PEI Watershed Alliance Board Meeting
Wednesday, December 9th, 2020
4pm – 6pm
Teleconference: Mary Finch, Angela Banks, Karen Rank, Johanna Kelly, Jason Campbell, Mike Durant, Dale McIsaac, Dale Cameron, Andrew Lush, Nicolas Bergeron, Rebecca Ramos, Kris Hunter (observer), Jill Spelliscy (observer)
Regrets: Scott Roloson
Call to order: 4:04pm
Approval of minutes, Nov 12th: Comment from Johanna re financials. Approved by Mike, seconded by Dale M.
Project Manager Update:
Atlantic Ecosystems Initiative- “Improving Water Quality in an Agricultural Landscape on Prince Edward Island.” Data is being compiled and will be uploaded to Atlantic DataStream. MSc student- a qualified student has been chosen and Mitacs approved, start date in January.
Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Aquatic Species at Risk– “Atlantic Salmon Habitat Restoration in Prince Edward Island.” Redd surveys wrapping up. Data will be compiled over the next few weeks to start salmon management plans in the new year.
HSP Round 2– Each (8) group confirmed they would like the Alliance to submit another application on their behalf. Had a meeting with Rosie, Daryl, Mary, Jordan and Matt last week to discuss watershed-specific projects and had discussions with each watershed group re projects for a round 2 application. We’ve received feedback from EOI and continue to work on application which is due Dec 18.
ECCC Climate Action and Awareness Fund– application- “Community-Based Climate Action on Prince Edward Island” submitted to promote awareness, to educate, to train, and to execute living shoreline projects on PEI. The application is in the google drive folder. No response yet.
EWCC Climate Action Fund– Application submitted Nov 30th with 20 watershed groups assisting with project development and signing on as partners. Received response Dec 8th:
Thank you for your application to the PEI Climate Challenge Fund.
Based on the information you submitted with your application, we understand that your proposed project does not start until after March 31, 2021. We have received a significant number of qualified applications for this round of funding (2020-21), and as such your proposal will be held for future consideration in the next round (2021-22). We anticipate that the next call for proposals will be as early as February 2021. The Climate Challenge Working Group will follow up with you at that time to ensure that your application is complete should any of the submission requirements change.
Agri-Watershed Partnership-Working group met last week and I am meeting with Mike/Gwen tomorrow to develop a presentation that explains the program and a timeline of how it will be rolled out going forward.
Atlantic DataStream– Rebecca and I are working on a final report showing the work she has done to get data onto ADS. Rebecca and I met with Gordon Foundation yesterday and we are following up with groups re timeframes/assistance with uploading their data.
CRF: Sub-Project Updates
Our reprofile request to DFO has been approved with funds being moved forward to next fiscal (for WRTBWA’s culvert, some events hosted by the PEIWA, and work on the 2nd bridge structure for TUPCC).
Met with Mary/Rebecca to discuss upcoming training/webinar series and to compile a list of equipment to purchase for next field season.
WRTBWA- Delivery of the embedded culvert for Tim’s Creek was delayed until October 13th and as such the project is delayed until spring 2021. Two old dilapidated culverts have been removed from another site restoring stream flow.
HCWG- Electrofishing surveys have been completed. New boat launch has been constructed. Hilary is working on analyzing the PIT tagging data.
KNWA- SMU staff visited to do elevations at the salt marsh restoration site and mapped the area using a lidar drone- waiting for their report.
SABWF- Coir logs were installed and pumping continued up until October 30. Drone surveys were completed to show before/after images.
TUPCC- Bridge work has been completed and they are waiting on stringers to finish the top of the bridge. Materials are being quoted for next year.
PEIWA CRF Capacity Building
Training: Logan from NS Adopt a Stream (and his team) came to PEI Nov 4 and 5th to do 2 hands-on RTK training workshops. Logan will be doing a follow up webinar in January or February to show how to upload and map the data. His team also toured our restoration sites and we discussed lessons learned from our respective CRF projects. We plan to visit their sites in spring 2021.
Mapping/Tesera App: Michael from Tesera is working with Chris Rice from KNWA on adding watershed work categories to the survey app. We’ll have another feedback webinar in the new year that may include 1:1 sessions with groups.
Work with Lennox Island/MCPEI: I retrieved the tide level loggers and Rebecca uploaded the data for SMU and we are waiting on their report. I am working with DFO on this as they currently have an honors student that will be moving into doing a MSc project on oyster reef construction next summer.
AGM Feedback Form: I received lots of feedback from the AGM re equipment and training that groups would like to see available. I compiled this info and Mary/Rebecca and I discussed and made a list of training to do this winter and equipment to purchase in the spring.
- Forested Landscape Priority Places:
- Successful on our proposal “Review of municipal forest initiatives, deeper dive into riparian forests, and capacity building for environmental groups on land-conservation options”
- Receiving $19,925 for project Jan – March 2021.
- Will hire a forest specialist to assist with deliverables which include: 1) increase understanding of forest and SAR work being completed by PEI municipalities, polices and regulations and identification of resources needed and future projects; 2) increase understanding of riparian forests, including defining these areas, identifying ecosystems services and ways to measure health; 3) provide training to groups on land protection options.
- Habitat Stewardship Program – Bats
- Rebecca is analyzing data from summer/fall transects this winter (3 month of wage funding provided through this project)
- Purchased a new acoustic detector to replace lost one.
- Living Labs
- 4 wetlands have been constructed, last one in Kensington was constructed last week.
- Working with Souris and Kensington to identify Vegetated Ditch Drain locations for next year – had site visits in the past month with Dr. Murray.
- Have had initial conversations with Environment staff regarding permitting – looking at a site visit next week (if possible).
- Souris’ CBC coverage created buzz at Ag- Canada, presented to internal committee on project. Met with Ag-Canada Scientists: Yefang and Morteza to discuss monitoring protocol moving forward.
- Community Nominated Priority Places – Saving the North Shore
- Met with INT in Souris as part of project update meetings.
- Have asked INT to present Species at Risk information at an upcoming watershed webinar
- INT has had project renewed by ECCC for another year however at greatly reduced budget
- Working with groups
- Webinar series will start on January 6th with a presentation from Cindy on Watershed Report Cards (Groups responded that they would like weekday afternoon webinars
- Visiting groups and helping groups as requested
- Blanket permit renewal discussions – initial meeting booked for January
- Met with Brad Potter, Rosie and Angela to talk about data management
- Meeting with Rosie and groups to talk about upcoming DFO Rec Fish Advisory Committee and identification of potential agenda items (Webinar on December 15th)
- Continued discussions with Cindy Crane regarding watershed report card updates and including watershed group information in new iterations (Rebecca is taking the lead)
- Aquaculture Act review
- Mary suggests the alliance insures the equipment bank
- $90k worth of equipment, $1k annually plus $1k deductible
- Equipment is stored at FFW building, but is not covered by gov’t insurance
- Mike, Johanna and Dale M all agree insurance is needed
- Angela notes the $1k deductible is quite expensive considering most of the equipment is under $1k
- Mary will seek quotes from other insurers
- Mike, Angela and Gwen are drafting a presentation explaining process of AWP program
- Soon will be putting out a call to groups for potential sites in 2021 (7/9 sites left on current list, did 2 this year – 2020)
- Ministers visited Visser site on Nov 25th
- Meetings were held in all 3 regions to discuss partnership
- Mike appreciates some farmers are hesitant to work with watershed groups – reiterates that one of AWP’s main goals to aid in building those relationships
Meeting Schedule for Board:
- Mike suggests a more consistent schedule would give a better opportunity for groups to observe meetings, as well as easing schedules between board members
- Board agrees to meet on the first Wednesday of every month
Next meeting will be January 6th, 2021
- Western groups are still deciding their 2 reps
- Central groups are still deciding 2 reps as well
- Eastern groups have decided
- SEA – Laurence Miller, MRMC – Fred Cheverie
- Mike notes the deadline for committee would likely be the middle of February 2021 – roughly a commitment of 2-3 meetings (~10-20hrs) in January
- Mike says the alliance needs people on the committee who can see the betterment for all groups – they need to speak to holistic nature of fund
- Mike questions – what percentage of groups will be required to approve committee’s proposal?
- Dale M adds – how is the committee going to come to consensus?
- Andrew puts his name forward for PEIWA representative
- Mike first, Dale M seconds, all are in agreement; motion carried
Lynne Lund – Environmental Review:
- Lund would like to learn more about some points made at AGM
- Interested in an Environmental Bill of Rights
- The board agrees to invite Lund to the first hour of meeting in January, alliance can schedule a follow-up meeting if needed
Garry Gregory – Fox Hunting:
- Board heard concerns from Garry about a possible ban on trapping foxes, asking the alliance to put out a statement on the importance of trapping and hunting in conservation
- Board agrees hunters and trappers are an important resource – Mary will draft a statement and forward to board for approval
Ducks Unlimited Consultation:
- Johnson’s River impoundment is coming to its life’s end; DU is asking the alliance what their opinion is (either to repair dam or return to natural tidal area)
- Dale M notes the bridge 50m from the structure needs to be replaced, the tide will affect properties and other infrastructures south of site
- Mike notes it would be costly to repair, it would not be easy to find the funds to do so
- Johanna, Mike and Dale M all agree that the area would be best to return to a natural area
- Dale M notes Dan M and others in the neighborhood feel the same
- Board is in support of recommendations to restore impoundment to a natural state
- Nic will confirm with Dan that the alliance will support this
- Started by minister Thompson – the alliance filled out the online survey
- A request for the alliance to present to their committee, early January
- Board agrees the alliance’s letter is a good representation of where the board stands on this matter, have no further comments to share
Request from Invasive Species Council for PEIWA representation on their committee:
- Mary has offered to do this, board is in agreement
Dan M’s request for support in flora publication:
- Alliance is not in the position to support this project financially, but would be happy to support in other ways, e.g.
- Provide letter of support, spread the word through social media, provide in-kind support and pass on knowledge of any other funding opportunities
Data Rescue of Provincial Temperature and Salmon Survey data:
- Consists of pulling data from old floppy discs, systems, etc; goal is to make past data more accessible to groups
- Potentially could put data online through DataStream, Watershed App or another easily accessible platform
- FFW could provide financial support for a 2-month position
- Angela found a potential intern opportunity as well; an intern could potentially start at the beginning of January – board notes intern would need to reside in PEI
- Angela is looking for other sources for funds, but if she cannot find any would the alliance be willing to pay?
- The board is willing to support $2k towards this project – Andrew first, Nic seconds; motion carried
The board thanks Kris and Jill for observing the meeting.
Meeting Adjourned 6:05pm