1. Call to Order – 17:00. President Kathryn Boyer called the meeting to order, thanked everyone for participating in the meeting, and conveyed her appreciation to Executive Secretary Pister and Death Valley National Park Visitor Center Staff for hosting the Council.
2. Approval of the 2014 Business Meeting Minutes – 17:05. Member Lloyd Findley made a motion to correct one small punctuation error in the minutes, and then accept as written. Stan Gregory seconded the motion.
3. Acknowledgment of exemplary service by DFC member Lesley Fitzpatrick – 17:10 Jess Gwinn and Mary Richardson read a letter written by Steve Spangle of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, honoring 25 years of service by member Lesley Fitzpatrick.
4. Executive Secretary Report — 17:25. Phil Pister addressed the Council briefly about our legacy of conservation science and management, as written in the brief history handout Phil provided in the registration packets. Phil also summarized our finances and reassured the Council that although we suffered a net loss after our meeting in Cabo San Lucas, our attendance at this meeting has re-charged our balance sheets. Phil thanked the membership for their continued support and strong showing here in Death Valley.
5 DFC President’s Report – 17:30 Kathryn Boyer provided a brief report of her activities as President in 2015. In February she sent out a newsletter to all members encouraging them to pay their annual membership dues and highlighting the value of membership. In April 2015 Kathryn assisted Member-at-Large Kate Boersma with a letter to The Honorable Mike Connor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior, to express opposition to the proposed Soda Mountain Solar Project in the Mohave Desert of California. In June Kathryn convened a mid-year meeting of the Executive Committee, held in Tucson. Topics and discussion points were shared on the council website. In August 2015, Kathryn gave a paper about DFC at the Nongame Native Fish Symposium of the AFS International Meeting in Portland, where DFC member Paul Scheerer received the Conservationist of the Year Award from the AFS Native Fish Committee. Kathryn represented DFC at the 2015 Western Division AFS Business Meeting and agreed to be a Co-chair with Luke Schultz, USGS, in developing a native fish symposium for the WDAFS meeting in Reno in spring of 2016. In September, Kathryn and all EXCOMM members drafted a list of DUTIES OF EXCOMM OFFICERS to encourage members to run for office and facilitate an easier transition when new officers are elected. Also in September, Kathryn signed an AFS petition on behalf of DFC to develop a new Section called the Imperiled Aquatic Species Section of the American Fisheries Society. This Section was accepted by AFS. DFC members who are also members of AFS are encouraged to participate in the Section, for the purpose of collecting, exchanging, and disseminating information relevant to the conservation and management of imperiled freshwater organisms, promoting the conservation of imperiled freshwater organisms, and conducting symposia, workshops, short courses, or other activities that contribute to the conservation and management of imperiled freshwater organisms. In September, Kathryn assisted Eric Gustafson’s family with development of an announcement for donations in Eric’s memory that can be made to Desert Fishes Council’s Conservation Grant Program. In closing Kathryn personally thanked the Council members and all the people who assisted her as President over the past 2 years.
6. DFC Past President’s Report –17:40. Heidi Blasius reported on the Graduate Student-Professional Speed-Networking Workshop and thanked Marlis and Michael Douglas for their continued support of this event. Heidi also reported on the success of the raffle fund raiser being held this year and thanked members for their generosity in donating items for raffle, and purchasing raffle tickets. Finally, Heidi thanked the Council for the opportunity to serve on the EXCOMM for a record 6 years, four as President and two as Past-President. Heidi received a well-deserved ovation as she exited the podium.
7. Report of the Membership Secretary – 17:55. Peter Reinthal reported that only 144 members paid dues in 2015. We have 32 less attendees at this meeting than were registered in 2012. Peter also stated nobody purchases a DFC membership except to attend meetings. The topic of member retention and recruitment will be discussed by the EXCOMM and actions taken to strengthen our total membership numbers.
8. Report of the Program Secretary – 18:05. Clayton Crowder did not provide a report.
9. Report of the Areas Coordinator, 18:05. Doug Duncan indicated that the Species Accounts need to be updated to reflect changes in taxonomic nomenclature.
10. Report of the Member-at-Large, 18:10. Kate Boersma reported on a letter she prepared with David Lamfrom with the National Parks Conservation Association Petition to nominate the North and South Soda Mountains as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern This project is of interest to DFC because of threats to groundwater–dependent ecosystems and vulnerability of the Mojave Tui Chub. Kate thanked Megan Bean and Evan Carson for being on the DFC Conservation Grant Awards Committee. She introduced Damon Peterson, Chuck Minckley, and Eric Moody as winners of the 2015 Conservation Grant Awards, and Carlos Ballesteros-Cordova as the winner of both a Conservation Award and the WL Minckley Memorial Grant. Lastly, Kate informed the Council of the candidates for Executive Committee positions: President: Peter Reinthal and Michael Bogan; Program Secretary: David Rogowski and Eric Moody; Membership Secretary: Lesley Fitzpatrick; Areas Coordinator: Brandon Albrecht and Doug Duncan. Kate also read a statement submitted by Brandon to the Council in support of his election because he was unable to attend the meeting.
11. Report of the Treasurer, 18:20. Stewart Reid. Stewart waived this report to save time. The financial report is available to anyone who is interested by contacting Stewart.
12. Minckley Conservation Award Presentation. 18:20 On behalf of the Minckley Family, Chuck Minckley presented the Award to Gary Scoppettone, who recently retired after 36 years of service to the US Department of Interior as a Research Scientist. Dr. Scoppettone authored over 50 publications and has been instrumental in the conservation of desert fishes for decades. Awards for best student presentations and posters were not announced at the Business Meeting, but the award recipients are reported in these Minutes in order to recognize and formally document the excellent contributions these students made to the 2015 meeting of the Council: Student Poster Award: presented to Alyssa V. Sanchez, University of New Mexico for her poster: Sanchez, Alyssa V.; Osborne, Megan; Gilbert, Eliza. Relationship of genetic diversity metrics to density in two imperiled Canadian River fishes, Arkansas River Shiner and Plains Minnow. Hubbs Award: presented to Rebecca Frus, University of New Mexico for her paper: Frus, Rebecca; Crossey, Laura; Bixby, Rebecca. Habitat conditions for the endangered Zuni Bluehead Sucker, Catostomus discobolus yarrowi, Zuni Mountains New Mexico: Continuous monitoring and hydrogeochemistry of springs. R. R. and Frances Miller Award: presented to Carlos A. Ballesteros-Cordova, University of Sonora, for his paper: Ballesteros-Cordova, Carlos A.; Varela-Romero, Alejandro; Ruiz-Campos, Gorgonio; Findley, Lloyd; Grijalva-Chon, Jose M.; Gutierrez-Millan, Luis E. Identifying a potentially cryptic species of Gila in Sonora, Mexico.
13. New Business of the Council: 18:40 Report on 2016 meeting. Tom Turner provided a brief overview and power point presentation about the exciting plans for the 2016 meeting to be held November 15-19 in Albuquerque. See the DFC website for additional information about the 2016 meeting.
14.Executive Committee Elections: 19:00. Ballots were distributed and members voted. Due to the late time, Kate declared that the votes would be tallied after the banquet and the winners would be announced the next morning at the beginning of the technical sessions. The winners are hereby reported to the Council in the Business Meeting Minutes: Michael Bogan was elected President, David Rogowski was elected Program Secretary, Lesley Fitzpatrick was elected Membership Secretary, and Doug Duncan was re-elected Areas Coordinator.
15. A motion was made to adjourn the meeting at 19:15. The motion was seconded and the meeting adjourned immediately.
Respectfully submitted, Kathryn Boyer, President, Desert Fishes Council