Minutes of the Reservoir Committee
Summer Meeting
Memphis, Tennessee
July 21-22, 1999

Meeting Convened July 21, 1999

  • Mike Allen (chair) called the Reservoir Committee to order at 8:24 am. A quorum was determined with 15 members present initially, and attendance increased to 16 later in the day. Members present: Mike Allen, FL (chair), Mike Alexander, USACE GA, Tim Broadbent, TN, Mike Colvin, MO, Dan Garren, WV, Gene Gilliland, OK, Fred Heitman, American Aquatics TN, Scott Hendricks, Georgia Power, Donny Lowery, TVA AL, Frank Massie, Virginia Power, Steve Miranda, MS, Steve Sammons, TN, Michael Smart, USACE – TX, Tom Swor, USACE TN, Mark Webb, TX, Kevin Yokum, WV
  • Minutes of the previous meeting in Chattanooga, TN (2/99) were approved (Allen, Gilliland 2nd).
  • Steve Sammons agreed to take minutes of the meeting.
  • Financial Report:
    • As of June 30, 1999, the reservoir committee has $56,014 in the Merrill Lynch account. Since the last meeting a little over $2,000 from reservoir book sales had been deposited in the account.
  • Newsletter Editor Report:
    • Allen noted that Fred Janssen (TX) was unable to attend but was in process of compiling information for an on-line newsletter. He encouraged all attendees to email or send Fred the items they will discuss at Roundtable Discussion when they return from meeting. First edition of on-line newsletter planned for September.
  • Old Business:
    • Beverton-Holt Computer Model: Mike Maceina and Jef Slipke (Auburn University, AL) requested that the Reservoir Committee donate money towards the completion of computer software they are in process of developing. This software will be Windows-based and be able to model regulation changes on fish populations with minimum of data required. Much more user-friendly than current SAS-based model. Allen noted that Fish and Wildlife agencies across Southeast were donating money to the cause and may have fulfilled their needs. He moved that the RC donate $5,000 to the effort if money still required. Amid concerns that software be free, motion was amended that RC donate up to $5,000 if needed on the provision that the completed model be available to RC members free of charge. (Hendricks seconded).
    • Black Bass Symposium: RC asked to contribute papers towards symposium scheduled for annual meeting in St Louis, MO in 2000, but no information given since then. Gilliland and Allen are on the steering committee for the symposium, but haven’t heard any word on what sort of papers were needed for symposium.
    • Bob Jenkins Scholarship: Gilliland noted that one scholarship will be available to be awarded at the next midyear in Savannah, GA. No applications have been received yet, but this is not unusual. Forms can be found on the Web Page and are due to him by the end of this year.
    • History of Reservoir Committee poster: Allen announced that this project has been pushed back until either the Southeastern 2000 or the mid-year meeting in 2001. He found out that Miranda has a lot of boxes full of RC history stuff, but he won’t send it to anyone, we have to go to Starkville if we want them, preferably with an armored truck.
  • New Business:
    • Southeastern meeting: Allen reported that last Southeastern there were only 13 fish-related papers and 8 RC members in attendance, so no work could be done. He proposed that the RC cease having meetings at the Southeastern, which seems to be going the way of the dodo. He mentioned that the only reason he would go would be for the meeting. After a show of hands indicated that only 3 of the 16 members in attendance would be at the Southeastern meeting in Greensboro NC this year, Allen suggested that they have no meeting there. All members were in agreement, A motion@ passed by general acclaim.
    • Habitat Manual Update: Allen and Alexander gave updates on habitat enhancement surveys. Alexander is handling the plant part, Allen is compiling the abiotic stuff.
    • Plants (Alexander): 18 states have established aquatic plant management programs. 8 states have not responded to the survey, 2 (TX and KS) have promised information but have not provided it yet. 37-38 species of plants have been planted, most successful appears to have been water willow (90% of reported plantings expanded). Alexander reported that he has been able to identify those that were least successful, that no one has been able to get to grow. He also identified some potential problems with aquatic plant establishment, but that some of those problems have been overcome by others. The goal of the manual is to present good plant species to use, ways to get them to grow, and how to keep them from predation.
    • Abiotic (Allen): Surveys have been returned from 46 states and Puerto Rico. 87% of state agencies use some form of habitat enhancement., and usually this enhancement occurs in less than 20% of their lakes. AZ does the most, huge program spend many 1,000′s of dollars annually. 40% of enhancement used for fish attractors, 40% for recruitment enhancement. Only 40% of these programs have been evaluated, most (12 states) by electrofishing CPE.
    • Allen noted that next step was to compile all this info into a manual. Work Session during this meeting will be devoted entirely to that.
  • Presentations:
    • Webb presented data on 7 TX reservoirs where TPWD tried to get aquatic plants to grow. They used 3 types of plants (floating, emergent, submergent), three types of fencing (no fence, shoreline fence, cove fence), and two types of caging (no cage, tomato cage). Although hampered by historic drought of 1998, the work still showed that some level of protection (fence or cage) is needed for good survival of plants. Emergents did the best, were least likely to be eaten by herbivores and resisted drought well. Of those, water willow clearly the most robust B almost couldn’t kill it. 100% of plants lived in 4 reservoirs, even 15% lived in lakes where plants were high and dry because of drought. Key to success was to cage plants and use good propagules.
    • Gilliland presented data on nursery habitat enhancement in OK reservoirs. Early work was done with 5-6 species of plant to figure out what would work best, then they planted on much larger scale. All plants were put in exclosures (cage and fence). Some planting did well, but there was big problems with turtle and carp predation. He noted that water level changes stranded plants in small cages, recommended that larger cages be used. They tried some indoor culture of plants but failed. In successive years they kept increasing the scale of plantings. Now they are connected established communities with each other behind fencing. A variety of plants are growing, more like a real plant community. Drought of 1998 stranded some plants and exposed others to deer predation. But floods of 1999 were catastrophic, 57 days of water over full pool flooded cages, allowing carp and turtles free access to plants B decimated. By time water levels went down, plant growth was again confined to tomato cages.
  • Work Session:
  • Habitat Enhancement Manual (Alexander and Allen)
    • Allen (FL) asked for ideas on how we turn this kind of preliminary data into a manual.
    • Webb (TX) thought that an interactive CD would be useful. Should tell user what best bet will be under a range of conditions supplied by user. He doubted we had either money or ability to do this, have to seek funding and expertise from other sources.
    • Gilliland (OK) doubted that we were there yet. Information changed every year, not ready for this kind of commitment.
    • Yokum (WV) expressed concerns that CD would exclude those with little or no computer experience.
    • Miranda (MS) suggested that it should be put on RC Web Page, to allow for frequent changes and updates, as well as comments on posting board.
    • Alexander (GA) wondered if manual could be interactive on Web Page.
    • Webb thought it could be, but Janssen would have to be consulted.
    • Colvin (MO) asked if it was effective or feasible to do this. If a lot of artwork or pictures were involved it would take forever to load pages.
    • Heitman (TN) mentioned that space on Web Page could be issue.
    • Webb stated that space wasn’t an issue but that efficiency could be a problem.
    • Miranda noted that pictures could be linked to eliminate efficiency concern. He still thought that Web Page was way to go.
    • Smart (TX) stated that data has to be categorized so people could search for answers.
    • Swor (TN) and Sammons (TN) both thought the manual should be on Web. More response from others could be expected that way. Sammons mentioned that many pages on Web offer search engines (Amazon, Columbia House, among others), so it must be feasible to do it.
    • Webb called Janssen on phone and reported that searchable database on Web was well within his capabilities. Once data was categorized, should be easy to do.
    • Heitman moved that manual be put on Web as a searchable data base. Hendricks seconded, motion carried unanimously. After a lot of debate on what categories should be placed on the database, a subcommittee was formed (Webb, Smart, Alexander, Gilliland) to develop categorizations and to ready data for entering.
    • Allen offered to take on the abiotic end of manual if RC could fund a month or two of technician salary for it. He will also look into getting pen and ink drawings of the various habitat structures that state agencies are using. Alexander mentioned that it might be more useful to have drawings done on computer using software like AutoCAD. He would look into prices for that service. The members seemed willing to fund Allen for the work. Miranda mentioned that a proposal would be needed detailing exactly what is to be done for the money. Allen indicated that he could write something up by tomorrow’s meeting.
    • Allen mentioned that if any RC member would like him to write their fish chief a letter thanking him or her for allowing that person to attend meeting just let him know via phone or email and he’ll be glad to do it. Meeting was adjourned for the day at 4:00pm.
July 22, 1999
  • Allen called the meeting back to order and presented a written proposal for funding the compilation of the abiotic habitat survey. Kevin Yokum made a motion to accept the proposal as written. Webb seconded, and the motion passed unanimously to fund $3,000 for compilation of the Abiotic Habitat Enhancement Manual.
  • M. Webb started discussion of how to fund development of habitat manual. Some interest in outside funding for illustrations, etc. M. Smart to contact APMS for possible funding, maybe Corps also. Heitman has someone on staff that may be useful. He will check to see if she can use AutoCAD or other computer illustration programs. Allen will figure out how many illustrations would be needed and check on possible university sources for either drawings or computer graphic work.
  • Roundtable discussion took place with 14 members present. Topics discussed should be in on-line newspaper due out in September.
  • Gilliland noted that RC needs a new chair-elect by the Southeastern, which is the official start of Allen’s second year as chair. A few people were asked, no one accepted. A few suggestions of people who weren’t present were given. Allen will call them and try to line up a chair-elect by October.
  • Colvin mentioned that the Corps of Engineers sponsored a Reservoir Stakeholder meeting in New Orleans in April. Meeting was about building a framework for reservoir operation with more emphasis on recreation. He wondered if this heralded a new attitude where the Corps would be more willing to fund a major habitat enhancement research project similar to what the RC was considering at the beginning of the habitat manual project.
  • Alexander was unsure, but thought that Corps might be willing to fund/participate in project depending on how it was presented. He was skeptical that this was a true initiative by Corps, it was in response to Presidential Order. All federal agencies had to write plan on how to increase use at federal facilities. Corps plan doesn’t key on fish, but rather on building/maintaining facilities.
  • Both Swor and Alexander gave a brief overview of the Corps cost-share program that they use with state agencies. Corps will regularly fund 75% of projects if state picks up 25% and does 100% of maintaining. Very slow process, not worth it unless a lot of money is involved (>$500,000).
  • Allen adjourned the meeting at 10:53 am.
  • Steve Sammons, acting Secretary. (Thanks to Scott Hendricks for notes on first half-hour of 7/22)