Minutes of the Southern Division Reservoir Committee Meeting
Held on July 13-14, 2004, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Submitted by Mark Oliver

Committee Members in Attendance:
Mike Colvin Missouri Dept. of Conservation Mike.Colvin@mdc.mo.gov
Gene Gilliland Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife ggillokla@aol.com
Kevin Yokum West Virginia DNR kyokum@dnr.state.wv.us
Fred Janssen University of Florida msal@ufl.edu
Lawrence Dorsey North Carolina Wildlife Resources dorseylg@vnet.net
Mike Wood LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries woddmg@wlf.state.la.us
Wade Bales South Carolina DNR balesw@dnr.sc.gov
Mark Oliver Arkansas Game and Fish Comm. mloliver@agfc.state.ar.us
Jamie Sykes U. S. Army Corps of Engineers james.a.sykes@sas02.usace.army.mil
Fred Heitman American Aquatics jfredd@aol.com
Chris Horton BASS Christopher.m.Horton@bassmaster.com
Scott Hendricks Georgia Power ashendri@southernco.com
Non-Committee Members attending:
Liz Heitman University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Lheitman@uaex.edu
Special Guests:
  • Dwight Landreneau Secretary, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Tim Morrison Inland Fisheries Programs Manager, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries
Call to Order
  • Fred Janssen (Chair) convened the meeting.
  • It was determined that a quorum was present.
  • A secretary was selected – Arkansas (Oliver)
  • Janssen expressed the RC’s appreciation for Mike Wood and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for hosting the summer meeting in Louisiana.
  • Minutes of Spring 2004 meeting – motion to approve (Allen) and seconded (Bales). Approved.
Financial Report
  • Fred presented the RC’s account balance, which was (at the end of May) about $37,000. There were some costs for a couple of members (Bales and Dorsey) to attend the Baton Rouge meeting associated with changing flights due to meeting date changes. There will be about $1,000 in costs associated with this summer meeting.
  • Merrill-Lynch tuned up our portfolio in March and its performance has since improved.
Old Business
  • Dorsey and others expressed appreciation for the letters of gratitude that Fred Janssen sent to the Fish Chiefs for allowing the members to participate in the Reservoir Committee.
4th Annual Reservoir Symposium

(The primary topic of the Baton Rouge meeting was the upcoming 2007 Reservoir Symposium)

Allen and Janssen initiated discussion on the focus of the symposium by referencing Dr. Steve Miranda’s philosophical challenge (“The Reservoir Committee at a Crossroads?” on the SDAFS Website, Reservoir Committee page or http://www.sdafs.org/reservoir/stuff/crosroad.htm) to the RC urging it to broaden it’s emphasis from understanding and managing fisheries within discrete reservoir units to recognizing that reservoirs are really parts of river continuums or impounded rivers and that management should shift to the watershed level of cognizance. He suggested that this re-definition of the service role of the RC should be a major consideration of the upcoming symposium. There was general agreement that the concept merited a degree of prominence in the symposium.

Allen distributed the tentative agenda and outline that was sent to the fish chiefs for input. This correspondence was prepared by Steve Sammons (not present). It contained a list of possible topics and asked for input from the chiefs. Replies from 5 responding fish chiefs were presented. Texas was very concerned with golden algae. Nebraska was interested in the economic value of water held in reservoirs for fisheries purposes as compared to other uses and suggested Ernie Niemi (ECONorthwest) as a potential speaker. Arkansas was concerned with issues involving minimum flows below Corps reservoirs. Virginia listed competing uses of reservoir fisheries by angler groups (i.e., striper vs. crappie); effects of water quality changes; effects of fish introductions; introduced exotic nuisance species; the socio-economic issues; harvest issues (particularly focus on particular species such as walleye or sizes of fish); trophy fishery management as a paradigm shift; incorporating anglers in field work and decision-making; methods and processes for breaking away from traditional creel surveys to obtain data otherwise impossible because of fiscal restraints. Iowa asked for presentations demonstrating the variability of reservoir conditions and how that variability affects fish populations; expressed an interest in expanding the scope of watershed management; including invasive species management and GIS applications in fisheries management; and considered the managing anglers topic very relevant.

There was some discussion about partnering with the Warm Water Streams Committee on the symposium because of the focus of the symposium on reservoirs as part of a stream continuum. There was also some discussion about involving the Trout Committee because of tailwater aspects.

There was discussion regarding specific issues (such as minimum flow) that tie streams to reservoirs. Another issue was in-stream flows and who the RC could team with to best address those concerns. Warm Water Streams Committee was considered the likely partner. It was suggested that low flow periods were critical to fisheries management because fisheries managers generally have less formal authority than other water users such as water supply and agriculture.

Bales reported that South Carolina is changing priorities to emphasize aquatic resource management, which has a broader scope than just management of sportfish.

Allen asked the members to conceptualize potential topics:

Janssen suggested that the symposium should take us to the next step beyond where we are now in reservoir management. Or that it should at least point us where we need to be. There was general agreement with this.

Gilliland asked the questions: “What will be our end-product?” And, “Are there successful/practical examples of where watershed management on this scale has been done?”

Allen responded: We are not going to fill up a book because there is a lack of research. There are a several systems where wide-scale work has been done that would be appropriate as case histories.

There was a discussion of FERC re-licensing issues. Several of the states are currently deeply involved in this process and many more projects will be up for re-licensing in the near future.

Bales expressed the opinion that primary productivity is a vital and over-arching issue. Watershed land use, rainfall, nutrient changes, etc., flow through a system and exert an influence on fish populations.

Conflicts involving human use of the water resources of the Flint River in Georgia/Alabama/Florida have resulted in lawsuits that are still on going. This river/reservoir system was considered one candidate for the case history section of the symposium

Some needs were identified:

  • Lake Mead was considered to be a good candidate for a case history and we need a Lake Meade contact. • Identify the systems that will be used for case histories.
  • Talk to other divisions about topical areas and co-sponsors
  • Dorsey: RC needs to provide early outlines for presenters.
  • Need to determine what level of stakeholder involvement in the case histories.
  • The case histories will need to be team efforts.

Other discussion about the Symposium followed:

It was suggested that the Electric Power Research Institute would be a good contact for (FERC re-licensing and water reallocation related to fisheries.

Gilliland brought up the issue of workshops and suggested one on stakeholder involvement and management.

The 3rd Symposium was 2 ½ days in length.

Multi-system: At least 1 ½ days, maybe 2. Allen will head this section and possibly others.

Mike Maceina has agreed to coordinate catch-and-release issues and possibly others.

Bales described some of the human dimensions work that has been done in South Carolina. We need examples of where this has worked in other areas. Case histories of successful human dimension efforts are needed. Mark Duda was mentioned as possible source. Wade volunteered to head up this section.

Fred Janssen suggested that we scratch catch and release symposium and go with the human dimensions focus.

Others felt we should keep the catch-and-release section.

It was decided to have a separate section on Human Dimensions.

Reservoir aging – sedimentation rates, habitat changes, effects on fish (water quality, physical structures, sedimentation, aquatic plants, water level management. The Reservoir Aging Section will be coordinated by John Taylor, Fred Janssen, Hal Schramm, and Mike Colvin.

Colvin: Suggested keeping presentations pertinent to impacts on fish as much as possible.

Gilliland said the multi-system section is a broad introduction for the whole symposium.

Oliver: Stocking advances/state of the art. Fish stocking case histories should be included.

Financial issues: Gilliland: Mailing costs, caterers, hotels usually don’t allow outside caterers. Biggest single expense is banquet.

International Association of F & W Agencies was suggested as a possible funding source.

USF&WS probably doesn’t have funding anymore

AFS (Proceedings), TVA, USACE, Bass Pro, BASS are other possible funding sources. Mike Allen will contact AFS.

Identify speakers – all on list below (and all of group) 2 to 4 speakers.

Completed manuscripts were due at the date of the last reservoir symposium.

Let presenters in each section know what others are going to present.

Set out commercial vendor catalogues for a fee.

RC should send out special invitation for “how to” posters for fisheries managers.

Website or CD for poster presentations? Fred Janssen prefers using the SDAFS/symposium website to display poster presentations.

Allen listed the categories where help will be needed: Program chair Local Arrangements Fund-raising Registration Marketing

After the discussion, Allen and others developed the following tentative agenda and task list below:

Southern Division American Fisheries Society
Reservoir Committee
4th International Reservoir Symposium
Multi-System Management
June or July 2007
Symposium Outline
Multi-System Management – Mike Allen
  • interconnected aspects of impounded river hydrology and fisheries
  • incorporating watershed impacts into reservoir fisheries decision
  • managing multiple systems for optimal fisheries
  • minimum flows for fisheries
  • working with multi-discipline teams and stakeholders
  • White River case history
  • Chattahoochee case history
  • Lake Mead case history
  • North Carolina case history
Fishery Manager’s Toolbox
  1. Aquatic Habitat – Gene Gilliland
    • challenges to aquatic plant management
    • long-term changes in habitat and fisheries
    • watershed management and impact on reservoir fish habitat
    • regional trends, differences in habitat and fisheries
  2. Human Dimensions – Wade Bales
    • future of human dimensions research in fisheries assessment and marketing
  3. Catch and Release – Scott Hendricks
    • does voluntary catch-and-release remove harvest as a “tool” in our toolbox?
    • data from creel surveys and population trends
    • angler motivations regarding catch and release
  4. Stocking – Mark Oliver
    • Virginia – stripers
    • Texas – largemouth bass
    • North Central Division – walleye
  5. Assessment and Analysis – Fred Janssen
    • progress since AP:P?
    • linking shifts in fish communities to fishery management
    • spatial analyses as alternatives to traditional population indices
    • tying measures of habitat to fish population metrics

February deadline to identify speakers for the various sections of the symposium.

Scott Hendricks: Report on search for meeting facility in Atlanta. Handout. Checked 10-12 hotels. GA Tech Conf. Ctr (Grand Hyatt/Buckhead) Westin Buckhead. Grand Hyatt picked by group.

Meeting days and dates discussed. Discussion of Sat/Sun travel deals. Thursday through Sunday (same as Spring meeting) was the final consensus.

Workshop details were discussed.

Scott will proceed with finding out what options are available. He’ll see what Southern Co. would charge to handle the meeting.

General discussion

  • There was a discussion regarding TVA’s use ofl forebay diffusers. Corps has to meet state water quality standards. Lake Russell has forebay diffusers. Ed Scott and Bill Proctor at TVA River Ops 865-632-1959 are contacts for diffuser information. Douglas and Cherokee in Tennessee (TVA) have diffusers. Lake Thurman is trying to get a diffuser. Some lakes have closed seasons and/or closed seasons on striped bass because of the concentrating effect of the diffusers.
  • Warren Turner, National Striped Bass Association, is developing partnerships with resource agencies.
  • Send state fishing regs to Fred Heitmann.
  • Fred Janssen reported on the continuing golden algae situation that Texas and other states are experiencing: Affected Lakes: Colorado 2,000 acres golden algae total kills, E.V. Spence 20,000 acres total kill, Possum Kingdom Golden algae kills ruined the striper fishery, Lake Whitney had GA kills but still has striper fishery.
  • Catch and Release Info
  • Fred Heitman gave a summary of EPA’s 316(b) Final Rule Update: The rule update applies to power plants that draw 50 mgd or more a day. A summary is available from Fred or can be downloaded from the RC webpage. Of primary importance to fisheries managers are the reduced permissible levels of impingement and entrainment of aquatic organisms. Facility improvements (engineering technology) or restoration plans can be used to reach permissible impingement levels. If a facility chooses restoration then the state G&F agencies will have approve their plans. There will be increased opportunities for habitat, stocking, etc.

Roundtable Session:

  • Mike Allen: Water management districts removing huge amounts of gizzard shad. If you remove gizzard shad, you take away the nutrient pump that takes nutrients from the bottom into the water column. Commercial gillnetters were employed. These are very rich lakes with not much sportfishing. They are selling the gizzard shad for $0.25 per pound for catfood. Mike will be doing study to look at reproductive response of removing large shad.
  • Hydrilla management: A fluoridone-resistant strain has developed. A workshop will be held in August to talk about hydrilla management. Grass carp may not be a good option. Contact herbicides are a possibility.
  • Georgia Power (Scott Hendricks): 14 hydropower reservoirs. He is Iiaison for FERC. Southern Co. requires habitat enhancement from marinas, docks, through a permit process. New permits only as of now. Does this in consultation with GA DNR.
  • North Carolina and Duke Power (Lawrence Dorsery): Duke Power is investigating large woody debris management through a cooperative study with North Carolina. Duke owns to OHWM on their reservoirs. Habitat Enhancement permits can be purchased at cost of $500 for habitat enhancement fund. Brush piles, rock, some artificial structures have been installed by permittees. There has been a lot of resistance to the expense. Fish friendly piers are being promoted and used. Long-term maintenance of the habitat enhancements is unknown at the time.
  • Exotic species are an increasing problem– will try to get a regulation now to control the stocking of fish in public waters. Striper clubs are a problem because they conduct unauthorized baitfish introductions. The regulation would apply to public waters, such as reservoirs and bigger streams.
  • Question: Research coordinator wants to know if there are multi-species plans for individual water bodies. Bales has one for the Middle Savannah River. Comment from Horton: CAG should have input.
  • Louisiana (Mike Wood): Caney Lake has a grass carp abundance problem. Many have been removed. Legislative biologists are involved. A carp rodeo (Bowfishing tournament) with a $2,000 prize was held.
  • LA has two lakes that are going to receive grass carp stockings because of hydrilla. Drawdowns are not an option.
  • Reservoir aging issue involving lakes that have complete canopies that drop huge amounts of leaf litter. Reduced by drawdown by ¾-in depth. There is as much as 4 feet of leaf matter on some lakes.
  • A new lake (2,400 acres) was completed. LDWF asked anglers what they wanted: Catch & Release, slot 14-17,or trophy. They went for trophy regs. Most were interested in crappie fishing opportunities. The lake filled by surface run-off. The existing fish were killed then fish were restocked during the filling process. The lake received a huge crappie stocking. At the anglers request, the crappie possession limit was reduced from statewide 50 to 25.
  • He is using lead nets to sample the crappie with good results. He usually catches black crappie in nearby lakes but white crappie showing up with electrofishing and angling in the new lake.
  • Corps of Engineers (Jamie Sykes): Passed on a “hi” from Mike Alexander who is enjoying retirement. He’s caught so many fish he clogged up his livewell.
  • Jamie described some autoventing turbine upgrades. DO went from 0 to 3 or 4. Study changes in fish population.
  • Missouri (Mike Colvin): Poor crappie growth in northern lakes. Missouri is studying crappie/shad dynamics. Mike is also conducting larval shad sampling and quantifying crappie food habits. Crappie get on shad and grow when shad are abundant. Oct. has been set as the standard sampling time frame. Biggest catches in July and August (surprising) You may miss age 0 because they are small. Mark Twain Lake- last fall 100 mm crappie were 7 years old at the same time as 200 mm + that were 2. Long Branch in northern Missouri has a bad crappie size structure. Smallest ripe females were 130 mm (mostly whites). By the end of June, they were still ripe. Explained as a weird effect of energy starvation.
  • Looking at carp in northern lakes. Blue Springs (COE) has reduced reproduction and catch-rates of bass. CPUE Carp 10 to 1 bass and 60 lbs./acre of carp.
  • Gene Gilliland: Handout. COE will come up with 125 K a year for aquatic plant management as part of a fish and wildlife plan for Grand Lake. They will hire a resource manager. When the lake is high – it floods 3,000 acres they don’t own. They got sued for that. They got sued for lowering levels of habitat and sued by yacht owners. Gary Dick and Mike Smart, COE, will start planting in late August. A plant hatchery is under construction as part of the plan.
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Liz Heitman): Discussed her research which is a largemouth bass stocking evaluation on the Arkansas River. Bass stocking is contributing 10-15 % of cohort. Next she will compare stocking 50 mm and 100 mm fingerlings. She will double-mark OTC 100-mm fish, single mark 50-mm fish.
  • West Virginia (Kevin Yoakum): West Virginia reservoirs are receiving aquatic vegetation plantings. Primarily, rushes and arrowhead. Anglers are very happy with the results. Arrowhead is working the best. They have had success with both caged and un-caged plantings. They have seen growth outside cages. WV (Kevin) analyzes bass data from ½ the reservoirs in the state. He is finding 12 to 14 year old bass. The reservoirs are extemely variable in water level fluctuations and depths. Bass, however, were almost the same in all the lakes. Bass of similar ages were similar size. Fred said weight might vary more than length.
  • The South Branch of the Potomac River had serious fish kills in 2002. SMB were recovering by 2003 but 2004 catch-rates were horrendous. Only Small numbers were collected. They were taken to fish pathologists who found 30 % had both sex gonads present. This can be caused by thousands of different chemical compounds. This is a high profile issue because it is WV’s best smallmouth stream and flows into Chesapeake Bay. There are lots of discharge sources. So far, they haven’t found what causes this. Snakeheads not present but probably just a matter of time.
  • Chris Horton: Bass Management Fund will be on line soon through BASS to help with habitat and youth activities. This will be a BASS/Federation/State partnership.
  • Texas (Fred Janssen): New hatchery in East Texas setting is up and rolling.
  • Texas has standardized age and growth analysis: They use sectioned otoliths (standard procedure). Readers will be periodically tested. It was determined that for statistical purposes, you’d have to collect otoliths from 300 to 400 bass per sample which is a LOT of fish to kill. Currently Texas uses 5 fish per inch-group. The new procedure will increase that to 10 fish per 10 mm.
  • Texas has developed a DVD on how to age from otoliths. It will also include a database of known-age fish. It should be available pretty soon for $10 through the Computer Users Section. Ask for “Estimating Fish Age from Otoliths: Techniques for Largemouth Bass”, TP&W.
  • Golden algae problem in TX (described elsewhere) was further discussed. Texas is looking for answers and sponsored an International symposium without any viable solution being generated.
  • World record blue catfish at Freshwater Fisheries Center is really increasing visitation.
  • Arkansas (Mark Oliver): Mark passed out weatherproof ID Cards created by the Arkansas’ Black Bass Program (Colton Dennis) to aid anglers in distinguishing spotted bass from largemouth bass. Arkansas often has different regulations for the species in the same water body.
  • Mark described a carp kill conducted on a lake in Southwest Arkansas. A sudden increase in the carp population was considered to a radically increased turbidity in the reservoir with the result that largemouth bass spawning success was negatively impacted. Several areas known to contain large concentrations of carp were treated with rotenone and many carp were killed. Electrofishing will be used to assess the kill.
  • A 21-acre nursery pond is being constructed on Bull Shoals Lake through a cooperative effort with the Corps of Engineers. The project is budgeted at $ 1.3 million. The pond will fill by surface run-off and has a discharge pipe in the dam that will allow the direct release of the nursery pond crop into the lake. Arkansas has a about 15 nursery ponds on its major reservoirs.
  • Arkansas’s species’ management plans (currently completed: LMB, Striped Bass, Crappie, Trout, and Walleye) are available on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.
  • The Corps of Engineers is trying the Pakistani fly to attempt to control excessive hydrilla in Lake Ouachita (a 40,000-acre reservoir in Southwest Arkansas. Millions of Pakistani flies are being raised by the Corps on-site and will be released near the lake. Larvae of the fly will kill the upper three feet of the plants.
  • Members expressed great appreciation for the Cajun banquet supplied by Mike Wood and his LDWF partners. The banquet, which included shrimp, crayfish, crabs, and frog legs, raised the bar to a new height! Mike and his helpers went way beyond the call of duty.
  • Meeting Adjourned at 1 PM
  • Next RC Meeting: SDAFS Spring Meeting, Virginia Beach, VA, 9 AM, February 10 at the Cape Henry Room, Virginia Beach Resort.