Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

May 22, 2008 – 9:30 a.m.
Princeton Rod & Gun Club
North off West Street, Princeton, ME


Roland D. Martin, Commissioner
Andrea Erskine, Assistant to the Commissioner
Mark Stadler, Wildlife Division Director
John Boland, Director of Fisheries Operations
Lt. Doug Tibbetts
Warden Jim Martin    
Becky Orff, Secretary and Recorder

Council Members

Leo Kieffer, Chair
Joe Clark, Vice-Chair                        
Mike Witte
Frank Dunbar
Cathy DeMerchant
Ray Poulin
Steve Philbrick
Ron Usher
Bos Savage            

Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News

I. Call to Order                           
Mr. Kieffer, Council Chair, called the meeting to order.

II. Introductions

Introductions were made.

III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Council Meeting

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

Vote: Unanimous - minutes accepted as written.

III-A. Election of Chair & Vice-Chair

Council Chair

Motion made by Mr. Kieffer and seconded by Mr. Usher to nominate Joe Clark as the new Council Chair.

Motion made by Mr. Poulin and seconded by Mr. Philbrick that nominations cease.

Vote: Unanimous - Joe Clark accepted as new Council Chair.

Council Vice-Chair

Motion made by Mr. Philbrick and seconded by Mr. Savage to nominate Mike Witte as the new Council Vice-Chair.

Motion made by Mr. Dunbar and seconded by Mr. Kieffer that nominations cease.

Vote: Unanimous - Mike Witte accepted as new Council Vice-Chair.

IV. Rulemaking

  • Step 3

1. 2008 Any-deer Permits

Commissioner Martin stated there were two public hearings regarding this matter.  Mr. Kieffer attended the one in Presque Isle and Mr. Poulin attended the one in Greenville.  It became very clear to the Commissioner that there was a lot of support for the initiative with one exception.  There was a lot of concern and not much support for the youth initiative that was included.  He met with staff following the public hearings and because of those discussions and because of Council comments and what he heard at the public hearings, the youth provision was removed from the proposal.  What the Council would be voting on was everything that was presented at Step 2, with the exception of the youth initiative.  Youth would continue to be allowed to hunt as usual. 

Mr. Stadler stated that Commissioner Martin had highlighted the comments that were received.  The proposal as far as the number of any-deer permits proposed for 2008 was exactly as it was presented at Step 2 and the provision regarding archery restricting archers to bucks only in those WMDs with 0 any-deer permit allocations; those two components remained the same.  At the public hearings no one spoke against the permit allocations and no one spoke against the archery portion. 

Mr. Kieffer stated what Mark said was basically what went on at the Presque Isle hearing.  It was very lightly attended.  The support for the deer permits as submitted, he thought, was unanimous from approximately the 12 people that were there.  The support for the archery proposal was pretty much unanimous.  The opposition to the prohibition against the youth shooting does was also unanimous from the number of people there. 

Mr. Poulin stated the public hearing in Greenville was also lightly attended.  Youth day seemed to be supported by the people that were there.  There were comments made, and he was glad to see that part had been taken out of the proposal.  As one that had been involved in the development of that youth day for hunting which always worked well, watching kids faces really shine, he was glad the rest of the public felt the same way.  It was a good discussion. 

Mrs. Erskine stated that a packet of comments had been sent to the Council.  She found an additional letter that was not in the packet from the Washington County Conservation Association in support of the proposed changes including the archery and youth hunters that she shared with the Council.  The majority of comments in the packet were not in favor of restricting the youth.

Mr. Philbrick stated regarding the attendance at public hearings.  It had been his experience that unless it was a controversial issue people were not going to attend.  When it was perceived that the Department was doing a good job he thought the people were happy to stay home.  The youth day was the only thing he had received phone calls on.

Commissioner Martin discussed holding public hearings.  A third public hearing could have been held if one was requested.  He would rather go out to the public and see a handful of people than not do it.

Mr. Witte stated he had received a comment from someone that had purchased an archery license.  Now that the license was restricted to only 1 deer, what would be the position the Department would take on that?  The comment was that the person had bought an archery license to kill a buck or a doe, now it would be restricted to bucks only, the opportunities were much less and the person would just as soon forget archery hunting.  The license was purchased prior to the proposal; what would the Department do?

Mrs. Erskine stated typically when we made a change part way through the year, we have said they could bring it in for a refund.  If someone felt very strongly that they bought it under the premise they were going to be able to take a deer of either sex and now they couldn’t, we would give them a refund.

Mr. Stadler stated that we could also tell them that in the WMDs with 0 permits, the MBA were at the Northern and Eastern Deer Task Force and they recommended this.  They were part of the group so bowhunters were behind the proposal.

Mr. Savage stated he thought another reason for low turnout at public hearings was when you were 6 months away from the issue, he just didn’t think the people were focused on it.  He was also glad to see the youth deer hunt removed from the proposal, he thought ultimately it was more important to sacrifice the number of deer for the advancement of hunting in the State of Maine.

Mr. Clark asked Mr. Stadler if the expanded archery hunt crossed into any of the WMDs with 0 any-deer permits?

Mr. Stadler stated it was not an issue, the areas didn’t overlap.

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

Vote: Unanimous - proposal accepted as amended.

Step 2

1.  2008 Expanded Archery Season

Mr. Stadler stated the idea behind expanded archery was to allow archers to have some additional hunting opportunity in areas where there were firearms discharge prohibition and where there was a locally overabundant deer population.  10 or 15 years ago the Department worked with the MBA and developed a few expanded archery areas throughout Central and Coastal Maine.  This spring, Don Kleiner, a representative of MBA came to the Department and asked if we would consider adding an additional portion to the Camden/Rockland/Thomaston expanded archery area.  This would include the area on the east side of Route 1 from downtown Camden, all the way up to the Lincolnville town line.  Everything east of Route 1; there’s a band of coastal land there they asked to be added. 

Mr. Stadler stated he talked with the town of Camden and the police chief there and the town manager and they were ok with it.  He also made contact with the Bureau of Conservation because Camden Hills State Park was contained within that expanded archery area.  He had not gotten a response from them at the time of the meeting.  His understanding of the law in the lawbook regarding Camden Hills State Park was that the park was open to hunting beginning October 1.  There would be some time in the month of September when expanded archery hunting would not be allowed in the park. 

There were no further questions or comments.

2.  08-09 Fur Hunting/Trapping Seasons

Mr. Stadler stated this was a proposal that was developed cooperatively with the MTA.  The past couple of years the Department had been concerned about the fisher population.  Fisher populations in the Northeast appeared to be declining as well as across the state.  We met with MTA a year ago and they came up with two options; either a shorter season or a limit.  They, at that time, preferred a shorter season.  In 2007 we proposed a 1 month fisher and marten trapping season.  This spring, MTA came back to the Department and requested that we go back to the regular fisher and marten season, but with a limit.

Mr. Stadler stated the proposal also included under J(1a), it allowed a trapper to keep any mink that was incidentally taken as a result of a legal beaver/muskrat set.  Under size of traps, the trappers requested to make it lawful to allow the use of the commercial manufactured wood base rat traps, such as the Victor rat trap.  These traps and traps of similar size and design would be lawful devices for taking weasels and red squirrels. 

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Witte asked if a fisher trapper had maxed out on his limit and had an incidental take, would he have to forfeit that fisher?

Lt. Tibbetts stated they would be obligated to turn that fisher in.

Mr. Kieffer stated at the last meeting he asked Mr. Stadler about the placement of the wood base rat traps.  What did he find on that?

Mr. Stadler stated the wooden base rat traps would not be legal implements in those WMDs where the consent decree was in effect.  Any WMD that had a restriction on killer type traps, these were killer type traps so they would fall under those same restrictions.  WMD 1-11.

Mr. Kieffer stated the placement of the wooden traps would have to comply with the 4 feet, and size of tree, etc.  He didn’t know how you’d set these traps in accordance with the requirements of the other traps.  Generally people trapped weasel on the ground, and it would be illegal to set the traps in WMDs 1-11.

Mr. Stadler stated the consent decree was very clear, it specifically stated any killer type trap.

Commissioner Martin stated the one thing he wanted to ensure was to make sure the proposal would not be in conflict with the so-called lynx consent decree. 

Mr. Stadler stated that the MTA had reviewed the proposal and was ok with it.

Mr. Philbrick stated he didn’t think the proposal met the letter of the language with the consent decree.  From what they’d read and discussion and the measurement requirements he didn’t think it met it.  Did it need to be stated in the proposal that WMDs 1-11 were the exception to the rule?

Mr. Kieffer stated he did not think the proposal was very clear.  If we were going to specify that the traps were legal under certain conditions and other WMDs and they were only illegal because of their size he thought someone would reduce the size of them.  He thought the measurement of the trap, there should be consideration for that to be spelled out so it was clear.  The proposal was very broad.

Mr. Savage stated they were prohibited because they were killer traps.  Size didn’t matter.

Mr. Kieffer stated you could use a trap if it was a certain size, set in a certain way and place.  You could use a 110 on a 5” tree, 4 ½ ‘ off the ground as he understood it. 

Warden Martin stated it was only the killer trap.  If you restrict the size of the animal by the so-called weasel box so that the paw of a bigger animal couldn’t get in there and get into the trap.  You don’t restrict the size, it’s not a killer trap if a bobcat or a raccoon grabs the bait and steps into the rat trap, it’s basically going to whack him on the paw and he would be injured.  In his opinion there should be more wording there.  When trappers wanted to use the rat traps for weasel sets they would be placing them in a box with a quarter size hole that only a weasel could get through.  Possibly a raccoon’s paw could get in there, but if set properly he wouldn’t be able to reach the trap and get into it.  He thought the proposal was lacking as far as the intent of the law.

Mr. Witte asked about farmers that didn’t have a trapping license but put out rat traps.  He may get incidental takes.  How did the law apply to him?  Were we saying the Victor rat trap was illegal to use in those WMDs by anyone?

Commissioner Martin stated the intent was to protect the lynx.  He stated to Mr. Stadler that they would bring the discussion to the trappers and confer with law enforcement.  Then, get back to the Advisory Council before June 26 as to what would be submitted at Step 3. 

Mr. Clark asked where we stood on the incidental take permit for lynx.

Commissioner Martin stated he had met with Mr. Stadler and Mr. Elowe regarding that.  It was their hope that the document would be filed by the end of the week or the week after that.  It was a top priority.

Mr. Kieffer stated this was limited to weasels and red squirrels.  In his area trapping marten, they would catch more flying squirrels than they would red squirrels.  What did you do if you caught a flying squirrel under the proposed law?

Mr. Witte stated in his area they differentiated between target and non target animals.  Red squirrels, woodchucks, etc. were non target animals which you could kill year round.  Did we consider flying squirrels a target animal? 

Mr. Stadler stated it was a non target animal.

Mr. Kieffer asked if they should be spelled out like the red squirrels.

Mr. Stadler stated if a trapper were to take a flying squirrel, that would be a non target species which there is no trapping season for them, so that squirrel had to either be released or turned over to a warden.

Mr. Witte stated so as not to lose this for weasel trappers, could we still keep something in there that if it was done in a cuddy properly with specifications for the hole size, etc. that the weasel trapper would be allowed to have the Victor rat trap.  Were we going to have language to that effect?

Mr. Philbrick stated it appeared there were three issues; WMDs 1-11, what is allowed and what is not, to be in concurrence with the incidental take issue; let’s not change anything for anything other than 1-11, J – size of traps had to be restricted to WMDs 1-11.

Mr. Savage asked Mr. Philbrick if he was advocating that the traps not be allowed in WMDs 1-11.

Mr. Philbrick stated if it was identified as a killer trap, it couldn’t be because of the length of the box.  If it was not identified as a killer trap it needs to fit in that box, if it does, you’re fine.

Commissioner Martin stated his instructions to staff were to work with the MTA but make sure whatever we did was not in violation of the consent decree.

Mr. Stadler stated the proposal was language that was developed by MTA and specifically by Skip Trask.  He would confer with Mr. Trask again.

Mr. Clark asked that an e-mail update be sent to the Council before the next meeting on June 26.

3.  Falconry Hunting – Gray Squirrels

Mr. Stadler stated the Maine Falcon and Raptor Conservancy, which was the organization that represented the majority of Maine falconers, came to the Department and requested that we consider extending the grey squirrel season for falconers.  We reviewed that and felt that was appropriate and would not effect the grey squirrel population and would allow some additional opportunity for the falconers.  We were proposing a falconry season for grey squirrels that would run from October 1 to February 28 annually with a bag limit of 4 and possession of 8.  He thought there were about 23 falconers in Maine. 

4.  Petition received – opening St. John River to ice fishing

Commissioner Martin stated we had received a valid petition that required us to hold a public hearing in the area of concern.  This was in regards to opening up the Maine side of the St. John River in the Van Buren, Madawaska, Grand Isle area to ice fishing.  The public hearing was held and clearly, there was no opposition.  No one knew exactly when, but for the last 5 -15 years the New Brunswick, Canadian side of the river had been open.  That was interesting because there were procedures in place so that the Department’s should talk to each other when making regulation changes.  Commissioner Martin stated he was in favor of opening it up.  He thought he would be asking the Council to table this item because we were still conferring with Canada and wanted to make sure if we opened it, that we agreed on everything.  Dave Basley was working on this and folks at the regional level supported the concept.  The concept was also supported in Augusta.  Commissioner Martin asked that the item be tabled to give Dave Basley and John Boland an opportunity to come up with a solid proposal.

Mr. Kieffer stated it was a good hearing and originated in Van Buren.  They contacted Mr. Kieffer and wanted to know why the Canadians could ice fish and they couldn’t.  There was unanimous support among the people that attended the hearing that they would like to have the river open to ice fishing.  Since that time he’d had some people from Ft. Kent unsettled because the original discussion in Van Buren was limiting the opening to the river up as far as the bridge to St. Leonard.  The people from Madawaska and on up the river wanted to know why, if it could be opened on the American side for the people in Van Buren, why it couldn’t be for Madawaska and Ft. Kent.  When you talked about the St. Francis River which Glazier Lake was a wide spot in the St. Francis, that was border water and was open to ice fishing in the winter time.  When we were considering it he thought it would be difficult to open it only for a small section of the river.

Mr. Savage asked if the Canadians stopped ice fishing at the St. Leonard bridge.

Commissioner Martin stated they did, and that was why we were conferring with them.  We were going to talk to our Canadian counterparts.

Mr. Savage asked when it came back to the Council would it still be at Step 2?

Commissioner Martin stated yes, because hopefully the Council would agree to table the item.

Mr. Clark asked when it had to be ready.

Mrs. Erskine stated another proposal may have to be put out.  The original proposal did not establish any of the seasons, bag limits or length limits.  We did that in conjunction with Canada, but we might have to put that back through the process.  She was conferring with the AGs office. 

Commissioner Martin stated there was a valid petition and we had to act on that.  However, as part of a Department initiative we were also very supportive of that.  Regardless of the petition, we probably would have moved forward on our own with that initiative.

A motion was made by Mr. Kieffer and that was seconded by Mr. Dunbar to table the item.

            Vote:  unanimous – item tabled.

  • Step 1

4. Significant Wildlife Habitat - Vernal Pools & Inland Wading Waterfowl Habitat

Mr. Stadler stated the Natural Resources Protection Act which was administered by the Department of Environmental Protection identified about ½ dozen significant wildlife habitats that were protected under state environmental review law such as deer wintering areas, sea bird nesting areas, waterfowl wading bird habitat, sea run salmon, vernal pools and shorebird roosting, feeding and staging areas.  Mr. Stadler had spent quite a bit of time during the legislative session with the Natural Resources Committee working with DEP on modifications to the significant wildlife habitat portion of the Natural Resources Protection Act as it related to vernal pools and inland waterfowl wading bird habitat.  Basically, the effort was an attempt to clarify some of the definitions, particularly for the regulated community developer, realtors, etc. particularly for the time periods and the criteria for the identification of vernal pools.  There were also some modifications made to the inland waterfowl and wading bird significant wildlife habitat. 

Mr. Stadler stated this meant that as a result of LD 1952 that was passed by the Natural Resources Protection Act that made modifications to the significant wildlife habitat portion of the Natural Resources Protection Act by the Natural Resources Committee.  Because of the legislation, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and DEP needed to modify their rules to be in conformance with LD 1952.  DEP had taken the lead on that process.  Once DEP had their final rule pulled together, and officially started their rulemaking process, Mr. Stadler would use their rule and bring it over into Title 12. 

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Clark asked if this would come back to the Council as the version DEP put out.

Mr. Stadler stated yes.  We would cut and paste the appropriate sections from DEP into Title 12, and then it would become a formality for the Council’s review and consent.

Mr. Witte asked if the enforcement agency was DEP.

Mr. Stadler stated yes.

Mr. Clark asked if there was anything in the legislation to have LURC included for comments and questions.

Mr. Stadler stated there was an ongoing conversation between DEP and LURC regarding significant wildlife habitats and to some extent LURC and DEP were out of sync.  DEP jurisdiction was in organized towns.  They were working on the Natural Resource Protection Act of the site law and the laws that apply there.  LURC is a planning entity for Maine’s unorganized towns and they had their own rules and regulations and habitats that they were concerned about.  Currently under LURC jurisdiction the only specific wildlife habitat that received a status were deer wintering areas and sea bird nesting islands.  There were conversations with LURC and DEP about moving some of the other significant wildlife habitat types in the Maine unorganized towns.

V. Other Business

1. Fishing Lawbook - explanation of S-code S-25

Mr. Boland stated at the last meeting there was an issue raised about the S-25 bass regulation in the lawbook.  The last few years we had been involved in an effort to streamline and consolidate the fishing lawbook.  We had identified, species by species, and using bass as an example, prior to 2008 there were probably 25 or 30 regulations around the state that pertained to bass.  Those had been pared down to 5 or 6.  One of which was S-25, that stated you could keep 2 bass, minimum length 10”, any bass between 13” and 18” had to be released.

Mr. Boland stated that regulation was used in some of the higher quality waters.  Most of the S-25 waters were in the Washington County part of the state.  West Grand and Big Lake were a couple of examples.  We had very healthy, large populations of bass and the population could withstand some harvest.  The area was heavily guided and they were often looking for shore lunches.  We felt the population could handle some harvest, but at the same time we wanted to protect the core 13” to 18” range that provided the high quality fishery that folks seemed to be looking for.

Mr. Boland stated we went to the S-25 and it replaced a couple of complicated regulations.  We were happy that it simplified things and still worked.  There were some people in the area that were concerned that you could take 2 fish over 18”.  Rick Jordan, our species author for bass, had thousands of records on those waters and the number of 18” bass that came out of the S-25 waters was very minimal.  We believed the incidents of people catching and keeping 2 would be extremely low.  Rick Jordan had a meeting with the guides, we would be watching the waters very closely in 2008 and 2009.  The open water fishing law book was in effect until April 1, 2010.  If we saw a need to make any changes, we would come back to the Council to make adjustments.

Council Member Questions and Comments  

Commissioner Martin stated the Council had a copy of the document from Al Goodwin.  A constituent of his had turned it in and Mr. Goodwin asked Commissioner Martin to review it.  Commissioner Martin asked Mr. Boland to also review it, and he was convinced it was not an emergency situation.

Mr. Boland stated one of the issues in the hypothetical situation that was given to them by Mr. Goodwin was that it did identify the fact that the anglers were holding and sorting fish which was not legal. 

Commissioner Martin asked how long the S-25 provision had been in existence.

Mr. Boland stated this was the first year.

Mr. Clark asked if during bass tournaments they had to make a determination and not hold fish?

Mr. Boland stated bass tournaments were totally different.  They applied for a permit and abided by different rules.

2. Bald Eagle delisting  

Mr. Stadler stated this was almost 30 years in coming, but we had gone from 29 pairs of nesting bald eagles in 1972 to well over 400 occupied nests and well over 300 eaglets fledged.  Bald eagle recovery in Maine had occurred.  The bald eagle was listed back in 1978 on both the Federal and State Endangered Species Act and bald eagle recovery in the U.S. had done so well that in 2007, the Federal Government removed the eagle from its list of endangered and threatened species.  However, under Maine’s law, the bald eagle continues as a threatened species.  Part of our species management for the bald eagle developed back in 1989, was a bald eagle recovery plan where we listed the criteria, 1-5.  When we met those criteria then it would be time to delist Maine’s bald eagle.  We had met all of those criteria except for 5(b).  All the others had been met and exceeded, but in 5(b) we had yet to obtain more than 100 additional nesting areas and secure conservation ownership. 

Mr. Stadler stated even though we didn’t have greater than 100 nesting areas and secure conservation, we had more than 220 nesting areas that were partially protected.  We felt quite comfortable that we would be able to obtain the greater than 100 nesting areas and we were currently using a Federal program known as the Landowner Incentive Program to work with willing landowners to develop conservation easements and other mechanisms to protect bald eagles.  We were going to be recommending that we delist the bald eagle from the state endangered species list. 

Mr. Stadler stated the Council had some information in their packet about Title 12 and its relation to endangered species.  It was the Commissioner’s authority to identify endangered species, but it was the authority of the Legislature to approve them and create the list.  The Legislature had to either approve or reject the Commissioner’s recommended list.  Ultimately the Commissioner develops the list, but it’s the Legislature that reviews, accepts and designates it.  This coming summer, late June or early July, the Department would hold 1 or 2 public hearings to discuss the listing of the bald eagle and solicit public comment on it.  Comments would be brought back to the Council for discussion and then during the next legislative session the Commissioner would present to the Legislature for their review and what they deemed appropriate action.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Savage asked if the Council’s role in the end was just to support the Commissioner’s position on the delisting after the public hearing.

Mrs. Erskine indicated yes.

Commissioner Martin asked Mrs. Erskine to discuss why this had to go to rulemaking.

Mrs. Erskine stated it was not going to rulemaking.  The Legislature directed the Department to take public comment and hold a public hearing and get input on the recommendation.  Then, it would go back to the Legislature for their approval and adoption and it would place it in statute.  We had to hold a hearing in accordance with Title 5, but that was where it ended.

Commissioner Martin asked if the Council would see this again at Steps 2 and 3.

Mrs. Erskine stated no.  She would be drafting legislation after the hearings.

Mr. Kieffer asked Mr. Stadler, under 5(b), what was an appropriate easement and a cooperative management agreement.

Mr. Stadler stated it was a case by case situation.  Charlie Todd was our eagle biologist and what he did was look at the nesting habitat the eagles were using and draw out on an aerial photo what he thought was the appropriate area that we should go to the landowner and talk with them about securing a conservation easement.  “Appropriate” depended on the particular eagles and what they were doing.  The conservation easement would generally have language in it about restricting land use activity probably within 660 feet or more of the nest tree or restricting activity at certain times of the year.  It was purely voluntary.  Many of the 220 sites, ½ or more were already owned by conservation interest groups. 

Mr. Kieffer stated he did not understand the difference between what a secure conservation ownership was and an appropriate easement. 

Mr. Stadler stated a secure conservation ownership would be that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust or The Nature Conservancy owned 100% of the area that Charlie was interested in.  An appropriate easement would be that a private landowner entered into a conservation easement with the Department or a local land trust or someone else that Charlie felt the conditions of that easement preserved that site.  Or, some landowners really weren’t interested in conservation easements but were interested in and willing to develop cooperative management agreements.  This was voluntary and Charlie would meet with them and we would come up with some guidelines on how they would use their property and if they were ok with it we would enter into a cooperative agreement.

Mr. Clark asked if there were any federal funds attached to the endangered species list.  If so, would we get any less for delisting the bald eagle?

Mr. Stadler stated there was a provision in the Endangered Species Act that was in Section 6.  Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act allocated to the state’s money to help them recover threatened and endangered species.  Maine received about $50,000 a year.  They had not funded eagle work in Maine for the last couple of years.  There would be no loss of Section 6 Federal money.  For certain bald eagle nest sites, they had been designated as essential habitat.  Under Maine’s endangered species act, the Commissioner had the authority to designate an area around bald eagles and designate that as essential habitat.  Right now, many bald eagle nest sites had a ¼ mile radius around them and that area was designated as essential habitat.  Before any land use activity could occur that required either a state permit or a Federal permit the Commissioner had to approve it before that activity could occur.  When we delist the bald eagle from threatened status in the state, shortly thereafter we would move to repeal the designation of essential habitat for all the bald eagle sites across the state. 

VI. Councilor Reports

Councilors gave reports.

Mr. Kieffer discussed the upcoming Advisory Council meeting in September.  The Ashland Club was able to accommodate the Council for dinner and the meeting.  They discussed a 5 p.m. dinner and 6 p.m. meeting.

Mr. Philbrick stated he wanted to discuss the cancellation of the January and February meetings (budget reductions).  He suggested that the meetings not be eliminated due to budget cuts, but consider taking a year off from traveling to outlying locations and hold all meetings in Augusta.  He felt there would be a cost savings by Council members only traveling to Augusta.

Commissioner Martin stated the reduction in public hearings and Advisory Council meetings was one of 3 efficiency initiatives that the Legislature mandated on the Department.  He was interested in hearing the Council’s input on whether they would prefer to continue meeting in August or reaching out.  The Council was polled.

Mr. Clark stated he preferred to meet in Augusta and also look at other options.

Mr. Kieffer stated he preferred Augusta.  It was easier to get to and made sense.

Mr. Usher stated he liked it the way it was now.

Mr. Dunbar stated he felt traveling to different locations showed support for the clubs.  He would prefer to keep it the way it was.

Mr. Witte stated he would like to keep it the way it was.

Mrs. DeMerchant stated she had no preference.

Mr. Poulin stated he was in favor of going to Augusta and having as many meetings as possible.

Mr. Savage stated he would prefer whichever was most cost effective; probably going to Augusta.

Commissioner Martin stated he would do a cost analysis of traveling vs. going to Augusta for meetings and report back to the Council.

VII. Public Comments & Questions

There were no public comments or questions.

VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. at the Scarborough Fish & Game Club.

IX. Adjournment

r. Philbrick motioned to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Witte seconded that.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.