Section Minutes – 2015

AFS Fish Habitat Section

2015 Annual Business Meeting

Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, August 18, 2014; 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub, 112 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204


  1. Determination of Quorum (minimum of 10 members present)
    1. 24 Section Members present (7 non-members) – quorum met
  2. Call to order – John Sweka, FHS President
    1. Call to order at 6:15 p.m. by John Sweka
  3. Transition to new officers
    1. Tom Bigford transition to President
    2. John Sweka transition to Past- President
    3. Sheila Eyler continuing as Secretary/Treasurer
    4. Tom Lang elected to President-Elect
    5. Kyle Hartman steps off after being Past-President
  4. Recognition of officers and other guests – Tom Bigford
    1. John Boreman – Past President AFS
    2. Joe Margraf – President-Elect AFS, past president Fish Habitat Section
    3. Reminder from Tom to attendees that were not currently members to join AFS and the Fish Habitat Section ($10 for section membership, students free)
  5. Current AFS Issues – AFS Leadership
    1. Statements from AFS Leadership (Joe Margraf)
      1. Several activities within AFS that may influence the Fish Habitat Section
        1. AFS is hiring a development officer to work on developing a “giving” program to generate money by other means in addition to dues and seek out sources for diversity of funding as a society
        2. Income has been stagnant for AFS for several years. Rather than increase costs for dues/membership, AFS is looking for other sources of funding for organization
        3. AFS is evaluating options for both small and large scale donations
      2. An extra issue of “Fisheries” will be published before the end of 2015 that is dedicated to education
  • Upcoming Annual Meetings:
    1. 2016 in Kansas City (Big rivers will be one theme)
    2. 2017 in Tampa – nice venue, no transport needed between sites for meeting (Gulf of Mexico restoration may be a significant topic for meeting, including the BP spill and upland connections)
    3. 2018 in Atlantic City – lots of marine topics, transportation from the airports may be challenging, working with local groups to facilitate transport to meeting from Philadelphia
    4. 2019 in Reno – will be a joint national meeting with The Wildlife Society, likely to be a highly attended meeting
    5. 2020 – 150th Anniversary of AFS annual meetings. Location TBD (will not be New York City), considering Chicago, Washington D.C. and others (priority will be North Central Region, but other options will be considered)
  1. President’s Comments – Tom Bigford
    1. Priorities for Presidency:
      1. To build on previous work on website and social media
      2. Foster existing partnership with the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP)
  • Continue to support student travel awards
  1. Work on increasing Section membership
  2. Get more members involved with Section activities
  3. Continue to develop symposia for annual meetings and find opportunities to overlap with other sections with similar or overlapping interests
  • Aid in development and implementation of a “Unit Survival Guide” through AFS
  • The guide will assist units to determine what to do and how to do it within the umbrella of AFS
  1. Approval of minutes from 2014 Business Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada – Sheila Eyler, FHS Secretary/Treasurer
    1. Meeting minutes were distributed via email to the Section membership by Sheila Eyler on August 11, 2015
    2. Kyle Hartman made a motion to approve the minutes, the motion was seconded by Mark Gard, unanimous approval
      1. Tom Bigford had minor alterations for name spelling corrections will send to Sheila Eyler
    3. Review of Financial Report – Sheila Eyler
      1. Beginning balance (August 1, 2014) – $6,947.61
      2. Ending balance (July 31, 2015) – $8,201.21
      3. Income for previous year $2,760.00 (section dues)
      4. Outflows for previous year $1,506.40 (refreshments for 2014 annual meeting, best student presentation award, chapter insurance, donations to Skinner and EOS, Habitat Section Award)
      5. Question from Sean Connolly (USFWS) – how is Section money allocated and/or spent?
        1. Discussion postponed on this topic
      6. Committee Reports
        1. Website/Facebook – Kyle Hartman
          1. Website is up but needs to be updated again (with new officers)
          2. Seeking a new coordinator from Section members
  • Facebook page still being maintained by Tom Lang
  1. Student Presentation Awards – John Sweka
    1. Last year’s winner was Dan Stitch for his talk on downstream smolt migration
    2. The winner receives a plaque/certificate and $100 cash award
  • The FHS Student Presentation Award will be given again at this year
  1. NFHP and FHS Award – Tom Bigford
    1. The FHS award is a parallel to the Nancy Foster Award now given biennially by NOAA Fisheries
    2. The FHS has a joint Fish Habitat Award with NFHP
  • Last year’s winners were Tim Birdsong for work on black bass, and Kelly Hepler for work on NFHP
  1. The award was presented to the recipients at the annual regional NFHP meeting
  2. John Sweka and Ryan Roberts (NFHP) will be releasing a call for nominations for this year’s award by late August 2015
  3. FHS is requesting help from members to participate in a review committee for award nominations
    1. 3 reviewers each needed from FHS and NFHP
    2. John Sweka requested interested potential reviewers to talk to him after the meeting
    3. Nominees and award recipients do not have to be working on NFHP projects, but they do need to be doing fish habitat work
  4. Old Business – Tom Bigford
    1. Website and social media
      1. AFS just passed a communications strategic plan
      2. FHS efforts should fall under that overarching plan
    2. Symposia endorsed by FHS and in Portland program
      1. Wednesday, 8:40-4:00 – Dam Removals: Fishery and Habitat Response (with Water Quality Section and Bioengineering Section)
      2. Wednesday, 8:00-4:00 – Developments in Low-Cost Sonar Applications in Aquatic Research and Conservation (with Fisheries Information and Technology Section)
  • Wednesday, 1:20-4:00 – Implementation of the National Fish Habitat Partnership: Progress in Protecting, Restoring, and Enhancing Fish Habitats, Fish, and Fisheries in the United States, Part 1 (with NFHP)
  1. Thursday, 8:00-12:00 – Warm-Water Fishes in a Warming World: Impacts of Climate Change on Populations, Distributions, and Habitat
  2. Thursday, 8:00-5:20 – Implementation of the National Fish Habitat Partnership: Progress in Protecting, Restoring, and Enhancing Fish Habitats, Fish, and Fisheries in the United States, Part 2
  3. Thursday, 8:00-5:20 – Resolving the Multiple Impacts of Anthropogenic Eutrophication on Coastal Fish and Fisheries (with Marine Fisheries Section and Estuaries Section)
  • Other sections have suggested partnering again for 2016 meeting
  1. Best Student Paper Award
    1. We have a large number of sponsored symposia which makes judging more challenging (some overlap and can’t have same judges for all presentations)
    2. Need at least 3 judges per presentation (sessions are on Wednesday and Thursday)
  • Volunteer judges will need to return completed evaluation forms to John Sweka (or session moderators) before the end of the meeting
    1. John Sweka will tally results after the meeting and have an announcement for the winner by early September 2015
    2. The winner will received a wood plaque with certificate and a $100 cash award
    3. John requested a volunteer to take over student presentation judging organization for the 2016 Annual Meeting
      1. Tim Hanrahan volunteered to take over the best student presentation award coordination for the 2016 Annual Meeting
    4. NFHP and FHS Award
      1. John Sweka will be soliciting reviewers for award nominations in late summer/early fall 2015
    5. New Business – Tom Bigford
      1. Website and social media
        1. Issue was previously discussed
      2. Exporting fish messages to other societies, events, etc.
        1. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (November 8-12, 2015, in Portland, OR) –
          1. Tom Bigford is liaison to that group
          2. A technical session on “Fish as Integrators of Estuarine Health” will be hosted by AFS to add more fish focus
        2. Restore America’s Estuaries – The Coastal Society Summit on Habitat Restoration (December 2016, in New Orleans, LA)
          1. Currently in early stages of discussion to participate in this meeting
          2. There is a strong Gulf of Mexico focus here which may lead into topics for Annual AFS meeting in 2017 in Tampa, FL
  • Both groups meet every other year
  1. Cindy Williams (USFWS) said Linda Walker (USFWS) heads up Gulf restoration efforts, and Cindy is willing to help facilitate discussions between FHS and FWS (Tom Bigford will lead for FHS)
  1. AFS Kansas City meeting (August 20-25, 2016)
    1. Ideas for symposia or individual technical sessions
      1. Underwater sound as threat to fish populations (symposium)
        1. East Carolina University currently working on this issue, among others
        2. May involve passive acoustic monitoring as a method to detect impacts of underwater sound
        3. Discussion of impacts of noise from roadways, bridge crossing, and flight paths
      2. Upstream issues as lead in to Gulf of Mexico session in Tampa Bay in 2017
        1. Source to sink impacts
        2. Mention of large international waters (i.e. Yangtze, Mississippi, and possibly Amazon)
      3. Connection between farmers and fisherman to link harvest on land and harvest at sea (symposium)
        1. Could be large symposium joint with both USDA and FHS
        2. There is a video on this topic being shown at this annual meeting covering the Mississippi River, Gulf of Maine cod fishing, and Pacific salmon fishing. For information, go to
      4. Micky Porter suggested to look at how to manage sediment in sandbars to create habitat (symposium)
  • Army Corps is integral to river management with their large dams (symposium or possible field trip)
  1. Sean Connolly suggested a technical session on communication and education
    1. There is a need to integrate communication and education talks within the technical sessions instead of having those types of talks in sessions dedicated to outreach and education
  2. Potato farms using ground water may impact fish resources (perhaps part of a larger symposium on agriculture)
  3. Workshops for Sunday
    1. Discussed possibilities for site visits prior to meeting
  • Continuing Education courses
    1. Possibly use the communication/education component as part of a Continuing Education course for FHS
    2. Cindy Williams – the Army Corps had a tour by river barge at a previous meeting that was very informative
      1. There may be potential for similar trip in Kansas City
  • Scheduling our meeting with respect to Water Quality Section, Bioengineering Section, Estuaries Section, and other common partners; avoid those meetings, joint with one or more, etc.
    1. Discussed potential for FHS to meet in tandem with another section during the Annual Meeting
    2. Fish Management
      1. Already meeting jointly with Fisheries Administration Section
    3. Bioengineering and Water Quality
      1. This year all three sections met separately but there are a lot of overlapping interests and could be better coordination in future
      2. Some concern over with multi-group business meetings getting too long, having “separate” business meetings and then a “joint” gathering at the end may be a way to get more involvement without detracting from other Sections
    4. Having offsite meeting was successful and well received at the 2015 Annual Meeting
      1. There was cost savings and the meeting was better attended than in the past
      2. Should do an off-site meeting again in 2016
        1. Will need to find a volunteer to identify and coordinate a location for our meeting
      3. Adjourn
        1. Meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m. by Tom Bigford