Section Minutes – 2017

AFS Fish Habitat Section Meeting Minutes

2017 Annual Business Meeting/

Tampa, Florida

Joint Meeting with the Water Quality Section

Tuesday, August 22, 2017; 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Marriott Waterfront Hotel – Florida Salon IV

  1. Determination of Quorum (minimum of 10 members present) – Sheila Eyler
    • 20 members present
    • 29 total people present
  1. Call to order – Tom Bigford, FHS President – 5:35
  2. Recognition of AFS and FHS officers and other guests – Tom Bigford
    • FHS Officers Tom Bigford, President; Tom Lang, President-elect; John Sweka, Past-President; Sheila Eyler, Secretary/Treasurer
    • AFS Leadership attending – Joe Margraf (President), Joe Boreman (Past President)
  1. Outgoing President’s Comments – Tom Bigford
    • We have had great efforts to improve our social media connection thanks to Joe Nohner and Adrienne McLean.  We have been able to maintain strong membership numbers this year when other membership has been declining.  The new Reporting Tool from AFS that is used to track activities of the Society has changed somewhat than what was previously required.  We will need to be mindful of the changes so that we can be prepared for future reporting requirements.  The Section has been very active with symposium and technical sessions at the Annual Meeting.
  1. Approval of minutes from 2017 Business Meeting, Kansas City, MO – Sheila Eyler
    • Motion to approve by Joe Margraf, seconded by Margret Murphy,  minutes approved.
  1. Review of Financial Report – Sheila Eyler
    • Current account balance
      • Beginning Account Balance (8/1/2016):  $9,525.45
      • Inflows (membership dues and donation): $2,950.00
      • Outflows: $1,666.22
      • Ending Balance (7/31/2016): $10,809.22
  • FHS has a substantial balance and there was a question of what we plan to do with that money. There was a suggestion to invest our money along with Society Investments, or to support Student Travel.  Future consideration should be made on how to best use those funds.
  1. Committee Reports
    • NFHP Board Report – Tom Lang
      • Tom Bigford currently serves on the National Fish Habitat Partnership Board.  Tom Lang will be stepping up to serve on the Board after this meeting.  NFHP celebrated their 10 year anniversary last year.  They started “Beyond the Pond” as a non-profit organization to support the program.
    • Student Presentation Awards – John Sweka
      • FHS provides an award for best student presentation in FHS sponsored symposia.  John Sweka had organized judging last year and Steve Brown took over for this year.  FHS sponsored 8 symposia this year, but only one student is actually presenting in our sponsored symposia.  What can we do to make more opportunities for students to compete for the award?  We could potentially expand consideration to other sessions that are not FHS sponsored, but contain habitat content.  We could possibly include posters in the competition.  There is difficulty to identify students in symposia, so maybe when abstracts are submitted that they claim student status so that they are easier to identify in the program.  This probably needs to be included at registration or abstract submittal to make identification easier and also offer an opportunity for us to advertise the award.  This requires further discussion with staff at AFS.
    • NFHP and FHS Award – Tom Bigford
      • We have partnered with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to do a freshwater version of the Nancy Foster Award.  The freshwater award process has been going slowly this year, partly because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service no longer participates in NFHAP meetings.  Therefore there will be no award in 2017.  There may be an announcement this fall at the AFWA meeting with a subsequent award in 2018.
    • Membership Report – Sheila Eyler
      • 674 Current Members (up from 589 in 2016)
      • 398 Students
      • 192 Regular
      • 57 Young Professionals
      • 17 Life
      • 10 Retired
      • Additional benefits to Society membership is coming, including free access to AFS journals, however the membership fee is increasing.
    • Social Media/Website Report – Adrienne McLean
      • Goal of social media is to increase visibility of the section which has been accomplished by the formation of the webpage, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
        1. Blogs – There were a total of 80 blogs, completed by a blogging team of 9 members. Weekly blogs done on Tuesday morning and consist of research articles, information about fish habitat, or events.
        2. Website – This year there has been a 103% increase in website views, and the number of users went up from 2400 to 5200. Total page views increased from 5,000 to 10,000.  The number of users who visit multiple pages decreased from 1.56 to 1.45 in the past year and the time spent on the page has decreased, however this may be a function of frequent visitors not spending time looking at older content.  Viewers are from 103 countries, which is an increase from 82 last year.  The primary audience is 25-44 year olds.)
        3. Facebook – The Post Reach has increased to 188 from 139 per week. The total number of reactions (likes, etc.) has not changed from the past year.  The total page likes increased from 699 last year to >800 this year.
  2. Old Business – Tom Bigford
  • There were 8 symposia endorsed or assisted by FHS at this year’s Annual Meeting. We also supported the workshop “Through a Fish’s Eye: The 2015 NFHP Habitat Assessment for Freshwater and Marine Workshop” and “Monsters of Fish Habitat Workshop” in association with the Marine Fisheries and Estuaries Sections.
  • The Best Student Paper Award from the FHS at the 2016 Annual Meeting was awarded to Corey DeBoom from University of Illinois for his presentation entitled “Testing hypotheses linking coarse woody habitat, fish populations, and food webs in experimental ecosystems.” Corey received a plaque and $100 check.
  • NFHP and FHS Award – We will be soliciting reviewers for award nominations in late summer/early fall.
  • NOAA 20th Anniversary of Essential Fish Habitat program event was held at the Restore America’s Estuaries Summit in Louisiana last winter. The FHS helped fund refreshments for the event.

9. New Business – Tom Lang

  1. Election Results
    • Kim Dibble – President-Elect
    • Michael Porter – Secretary/Treasurer
  2. Service Appreciation Awards
    • Sheila Eyler – outgoing Secretary/Treasurer
    • Tom Bigford – outgoing President
  3. New President’s Remarks
    • The Section is doing well and is very active in the Society, and he wants to continue with what we have been doing with respect to workshop and symposia.  We might consider possibly putting our money to work for the Section and the Society.  He plans to stay engaged in policy during their transition within AFS.  One problem is that a lot of students and young professionals don’t necessarily recruit into our long-term membership.  Partly that is because some don’t stay employed in the field, but others may be employed, but don’t stay involved.  One way to increase involvement is to have liaisons from FHS membership to other partnerships (i.e. NFHAP) so the students and young professionals can be more connected by participating and reporting back to the section on work of the partnerships.
  4. Upcoming Annual Meetings
    • 2018 – Atlantic City
    • 2019 – Reno (joint meeting with The Wildlife Society)
    • We will try to have FHS symposia or individual technical sessions that have cross-programmatic symposia (watershed focused) that incorporate both fish and upland habitat concerns.
    • 2020 – Columbus (150 years)
  5. Other Business
    • A member asked how we decide what symposium we sponsor and what does that mean? FHS offers no monetary support for sessions, but we will help organize, identify speakers, and moderate sessions.  Through the Fish’s Eye was first habitat related Continuing Education course we have offered.
    • One focus of our section to encourage and engage young professionals in the Society. AFS is talking about having a Young Professional social which would be a follow up to the Student Social to help keep Young Professionals engaged in the Society.  FHS would be supportive of that event.
    • The Mossback habitat display at the tradeshow has been donated to the silent auction. The display usually gets donated to the host state, but Florida has a contract with the company, so items cannot be donated to the state.
  1. The FHS portion of the joint meeting was adjourned at 6:11 p.m.