ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING
February 9, 2021 @ 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Microsoft TEAMS meeting
Judy Camuso, Commissioner
Timothy Peabody, Deputy Commissioner
Christl Theriault, Assistant to the Commissioner
Jim Connolly, Director of Resource Management
Nate Webb, Wildlife Division Director
Lee Kantar, Moose Biologist
Kelsey Sullivan, Game Bird Biologist
Dan Scott, Warden Service Colonel
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder
Matt Thurston (Chair)
Vacancy in Piscataquis/Somerset County
I. Call to Order> Council Chair, Matt Thurston called the meeting to order.
Introductions were made.
III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting
A motion was made by Mr. Sage to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Smith.
Vote: unanimous in favor - minutes approved.
A. Step 3
1. Ch. 7 Wildlife Rehabilitation Rules
Mr. Connolly stated Bob Cordes had been working with the wildlife rehab community to put rules in place to support their work. Wildlife rehabbers performed an amazing service for Maine in caring for injured wildlife with the goal to rehab the animals and release them back into the wild. It was an important responsibility and we wanted to support their work and provide a framework to effectively administer the program. The rule was designed to clarify who would have contact with the animals. Normally, in a rehab facility when rehabbing animals and trying to get them back into the wild they were trying to limit human contact and not have the animals become habituated. There was a need for volunteers, so the rule provided for volunteers, people who were authorized to help the permitted individual in the operation of the facility with tasks such as cleaning cages and doing routine things in support of the facility. They had to be provided oversight and training but they were semi-skilled or unskilled labor that performed functions at the facility when the permitted individual was there. We provided a few wording changes to help clarify that.
Mr. Connolly stated the next level of support at the facility was a subpermittee. They were a person that underwent some training to become able to provide more advanced skills and support for the facility and perhaps even take a baby animal home at night to care for it when there were animals that required 24-hour care. They were working under the permit holder and the permit holder was responsible for their oversight and training. We clarified that in order to have subpermittees, the wildlife rehab permit holder had to be approved. They had to be evaluated for their ability to provide the training. We would look at their record of compliance with our rules and providing reports and evaluate their fitness to provide the advanced training. That was section G of the proposal. What we asked of the permit holder in order to be qualified to train people to become subpermittees. Section H covered what the subpermittees actually did; they had to participate in an approved educational program. The training facility was qualified to do this and then submit a program to the Department for approval that outlined the education that would be provided to the subpermittees. The subpermittees would work under the permit holder, they would have to provide a report and they were accountable for that. This would allow the facilities to have the additional help they needed, volunteers that were unskilled would have limited contact with the animals but could perform functions and then if the permit holder wanted more skilled help they could become qualified to train people. They would submit an educational program and then establish subpermittees under their permit that could provide more advanced care to the animals and even take animals home that needed limited caging if they were animals such as baby birds that needed to be fed many hours and not just confined to a normal workday. In response to the questions and concerns for the rehab community we made a few wording changes to the proposal to help clarify that. We felt it addressed the concerns that were raised in the public comment period.
Council member comments and questions
Mr. Duschene stated he did not see anything that made it more difficult for volunteers to transport birds to Avian Haven. Was that correct?
Mr. Connolly stated there was a great benefit for the Department and Avian Haven to make use of volunteers to do that and we expected the volunteers would just be giving basic care to stabilize the animal or bird to get to the facility. Avian Haven had a network around the state and normally had volunteers close by to pick up injured birds to bring to them. It saved having to send a biologist or warden. We wanted to support that, and the proposal did not interfere with that.
Mr. Thurston stated there appeared to be a lot of collaboration amongst the rehabbers to help develop the rule language and that was wonderful to make it work for the community and the Department.
Mr. Connolly stated we would be working with the rehab community to outline what was an adequate educational program to make sure there was a good basic framework for an educational program that folks could use to implement at their facility.
A motion was made by Mr. Sage to approve the proposed rule as amended and that was seconded by Mr. Smith.
Vote: unanimous Motion passes.
2. Long Pond Horsepower Restriction Petition
Commissioner Camuso stated this was a proposal that was brought forward through a petition to prohibit motorboats with more than 25 horsepower on Long Pond in Great Pond and Aurora Twp. in Hancock County. A public hearing was held on December 7th. The participation at the hearing was some in support of it and some with concerns about the petition. The public comment period closed December 17th. She asked Colonel Scott to give a summary of warden service complaints in the area. At the hearing for Long Pond the issue of jetskis came up several times. She felt with the increased participation particularly around the pandemic, folks were seeing more activity on some of the smaller water bodies and getting frustrated with increased use and activity close to their homes or camps. The Department did not have the authority to ban jetskis. The Colonel would give an overview of warden service response. In general, the Department's approach historically when we were looking to implement a horsepower restriction it was because of public safety concerns recognizing that people could cause a lot of mayhem with a 20-horsepower boat. We wanted to make sure if we were going to impose a horsepower restriction that we were doing it for a valid public safety reason that did not seem to be addressed otherwise.
Colonel Scott stated Long Pond was probably 2 miles long including the outlet. Traditionally, it had been a good spring fishing area and the boats that went along with that were typically smaller in size. In the last few years, we had seen an increase in traffic in the summer months more recreational type boating once fishing had gone by. He thought that was what was generating some of the complaints. As far as the records management system, we had two complaints last summer and some inquiries regarding the legality of personal watercraft on the pond and also boats of larger sizes being able to be operated. The wardens that responded were Alan Curtis and Shannon Fish on two different occasions mostly providing information around the current laws and lack of restrictions currently on the pond. The warden that primarily patrolled there was Jonathan Parker. He had spoken with a couple different residents regarding a couple of particular boats that we got complaints on regarding safety risks and operating in what camp owners felt was a manner that harassed wildlife. Mostly the activities were taking place in the summertime when staff were patrolling larger lakes in the area that had much more recreational activities. Warden Service enforcement efforts were stepped up during the recreational times. In the spring, we used Department boats to patrol there for fishermen and the boats had over 40 horsepower. They could be properly operated on the body of water as long as you were in compliance with other laws in place such as not harassing wildlife, reckless operation and headway speed laws. There were basically three complaints, one in 2019 and two in 2020, either inquiries into personal watercraft and the size of horsepower restrictions and one that was specific towards a larger watercraft they felt was operating too close to shore while towing tubers and operating within the headway speed law. There was also one call to the warden service from a concerned person that indicated they had checked into purchasing a boat with more than 40 horsepower prior to the purchase to see if there were any restrictions on the pond. Since there were none, they purchased a pontoon style boat with a large engine and they were concerned about the Department monitoring their operation.
Council member comments and questions
Mr. Sage stated he read through all the comments, and he did read the comment about the person with the pontoon boat with the larger motor. Most pontoon boats werent out there being reckless, they were just out there enjoying the pond. He was concerned if the horsepower restriction was put in place, those folks that had spent thousands of dollars on the boat, and were probably not the problem, would now not be able to use it. It seemed they would be opening a can of worms if anybody had any issues or complaints, we would have to regulate every body of water that was not already regulated in Maine. It almost seemed it should go back to legislation and let them try to figure it out. They could be at every Advisory Council meeting taking up different bodies of water for people that couldnt get along.
Mr. Smith asked what horsepower motors were on the warden service boats, and could the petitioners concern be addressed with 40 horsepower or less? Were the petitioners looking at going to the legislature to ban jetskis on the pond?
Colonel Scott stated the warden service boats ranged from 40 horsepower up to over 100. There were multiple wardens that patrolled that area and they had 40 and 60 horsepower boats. His comment around the motor size we provided to staff in patrol areas was more so demonstrating you could have a larger horsepower boat that was operated responsibly on a pond that didnt generate complaints, and you could also have a smaller horsepower boat that was operated irresponsibly.
Commissioner Camuso stated it was always an option for the petitioners to go to the Legislature, but we had not been informed of that. She did not know if there was a bill this session to address it or not.
Mr. Smith stated there was currently a list of waters with 10 horsepower or less restrictions, did previous Advisory Councils do that to restrict those ponds to 10 horsepower or how did that occur?
Commissioner Camuso stated she thought the previous ones were done through petition.
Mr. Duschene asked Colonel Scott if someone took video of unsafe operation in front of their camp and showed it to the warden service, how would warden service respond to that?
Colonel Scott stated anytime they had investigated a complaint whether it be civil or criminal, they had to prove by preponderance of the evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular violation occurred. Not everyone provided a cell phone video, that was really good evidence if they had that to identify the operator and a particular boat. Most situations they heard of after the fact. The person filing the complaint could register a statement for us to take action, or we also issued warnings.
Ms. Ware stated the wardens patrolling the area had submitted comments. Did we have any additional information from Warden Fish?
Colonel Scott stated the information he had from him in the system was a 2019 inquiry he documented where some folks were inquiring if jetskis were prohibited on the pond. He patrolled an area west of the pond.
Ms. Ware stated they had received the comments from the two wardens that primarily patrolled the area and it was extremely helpful, she was just inquiring if there were anymore.
A motion was made by Mr. Duchesne the proposed rule ought not to pass and that was seconded by Mrs. Rousseau.
Vote: unanimous Motion passes.
B. Step 2
There were no items under Step 2.
C. Step 1
1. Notched Pond horsepower restriction petition
Commissioner Camuso stated at the last meeting the council had voted the petition ought not to pass. Unfortunately, she had not been fully informed on the complaints from warden service. The presentation given to the Council indicated we had not had any complaints or public safety concerns issued with warden service for Notched Pond. After the meeting, it became clear that not all the information had been shared with the Council. Because of that, we wanted to bring it back before the Council to make sure they had all the information to inform their decision. We readvertised and started the petition at Step 1 to give the Council time to have all the information including warden service complaints. Because we held a public hearing previously, we did not intend to hold another hearing.
Council member comments and questions
Mr. Cowperthwaite stated he believed there were two council members that voted in favor of the petition at the last meeting.
Mr. Sage stated there was no public access to the pond.
Commissioner Camuso stated that was correct, or none that they could find.
Mr. Brautigam stated he worked in the region for 25 years. There was no public access on Notched Pond, the access was all privately owned. He stated he was not sure what the historical use of the pond was. Obviously, the people that lived on the pond were reliant upon access sites they had developed on their own property or communally shared locations. It was not a water the Department actively managed.
Mr. Thurston stated he could go to the pond and provide a map to others if they chose to go to view the pond.
Mr. Sage stated he would like to visit the pond and then go back and review the public comments to see if there was something they could do.
Ms. Ware stated they were getting more information about complaints. She would find it helpful to get information from warden service about thoughts on the complaints and how they thought a horsepower restriction would help in mitigating those.
Commissioner Camuso stated Colonel Scott would provide that information at the next meeting at Step 2.
Mr. Sage stated there was concern with harassment of wildlife. Had any of that been documented by warden service or a biologist?
Mr. Thurston stated that would be provided in the overview at Step 2.
Mr. Duschene stated there was always a desire to limit bad behavior by limiting horsepower, but really what they were interested in was making sure that the bodies of water were safe for the horsepower that was there. At Step 2 he would be most interested in hearing about the safety factors at Notched Pond that may or may not warrant a change to the rule.
Mr. Thurston stated the increased participation in outdoor sports was going to drive people to other spots, there was going to be a huge demand on outdoor space that wasnt crowded or had a lot of already existing participation. Going forward in 2021 was going to be interesting.
There were no further questions or comments.
2. Ch. 24 Licensed Guide rules
Mrs. Theriault stated a portion of the rule was dealing with the recreational classification and giving those who wanted to test for their hunting or fishing classification to also test for their recreational classification at the same time. The Departments goal was to allow that to occur and have the written exam combined so they could take the test all in one day. They would still have to pay the $100 fee for each classification. Under 24.04 we address any questions that someone might have regarding the additional classification. Staff had created written exams that focused either solely on the recreational portion or a combined hunting/rec test or fishing/rec test. We had lengthy conversations with the guide advisory board, examiners and licensing staff, etc. and everyone was on board with making the proposed changes.
Colonel Scott stated it made sense to make the adjustment for folks who currently had their guide license. There were provisions in current rule that if you were a hunting or fishing guide that you were permitted to take people camping on those trips. However, if you took the hunting or fishing aspect out then you would need a recreational guides license. We were trying to accommodate that and the proposal was good for all parties involved.
Mr. Thurston asked if we were seeing an increase in applications for people who wanted to guide. He had heard quite a few people stating they were going to get their license and there was quite a bit of interest.
3. 2021-22 Migratory Game Bird rules
Mr. Sullivan stated he would give an overview of the migratory bird season proposed for 2021-2022. Relative to the September Canada goose season, the difference between the geese that breed in Maine and the geese that migrate through Maine the populations were distinct enough and their trajectories and trends were different. The geese that breed in Maine are resident geese which were basically any geese that breed south of the 49th parallel. Those were the geese associated with a lot of nuisance issues and human safety, congregations in water sources and things like that. There was an Atlantic flyway population of over 750,000 and we were well above that. The assessment in 2015 was 1,250,000 so 500,000 above the goal. The goal was related to what was tolerable socially and health wise what we thought we could manage with different options like hunting seasons and other mitigation tools, depredation permits, etc. Periodically, he would get a request to look at the harvest rates for the September season and how that related to the effectiveness of keeping the population down. All the literature really pointed to a metric if you had a 25% harvest rate of your resident geese, you could potentially see a negative trend in your population. The birds we had banded in July, the number and rate they were harvested region wide compared to within the state which was the September season, and he broke it down between the north and south zone. The request that came up periodically was to increase the north zone bag limit. The harvest rates were much lower than the south zone and in no years except 2012 did the south zone reach above a 25% harvest rate for the resident goose population. Our harvest was not reaching the metric so other things like depredation permits and nuisance control were the tools that could be more effective than increasing the harvest rate, other than increasing the number of goose hunters which had been on the decline. He posed this to the Waterfowl Council members, we did not see a change in harvest rate so why would we not increase the bag limit. That really would change the harvest. The Waterfowl Council was more comfortable retaining the 6-bird bag limit in the north zone and not increasing it.
Mr. Sullivan stated another piece of information was the Maine duck production index. Annually, we used the USFWS breeding bird surveys to gauge waterfowl population trends. Because of the coronavirus none of the USFWS breeding surveys occurred the summer of 2020 so we did not really have a 2020 estimate of our breeding population for ducks in Maine. Another thing to look at was the duck production index which was based on surveys that were done across the states by regional biologists and in our 2006 waterfowl management system there were metrics of the proportion of the broods and the total broods counted from all duck species and for three species that were key to Maine in terms of harvest and the numbers were black ducks, wood ducks and ring necked ducks. Looking at a 3-year mean vs. any given year would give an idea of the population trend. For ring necked ducks and wood ducks we were within the realm of the goal of the proportion of that species that made up the total brood production for ducks in Maine. American black duck, the 3-year mean was below. The harvest of black ducks the bulk of it didnt occur until later in the season when migrants had come through. Looking at harvest estimates by USFWS the majority of black ducks harvested in Maine came from Canada where their population trend was pretty stable. The other thing to consider with the brood index was wetlands, they changed habitat quite a bit. They had grown up and filled in more and were less marshy like a floating bog mat. That was not preferential habitat for black ducks. We were not recommending any change to black duck bag limits in Maine given the overall range population was stable.
Mr. Sullivan went over the rule proposal with the Council and highlighted the two changes from last year. Woodcock season, the USFWS was allowing states to set their woodcock season as early as September 13th, previously it was October 1. Because our grouse season opened earlier we were proposing to match the woodcock season with the grouse season because of the same habitat and encountering birds to provide opportunity. Overall, there wasnt expected to be a real increase in woodcock harvest with the earlier season. The other change, two years ago we were allowed for all webless species to have compensatory days because we did not have Sunday hunting. For rails and snipe we were allowed 70 days for rails and 107 for snipe. Before, we would have to subtract Sundays from that and now we didnt. The change for each of those seasons would be later by 10 or 11 days. Snipe and rail, there were a limited number of people that participated in the hunt and harvest was relatively low. Extending another 11 days was not expected to have a substantial increase to harvest.
Council Member Comments and Questions
Mr. Smith stated in the proposal it stated no sea ducks can be taken in the coastal zone when the sea duck season is closed. However, sea ducks may be taken in the north zone and south zone...was that something to do federally because of declining sea duck populations?
Mr. Sullivan stated it was related to exposure days. Sea ducks were allowed 60-days of exposure to hunting, so if we had a 60-day sea duck season in the coastal zone, that used up the exposure days. The south and north zones, because they were a separate geographic area the 60-days were separate and unto themselves so that was why the language was there.
Commissioner Camuso stated the woodcock season, although she was pleased with it, she was cautious as most bird hunters she knew stopped running their dogs during the deer season. You werent going to lose many days in November even though the season closed earlier, not many bird hunters were actually hunting during that week. Was Mr. Sullivan confident the additional 5 days was not going to cause a decline for woodcock or grouse?
Mr. Sullivan stated considering the type of leaf cover that was in September and the encounter rates for woodcock were going to be a little more difficult, he was confident it was not going to equal a substantial harvest concern.
There were no further questions or comments.
V. Other Business
1. Adaptive Moose Hunt
Mr. Webb stated we were expecting to bring a rule proposal forward to the Council for consideration likely at the next meeting to move forward with the adaptive hunt that Mr. Kantar would describe in more detail. There would also be a proposal to establish the regular allocation of moose permits for the upcoming hunting season as well. We had been working on the issue of moose population status and the impacts of winter tick for quite a few years making significant investments in research, radio collaring moose, aerial surveys, etc. and that work led to the project and proposal that Mr. Kantar would describe.
Mr. Kantar gave a PowerPoint presentation to the group, an overview of moose management and the proposed adaptive moose hunt. For a copy of the presentation please contact Becky.Orff@maine.gov
Council Member Comments and Questions
Commissioner Camuso stated the more we could do to educate the public on the adaptive moose hunt the better. She appreciated Mr. Duchesnes interest in using the topic for a presentation.
Mr. Thurston stated he agreed, there would need to be a lot of communication. It was counterintuitive that was the process to have a healthy moose herd based on science.
Mrs. Rousseau stated it was counterintuitive but the information they just received was outstanding. She had heard a little bit about it and received some calls from the local guides.
Mr. Cowperthwaite stated with 8 moose per square mile in that part of the state (WMD 4), landowner companies couldnt grow any quality hardwood because of severe browsing on their property. The adaptive hunt would certainly help the moose population, but it would also help most of the forest in that part of the state.
Mr. Kantar stated the I&E department had grown and really focused on moose and it was impressive the work they had done. He sent letters to the outfitters and guides who operated in WMD 4 who had camps there. They had talked to the MPGA, and reached out to a lot of people. He wanted to make sure people were comfortable with what they were talking about. If winter ticks did not exist on the landscape, then we may not be having the discussion. Not only were winter ticks the operator on the landscape and the force behind the potential or not of how many moose were out there. There were a lot of moose in the north woods and the Department had done a great job talking about winter tick and the threats that were out there. It was hard to understand sometimes that populations could decline and increase, changing constantly. The good news in flying WMD 4 recently was it was a district that around 2012-2015 was really suffering and clearly impacted by winter tick. Last year, they saw a pretty decent increase and it showed that even in the face of winter tick in the north woods, the moose population could be resilient. The challenge in communication was that yes, winter tick was out there and a driver and had hit some of our populations harder than others, yet we still had other areas of the state that were stable and had a lot of moose. There needed to be more proactive management in the form of increased harvest to try to reduce moose densities in areas to show and demonstrate that we could have some kind of effect to decrease the impact of winter ticks.
Mr. Webb stated the I&E division had a communication plan they were in the process of implementing specific to the adaptive moose hunt. There was a lot of information on the website. It was an option in the lottery to apply for the hunt and there was quite a bit of information and disclaimers built in to the lottery system so that hunters knew it was a proposal, not finalized and if it did go forward there would likely be some unique aspects of the hunt including a pre-hunt briefing to help people be successful.
Commissioner Camuso stated when we did our survey for the big game plan with the public, the one thing that people consistently said was they werent as concerned with the population level of any particular wildlife species, but they really wanted healthy wildlife populations. It was going to be a challenge for some to understand that in order for us to get that healthy wildlife population that we were actually going to be trying to reduce the population.
There were no further questions or comments.
2. Airboat update
Commissioner Camuso stated we had a rulemaking proposal previously to deal with decibel levels for airboats. We got to Step 2 and had so much negative feedback from both sides that we pulled the proposal back and are now moving forward with a consensus-based rulemaking approach. We gathered stakeholders together to try and come up with a proposal that we would then bring to the Advisory Council. It would be based on a consensus from representatives from both sides of the issue. The group had an initial meeting and an airboat demonstration was performed. Deputy Commissioner Peabody was the chair of the group and moving it forward.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the process was co-coordinated with DMR. Our rulemaking authority was in conjunction with DMR. He was co-chairing with Deirdre Gilbert from DMR. The group consisted of a resident from Brunswick, Freeport and Harpswell; three harvesters that operated airboats; shellfish officer from Brunswick and Freeport; a game warden and a marine patrol officer; town manager of Freeport and town official from Brunswick. The group had their first meeting and put some of the concerns on the table. There had been a request for an on the water demonstration during the last rulemaking effort, and the consensus-based group determined the time for that based on the tides. They wanted to replicate what the harvesters were doing. They had 3 airboats, then ran a prescribed route. They had 3 certified sound meter operators which were game wardens from the Department. They took readings from the three locations. They would be going over the data at their next meeting. There was also an interested party list of over 120 people, which was part of the consensus-based rulemaking process to include interested parties in the information process. However, they did not participate in the actual consensus-based meeting process. The goal was to have language for both Commissioners to review by the end of February.
Mr. Thurston stated it was a challenging issue, and most of it took place in his district in Cumberland County. There were a lot of moving parts to the demonstration, and they had an actual certified decibel meter. They did show there were some inequities between certain phone apps. He got to see airboats down in the mud, and it was surprising the boats in the mud were actually quieter than they were on the water.
There were no further questions or comments.
VI. Councilor Reports
Councilors gave reports.
Mrs. Rousseau stated she had a phone call from someone with concerns about the online hunter safety courses and the risks that they may put to private landowners.
Commissioner Camuso stated Mr. Connolly could give a presentation at the next meeting on online hunter education courses. He could give the history and some of the results not only in Maine but nationally and what the other states did.
Commissioner Camuso stated the Council would soon be hearing of an extension of the free fishing weekend to the entire week, beginning February 13 February 20, 2021.
VII. Public Comments & Questions
Shawn Higgins stated she wanted to comment on the Notched Pond horsepower restriction petition. She was one of the three main petitioners and wanted to thank the Department for revisiting the issue. Listening to some of the comments, the Council was invited to the pond and they could access from her property or probably many others. She wanted to make it clear that their main reason for the petition had always been because of safety. Unfortunately, at the last meeting in December the Council was not given the proper information and upon hearing that she made some effort to get the information for them. She spoke with Lt. Gormely who was very surprised they were given the wrong information. He did a search and came up with a fairly accurate list of complaints on Notched Pond. There were at least six complaints with four or five visits to the pond from warden service to deal with the complaints. There was a huge concern for safety. Even though the pond was about 70 acres there were really only about 50 acres of safe zone for boaters. It really wasnt a matter of trying to control behavior, even safe operation of boats posed a risk to other people on the lake. Two people she heard from directly were almost hit with, one person a boat and one a jet ski from people safely operating boats that simply did not take account of the people on the lake. Safety was an issue regardless of behavior there.
Susan Gallo stated she was the Executive Director of Maine Lakes and they listened in on the rules and regulations regarding restrictions on boats. They were very supportive of boat use, but one of the comments that caught her ear was someone on the Council was worried about opening a can of worms in opening the rule process. She wanted them to be aware the can of worms was there, it had been handed to all the people of Maine and they had the mechanism to open the can. It had been in the hands of the people for a long time since the Great Ponds Task Force, and she didnt think they would be overwhelmed with lake by lake rules. It was a tool that citizens could use, and she wanted to be sure they didnt discourage people from pursuing it.
Wayne Stewart stated he was a resident on Notched Pond and he wanted to point out something that Shawn Higgins eluded to. When you thought about the size of the water, 77 acres with about 50 usable acres for boating, but it was actually less than that. There was one area in the center of the lake where the boats could go in circles. When you thought about a boat on the water and kayakers, swimmers and wildlife there was not a lot of room for all of those things to coexist safely. If they went to the pond and saw it they would know what he was talking about. He did not currently own a boat, but did enjoy the sport. Using common sense, Notched Pond did not support use of any large watercraft or horsepower.
John Vetelino stated he was a camp owner on Long Pond. Maybe it wasnt clearly described in the petition, but the major motivation stemmed from waterskies, jet skis, people on skis being towed by boats and jet skis and violating the laws. They were dealing with a pond that was less than mile wide and probably less than a mile long and the petition had probably close to 50% of the residents in Great Pond where the navigable part of Long Pond was located. He would like some guidance and advice from the Council in terms of how to proceed. Their situation seemed to mirror the one on Notched Pond and he didnt know if the point had gotten across to the Council in terms of large boats towing skiers, jet skis, etc. on a body of water thats not really appropriate. They had several instances on Long Pond where swimmers had felt threatened by people on skis and jet skis and kids there were right along the shoreline almost hit by a jet ski and ropes towing skiers. It was a situation that was really a concern to them and they were looking for how to proceed.
Commissioner Camuso stated we could assist with increased patrols there.
Colonel Scott stated the information presented was the information known to the warden service regarding the complaints that had come in. If there were specific complaints, concerns about swimmers or personal watercraft striking them they could call their regional headquarters in Bangor and ask the camp owners to be specific about the concerns they had. If they knew who the boat operators were, the answer to many of the concerns was increased focused law enforcement in those areas to address the situations. The majority of operators on the ponds were not breaking laws or causing hazardous situations. He knew Notched Pond had made several specific complaints that were addressed by wardens giving specific operators warnings. If they could get the information to staff and be specific about dates and times and the activity and call when it was ongoing or take videos. They could address the issues with current laws that were on the books.
John Glowa stated he lived in South China and wanted to express his concern; he was in opposition to the proposed adaptive moose hunt. He fully understood the biological principles but, in his opinion, the real focus of the project was twofold. First, in the short term the Department wanted to increase moose killing opportunities. Second, the Department wanted to generate additional Pittman Robertson revenue. The project made no sense from any number of perspectives. According to the Department, moose densities were too high and calf survival was too low. The Departments proposed response was to kill more moose to lower moose densities and decrease winter ticks in order to increase calf survival and most importantly to increase moose density and hunting opportunities. Once moose densities increased and winter tick populations rebounded the Department would want to kill more moose to lower moose densities again. When moose densities decline calf survival will likely increase, as would moose density, winter ticks would increase and the Department would want to kill more moose, and on and on. There were two alternatives to what he saw as a waste of public resources. The first alternative was to do nothing, let the moose population rise and fall naturally. Let predators like wolves and bears take their share of weakened moose. Second, if the real purpose was to conduct research, work with Quebec or work in areas of Maine where moose densities were already artificially lowered. Monitor the prevalence of winter ticks in calf survival in those areas rather than killing more moose in northern Maine. He encouraged the Department to reconsider the so-called adaptive moose hunt.
There were no further questions or comments.
VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting
The next Advisory Council meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. via Microsoft Teams.
A motion was made by Mr. Sage and that was seconded by Mrs. Rousseau to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:08 p.m.