Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

December 4, 2008 - 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Upstairs Conference Room
284 State Street, Augusta

Attending: 

Roland D. Martin, Commissioner
Paul F. Jacques, Deputy Commissioner
Andrea Erskine, Assistant to the Commissioner
Ken Elowe, Director of the Bureau of Resource Management
Mark Stadler, Wildlife Division Director
John Boland, Director of Fisheries Operations
Forrest Bonney, Fisheries Biologist, Region D
Regis Tremblay, Director of Information and Education
Major Gregory Sanborn, Warden Service
Warden Steve Allarie, Whitewater Boating Specialist
Becky Orff, Secretary and Recorder 

Council Members                                      
                       
Joe Clark, Chair
Mike Witte, Vice-Chair
Steve Philbrick
Cathy DeMerchant
Ron Usher
Al Goodwin
Leo Kieffer
Frank Dunbar

Guests                       
                       
Mark Randlett, Assistant Attorney General
Chris Taub, Assistant Attorney General
Katie Liznik, Humane Society of the US
Gary Archibald, Hills Beach, Biddeford
Silvia Bosse, Norway/Paris Fish & Game
Fern Bosse, Norway/Paris Fish & Game
Mac Dudley, Maine Bowhunters
Laurie Weaver, Maine Bowhunters
Gary Corson, New Sharon
Greg Ponte  
Chris Thompson
Richard Kimball
Jim Albarie
Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News

I. Call to Order

Mr. Clark, Council Chair, called the meeting to order.

II. Introductions

Introductions were made.

III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Council Meeting

Motion made by Mr. Dunbar and seconded by Mrs. DeMerchant to accept the minutes of the previous Council meeting as written.

Vote: Unanimous - minutes accepted as written.

Commissioner Martin requested that the Council go out of order with the agenda and discuss item 2 under Other Business first.  There were no objections.

Other Business

2. Rulemaking - Potential vote, emergency rulemaking, lynx

Commissioner Martin stated an executive session may be needed depending on the discussion that took place.  Legal counsel from the Attorney General’s office would advise if and when an executive session would be needed.  He referred to the Bangor Daily News article regarding the second lynx lawsuit and the judges ruling on that.  He asked Chris Taub to share with the Council a summary of the lawsuit and what the options were.

Mr. Taub stated the lawsuit was filed by a couple of organizations, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine in the fall of 2008.  The lawsuit alleged that the Department of IF&W was in violation of the Endangered Species Act because trappers that were licensed were sometimes accidentally catching threatened Canada lynx.  The plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction which was an emergency request for an order from the judge.  The plaintiffs were seeking an order that would essentially ban trapping in the WMDs in which Canada lynx were located.  A couple of organizations intervened in the lawsuit, the US Sportsman’s Alliance, the Maine Trappers Association, the Fur Takers of America, the National Trappers Association, along with some individual trappers.  There was a lot of briefing on whether or not the plaintiffs were entitled to injunctive relief.  There was a hearing in Bangor in November, 2008 and the judge at that time seemed disinclined to give the plaintiffs any relief.  What the judge found most significant was that the standard that the plaintiffs had to meet is they had to show there was a reasonable likelihood of irrefutable harm to Canada lynx and the judge found that although a number of lynx had been caught in foothold traps there was no evidence that any of the lynx were harmed from the experience.  It was also pointed out to the judge that with respect to conibear traps, IF&W had recently amended the conibear rule to make it very unlikely that lynx would be able to access conibear traps and the provision in particular that the court’s attention was drawn to was the fact that while conibear traps could be set on leaning trees that were less than 4” in diameter, and were at least 4’ above ground level, it was very unlikely that lynx would be able to access traps that were set in that manner.

Mr. Taub stated they were confident after the hearing that the judge would either grant no relief or limited relief.  A few days after the hearing, IF&W received a report of a lynx that had been caught and killed in a conibear trap.  An investigation was conducted by IF&W along with the federal agents from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  We reported the incident to the court as we were obligated to do and advised the court that the manner in which the lynx had been caught in the conibear revealed there was probably a little bit of a hole in the conibear regulation.  Specifically, it wasn’t clear how the lynx had accessed the trap.  There were probably only 2 possibilities.  The tree on which the trap was set, although it was at a 45 degree angle at the point where the trap was affixed, it was much less than a 45 degree angle at ground level; it slowly increased in its angle.  It was possible that the lynx was able to climb the portion of tree that was not steeply inclined and it reached into the trap.

Mr. Taub stated another possibility was that the trap was about 6” from a very large cedar tree and the lynx may have climbed the cedar tree and reached across into the trap and was caught.  We advised the court that we thought those were the two possibilities and that this was a situation that was not foreseen when the conibear rule was drafted.  It showed that the conibear rule needed to be amended to address those two possibilities.  We also told the court that it was our intent to promulgate an amendment to the conibear rule before the start of the next trapping season in 2009.  The various interveners in the case agreed that the incident had shown a hole in the regulation.  They supported the proposal to amend the rule before the start of the next trapping season.

Mr. Taub stated the judge felt it was not sufficient to wait until the next trapping season.  Because there were still a few weeks left in the current trapping season, there was no reason why an emergency rule couldn’t be promulgated.  The judge instructed IF&W to promulgate the rule on an emergency basis.  That was the only relief the judge ordered as part of the preliminary injunction.  They were under a court order to address the situation before the end of the trapping season.

Council Member Questions or Comments

Commissioner Martin stated the MTA had been working in conjunction with the Department and the Attorney General’s office on the rule.  Under the APA, the Council had the authority to suspend the 3-step rulemaking process and through and emergency provision approve the rule.  Commissioner Martin stated it was his request that the Council move forward and vote positively on the proposal before them.

Mr. Goodwin commented on the part of the proposal regarding the 8 ft. square canopy with nothing in it but one post or one tree.  Where would a trapper do any trapping in these districts?

Mr. Elowe stated it had to be free of all trees, poles and objects greater than 4” in diameter.  It could have small trees, etc. and that was not hard to find.  It did not require a cleared space of 8 ft., it required a space of trees greater than 4” in diameter.  MTA had reviewed the proposal and was happy with it.

Mr. Clark asked where the Department stood on the incidental take permit.

Mr. Elowe stated we had officially submitted the application during the summer.  It required the USFWS review it, send it to DC and write a NEPA document before it was published in a Federal register for public comment for a 30 – 60 day comment period.  That work fell on the Old Town office staffed with 2 people that were deeply involved in the lynx critical habitat deadline that had a February decision.  After that they would move to the incidental take permit assessment. 

Mr. Kieffer asked if there was a projected schedule for that.

Mr. Elowe stated it was their next priority after the critical habitat decision and once it reached publishing stage in the Federal register a decision would be expected within 8 -10 months.  The hope was for a decision before the next trapping season.

Mr. Goodwin commented on a photograph of a lynx caught in a trap that appeared in the Bangor Daily News.  Had anyone talked to the trapper that put the trap in?  The trapper had put a box trap on a 4” cedar with the 45 degree slant.  The box trap was 5’ above the ground covering all the laws.  He either set it for a martin or fisher, not a lynx, but the lynx was hanging from what looked like the crotch of the big tree next to where the trap was set.  Mr. Goodwin wanted to know if the lynx was in the trap where the trapper had set it.

Mr. Elowe stated the trap was set inside the box opening for a martin or fisher.  The lynx reached around and got his paw caught.  The trap had a chain and a wire on it anchoring it to the tree.  The lynx had climbed around the tree and came down to the position that was shown in the picture.

Mr. Clark asked if in the final ruling from the previous lawsuit was there a notification that if we found any incidental takes that we publish that with a photograph associated with a report from the Department to the people that put forth the lawsuit.

Mr. Taub stated in the last case we entered into a consent decree.  Essentially the parties agreed to a written document and the court endorsed it.  Part of the requirement was that the Department send copies of its reports of incidental takes to various parties.  In the case being discussed, because there were photographs with the report that report was submitted to the court and the various parties.

Mr. Clark stated the Commissioner had indicated that they proceed with emergency rulemaking with the language that was presented to them.

Commissioner Martin stated the Department was proposing the provision through emergency rule and asked for the Council’s consent.

A motion was made by Mr. Usher and that was seconded by Mr. Witte to move forward with emergency rulemaking and accept the proposal as presented.

Vote: 7 in favor, 1 opposed - emergency rulemaking was passed.

IV. Rulemaking

Step 3

1. Piping Plover/Least Tern Essential Habitat Designation Criteria

Mr. Stadler stated at the last meeting he had given the Council an overview and brief history of the Maine Endangered Species Act.  The Department of IF&W was charged by the Maine Legislature and Title 12 to be responsible for the cultivation and recovery of endangered and threatened species.  That was a legislative mandate and as representatives of the agency that was also the Council’s responsibility in addition to the biological and law enforcement responsibilities.  The legislature established the essential habitat provision within the endangered species act that allowed the Department, for certain species, where its determined that the conservation of habitat is critical to the survival of those species, that the Department can establish essential habitats.  The designation of essential habitat conformed to the APA act under Maine State law which required full public disclosure, public notification, public hearings and public comment.  The Department had adhered to all of those provisions of the law. 

Mr. Stadler directed the Council to their information packets.  There were 12 pages of previously identified essential habitats that IF&W had designated over the last 20 years.  The vast majority of those were for bald eagles.  Without essential habitat we would never have gotten to the point where we could delist bald eagles.  Essential habitat had been critical to the recovery of the species.  Essential habitat was extremely important for the piping plover and least tern resources on our coastal beaches in southern Maine.  If the Council decided not to move forward with the proposal, it would be precedent setting and it would fly in the face of 20 years of previous Council action on the designation of essential habitat.  Rejection of essential habitat would be a dereliction of the Council’s responsibilities.  The Department was recommending to the Council that they endorse the proposal and designate the habitats as essential.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Usher asked if an amendment was appropriate at that time.

Commissioner Martin stated not at Step 3.

Mr. Usher stated he was going to propose an amended version to eliminate Biddeford.  The area was still in question.  He was familiar with the area and he thought they could put the other part into effect without Biddeford and monitor to see how Cape Elizabeth and Old Orchard turned out and maybe add Biddeford at a later date.  They were still going along with their responsibilities.  He was very familiar with the responsibility.  He knew the eagle nests worked out fine, but the area in Biddeford was a great concern and he was going to try for an amended version without Biddeford.

Commissioner Martin stated the process was a 3-step process.  It had been discussed in Ashland and again in Rangeley.  Mr. Usher’s recommended motion would have been appropriate between the Rangeley meeting and prior to the current meeting.  Unfortunately, the process did not allow for open discussion or amendment at that point.  Based on the science and testimony he had to recommend they move forward.

Mr. Witte asked Mr. Usher why Biddeford.

Mr. Usher stated Hills Beach was a very small area and he didn’t believe there was good habitat there or enough; the area that was being selected.  It was close to Camp Ellis and that had been a disaster for years.  Federal money had been going there and it was washed out to sea.  It was an area that would be a deterrent for least terns.

Mr. Kieffer stated he would expect there would be some demand on personnel if this were implemented and also on the finances of the Department.  Did the Department have money included in the next 2-year budget to work with the people in the area who were willing to work with the Department on the issue?

Mr. Stadler stated yes, there was money available.  Currently we were spending approximately $50 - $60,000 on piping plover recovery in southern Maine.  Most of that money came from Section 6 which was USFWS money allocated for the recovery of endangered and threatened species and the rest came from State Wildlife grant money which was also federal money allocated to high priority wildlife species.  It could not be used for game management, etc.

Mr. Clark asked if the money could be used for other essential habitats such as for puffins.

Mr. Stadler stated there were no essential habitats designated for puffins.  The management efforts for least terns and piping plovers were very intensive and we had a contract where the Maine Audubon Society had worked for about a decade on the recovery and conservation of these species in southern Maine.  Section 6 monies were specifically allocated for piping plovers and least terns.  It could not be used for anything else.

A motion was made by Mr. Philbrick and that was seconded by Mr. Witte to accept the proposal as presented.

Vote: 5 opposed - 3 in favor - the motion failed.

Mr. Kieffer asked to go out of order with the agenda and discuss item 1 under Step 1 to see how it would mesh with item 2 under Step 3.  There were no objections.

Step 1

1. 2009 Controlled Moose Hunt - Eastern Aroostook County

Mr. Stadler stated for a long time, there had been concern in Eastern Aroostook County regarding moose vehicle collisions in that part of the state.  Moose permits had been increased in WMDs 3 and 6 to respond to those concerns.  Growing of broccoli and cauliflower was expanding in the area and as we moved towards the end of the growing season the moose moved into the fields and caused damage.  The Department had been providing depredation permits to some of the broccoli farmers to address the issue.  It was determined there was need for a more integrated approach to dealing with broccoli damage and moose/vehicle collisions. 

Mr. Stadler stated the Wildlife Division was asked to assemble a stakeholders group to begin looking at a way to address the problem.  One of the things they discussed was a controlled moose hunt.  Some of the sideboards they came up with were that whatever they did had to make biological sense be and respectful of landowner issues, particularly as it related to the large farms. 

Mr. Stadler stated the Department had experience in doing controlled deer hunts on some of the islands and in some populated areas of southern Maine where deer populations were overly abundant.  A group was developed within IF&W staff and they met again with the stakeholders and put together a proposal.  A controlled hunt was very different from recreational hunting; its focus was to remove animals.  We wanted to keep the controlled moose hunt entirely separate from the recreational moose hunt so there was no blurring in the public eye about what we were doing. 

Mr. Stadler read the proposal.  We would probably issue 100 any-moose permits, but with flexibility.  The hunt would probably occur sometime in late August and early September because that was the time period when the moose were in the fields causing the most damage.  If the moose were concentrated that was a good time to harvest them.  Concentrating the hunt during that time period would allow us to achieve two objectives, reducing the moose numbers from both agricultural problems and moose/vehicle collisions.

Mr. Stadler stated for controlled deer hunts, there was limited eligibility.  We tried to incorporate the local people in the solution to the over abundant population.  We were proposing that for the Eastern Aroostook County area.  Persons eligible to participate in the hunt would be landowners who lived in Limestone, Caribou, Woodland, PI, Ft. Fairfield and Easton that owned a piece of land 80 acres or more in size.  We contacted the farm bureau in Aroostook County and they advised that the average farm size was 80 acres.  The land would have to be open to hunting and that would include hunting by permission only.  Anyone who was a member of an S corporation as defined by the IRS who was a shareholder could also be allowed to apply.  This was lifted from the deer regulations except for the 80 acre provision.  Registered Maine guides who had successfully guided moose hunters that meet certain criteria of success would also be eligible to apply. 

Mr. Stadler stated there would be no hard copy applications; you would have to go online to apply.  One of the ideas was to keep administrative costs of the hunt down.  He discussed the application process (see proposal).  He discussed guides with permits contacting landowners and acting as an interface between hunters and landowners for the controlled hunt.

Council Member Questions and Comments

Mr. Witte asked about subpermitees.

Mr. Stadler stated that would not be part of the procedure. 

Mr. Witte stated a Maine guide who was eligible could get 3 permits, was it up to the guide’s discretion how much the moose permits would cost. 

Mr. Stadler stated all other laws, fees and rules regarding moose hunting would apply.  Maine residents would pay the Maine resident permit fee.  The guide would negotiate for his services.

Commissioner Martin asked Mr. Kieffer to take the proposal and discuss it with his club, the farmers, etc.  It would be discussed further at Step 2.

Mr. Kieffer asked Mr. Stadler if IF&W staff had reviewed this with landowners.

Mr. Stadler stated the stakeholder meetings that were held, Nick Archer from the Aroostook County Area was present.  At the Advisory Council meeting held at the Ashland Fish and Game Club Nick Archer indicated to IF&W that based on the sideboards that came out of the discussions with stakeholders he wanted IF&W to develop a proposal and move forward.

Commissioner Martin stated it was Mr. Kieffer’s job to go to the landowners in his area and discuss the proposal.  It was the Council member’s job to present it to the landowners.

Mr. Kieffer stated there was one thing he would like to be considered.  Of the permits available for the controlled hunt, possibly offer 3 or 5 permits for Hunt of a Lifetime or to disabled veterans.

Commissioner Martin stated he had the authority to designate kill numbers in regards to moose, but did he have the authority to make permits specific to paraplegics?

Mr. Elowe stated the Commissioner had the authority to do any kind of permit conditions he thought were necessary.

Commissioner Martin asked if it could be done through rulemaking and not have to go to the Legislature.

Mr. Elowe stated he believed so.  This was a depredation hunt, so the Commissioner could specify permit conditions.  One thing to consider may be in the context of guides getting permits and picking up clients, those clients could be the ones you described.  One of the biggest holes was making sure the landowners were treated right and that the moose were treated right so that it came off smoothly.  What Mr. Kieffer was describing could be done under the context of having a guide take those folks out.

A. Step 3

2. 2009 Moose Season

Mr. Clark stated the proposal had the same numbers as last year.  The information that Mr. Goodwin requested at the last meeting was also in the packet. 

Mr. Stadler stated there were no changes to the proposal and nothing further to add.

Mr. Clark asked if there had been any problems with the southern Maine moose hunt.

Major Sanborn stated the only negatives he had heard were of hunters not being able to locate a moose.

Mr. Goodwin stated there were some areas he felt strongly that we should increase the kill.  WMDs 3, 6 and 12 were discussed.

Commissioner Martin stated because the proposal was at Step 3, comments could be taken under advisement for the 2010 season.

Mr. Clark stated a lot of the proposed numbers were repetitious year after year.  There were some instances where the permits could be increased.  If the Council was to reject the proposal and come up with a new plan, could they have a video or telephone conference to vote on it the next week?

Commissioner Martin stated we were discussing teleconferencing with the AG’s office in lieu of having meetings.  Pursuant to rules, he could not modify the proposal that was before them.  They had had 3 months to give input.

Mr. Kieffer discussed a past proposal and public hearing at which the public was adamantly opposed to increasing the number of moose without adding a third week to the hunting season.

Mr. Philbrick asked if moose/car collision numbers were considered when developing permit numbers.

Mr. Elowe stated an estimated number was considered.

Mr. Philbrick asked if we added more numbers to specific regions, could the moose/vehicle collision number be reduced.

Mr. Elowe stated that was the core issue of the controlled hunt that had been presented earlier.  Upping the number of permits did not concentrate the effort around the road corridors.  The controlled hunt was designed specifically to get hunters into a problem area at the problem time with people that had the most chance of success to remove the animals.

A motion was made by Mr. Usher and that was seconded by Mr. Witte to accept the proposal as presented.

Vote: Unanimous - proposal accepted as presented.

3. Clearwater Lake Petition - Smelts
           
Mrs. Erskine stated we had received a petition from people in the area around Clearwater Lake asking the Department to reopen Clearwater Lake to the dipping of spring smelts.  A public hearing was held in Farmington on November 13th, there were 16 members of the public in attendance.  Most of the people there were generally in favor.  There were a couple of landowners there that were concerned about litter, trespass, access issues, etc.

Commissioner Martin asked if this were to move forward, would it become effective that season.

Mrs. Erskine stated yes.

Mr. Philbrick stated for clarification, this would be taking place from a boat.  The area where they would be smelting, both sides of the river were non accessible to the public.  A question was asked at the hearing if it was acceptable to smelters and they said yes. 

Mr. Witte asked about the trustees of the Runaway trust, was the land in trust open to the public?

Mr. Philbrick stated no, it was private land.

Commissioner Martin stated he was proposing to move forward, but with a sunset provision of 2-years.

A motion was made by Mr. Philbrick and seconded by Mr. Goodwin to accept the proposal with the 2-year sunset provision.

Vote: Unanimous - motion passed.

Step 2

1. Magalloway River fishing initiative

Mr. Philbrick stated at the last meeting it was asked that the parties at the Rangeley meeting get together and they refused to do so.  There had been much publicity regarding the proposal and he had received many calls and e-mails.  He had had more people recently contact him that were in favor of allowing children to fish there.  He handed out a proposal to the Council for their consideration (see packet).

Commissioner Martin stated at the last meeting in Rangeley, this item was at Step 2.  Because parties refused to meet and concur, it was his decision to leave the item at Step 2.  His position, when a vote was taken at Step 3, he would support Mr. Philbrick’s proposal. 

Mr. Philbrick stated that the Rangeley Region Guide and Sportsmen Association sent a letter and had been interviewed in the paper about their position.  He wanted to make it a point of record that since that vote with the Rangeley Region Guide and Sportsmen Association, he lived in that town and was a member of that organization as well as the Norway Rod & Gun Club.  A number of the members of the club and board of directors had called him and stated they were in favor of allowing children to fish because there were not a lot of children opportunity areas in the area.  Of all the biologists that had written in, only one was opposed.  Every other biologist with scientific knowledge, personal knowledge, experience, etc. thought it was a good proposal. 

Mr. Philbrick read his proposal and stated he specifically chose that time frame in concurrence with the biologists because there was the least amount of wild brook trout.  His intention was not to ruin a wonderfully pristine river. 

Mr. Goodwin suggested that the wording be changed from “may” to “shall” then they would fish from shore only.

Commissioner Martin stated “may” would be appropriate.

Mrs. Erskine stated she could reword it.

Mr. Clark asked that they have that language to review before Step 3.

Mr. Bossie from the Norway Paris Fish & Game stated he was one of the people that did the leg work in bringing this forward and was in agreement.  This was what they had been looking for.

Mac Dudley from Rangeley stated she was on the Board of Directors for the Guides and Sportsmen Association but she was not at that meeting so could not comment on their behalf.  She did want to compliment Steve for his part in the proposal and she thought it was important that we allow children to fish.  She was familiar with that part of the river and it was still water. 

Jim Albarie stated that the river was open to kids fishing for 10 years or more and there were no problems.  He only knew of 1 8” brook trout that was caught.

Commissioner Martin stated the language of the proposal would be reviewed and would be the Department’s proposal at Step 3.

2. Whitewater Rafting Rules

Warden Allarie stated the proposal would eliminate allocated Sundays on the Penobscot River.  He and the Deputy Commissioner had met with the outfitters to figure out the best changes.  Warden Allarie discussed the proposal (see packet). 

Mrs. Erskine asked Warden Allarie to explain what allocated and de-allocated days meant.

Warden Allarie stated that currently in July and August the Sundays were allocated which meant we limited the amount of people that outfitters could take down the river.  We only had about 7 outfitters that had allocations on the Penobscot and it was broken down to 560 people.  Some outfitters could carry 100, some 48, etc. and they paid the Department accordingly.  By de-allocating it, it would be open to the public by other outfitters that did not have allocations.  He felt they would not see a large increase in numbers.  Mr. Clark had questioned if weather had played a part on the numbers, and the outfitters had indicated that it had not.  They felt the trend was due to economics and driving time.

Commissioner Martin stated that what was before them was what they would be voting on at Step 3.

Warden Allarie stated the second order of business was the 2009 proposal for launch order for the Kennebec and West Branch of the Penobscot.

3. Beaver Pond, Denmark, hp restriction

Mrs. Erskine stated we had received a valid petition to restrict the horsepower on Beaver Pond in Denmark to 7 h.p.  A public hearing had been scheduled for December 10th. 

Mr. Usher questioned the request for 7 horsepower.

Mrs. Erskine stated on the books, we currently had 10 hp, 6, 4 and internal combustion engines prohibited, but she couldn’t change what they requested on the petition.  They would discuss it with petitioners.

Step 1

2. State Owned Wildlife Management Area/Area Specific Regulations/Steve Powell WMA (Swan Island)

Mr. Stadler stated in the last budget process the Department was asked to make reductions in operating expenses and one of the areas that was identified for cutback was the Steve Powell Wildlife Management area, specifically the camping opportunity that existed on Swan Island.  The Department had maintained a public use facility there that included education tours, over night camping and day use for a number of years.  During the budget process a list of high priority mandates was created, and Swan Island management components were eliminated.

Mr. Stadler stated this saved in excess of $30,000 of general fund money.  Through the budget process deliberations, it was decided that Swan Island operations would be restored by creating a dedicated account for Swan Island and would become self supporting.  Money was transferred from the Department’s carrying account to restore Swan Island operations for 2008.  The Department had been meeting with stakeholders, the Town of Richmond, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Friends of Swan Island, representatives, senators, etc. and working to develop a strategic operational plan for Swan Island that would allow the Department to maintain the island but have it be self sufficient and self funding.

Mr. Stadler stated staff had been meeting to develop a strategic plan.  Part of the plan would require modifications to existing rules governing the use of Swan Island.  We were proposing to expand some recreational opportunities on the island and to adjust the fee structure of the island to bring them in line with the fees charged by State Parks to make Swan Island self funding and self sufficient.  That information would be provided to the Council prior to Step 2.

Council Member Questions and Comments

Mr. Goodwin asked if $30,000 was to remain the operating budget.

Mr. Stadler stated no, we would have to reduce it.  We probably wouldn’t be able to provide the same level of service that we had been on the island.

Deputy Commissioner Jacques asked about the issue of supervised vs. unsupervised camping on the island.

Mr. Stadler stated one of the things we were exploring was that some of the state parks had unsupervised camping.  We wanted to see how that worked.  If that were allowed it would give more flexibility.

Mr. Witte stated the only problem he could see with that would be fire management and drop offs to camp sites.

3. Moose Permit Auction, Deadline for Applications

Commissioner Martin stated currently the auction was held on the last day of March, and we were proposing to escalate that to February 15 in order to get funds to the charities quicker. 

V. Other Business

1. Curtailment for FY 09 & Budget Reductions for FY 10 & FY 11

Commissioner Martin discussed handouts he distributed to the Council regarding the IF&W budget (see packet).  FY 10 & FY 11 budget exercise included the elimination of 22 positions and the shutting down of at least 1 hatchery (Grand Lake Stream).  However, at a recent cabinet meeting the Governor had authorized him to put together a fee increase proposal for his review.

3. ADC presentation

This item was tabled.

Motion made by Mr. Goodwin and seconded by Mr. Kieffer to table the agenda item.

Vote: Unanimous - item tabled.

VI. Councilor Reports

Councilors gave reports.

Mr. Goodwin requested a copy of the written report regarding the lynx caught in the trap that was pictured in the Bangor Daily News.

Commissioner Martin stated the Department would continue to look into the piping plover/least tern essential habitat issue and follow up with the Council.

VII. Public Comments & Questions

Greg Ponte requested that when the Department was looking into areas for youth programs that the Special Olympics be considered.

VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting

Commissioner Martin stated that due to budget curtailments, Advisory Council meetings would have to be reduced. He was not sure when/where the next meeting would be held. We were checking with the Attorney General's office regarding holding teleconferences for meetings. Another option was if Council voluntarily agreed to waive reimbursements. He would notify the Council when a plan was put together.

IX. Adjournment

Mr. Kieffer motioned to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Goodwin seconded that.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.