Meeting Minutes

Advisory Council Meeting
October 1 , 2019 @ 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (upstairs conference room)
284 State Street, Augusta


Judy Camuso, Commissioner
Timothy Peabody, Deputy Commissioner
Bob Cordes, Special Projects Coordinator
Charlie Todd, E&T Species Coordinator
Mark Latti, Communications Director
Francis Brautigam, Director of Fisheries and Hatcheries
Joe Overlock, Fisheries Management Supervisor
Diano Circo, Chief Planner
Dan Scott, Acting Colonel Warden Service
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder

Council Members:

Matt Thurston (Chair)
Jerry Scribner (Vice-chair)
Shelby Rousseau
Brian Smith
Al Cowperthwaite
Shawn Sage
Larry Farrington
Bob Duchesne


Gary Corson, New Sharon
Joyce Smith
Helene Marsh-Harrower
Karen Coker
Emily Bastain
Eliza Donahue
Katie Hansberry

I. Call to Order

Matt Thurston, Council Chair, called the meeting to order.

II. Introductions

Introductions were made.

III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting

A motion was made by Mr. Smith to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Sage.

Vote: unanimous - minutes approved.

IV. Rulemaking

A. Step 3

1. Fishing Regulations/State Heritage Waters 2020

Mr. Brautigam stated the packet included the addition of five new heritage waters as well as the removal of three that did not contain brook trout. The packet also included the addition of no live fish as bait to tributaries to nineteen heritage waters in the southern part of the state and included extending the ice fishing season in the north zone by one month. It also included eighteen water specific rulemaking proposals. There had been good discussion and a summary of the public comment had been distributed. The Department was not proposing any additional revisions or amendments to the packet.

Ms. Rousseau stated there was a lot to vote on with one vote, the proposals couldn't be voted on individually. It was all or nothing.

A motion was made by Mr. Smith to adopt the proposal as presented and that was seconded by Mr. Sage.

Vote: seven(7) in favor; one(1) opposed (Mr. Farrington) - motion passed.

2. Ch. 13 Watercraft rules (permanent adoption of emergency rule)

Commissioner Camuso stated this was the final adoption of the emergency rule the Council adopted to correct the inadvertent change in the scope of the rule.

Mr. Sage asked if Marine Patrol used our regulations.

Commissioner Camuso stated yes.

Mr. Farrington stated the comments regarding Mere Point boat launch, the main concern for a lot of those people was the noise of the airboats. If the emergency rule was approved, it should address that issue.

Commissioner Camuso stated the rule addressed testing of a marine engine, and with the airboats the noise was not coming from a marine engine it was the propeller. We would be looking for a path forward to address those noise issues.

Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated we had met with the Town of Freeport, Brunswick, Harpswell and committed we would go back to rulemaking. We were doing research and would come back with a proposal to address those comments.

Mr. Thurston stated he visited the Mere Point launch and took video of an airboat taking off. Some airboats were better than others, it was fairly loud when it took off.

A motion was made by Mr. Sage to accept the proposal as presented, and that was seconded by Mr. Smith

Vote: unanimous - motion passed.

B. Step 2

1. Ch 5. Water Access Rules

Mr. Circo stated the Department had 147 water access sites across the state. The rules would apply to all of those water access sites. Most of the public comment received on the proposal was around one particular site, Mere Point. There were two specific rules in the proposal that applied to Mere Point, there was a lot of history there. The basic issues were at Mere Point boats over 24 feet were not allowed a the facility and overnight parking was not allowed at the facility. The public comment came from two different perspectives, there were some that did commercial work at the facility and they would like to see the restriction on the use of commercial boats at the facility removed so that commercial boats could use the facility without any impediment and the length limit be removed. There was another group that lived near Mere Point that had serious concerns about boats over 24 feet and had serious concerns about commercial use at the facility.

Council member comments and questions

Mr. Duchesne stated it was a beautiful boat launch and that Land for Maines Future (LMF) money funded some of the improvements.

Mr. Circo stated LMF money funded some of the acquisition costs.

Mr. Duchesne stated a lot of what LMF did was working waterfronts. If it was just recreational boats that was really not working waterfront and he was thinking commercial use by clam diggers, etc. How did we square the two?

Mr. Circo stated he believed the LMF funds came from the water access program, not the working waterfront program so there were slightly different missions. The commercial use issue there was one that was difficult for the Department in a couple of ways. The Department received the funds it used to purchase and build the facility, it was about a $2 million facility. The federal funds used came from the sport fish restoration program at the USFWS so it was the excise tax on fishing equipment. One of the restrictions on those federal funds that we used to acquire or build property was that the primary use of the facility had to be for the general public for sport fishing and recreational use, not commercial use. Where commercial use started to infringe on that public use, then the Department became in a grey area where we had to make sure the general public use was the primary purpose. So far, the commercial use of the facility we did not think had infringed in a heavy way on public use but we were seeing increased commercial use of the facility over time. We were trying to moderate for that.

Mr. Sage asked what constituted commercial use.

Mr. Circo stated it was a bit of a grey area. A lot of it was up to interpretation. We currently allowed commercial use at Mere Point as long as it was not impeding the publics general use of the facility we allowed it. It was typically clammers or wormers going in and out of the facility, but they were not allowed to sell product at the facility or take up parking spaces to store gear, etc. They were allowed to launch and retrieve boats.

Commissioner Camuso stated given the complexity of the issue and the number of comments it had been recommended to pull the Mere Point component out of the proposal and meet with the town. A lot of the issues associated with the 24-foot limit in particular were issues we addressed with the town. It probable did make sense to begin a series of meetings with the town and community to try and figure out the best path forward.

Mr. Thurston stated he thought that would allow the Department to move forward with 95% of the proposal and deal with the Mere Point issue independently. It had generated many comments. Mr. Thurston, Mrs. Peet and Mr. Sage had visited the facility. They witnessed commercial activity in and out and they also witnessed a lot of kayak activity. The kayakers were not as timely and efficient at the launch. They saw commercial operators, they wanted to get and get out. The people they met with were predominantly not in favor of enforcement of the 24 foot and commercial rule proposal.

Mr. Sage stated off the facility there were a lot of islands that were open to camping and that was when the overnight parking was an issue.

Mr. Thurston stated those they spoke with were open to having a system where it didnt impede on the recreational boaters where they could have access early in the morning. Many of the residents there had larger boats and needed a commercial hauler to get them in and out. It was the best facility for that person to get his boat out. He was in once in the spring and out in the fall, and there were others like that. It had become common place at the launch with 26-foot boats, sailboats, commercial rigs, heavy haulers, etc. and it hadnt been enforced.

Mr. Scribner stated enforcement seemed to be one of the biggest issues. Whatever rules were proposed needed to somehow be enforced. What was developed with the town had not been enforced.

Mr. Circo stated it would take some time to work with Brunswick. It was a complicated issue. There were design implications of how the site was engineered that we would have to look at to see what could be accommodated without causing issues with the facility that cost a lot of money and was expensive to maintain.

Mr. Duchesne stated you could certainly get a bigger boat in there, but there were two ramps and when big boats tried to get in together that was when it looked to become complicated.

Mr. Circo stated the 24-foot length was based on a 45-foot rig length. The engineer designed the ramp approach so if you had a rig larger than 45-feet you really couldnt make the turn. The weight limit of the ramp itself and the floats were all based on boats that were relatively that size.

Mr. Sage stated they also needed to look at the kayak launch, it was dangerous.

Mr. Circo stated we were looking at other locations in the region where we could distribute use where possible.

C. Step 1

1. Ch. 2 Bass Tournaments

Mr. Brautigam stated bass fishing in Maine had grown tremendously in popularity. It was the number two most preferred sport fish next to brook trout. A lot of the organized bass fishing clubs had also increased in popularity. We had a lot of clubs trying to enjoy their sport on our lakes and ponds. A lot of the water access sites were never developed to accommodate the level of use typically associated with a lot of the bass tournaments. Most of our sites were able to accommodate up to 15 rigs. Mr. Brautigam was approached by the bass fishing community and they wanted to be able to have increased participation during their club bass fishing events. Currently, they were restricted to limiting the number of boats to 15 for a single bass tournament event. One of the common complaints from the public not affiliated with the tournament was there was no place to park. Most of the clubs were pretty good and left spaces open for the public as a good will gesture. Because some of the clubs had grown, many had more than 15 members and they had asked if there was a way to convene club events for up to 20 boats. Given concerns with existing limitations at water access sites, we would accommodate club events up to 20 boats on waters that were 1,000 acres or larger in size providing they utilized off site parking. That would take those events away from public water access sites, they would utilize a private access site and it would create an incentive for them to be able to have their event and free up access for those not affiliated with the bass tournament events. The proposal was to go from 15 to 20 boats per club event where the water was in excess of 1,000 acres and where they could find their own offsite parking.

Council Member comments and questions

Mr. Sage stated that was just clubs, not nationwide tournaments?

Mr. Brautigam stated they were open events and could accommodate upwards of 100 boats, but those could only occur on certain waters around the state.

Mr. Thurston stated there was recently a tournament on Sebago Lake with over 250 boats. It was an economic generator for Maine. The proposal was for local clubs wanting to have in house tournaments amongst themselves?

Mr. Brautigam stated yes.

Mr. Farrington stated when they had tournaments on Cobbossee and they had inspectors, was that going to preclude them from going through a site where their boat had to be inspected before entering the water?

Mr. Brautigam stated it was a permit condition that their boats be inspected before and after the event. We required that clubs received certified training in inspections.

Mr. Smith asked if there were other tournaments besides bass tournaments.

Mr. Brautigam stated we had derbies which were catch and kill events. The only tournaments we had were targeting bass. We had catch and release events or catch, weigh and release events. The permit allowed them to hold fish in excess of their bag limit alive during the event. We had special provisions in place to ensure the fish had the proper conditions.

Captive Wildlife rules

Mrs. Theriault stated this came about from a bill that was introduced during the last legislative session. It was before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) committee and the bill came from a constituent who had an exhibition permit. Their concern was they wanted to be able to use a type of sheep for agritourism. Because of the activity they wanted to use it for, they wanted to be exempt from getting a captive wildlife permit from IFW. IFW and ACF were both concerned about this creating a loophole for people to bring in domestically raised or wildlife that could be considered domestic because they would be using them for farming and wouldnt need an exhibition permit or general possession permit or abide by standards for keeping them in captivity. Both agencies testified, and the issues were discussed. The ACF committee sent a letter to IFW and ACF asking both agencies to modify their rules and to be very explicit about agency responsibilities and that there continued to be a review process for any type of animals a person might request to have for agritourism.

Mrs. Theriault stated in Chapter 7 under the scope there were parameters. The one stating, "any domestically raised, hybridized or genetically altered wildlife specifically held for agriculture production" were the type of species being dealt with. We were proposing to add language, if they were held for agriculture production, including for farming and ranching pursuant to Title 7 and when a species is intended to be used for the production of agricultural products pursuant to Title 7, but it is ordinarily considered wild by nature an agent of the Commissioner shall consult with the state veterinarian on the use and risk of disease to both domestic and wild animals and, if necessary, consult with the IFW captive wildlife technical committee to determine which agency regulates the species in question. Agritourism as it relates to the exhibition of exotic wildlife will continue to be regulated by IFW pursuant to Title 12 and this rule chapter. In 2017 IFW went through extensive rulemaking and legislative changes dealing with captive wildlife rules and thousands of species were reviewed and some added to the unrestricted list. The wildlife technical committee was revamped so there was a committee and process in place if someone had an issue with an animal they wanted to bring into Maine. The committee could make recommendations to the Commissioner to either put it on the unrestricted list or have ACF review it.

Council Member comments and questions

Mr. Duchesne asked what the Department would have preferred the Legislature had done.

Mrs. Theriault stated it was a grey area and we wanted people to know which agency they needed to contact. The species that was in question was a Barbary sheep which was native to Africa and were a captive bred species. The person wanted to possess them for agritourism and not have to have an exhibitor permit.

V. Other Business

1. Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA)

Mr. Todd stated there was in a bill in Congress that would change funding mechanisms between federal agencies and state agencies to do a better job with species at risk. For twenty years, wildlife action plans were developed by the agency on a once every decade cycle. The USFWS expected directs Maine, 49 other states and 4 territories to identify species of greatest conservation need = species Things that were trending badly and likely to end up on the endangered or threatened species list federally if proactive conservation wasnt done. Mr. Todd had worked his whole career in endangered species and we had to wait until legal jeopardy set in for a species before we started to prepare the long road back. The better way was to look ahead for what was trending badly and apply management for it. State wildlife agencies had never been funded to do that. The proposal would bring in significant stable funding. Currently, we earned million dollars annually in discretionary spending, we did not know never knew if it would be available next year. It was a year to year decision and it was difficult to conduct a program. RAWA would allocate $1.3 billion nationally as an alternative, but stable funding mechanism each year. Also, nearly $100 million would be available to tribal governments. It would be a sub-account under the Pittman Robertson federal aid program. The current proposal was in the US House of Representatives with 124 bi-partisan cosponsors and there was every reason to expect it would go to a public hearing before the Natural Resources Committee later that month. Many states had taken a proactive approach to promoting the act. Governor Mills had written a letter of support to the Maine delegation. A but there was a large nationwide campaign going on was underway.

Commissioner Camuso asked what the $1.3 billion allocation nationally would mean for the State of Maine.

Mr. Todd stated $11.3 million annually for Maine.

Commissioner Camuso stated that was more than all our other federal funding combined.

Mr. Todd stated it was big investment. The Wildlife Action Plan was on its second generation and he would estimate they were only doing no more than 5% of the work outlined because of capacity. He did not feel it would change the agency the way some people thought, we did not have the capacity to match that amount and there would be a lot of partnerships with other conservation partners to target It was about species of greatest conservation need. A previous version went to Congress last year and did not make it out of committee. Twenty-seven states had their commissions adopt resolutions in support of RAWA, and others had written a letter of support.

Mr. Smith stated in Canada they had many lynx and hunted lynx, but in northern Maine we had lynx but they were endangered. Why was that? Eastern cottontail, other states had plenty and they were hunted but they were an endangered species in southern Maine.

Mr. Todd stated the New England cottontail was not abundant anywhere and its range was strictly east of the Hudson to southern Maine. Only six states had them. Eastern cottontail was part of the problem, it had outcompeted the native rabbit. Canada lynx was different, it was not state listed but it was federally listed because of the courts. Between Atlantic salmon and Canada lynx Maine had more of its statewide area in critical habitat under the ESA than any state in the nation. Part of the approach was to rely more on state generated conservation to prevent things from escalating to a federal problem. In the case of something like lynx, the USFWS had since changed their regulations and probably would not list a species like lynx again because most if its range was primarily elsewhere out of its jurisdiction. They were on the fringe and we could not change that. States like Maine had done an incredible job finding a way to do the work without significant funding. This would potentially lead to investments in habitat management and conservation that benefitted all citizens. A recent survey showed that 84% of Maine citizens strongly supported endangered species conservation.

Commissioner Camuso stated she recently attended the National Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency meeting where representatives from state agencies were there and she was pleased to hear Governor Mills called out in the Maine convention as taking a leadership role in trying to help facilitate RAWA through Congress. She was the chair of the Natural Resource Committee and was trying to get other governors to also write letters. Commissioner Camuso stated she would be supportive if the Council wanted to write a letter or encourage any partners to do so.

Mr. Thurston stated the Commissioner and staff could help facilitate the writing of a letter and they could review it at the next meeting.

2. E&T species listing/Essential habitat - process & Council's role

Mr. Todd distributed copies of the current list of Maines endangered and threatened species. The list was revised in 2015 and 51 species were currently included, 26 were endangered and 25 were threatened. Listing species as endangered or threatened was a legal classification. It always came through the Advisory Council. Beginning in 1984, Maine made periodic changes to the list that would go through the Advisory Council. Beginning in the mid-90s that was not the end of the process. Staff would review the list periodically, develop a proposal, bring it to the Council at Step 1; public hearing and public comment at Step 2, but and Step 3 was different. The Councils approval was meaningful but that was no longer the final step, we would then send it as a bill to the Legislature and the species were adopted not in rule but statute. He felt part of the problem with the ESA was sometimes government could be bureaucratic and inefficient and when they were, outside forces petitioned us federal agencies. The fact that the dual roles by executive branch of government and legislative branch of Maine government action had confused people on how to interfere with the process was very unique and likely deterred petitions. As long as we did a good job of keeping the list current and meaningful we had enjoyed freedom from forces at large external pressures. This was remained a high-profile subject. Currently, in By Department rules, the list was adopted in 2007, we were required to review the list at least once every 8 years. By 2023 there would need to be a bill in the Legislature, so by 2022 there would be a proposal before the Council.

Mr. Todd stated they would begin the periodic review and see if changes were warranted. The federal endangered species act listings were driven very often by threats and inadequacies of regulations, that was old style ESA that was a lot often based on subjective arguments. Maine used biological concepts wed adopted and in regulations. Low abundance, bad population trends, fragmented populations, endemic species, limited distribution, those were things that made a species vulnerable. We had guidelines to support those status reviews with thresholds when something dropped below a certain number it was considered. It was very objective and science data driven not speculation rather than subjective arguments. Conversely, it burdened In practice, the Department to must get the information in advance so the Council had what they needed to move forward.

Mr. Todd stated many did not understand when the federal list did not jive with the state list. The federal list was looking at all 50 states, and the standard for listing was, all or a significant portion of the range. It may or may not be a good fit for Maine such as Canada lynx. More often than not there was overlap between the federal and state listings. In the early years, Maine, like most states, automatically gave recognition to a federally listed species but Maine moved away from that in 1995. That was why we went through the Legislature now, it was the threat of the Atlantic salmon listing during that period. We had maintained a cooperative agreement with USFWS to uphold some implications protections for federally listed species and how we earned our funding for that part of the program.

Mr. Todd stated there was a provision under the Maine ESA created to give the agency an optional tool to use when necessary to protect species called the essential habitat rule. Very analogues to the federal rule of critical habitat. The federal rule only applied when there was a federal permit, license, funding or federal agency involved. The business about most of That nexus was infrequent in Maine being in despite critical habitat for Atlantic salmon and Canada lynx did not change Maine as we knew it in the last 15 years. When we did something as essential habitat, we mapped an area, developed protection guidelines for the species so there was transparency and predictability in public policy and then it was binding on actions that were permitted, licensed, funded or carried out with any state agency or municipality. It was created because of problems inconsistent decisions in the late 80s with eagle guidancenests. We had experience to help communities, but they did not have a legal reason to listen to us. For 19 years we regulated eagle nests. Bald eagles came off the threatened species list in 2009 in Maine, so the essential habitat rule went away. It was a special tool and we had only used it on four species from the long list over time. One of the species that was currently regulated was the roseate tern, a state endangered sea bird that was only living on a few of the islands. At the time of the rules development in 1993, it was the only listed sea bird on Maines endangered and threatened species list. Now, there were four others that overlapped in part with the same islands. We wanted to revisit the rule, update it and bundle it with the other nesting sea birds and have one rule that covered five species. That appeared to be the first essential habitat rule change that would be coming over the course of the next year or so.

VI. Councilor Reports

Councilors gave reports.

VII. Public Comments & Questions

Helene Harrower stated she was one of the owners of Pauls Marina which was located near the public boat launch on Mere Point. She felt like she represented several groups of people. As a commercial interest, they liked to have access, but their business didnt use it very much because they had a crane that lifted boats out of the water. For emergency purposes it would be nice to use if the crane was being worked on. Sometimes weather dictated, for example, that day they had a lot of big boats going out and there were high winds and it would be nice if some of the boats could be hauled down there because they would lose water where they hauled them on a regular basis. They pulled big boats at high tide, but wind was always a factor. It would be nice if they could launch in the spring and come out in the fall. They hired a hauler to come and take out their big boats. They also had customers that used the launch. There were lots of people that had boats over 24 feet and they put them in in the spring and took them out in the fall. It was the ocean and usually required a bigger boat. The restriction of 24 feet was a little tight. She thought the technology was different now. The haulers were fast, they were in and out. Most of the haulers would be happy to register with the state or pay a fee to use the ramp. She also felt like she represented the small commercial businesses that were in and out of there. Regards the clammers and oyster harvesters she had never seen anything left there. The site looked good all the time. The lobstermen really didnt use it unless it was to pick up someone going out with them for the day. Most of them were part of a co-op so didnt use the launch. She was happy we would let the town permit overnight parking. Public parking was a necessity when people wanted to go to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust sites that had designated camping and they needed someplace to park. They had people come to the marina and ask to park, but they couldnt take people on the weekends because they were limited to 140 spaces. She felt comfortable that the Department would be reviewing the launch further and working with the town. She also requested that Department public hearings should be posted on Facebook, we may get more public reaction if people were notified there.

Eliza Donahue stated she was the Director of Staff Advocacy and Policy for Maine Audubon. She had come to listen to the Councils perception of Mr. Todds presentation of RAWA. This was something Maine Audubon was a big supporter of and working to garner more support from Maines congressional delegation for that act. It was currently a House bill. Representative Jarrod Golden was a co-sponsor and they were hoping to secure Chellie Pingree. Maine Audubon was committed to using their network to elevate the work of the agency and if the Council decided to express their support for the act that was something Audubon would want to work to share more broadly to send a strong statement. What was exciting to Maine Audubon about the act generally was not just what it did, but the diversity of people who supported it.

Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the State of Maine, hopefully in concert with New Brunswick, would be filing comments with FERC on Forest City dam. Once that was filed with FERC and was on the service list it would be forwarded to the Council. The ATV task force was on its third meeting. The website had a section for the Governors task force with meeting information, etc. We were also collecting public information through a survey off the website. The task force decided not to hold public hearings around the state. There was a very aggressive group at the table representing landowners and ATV users. They felt they had a good understanding of the issues, so they were taking public comment electronically. The meetings were open to the public.

Mr. Circo stated the water access program was reconstructing the Damariscotta Lake launch in Jefferson and that would be completed on October 15 and would be a fully ADA accessible facility when it was completed. The access at Pemaquid Pond was being rebuilt and would also be fully ADA accessible. A separate hand carry launch was being constructed at Pemaquid away from the trailered launch so they would have a place to go dedicated just for them. We were in the planning stages for three big projects in the spring; Annabessacook Lake, Togus Pond, and Sandy Pond.

Karen Coker stated she directed a wildlife advocacy group WildWatch Maine. Their goal was to see ethics and science come together in wildlife policy in Maine. She wanted to talk about lead fragments in wild game. After more than three years there was finally a statement on the IFW website about the risk of lead fragments when lead ammo was used to kill game animals. Based on what she had learned the warnings for consumers were not as strong as they needed to be. She wanted to draw attention to one line she found troubling, To date there have not been any cases of human illnesses linked to lead particles in hunter harvested venison or game meat. The statement was misleading because it was unknowable how much lead contamination there had been from lead ammunition fragments. Lead poisoning was very hard to detect. She would strongly suggest that sentence be removed. She wanted to bring attention to a couple of studies from Europe, one published in 2018 conducted at the recommendation of the German government to look at lead content in game meat and its connection to consumer health. Their recommendation was that particularly children up to age 7, pregnant women and women of child bearing age should abstain from eating game meat that had been hunted with lead ammo due to the specific sensitivity to the toxic affects of lead. Another study published in Sweden stated tens of thousands of children in the EU may be consuming game contaminated with ammunition derived lead frequently enough to cause significant effects on their cognitive development. IFWs interest in recruiting women and children to the ranks of hunters to keep the enterprise going was probably the reason some of the risks had been buried for so long. It was troubling to her to see media focused on encouraging women and children to hunt when there was no mention of the risk of exposure. She thought it was past time for this to get more attention. We had a game meat donation program in Maine and last time she checked none of the meat was getting scanned for lead fragments. We should use our programs to advertise the threat, not hide the risk because of the larger need to encourage the sports.

Katie Hansberry stated she was with the HSUS. They recognized the impact that cats and outdoor cats had on birds and other numerous issues. It was an issue they were working on and in her role as President of the Maine Federation of the Humane Societies they had partnered with the Sewell Foundation and had a trailer that had been doing most of its work in Washington County. It supported towns and local groups that were doing trap, neuter, vaccinate and return (TNR) work. They had a location where they could do a high-volume clinic and allowed a place for the animals to recover. It had been very effective in the areas they had been focused on. It was a solution to the problem, research showed when it was done effectively through targeted TNR work it could be extremely effective on getting the number of outdoor cats down.

Mr. Brautigam stated the Fisheries and Hatcheries division was embarking on a long-term strategic planning process. They had formed eight technical committees that would be convening throughout the winter trying to get additional input in the development of the strategic plan. It was a new planning process that included some elements of wildlife divisions approach but also included provisions that would result in regions convening water specific stakeholder groups to develop lake specific management plans as one element of the plan. This would get a lot more decision making at the local level and how we managed fish resources in Maine.

Mrs. Theriault stated she had been asked to pass along some concerns from northern Maine. She had been through one of the North Woods gates and the gate attendant expressed concern with the law change to open the small game hunting early. The moose hunters that had not been successful were competing with other hunters in the woods and there were a number of people that took advantage of the change in the date making it earlier. It was a competing interest. We knew that may be a conflict when the Legislature brought the bill forward.

Mr. Thurston stated that was some of the conflict when we had seasons before that we didnt want them to be overlapping. The September season for moose hunting was the best experience.

Commissioner Camuso stated the October season had been overlapping. It would be an adjustment period. When surveyed, the moose hunting public indicated the October hunt was the most popular and we believed it was because they could also bird hunt.

Lieutenant Scott stated they had received training for online tagging of furbearing animals. They were in the middle of a hiring process to bring on five new wardens. We were an aging agency and many would be eligible for retirement in the next three years, we wanted to ensure we could replace them with quality people. Nationwide, hiring for law enforcement was in a slump. During the last hiring process we received approximately 70 applications compared to in the past when we could receive an average of 2,000.

Mr. Cordes stated the Department owned two shooting areas, one in Fryeburg and one in Summerhaven. The Summerhaven range had been under construction was a completely modern facility. We also had plans to upgrade the Fryeburg facility as well.

Mr. Farrington asked what the new range used for a lead recovery process.

Mr. Cordes stated underneath the drip lines and firing berms was a water collection system treated with lime and it ran off to a collection pool that was lined with lime and the lime would make it so the lead was not transportable or bind it up and not allow it in the water. After a certain time we would go through the firing berms and recover the lead and replace the material.

Karen Coker asked about the lead ammo, if there were any restrictions or guidelines especially since it was family friendly.

Mr. Cordes stated at the Summerhaven facility the lead was collected in the berms and the water was treated. It was open air and plenty of ventilation and wipes were provided that would take metal and lead off hands when exiting the facility. We did not allow any food or water on the range.

Joyce Smith stated she enjoyed bear hunting. She was very impressed with the health of the bears she had seen.

Commissioner Camuso stated we were looking to build a new facility. The facility at 284 State Street was leased and we paid substantial rent. The current conference space could not accommodate many people. The new facility would be more fish and wildlife oriented and would be able to house a host of programs.

VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting

The next Advisory Council meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. at IFW Augusta.

IX. Adjournment

A motion was made by Mr. Smith and that was seconded by Mr. Sage to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.