SALMONID ENHANCEMENT AND HABITAT ADVISORY BOARD
Holiday Inn Express
2200 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, BC V9N 2L4
June 9 to 11, 2017
Friday June 9th, 2017
Hotel conference room
Attending: Cindy Verbeek, Jan Lemon, Wayne Salewski, Zo Ann Morten, Jim Shinkewski, Angela Kroning, Paul Cipywnyk, Ian Bruce, Lee Hesketh, Brian Smith, Jack Minard
Guests: Lorraine Landry, Dave Kozakowski, Dave Davies
Regrets (Enroute): Leandre Vigneault, Elizabeth Hardy
Board Business and Annual General Meeting
1830 Meeting called to order
Dave Kozakowski – Possible rep - central island
Lorraine Landry – Possible rep - North Island
Standing Committee Reports
- Treasurer submitted finance report and explained.
- Have funding in place for the next year and first payment has already come in.
- Motion: Moved that the financial statement be accepted as presented. Jack Minard Moved, Jan Lemon seconded. Carried.
Membership Committee update
- Have found possible replacement for South Side Fraser SEHAB rep.
- Action item: All will review resume and letter.
- Action Item: Membership coordinator will invite to the next meeting.
- Action Item: Previous rep will be removed from basecamp.
- Action item: Updated membership list will be uploaded to basecamp.
- Basecamp is being used for internal communications with SEHAB reps and alternates –working wel for our needs.
- Action item: Secretary will make all those on sehab-chat aware that we will be moving to basecamp for all communications.
- Discussion re format of minutes and who to send to.
- Action item: Secretary will send to group present for review, then send to webmaster for posting as well as to all SEHAB reps, alternates and DFO staff
- Elizabeth will help with editing.
- SEHAB is not a user of the resource at the table, we represent the conservation interest.
- The present rep will stay on and have fuller report next meeting as well as put some information up on Basecamp.
Stock Assessment, WSP, Science, Data Collection
- No further movement on Stock Assessment discussion.
- Some discussion with science department but nothing concrete to report.
- Committee met to come up with action plan re steelhead par licensing. Discussions with DFO suggested that there are high level negotiations with Prov. and DFO about Steelhead. Committee discussed how we could have influence in these negotiations.
- Cuts to Steelhead production at Federal facilities announced recently has put this process on hold.
Communication Working Group
- Communication group will work with webmaster and report updates at next meetings.
Request for meeting with Minister
- Letter was sent to Minister LeBlanc to request a meeting.
- We are happy to have meeting with Ashraf Amlani, Assistant to the Minister and Western chair on Sunday night. Thanks to members for being quick to make travel changes to attend this meeting. All are encouraged to attend Sunday night.
Annual General Meeting
See Appendix 1.
Closing the loop documents
- Discussion re making sure action items get done.
- Action item: Secretary and Past Chair will meet and resurrect Closing the Loop document to be sent out to groups.
- Discussion: How SEHAB measures success.
- Our job is to collate issues and offer advice to DFO – SEHAB meeting is where we bring forward the community issues, RHQ meeting is where the advice is brought forward.
- Hearing from other areas at SEHAB meetings and taking it to another place to be able to speak into other processes. Hearing the Province wide sharing of concerns and projects allows members to get a fuller picture of programming and share this within other committees they are active on.
- Meetings with key people from within agencies.
- SEHAB contract with DFO and staff attendance shows commitment to our objectives.
- Discussion re the importance of presenting the issues to the right people.
- DFO shared their organizational chart of who reports to whom in the department.
- Conclusion: Director of SEP and Oceans and Regional EMB which is who we meet with on Monday RHQ meetings are appropriate people to present the issues of community to.
Discussion re process for new reps.
- Can be found in our NAVAIDS
Other organizations on SEHAB.
- Discussion re request from Rivers Institute to be on SEHAB.
- Info about the organization will be sent to executive.
- Action item: Executive will examine the organization as per NAVAIDS and bring the conversation to the table next meeting.
- Recommendation to reach out to BCWF. Discussion re organization and what they could contribute to SEHAB.
- Action item: SEHAB exec will send letter of invitation to BCWF.
- Province prefers to come when asked as technical support on specific topics rather than have one person at each meeting.
- Action item: Invite Province when needed.
Saturday June 10th, 2017
Blackfin Pub Meeting room-132 Port Augusta St, Comox
Attending: Leandre Vigneault, Cindy Verbeek, Jan Lemon, Wayne Salewski, Zo Ann Morten, Jim Shinkewski, Elizabeth Hardy, Angela Kroning, Paul Cipywnyk, Ian Bruce, Lee Hesketh, Brian Smith
Guests: Lorraine Landry, Dave Kazakowski, Jack Minard, Adam Silverstein
09:15 Meeting called to order.
- Additions were made. Agenda accepted with additions.
- Round table issues (NB. SEP cuts were discussed separately)
Water usage conflicts
- Context: Hatchery may not be able to draw water for hatchery activity during low flow restrictions. DFO unresponsive to concerns (There is no CA to report to in that area). License is held by DFO. Had meeting with local First Nations who will write letter in support of hatchery.
- This issue is being seen across the province.
- Discussion: “what is minimum flow?”
- Interior water allocation comment: Province won’t register a well because the creek is over allocated already. This is positive because the province is stepping up. Land owners are upset but there is now recognition of the limitation to water and standing up for water for fish.
- Overall question: Is DFO being consulted about water usage and where do fish hatcheries fit in the order of things?
- Question: Is DFO going to get out of holding water licenses? Response: DFO has more than 1000 places of infrastructure associated with water licenses. Not out of the business of holding licenses but have to make sure that there are resources to maintain infrastructure. Water license is provincial jurisdiction so DFO has limited capacity to influence.
- Action item: DFO will resend restoration planning framework that SEHAB advised on in 2015.
- Water sustainability act. Win – need to set base flows. Question is what is base flow?
- Action item: Push for groundwater information and study.
- Groundtruth what was put into act
Fisheries Protection Program (FPP)
- Discussion re FPP
- Question: Under what circumstances are C&P called in to play on habitat issues?
- Question: Is there new FPP money? Answer: The CRF is administered through FPP and came with 4 new positions for Pacific Region. As well, potential program adjustments will move in step with the Fisheries Act review.
- Context: WSP and Fisheries act – although broader input was solicited prior the drafting of language/implementation process is now being limited to DFO, First Nations and PSF.
- Commitment is that any drafts will be shared widely and publicly.
- Want to make sure that there are more opportunities as the process continues to make comment on WSP and FA.
- SEHAB has sent a letter requesting a role in the Wild Salmon Policy process.
- Action item: Adam will ask about what the opportunities are for engagement and get a response to our letter.
No CA in Sunshine Coast
- This has been put on hold for the moment because of last few weeks. Getting a CA there is close.
Eligible activities document
- Action item: DFO will ask for the presentation document from the workshop on CIP’s to be emailed to SEHAB.
- Context: Allocations are targeting 3 year old Marble River chinook. Concern from hatchery.
- Bigger issue: Concern from hatcheries about harvest decisions.
- Example - harvest stopped the hatchery from reaching their broodstock targets.
- Every year, every area does a post season review. That is the place in the process to register issues and concerns. CA is active on that table and can bring concerns.
- Lack of cohesive enforcement on habitat destruction by landowners.
- Action item: send DFO a brief email with date, time, what happened (cc SEHAB Chair). DFO will check FPP response and bring follow up directly with the Board in writing.
- In general:
- Call Observe Record Report line FIRST.
- Then get DFO info in writing before the next SEHAB meeting so that he can track down these habitat issues and speak to how DFO (FPP and CMP) is responding at the next meeting.
- Program Update and discussion with DFO.
- Timeline of events over the past few weeks:
- Reductions in SEP – termination of Education Support contracts (as of July), technical support contracts terminated, resource restoration unit (RRU) was going to be phased out over three years, elimination of Steelhead and trout production at DFO major facilities. (Not clear if this included CEDPs).
- Huge show of support for SEP programming by public.
- Another announcement – Education and Technical support contracts will continue for another year.
- Unknown how this will all play out. Discussion re repercussions.
- Action Item: DFO will find answer to the question of whether DFO was holding any adult steelhead to spawn. (No juvenile rearing programs are going to be changed aside from not collecting broodstock.)
- Action item: SEHAB will write briefing for Minister and present to Minister’s Assistant on Sunday night with a focus on pointing out how these programs fulfill the core mandate of Fisheries and Oceans.
- Action item: SEHAB will continue to encourage DFO to consult with the Province over Steelhead hatcheries and licensing.
Telling our story
- One way to help people understand the importance of this program is to tell our story.
- Discussion re ways to do that.
- Action item: DFO will make a point of sharing with us when things learned at SEHAB table have helped make positive changes.
- Action item: DFO is working on a SEP annual report.
- Action item: SEHAB reps will encourage Community groups to continue keeping good records of the impact of their programming and share with DFO if requested.
Coastal Restoration Fund http://www.dfo-mpo-gc.ca/oceans/crf-frc/index-eng.html
- Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) - $75 million over 5 years for restoration of coastal habitat across Canada. http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/campaigns/protecting-coasts.html
- Includes funding for 3 biologists and 1 project manager in Pacific region..
- Funds can be used in freshwater ecosystems http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/crf-frc/page03-eng.html
- This is very different from RFCPP. This is money for large scale projects in a few locations.
- Next round of funding applications is due July 12
- There is also no matching. Stacking limit is 100%. ie. can’t pay twice for the same thing. Leveraging works.
- Can pay for 100% of project. Terms and conditions are broad, eligible expenses are on the website. To see eligible expenses go here: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/crf-frc/page03-eng.html
Strategy for meeting Sunday night with Minister’s Assistant
Further discussion about cuts with a focus on the following questions:
- What will the community lose?
- What does the community need?
- What is SEHAB’s recommendation to DFO?
General points made:
- RRU is crucial to habitat restoration and volunteer support and are connected to 30,000 volunteers.
- Stream to Sea (S2S) is valuable for education of further generations and aids in enforcement of Fisheries Act and WSP. 900 aquariums in place province wide with S2S programming.
- Volunteers can leverage the money contributed by DFO by up to 7 times. These programs are an amazing return on their investment.
- Tech support fills in the knowledge gaps for Community Advisors and allows them to do their jobs.
- Partnerships/relationships over 40 years allows work to be done that is way beyond what the Department can do on it’s own. “Human leveraging.”
- Consequences of losing Steelhead hatcheries are far reaching over time. The repercussions are bigger than they first appear economically, socially and biologically.
- DFO can not meet it’s core mandate without Resource Restoration Unit, technical support to SEP, education coordinators within the Salmonids in the classroom and the enhancement of Steelhead and Trout at federal facilities.
Action item from discussions: SEHAB PAR committee will write letter to Province re Steelhead production.
Adjourned with commitment to brainstorm each topic separately and then compile concerns into a briefing letter by Sunday afternoon to have ready for Meeting with Minister’s Assistant that night.
Sunday June 11th, 2017
Crown Isle meeting room - 399 Clubhouse Drive Courtenay
Attending: Leandre Vigneault, Cindy Verbeek, Jan Lemon, Zo Ann Morten, Jim Shinkewski, Elizabeth Hardy, Angela Kroning, Paul Cipywnyk, Ian Bruce, Lee Hesketh, Brian Smith
Guests: Dave Kazakowski
Regrets: Wayne Salewski, Lorraine Landry
10:10 Meeting called to order.
Strategy for meeting Sunday night with Minister’s Assistant Continued
Brainstorming on cut categories – Divided into 4 groups and answered the following questions
- What will the community lose?
- What does the community want?
- How do we get there? Advice from SEHAB
Statement written to Minister’s Assistant and supporting documents (letters from community) compiled as a package. See appendix.
Final SEHAB business – wrapping up loose ends.
Monday RHQ meeting has been postponed in order to facilitate meeting with the Minister’s Assistant.
- Reschedule RHQ in June – Chair
- Create agenda for RHQ meeting & determine reps to attend.
- Agenda sent out to group. Secretary
- Group comments. All
Minutes of Feb 2017 meeting.
Motion: That minutes of the February 2017 SEHAB meeting be ratified as presented.
- Morten Moved, B. Smith Seconded. Carried.
Roles document – Cindy
17:30 Reconvene for meeting with the Minister’s Assistant Ashraf Amlani
- Amlani updated us on current situation and asked and answered questions.
- Requested that we stay patient. They recognize the value of the programming that was cut and are working on a positive solution.
- SEHAB members provided advice and our briefing notes to Minister.
Minutes from this meeting to be ratified
Date next meeting: Nov 3-5 on the Sunshine Coast. Exact location TBD.
Invitation to build agenda by: Chair find representative to create agenda for Nov meeting. Invitation to create by Sept 15.
Invitation for roundtables
Draft agenda due on: Oct 1. Sent to DFO by Oct. 2.
Appendix 1 – Minutes to SEHAB Annual General Meeting.
Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board
Annual General Meeting Minutes
June 9, 2017
Dining room, Holiday Inn Express
Courtenay, British Columbia
Attendees: Cindy Verbeek, Jan Lemon, Wayne Salewski, Zo Ann Morten, Jim Shinkewski, Angela Kroning, Paul Cipywnyk, Ian Bruce, Lee Hesketh, Brian Smith, Jack Minard
Observers: Lorraine Landry, Dave Kozakowski, Dave Davies
Regrets: Leandre Vigneault, Elizabeth Hardy
Financial Report submitted by Treasurer.
Motion: That the financial report be accepted as presented.
Moved by J. Minard moved, J. Lemon seconded. Carried.
Elections are held every second year. The Past Chair has completed his term.
The present executive will remain in office until 2018 Annual General Meeting as follows:
Chair, Leandre Vigneault
Vice Chair, Jim Shinkewski
Treasurer, ZoAnn Morten
Secretary, Cindy Verbeek
- Other Business
No further business was discussed.
Appendix 2 – Statement to Minister’s Assistant
Salmonid Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board
June 11, 2017
Statement for Ashraf Amlani, Special Assistant, Pacific - West Desk, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Supporting documents are attached in the appendix.
The Salmonid Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board (SEHAB) represents the salmon stewardship community of British Columbia and its 30,000 volunteers, and is tasked to advise the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard On behalf of its constituents, SEHAB wishes to relay concerns and recommendations regarding recent program funding cuts and how these decisions affect their ability to carry out the mandate of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This statement will address each of the four identified areas subject to funding cuts and/or cancellation:
- Resource Restoration Unit
- Education support contracts
- Biological and technical support services
- Steelhead and trout enhancement program at federal facilities
Cancellation of the Resource Restoration Unit
The Resource Restoration Unit (RRU) provides the salmonid stewardship community with professional technical expertise beyond the capability of volunteer organizations and their partners. By having the authority and endorsement of DFO attached to a salmonid habitat or enhancement project, the public can be assured that these works are of high quality and consistent with the objectives of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The added value that the volunteer community contributes to the conservation of Pacific salmonid stocks cannot be understated. Losing access to the biologists and engineering personnel of the RRU will compromise the ability of the stewardship community to undertake any substantive habitat and enhancement projects. The RRU provides a quality check, credibility, professional scrutiny, and assumption of liability that empowers volunteers to best contribute to the salmonid resource.
Each dollar contributed to a salmonid project is leveraged by community volunteers to result in over seven dollars of project value. From a cost-saving perspective, DFO is receiving an unparalleled return on investment courtesy of BC’s stewardship community. The termination of the RRU program will result in the immediate loss of most on-going and planned restoration projects, and substantial risk to the financial and biological investments already in place.
How can the Coastal Restoration Fund be implemented cost effectively without the RRU?
Volunteers are willing partners with the Department, nonetheless, the onus of delivering DFO’s mandate remains in the hands of government.
- Resource Restoration Unit be reinstated as Government employees
- Funding be provided to fully support the restoration unit without compromising funding to other Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) components.
- This unit could be rebranded to operate under the Habitat Management Branch which was recommended for reinstatement by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans during the Fisheries Act (2012) Review.
Education Support Contracts
The Stream to Sea program has been established as an essential education resource proven to have long-lasting positive impacts. SEHAB fully supports this program and wishes to stress its positive impacts and recommends potential ways forward.
Education Support contractors are important for the coordination and delivery of DFO’s education programs. Whereas funding for equipment and program materials is often provided by partners like the Pacific Salmon Foundation, only DFO has the authority to establish salmon egg incubators in classrooms throughout BC. If DFO transfers elements of its education programs to outside delivery partners, how would aquaculture licensing, egg procurement and fry release approvals be addressed?
Education programs provide inexpensive, positive public relations for DFO and opportunities to promote the Wild Salmon Policy and First Nations cultural connections to salmon. Education also helps the Department meet its regulatory mandate by reducing the number of people committing infractions
Education produces generations of students who are salmon-aware, and more likely to be conscientious stewards and net contributors to the resource as they grow older. Many students who have gone through the Stream to Sea program have become biologists and volunteer stewards. The value of these education programs far exceeds the modest budget savings and must be preserved. SEHAB asks that Education Support contracts be reinstated long term. If providing this service through contracts is no longer possible we ask the Department to fund this important work through contribution agreements between DFO and the Stream to Sea delivery partners.
Biological and Technical Support Services
SEHAB’s constituency is highly dedicated and capable but consists mainly of volunteers and cannot be expected to deliver a federal government program unassisted. DFO staff are necessary to provide specialized skills, issue permits and licenses, and provide long term continuity.
Technical support staff work in conjunction with Community Advisors (CA) and are essential for the delivery of SEP’s core mandate. Technical support staff is hired to complement the individual CA’s skill set. Without these people CA’s will not be able to properly support the community groups and their efforts to support the mandate of the department to maintain fish stocks and fishing opportunities. The loss of these skilled, hands-on personnel will result in the erosion of hatchery programs, stock extirpation, habitat degradation, and demoralization of the volunteer community.
SEHAB asks that Technical Support contracts be reinstated long term. If providing this service through contracts is no longer possible we ask the Department to fund this important work through contribution agreements between DFO and the Technical Support Service providers.
Steelhead and Trout Enhancement Program
Although the number of federal hatcheries producing steelhead and cutthroat trout is small, the impact on both biological systems and opportunities for recreational and commercial fishing is significant. SEHAB is gravely concerned that the cancellation of steelhead enhancement will have far-reaching impacts on fisheries and may lead to extirpation of steelhead stocks. Recreational fishing pressure will transfer entirely from hatchery-reared steelhead to wild fish. If steelhead numbers decline it will likely result in widespread commercial and recreational fishery closures to protect remaining wild steelhead such as what happened on the Skeena River
The economic impacts will be significant: sales of fishing licenses would be severely reduced, and local tackle shops, fishing guides and small communities dependent on the enhanced steelhead fishery would face hardship. The economic loss would far exceed the savings realized from cutting this program.
If a jurisdictional issue between the Province and DFO over the enhancement of steelhead/trout is a factor, it is certainly in the best interest of both governments and the fish populations in question to negotiate an agreement as soon as possible.
SEHAB advises that:
DFO reinstate the steelhead/trout enhancement programs in federal hatchery facilities.
DFO negotiate with the Province of BC to find solutions to fund the program.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on behalf of BC’s salmonid stewardship community. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions you may have.
Leandre Vigneault, Chair
on behalf of the Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board