Fishers Island may be relatively quiet over the winter months, but the Fishers Island Seagrass Management (FISM) Coalition has kept busy continuing its work to establish a co-management process for the Island’s seagrass meadows with the island community and the state sharing authority and responsibility. In 2017, with expertise provided by Chantal Collier of The Nature Conservancy, the Museum launched the FISM Coalition. Its members represent organizations and stakeholder groups who interact with the island’s seagrass habitats in many different ways, including recreational activities, transportation, governance, and marine dependent businesses. These individuals generously share their time, knowledge and concerns at Coalition meetings, and communicate information back to other members of the stakeholder groups they represent.
As of May 2019, the Coalition has met seven times, focusing at each meeting on fact-finding through guest speaker presentations, on defining the vision and mission of the group, and on developing Coalition goals and decision-making processes to guide further action. The hiring of Emily Bodell, the FISM Project Coordinator, in November 2018 has been instrumental in facilitating the work of the Coalition. Next steps include supporting on-island monitoring, implementing education and outreach involving seagrass habitats, and continuing to develop a management plan.
This summer, the FISM Coalition will be sponsoring water quality monitoring in Hay Harbor and West Harbor, both locations with significant areas of seagrass. In addition, the Coalition is planning to launch a “human use” monitoring pro-gram that evaluates how people use the seagrass areas around the island—think boating, fishing, and land use. Volunteers are needed for these endeavors! No prior experience is necessary—only enthusiasm for the cause. If you are interested in volunteering for either of these programs, please contact Emily Bodell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All community members are invited to attend, observe, and offer comments at Coalition meetings, which are held every two to three months at the Museum. Meeting dates can be found on the community calendar.