March 3rd, 2021 – PEI Watershed Alliance Board Meeting

PEI Watershed Alliance Board Meeting

Wednesday March 3rd, 2021

4pm – 6pm

Teleconference

 

Teleconference: Mike Durant, Dale McIsaac, Andrew Lush, Nicolas Bergeron, Scott Roloson, Johanna Kelly, Jason Campbell, Dale Cameron, Angela Banks, Mary Finch, Rebecca Ramos, Kris Hunter (observer)

 

Add to Feb minutes:

WMF committee proposal:

  • Motion to have the proposal shared with groups, 75% endorsement will be needed to move forward. Moved by Johanna, seconded Dale M.
  • Sub-committee will continue work next year to identify potential changes. Moved by Andrew, seconded Dale C.

Meeting begins: 4:02pm

 

Approval of minutes, February 2nd: Approved by Dale M, seconded by Nic

 

Financial update:

See attached

Currently reviewing documents with bookkeeper for end of fiscal

Board to provide any feedback to Mary by mid-March

Signing authorities: Dale M (vice-chair) has volunteered to sort this; he will be in touch with Mary

 

Project Manager Update:

See attached

 

Ecologist Update:

See attached

Average wages made available for groups as wage guidelines/help

 

Equipment Manager Update:

See attached

 

Discussion items:

 

Johnston’s Pond Consultation:

  • Public meeting was held – DU will require any further feedback before April 2021
  • The board agrees to support HAWC’s decision, as it is their area and directly effects their group (no other groups are within this boundary)

 

Letter from Richmond Bay:

  • Mike will reach out to Richmond Bay to discuss further, will follow up with board and possibly Kate

 

Daryl Guignion recognition:

  • Board would like to recognize Daryl’s contributions – some ideas:
    • Possibly an award for salmon restoration and overall environmental health
    • Oak tree with a plaque for each watershed group to plant in their area
    • Donation with INT or scholarship fund
  • Board does not want to rush into anything; will add this to forward agenda and revisit over the next couple of months – possibly set up a google document for groups to share input

 

Irrigation committee follow-up (Fed of Agriculture):

  • Alliance not comfortable being on committee without the Water Act in effect (~June/July)
  • Would like to provide input when monitoring begins, and keep in contact during low flows, etc

 

Request from Coalition of PEI Water:

  • The board feels it would be better for all groups to decide individually
  • Board is not comfortable advocating on behalf of all watershed groups, would need to have support from majority of groups to do this

 

WMF Formula:

Update from Sub-Committee

  • Most groups in support of proposal (No – 1, Abstained – 1)
  • There were some feedback/criticisms from groups and this was sent to committee members
  • Mary will share comments with board to decide if it would be beneficial to share with all groups (names were removed – feedback is anonymous), Kate
  • Gov’t reviewing suggestions and committee is waiting for approval

 

Questions from Kate:

Watershed Boundary Amendment

  • Bylaws state the board may “Act as a mediator to resolve watershed issues when solicited in the event of a dispute by or between member groups”
  • Although there is lack of procedure in writing, the board feels boundary decisions would be best made between groups and their communities
  • The Alliance is open to providing input – question and factors that are important to consider
  • If Kate does not have written criteria currently, the board could meet with Kate to discuss potential criteria

Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group Disjoins Hillsborough Area Watershed Co-op

  • Board is uncomfortable making decisions/providing suggestions on behalf of groups because groups are autonomous
  • Currently the board has no position/opinion on this and have not seen the letter that was sent to Kate

Mike/Mary will ask Kate for more information on both topics then the board can discuss further.

 

Next Meeting scheduled for April 7th, 4-6pm

 

Meeting adjourned 5:34pm

 

PM UPDATE   March 2, 2021

 

Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Aquatic Species at Risk– “Atlantic Salmon Habitat Restoration in Prince Edward Island.” Salmon management plan template has been completed for the West River as well as a prioritized work plan document. These were sent out to the 8 groups and they are in various stages of completing this plan/work plan. Mary, Kris Hunter, Jordan and I have met with Souris, Morell, BBEMA and Cornwall watershed groups. We will meet virtually on Monday with TUPCC and delay the rest of the meetings until we are able to meet in person. Between the action team (Jordan/Matt) and the 8 groups the budget has been fully spent except for the signs (which I have ordered). I’ll be starting the final report for DFO in the coming weeks.

HSP Round 2– Each (8) group confirmed they would like the Alliance to submit another application on their behalf. The application was submitted on Dec 19th and receipt was confirmed. No response as of yet.

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. No response back from this project.Expect to be notified soon.

Agri-Watershed Partnership-Mike, Gwen and I hosted a webinar to answer any AWP questions. We will be meeting in the coming weeks to review the submitted proposals.

Atlantic DataStream– The Gordon Foundation has provided 20k for Rebecca’s wages. I submitted a final report showing the work she has completed to date and Rebecca and I continue to reach out to groups re making their data accessible. The ADS folks will host a webinar on how to use the data analysis part of the platform in the coming months.

Data Rescue Project (with FFW)- We did interviews and hired Charlotte Large for an 8 week term position up until the end of March.  I met with her and Allie for orientation and we uploaded the various historical data to an alliance laptop for her to work with. I also purchased a monitor and zip drive for the project. The goal is to format and make accessible fish population and water quality data stored at FFW and going back almost 40 years! I touch base with Charlotte every Monday to make sure the project is progressing as planned.

Sectoral Initiative Funding (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/sectoral-initiatives.htm) Mary and I met to develop a rough outline for the proposal and then hosted a zoom meeting with watershed groups to get further feedback. We then met with Holland College and they have given us a breakdown (including cost) of the programs that would be applicable/that we requested. We also reached out to Macphail woods to provide watershed chainsaw training and Sarah Wheatley to provide charitable status application training. Mary contacted a HR professional that will provide HR support throughout the duration of the program.  INT has confirmed that they will be a project partner. We are waiting to hear back from the VRC. The application is due tomorrow and we will be applying for $298,120 over three years.

 

CRF Project Updates

Oyster Reef project (with DFO/MCPEI)- Waiting on a report from SMU/TransCoastal Adaptations re oyster reef site selection. I am meeting with them on Friday to review and give feedback on the initial report. I met with DFO and BESE (https://www.bese-products.com/biodegradable-products/bese-reefpaste/ ) folks and got a quote on materials for reef construction pilot projects and after consultation with project partners and DFO put an order in for reef paste. Met with Randy Angus and Barret Kurylyk (Dalhousie) regarding the research component of the project. Barret has a MSc student that will assist and Randy will cover the costs of monitoring equipment. We have another meeting with DFO/Randy on Friday.

WRTBWA- Sarah and I are trying to set up a meeting with Paul Strain to complete culvert plans for this summer.

KNWA- Johanna and I met with Shawn Hill to discuss/plan for salt marsh projects this year.

Firebase App- Johanna and Chris (Rice) are working with Tesera on the watershed app and we will roll it out in the spring with new features.

I have been purchasing equipment based upon group feedback.

Upcoming training – in partnership with UPEI ClimateSense Program, CRF is paying for Green shores training for 28 watershed groups representatives.

Project Reporting- Constituent groups are getting their budgets completed and sending invoices along.

Meetings/Training

  • Had a HSP Salmon Plan meeting with Souris Wildlife and Morell River  and BBEMA staff last week (in person). Cornwall meeting was held via zoom. TUPCC meeting will be held Monday (via zoom).
  • Chair of WCF committee- had our spring awards meeting last week.
  • Attended the Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee Meeting on Jan 12th.
  • Agri-Watershed Partnership Webinar for groups to ask questions re applying to AWP.
  • Taking “Open standards for the practice of Conservation” training offered (for free) by the New Brunswick Environmental Network.
  • Had orientation with Charlotte Large (new data rescue tech) and Allie at FFW. Got her setup with laptop, monitor and data.
  • Met with Barb and Mary to review the project income detail on March 2nd.

 

Summary of Watershed Ecologist Activities

Projects underway: 

 

  • Forested Landscape Priority Places: 

 

  1. Forest Specialists Update:
  • Simon is working on Urban Forestry component and planning land protection workshop
  • working with UPEI students to contact municipalities asking about their forest initiatives, policies and   It’s slow going as there are 59 municipalities however,  they are making decent progress
  • Land protection workshop is planned for March 25th – will be held virtually and will have presentations by:  NCC, INT, FFW, MCPEI etc.  Trying to get someone from provincial land-use planning to present.
  • Matt is finishing riparian aspect of the project which has included (Last day is Friday):
    • Researching about ecological goods and services for riparian zones as well as monitoring techniques
    • Interviewing groups about their work within the riparian zones to identify opportunities and knowledge gaps
      • information that can be used to update the watershed app or PEI Riparian Health Assessment
  1. Continuing to participate in bi-weekly Advisory Team Committee meetings.   I am participating as the Alliance’s representative for the visioning and identification of priority actions and implementation of the initiative.

 

 

  • Habitat Stewardship Program – Bats

 

  • Rebecca is currently working fulltime on this project (funding till March 31st)
  • Held a webinar with watershed groups on February 10th to discuss the project and ways that groups can be involved  such as touching base with landowners about potential bat habitat (e.g., wells) and outreach about the importance of bats  (8 groups participated in the webinar).  We have $$ to support groups with project activities and I am following up with groups to get invoices for this work completed.   I am awaiting some information from groups, but it looks like we still have ~$2500 left in our group support allocation that needs to be spent by March 31st.  Will let groups know especially those that have not participated in the past.
  • Reviewed budget with Isabelle (HSP program coordinator)
  • Will be adding a bat section to our website and will have text available in English and French.
  • Provided a support letter to CWHC for their 2021 HSP application.  Their project is focussing on providing support to Atlantic groups completing bat conservation projects including advice and expertise on NA Bat monitoring protocols and acoustic data analyses

 

 

  • Living Labs

 

  • Working with Souris, Kensington and Audrey about identifying locations for vegetated drainage ditches

 

  • Community Nominated Priority Places –  Saving the North Shore

 

  • INT is presenting about the initiatives and their Piping Plover work for the March 10th watershed webinar
  • Will be providing support to SEA and WRTBWA for work they completed towards the project from the Alliance’s allocation.  (They aren’t project partners with INT).

 

  • Working with groups

 

  • Helping Angela with SIP project application
  • Meeting with salmon groups regarding salmon habitat plans as part of HSP salmon project
  • Provided in-kind support to SSWA for their EcoAction application

 

 

  • Communications: 

 

  • Provided comments in the online forum regarding the Canada Water Agency based on feedback provided by groups in the google document
  • Provided support letter to Atlantic Water Network for their AEI application for a water data knowledge hub across the Maritimes.
  • Participated in a round table discussion with Minister Jordan (DFO) regarding Blue Economy Strategy.  More information can be found https://dfo-mpo.gc.ca/campaign-campagne/bes-seb/index-eng.html   (Submissions are welcome until June 15th)
  • Information regarding WMF deadlines and updated forms will be going out to groups this week.   Deadlines, Workplan March 31st and Reports due April 30th.
  • A draft of Blanket permit stipulations will be circulated to groups for feedback.

 

Equipment Manager Update – March 3rd, 2021

 

Habitat Stewardship Program – Bats:

  • In the process of manually confirming auto ID files from 2020
  • Charlotte and I set up a bat booth at the Winter Woodlot Tour to promote the watersheds’ work in bat monitoring, and chat with community members about recent bat sightings (lots of great feedback!)
  • Planning on setting up a similar bat booth at SEA’s Winter Frolic Fundraiser (March 13th)
  • Creating social media posts that will be rolled out in the following weeks, encouraging community members to report bat sightings

 

Webinar Series:

  • HSP bat webinar (Feb 10) to discuss with groups outreach and monitoring initiatives
  • Workplace harassment training webinar (feb 24) with Workers Compensation Board of PEI
  • All webinars are recorded and can be found in the Google Drive

 

DataStream data upload:

  • Help groups by formatting templates to ease DataStream uploading process:
  • Templates w/present data completed for: Lot 11, TUPCC, Harmony
  • HCWG is working with me to review old data and finalize their template

 

Equipment Bank:

  • Will be loaning a turbidity meter from AWN this summer, as well as another YSI