February 25, 2010
Southern Division AFS Reservoir Committee Meeting
Asheville, NC
9:05am – 11:30am; 1:15pm – 4:40pm

Recorded and submitted by Michael A. Abney, Secretary/Auditor (Duke Energy)

Reservoir Committee (RC) Chair Steve Sammons called the meeting to order and recognized attendees for traveling to the meeting during the tough economical times. There was no summer 2009 meeting due to a lack of attendees (due to travel restrictions).

  • 1/15/2009 meeting minutes from New Orleans, LA are available online and were emailed to committee members.
    • Motion to accept minutes: Mike Woods; 2nd: Neal Jackson

Financial Report – Michael Abney presented current financial standing of $23,041 in Edward Jones investment account recently opened in NC. The money came from Fred Janssen closing the Merrill Lynch account in TX. There is still ~$8,500 remaining in the (2007) Reservoir Symposium checking account. Vic Dicenzo should be closing that account soon and sending Abney a cashier’s check for deposit into investment account finally consolidating all monies. A few ML account statements will be passed along to Abney. Overall, we “broke even” from the 2007 Reservoir Symposium in Atlanta.

Scholarship Committee Report – Kurt Kuklinski reported that the Jenkins Memorial Scholarship winners from 2009 will receive the awards again in 2010, each $1,000. He has summaries of their work and letters of recommendation from their major professors. Abney will get contact information for Melissa Fries (LSU) and Marybeth Brae (NC State) and send checks. The RC will entertain new submissions for the 2011 awards.

Old business:

Reservoir Symposium – book distribution failed to send out all books to meeting attendees. All were to receive the book as part of their registration. If anyone knows of attendees that did not receive the book, contact Sammons. Vic Dicenzo currently has the books.

Secretary/Auditor position – As in previous meetings, discussion to amend “bylaws” ensued. No progress was made since the New Orleans meeting. Jeff Boxrucker recommended consulting SD-AFS procedural manual. Abney and Jackson had a copy of SD-AFS procedural manual and will determine what needs to be done by return after lunch (see last discussion prior to adjournment). Sammons mentioned the need for Abney to remain as Secretary/Auditor as a means to maintain financial consistency and to finish consolidating different accounts.

Chair position – Sammons referred to previous discussion with Abney that the Chair position is a maximum two-year term, re-elected annually. Although the SD-AFS procedural manual maintains that Chairs may only serve for two years, the committee voted unanimously to maintain Sammons as Chair for another two years for multiple reasons:

  1. Sammons continues to serve the committee at an exceptional level.
  2. Due to travel restrictions, Sammons was, literally, the only committee member that could guarantee his attendance over the coming few years. We hope that travel restrictions will ease by 2012 allowing other committee members to commit to the Chair position.
  3. Sammons is providing excellent leadership in organizing the committee’s involvement in the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RDHP) and Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP). The committee believes that two more years of Steve’s leadership is necessary to continue and complete our preparation for formal involvement in the RFHP and SARP.

SARP/Reservoir Targets – Scott Robinson (SARP Coordinator) said that the RFHP became an official Partner within the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. In response to a question from Adam Kaeser, Robinson said that SARP and the RFHP will naturally have similar “footprints” in Southeast reservoirs. SARP has already completed habitat projects in Southern reservoirs. Both partnerships want to rely upon the RC for expertise in habitat creation/restoration/prioritization. Jackson and Boxrucker mentioned the overlap of SARP, RFHP, and the RC could help support travel to meetings as opposed to states sending employees to just one meeting at a time.  Robinson mentioned that SARP can assist with monetary support for travel if needed. Joe Slaughter asked exactly what the Partnerships were looking for from the RC: habitat assessment and prioritization of projects including objectives, targets, and metrics.

Priority List of Reservoirs – Sammons mentioned that a previous list (discussed at the 2009 New Orleans RC meeting) of reservoirs proposed for habitat improvement included some of the best fisheries in the Southeast, not reservoirs in need of restoration. Sammons recommended the adoption of the RFHP: Conserving Healthy Reservoir Systems – A Framework for Strategic Conservation of Fish Habitat in the Reservoir Systems of the United States. Those that read the document prior to the meeting agreed.

New business:

Boxrucker presented “Development of Assessment/Classification System” describing how the RFHP Science and Data Committee (SDC) plans to quantify reservoir habitat metrics (see Boxrucker Asheville 2010 SDCRC.pdf).

Fish chiefs are concerned with the overlap of multiple partnerships, committees, etc and see combining the efforts of RC/RFHP/SARP as a way to get the most out of limited funding. The RFHP SDC set 250 acres as the minimum reservoir size for inclusion and set goals that would allow for pooling of resources (personnel and funding), prioritization, cost-effective restoration, and improve (political) chances of continued funding. A major challenge will be to create a comprehensive database of reservoir habitat metrics with similar methods.

Majority of funding will come from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Bass Pro Shops will be a major sponsor and provide advertising in catalogs. Projects will rely heavily upon volunteers such as watershed groups, lake associations, NGOs, etc. State-level biologists will serve as liaisons between the RFHP and project execution. Project reviews will probably begin fall 2010 with actual work beginning in 2011. They will need assistance from a RC sub-committee in application submission, project review, and funding; will utilize website to help with efficiency.

Discussion

  • What exactly does RFHP need from the RC? Assistance with project selection and for RC members to search out projects and public support.
  • What about timing? Will we utilize our annual meetings to discuss projects or a sub-committee? Next annual meeting isn’t soon enough and wouldn’t need entire RC, just a sub-committee would suffice. Probably best to go on and form that sub-committee and have projects ready/approved for when funding comes through.
  • What level of funding per project? Robinson said in the low 6 figures. Boxrucker said to also look for matching funding and partners to elevate that level.

Reservoir Classification System

Steve Miranda presented on reservoir classification system that he and Reed Green (USGS) have worked on with funding from the USFWS, said they received great response (90%) on questionnaire sent to fish chiefs (similar to: Boxrucker Miranda RFHP SDAFS Feb2010.pdf).

Discussion

  • Miranda asked what RC thought was the best way to get continued high survey return responses rates. RC members agreed best means of oversight and compliance was to route surveys through fish chiefs that can then assign biologists.
  • With all the partnerships and funding opportunities, Miranda is curious to know where the RC will fit in, how will we market ourselves to assure inclusion? His talk was actually for the Friday morning RFHP meeting, but went through the slides for the RC.
  • Should Miranda include watershed- and tailrace-specific questions? Most agreed that tailrace questions could be answered by the local resource biologists, but that watershed questions would be better answered by, possibly, Green at USGS.
  • Sammons asked for RC volunteers to be on reservoir habitat subcommittee, should already be involved with the RFHP if possible, with Boxrucker as lead. Most of work will probably be via e-mail and conference calls. Brent Hess (GA), Colton Dennis (AR), and Rick Ott (TX) volunteered. Sammons asked that states provide proposals to the subcommittee to review so that we’ll have projects ready for when funding comes through.
  • Habitat Classification in Reservoirs – Sammons said it was obvious that a standardized means of habitat classification was needed for both RFHP and SARP.

Lunch Break 11:30am – 1:00pm

Rick Simmons and Sean Maxwell (Normandeau Associates consulting) presented a GPS/GIS- based means of quantifying (exposed) littoral habitat with Trimble and laser range finders (see Simmons Asheville 2010 Littoral habitat mapping.pdf). It works best with 6 foot or larger drawdown and saves a lot of time and effort.

Adam Kaeser (GA DNR) gave two presentations (see Kaeser Asheville 2010 SDAFS ResComm PartI.pdf and Kaeser Asheville 2010 SDAFS ResComm PartII.pdf) on mapping (submerged) habitat in navigable streams using a Hummingbird side-scan sonar. Captured images are loaded into ArcGIS. Kaeser and Thom Litts have offered workshops at other meetings and will also provide training materials to any interested. Discussion included best conditions for mapping and some limitations such as depth, curvature of shoreline, and image resolution.

Discussion

  • Sammons thinks mapping habitat should be a high priority especially with the potential for fish habitat projects being funded.
  • Jackson asked about which technique we should use with Sammons answering it depends on the conditions, whether or not the reservoir is drawn down and funding, but that both need to be standardized through publications.
  • Sammons asked that the sub-committee have techniques standardized by the January 2011 Tampa SDAFS meeting.
  • Slaughter and Hess agreed that incorporation of electrofishing data could compliment the mapping. Sammons added that adjacent riparian data would also have benefits.
  • What states already have some mapping done? Dorsey mentioned that Simmons and Normandeau had mapped some on the Pee Dee River and Abney said Duke Energy mapped the Catawba River reservoirs during relicensing. Simmons has also done work in VA. Hess knew of some mapping of West Point Lake (GA). AR and KS also have some done. Jackson said KY has done some vegetation mapping. Ott mentioned that TX has mapped reservoirs, mainly the water/terrestrial interface. Dorsey and Ott mentioned that the macro-level habitat classifications could use some refinement/standardization

Secretary/Auditor position (continued from Old Business) – Jackson and Abney discussed what they gleaned from review of SD-AFS procedural manual and procedures specific to the RC. Abney proposed to ask for SD-AFS excom concurrence on allowing Sammons to serve another 2 years and the Secretary/Auditor position to be re-appointed on an annual basis.  Motion: Slaughter; 2nd: Mike Wood, passed unanimously.

Round-table discussion was eliminated due to time constraints.

Motion to adjourn at 4:40pm: Hess; 2nd: Jackson

Attendees:

  • Michael Abney Duke Energy
  • Steve Sammons Auburn University
  • Matt Goclowski Auburn University
  • Chad Holbrook South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • Scott Lamprecht South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • Mike Siepker Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Brent Hess Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • dam Kaeser Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Jonah Dagel Mississippi State University
  • Nathan Kuntz Mississippi State University
  • Joey Slaughter Georgia Power Company
  • Tom Holman Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
  • Lawrence Dorsey North Carolina Wildlife Commission
  • Brian McRae North Carolina Wildlife Commission
  • Damon Abernathy Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Jeff Boxrucker Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
  • Gene Gilliland Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
  • Greg Summers Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
  • Kurt Kuklinski Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
  • Neal Jackson Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
  • Fred Janssen Office of the Attorney General of Texas
  • Colton Dennis Arkansas Game and Fish
  • Stan Todd Arkansas Game and Fish
  • Steve Miranda Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Resources Unit
  • Rick Ott Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Craig Bonds Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Ken Kurzawski Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • John Taylor Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Mike Wood Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Scott Robinson Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
  • Rick Simmons Normandeau Associates
  • Drew Trested Normandeau Associates
  • Sean Maxwell Normandeau Associates