smart). In addition, a thesis by Perry Trial (?), TX A&M will provide a detailed look at fish communities in different habitats of Lake Conroe. Webb also distributed a copy of Recommendations of the Habitat Enhancement Initiative Committee, by TPWD.
      • Lowery (TN) provided information about "Banks and Buffers", a CD ROM format guide to selecting vegetation for habitat enhancement from TVA. The CD provides details about the potential of specific species in riparian zones and reservoir habitats relative to hydrology, substrate, and morphology. (Available free from TVA, ask Donny). He also indicated that vegetation plantings, such as eel grass, and placement of cedar trees (with volunteer help) as fish habitat have provided a lot of great public relations mileage.
      • Dick Christie (SC) discussed the traditional use of brush and cedar structures in South Carolina, but added that these fish attractors are supplemented annually with 15-25 trees per site. PVC structures have been compared to these more traditional structures in evaluations of productivity and angling success. Productivity was similar among the two structure types, and PVC and traditional brush were equal (but better than controls) in a carefully conducted controlled angling evaluation. Vegetation plantings have included button bush and cypress, and although no evaluation is planned, success of plantings appears to be higher for cypress. Christie circulated an overview of habitat enhancement efforts in South Carolina.
      • Oliver (AR) indicated that 5,000 trees/y are placed in Beaver Reservoir, but the structures are not evaluated. Habitat structures in Bull Shoals and North Fork Reservoirs have been evaluated using divers. Oliver provided handout describing this project, and a AGFC map with fish attractor details that is made available to anglers.
      • Heitman (TN) stated that American Aquatics has used fist-sized rocks (spawning habitat), shipping pallets with concrete block, and concrete blocks that that these structures appear to be working well in private lakes in middle Tennessee. Heitman added that similar projects will begin in Georgia, and that evaluations will focus on life cycle approaches.
      • Hale (OH) reported that the ODW sponsored research by OSU in the early 1980’s to evaluate fish use and angler success over different artificial habitat structures. Results of that research were formally published by Kevin Kayle, Debra Walters, Lance Durfrey, Bill Lynch, and Dave Johnson (faculty advisor) and also summarized in SFR reports that were sent to Gilliland. Hale added that the ODW district does place some brush attractors in reservoirs, but needs are determined on a district by district basis, and much of this work is focused on habitat-poor upground reservoirs in northwestern Ohio.
      • Rick Ott (TX) indicated that there was a great deal of interest in vegetation plantings in the private sector, and that part of the equation in some Texas reservoirs was fighting hydrilla while trying to establish more desirable vegetation.
      • Mark Garthaus (KY) described fish attractors used in Kentucky and Barkley lakes and provided a handout with graphics of each. He also indicated that some limited cypress planting had been made.
      • Hendricks (GA) indicated that water willow, vallasinaria, pondweed, and cypress plantings are being attempted in Georgia.
      • Allen closed this discussion with thoughts on the organization of the manual, and the meeting adjourned for lunch.
      • Alexander and Allen started the session by discussing the direction of the aquatic plant manual.
      • Alexander discussed the development of a related book by the Aquatic Plant Management Society, and suggested the following:
        • develop the RC manual with direction already provided by Michael Smart’s book;
        • develop the manual with USACE endorsement;
        • develop the RC manual from the plant, rather than the reservoir perspective (Smart’s text works from the reservoir perspective).
      • Michael Smart commented that he had set up the text as a scientific document to make sure it was thorough, and to let readers work from what they know about their systems. He then distributed an outline of contents from the working draft. Smart’s primary concern was making sure that readers were provided with enough information to maximize their chance of success.
      • The suggestion was then made that we should have two sections, one for vegetation and one for artificial structure (by Allen?).
      • Webb interjected that we should actually develop several sections, including vegetation, YOY habitat, spawning habitat, etc., instead of just vegetation and structures.
      • Duval suggested a preliminary review, or at least an endorsement, of the manual by representatives of the North American Lakes Management Society.
      • Some discussion ensued concerning the problem of liability in making recommendation that don’t succeed, but the final consensus was that we often make recommendations (technical guidance, farm pond manuals) that depend upon a number of factors. The best anyone can do is to follow the best advice available, and take their best shot, and most of us accept this.
      • Smart suggested creating a tabular matrix and then simply adding data as it is accumulated.
      • The general direction of the manual was established to provide two major sections, vegetation, and abiotic, and to develop recommendations for each. The RC periodically discussed the need for thorough literature reviews and an evaluation. Webb persistently kept the RC on track so that we focused on vegetation planting, and descriptions, construction and durability of artificial structures, rather than evaluating utility to fish or anglers. The manual is established on the premise that vegetation and artificial structures attract fish, provide cover, etc., and are inherently good for fish management.
      • These discussions lead to the development of a national survey of agencies to obtain summary information about artificial habitat structure programs. Sammons provided a working draft of a survey form that the RC modified, and Allen will edit and distribute for review. Suggested components of the instrument include:
        • name of respondent, affiliation, address, phone, e-mail;
        • depth of structure placement;
        • how long do the structures last;
        • how often are structures replaced;
        • purpose;
        • kind (type, substance);
        • most preferred type;
        • % of reservoirs that receive enhancement;
        • are you satisfied with these structures;
        • failure;
        • cost;
        • evaluation (send report?);
        • sketch or photo:
        • (maybe size, area (sq. ft.));
        • Do you have any programs for planting aquatic vegetation?
      • The survey will be conducted by phone, with each RC member contacting pertinent people in their home state, and any additional states as assigned by Duval. Alexander will contact federal agencies, and Massie and Hendricks will contact power companies. Allen will send a list of the assignments out with the draft of the survey.
      • Smart and Alexander will put together a vegetation survey, and based on the final question from the artificial structure survey (Do you have any programs for planting aquatic vegetation?), will use these contacts to conduct a phone survey.

July 16, 1998

  • Presentations
    • Webb called the meeting back to order, and indicated that the agenda would be comprised of presentations by Heitman, Hale, and Janssen.
    • Heitman introduced the RC to "CeramKote", a tough marine finish that protects vessels from abrasion and biofouling (zebra mussels, barnacles), yet is extremely flexible. He estimated that it would take about 1 gallon to coat an 18’ boat, at a cost of about $150 if you apply it yourself. To have it commercially applied would cost about $25 per square foot plus materials.
    • Hale made two brief presentations. First, he spent a few minutes describing a new statewide crappie study that the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW) is funding through the Ohio State University (OSU). "Exploring Mechanisms Regulating Crappie Populations", lead by doctoral candidate David "Bo" Bunnell, and advised by Roy Stein, is developed to take a multi-system look at some of the traditional problems in crappie fisheries, such as slow growth and variable recruitment. A total of 12 reservoirs, representing a broad latitudinal and trophic gradient within Ohio will be studied to investigate these issues. Field collections by OSU and ODW include prespawn adult crappie (to check body condition as adults enter the spawning season), weekly larval and juvenile crappie and shad sampling (neuston nets), plankton sampling, and water quality sampling (May through June), juvenile crappie and shad sampling (July through September), and total crappie population sampling with trapnets (October). Preliminary data will likely be presented by Bo Bunnell at the 1999 Mid-year SDAFS meeting next February.
    • At greater length, Hale also discussed the ODW reservoir mapping project. The project initiated in 1995, and is now moving along quickly. He stepped the RC through the ODW mapping process, and this lead to some group discussion about mapping projects in general. Anyone seeking additional information should contact Joe Mion (ODW) at joe.mion@dnr.ohio.gov.
    • Fred Janssen concluded the presentations by discussing the RC home page that he has been working on (for a copy of the presentation look him up at fred.janssen@tpwd.state.tx.us, and he’ll send it as an e-mail attachment). Please send Janssen comments on the web site!!! To this effect, Oliver distributed a survey for members to complete and return to him about where we want to go with the RC web site. This may be a great place to send those roundtable items!
  • Webb adjourned the meeting at 11:50.