Never Smelt So Good

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The Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Communities class at COA is busy churning out educational and engaging blog posts all about their adventures. The latest? “Never Smelt So Good: The 16th Annual Smelt Fry and Fisheries Celebration” regales readers about the delicious smelt fry hosted by the Downeast Salmon Federation in Columbia Falls, Maine.

The 16th Annual Smelt Fry and Fisheries Celebration was quite a success in raising awareness for important fish species like smelt and Atlantic salmon that need river systems, and the event brought together members of the Downeast Maine community, whose support for Maine fish is vital to their continued survival. Community events like the smelt fry are important to bring people from various backgrounds together to work towards a collective vision to keep local fisheries healthy for all, while having a great time! Want to help in the recovery of smelt or Atlantic salmon in Maine?  This website has some good ideas and you can visit DSF’s site to find out how to help out with their programs.

COA students from the Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Community class conversing with attendees of the Smelt Fry in Columbia Falls. Photo Credit: C.J. Pellegrini

Alewives and Spring Cleaning

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The Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Communities class at COA, co-taught by Chris Petersen and Natalie Springuel, worked with the Somes Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary to clean out and rebuild sections of the fish passages in Somesville in anticipation of this year’s alewife run. They learned some area history, some neat things about diadromous fishes, and got their feet wet (literally!) engaging with the community:

It allowed us to hopefully make a tangible impact on a species in our region and to interact with people who put an incredible amount of work into the preservation of this environment for the future. We were able to engage with our community in a way that truly felt important and useful. By literally jumping into the work on the creeks, we were able to engage with the past, present, and future of the Somes Pond alewife run, and that was truly a rewarding experience.

Read about their adventures here!

Middle Fish Passageway – Photo Credit – Billy Helprin

Rockweed Meeting Follow Up

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The Frenchman Bay Partners hosted a successful rockweed meeting on April 2, 2016. 72 individuals attended the three hour meeting, which included four presentations from various industry, conservation, and academic experts, and a question and answer panel session. Many thanks to everyone who participated in any capacity!

  • Check out the new “Rockweed” tab under “Projects”. We’ve posted planning documents, meeting minutes and presentations, relevant documents from interested parties, and newspaper articles.
  • We’re sorting through, organizing, and soliciting expert answers for some of the questions asked during the panel session. All the questions will be posted in time. Thank you for your patience as we design a webpage specifically for these questions.
  • The Frenchman Bay Partners Steering Committee met on April 7 to discuss adding rockweed as a conservation target and is developing a proposal now.
  • The proposal to add rockweed to the Frenchman Bay Plan as a conservation target will be brought before the full Frenchman Bay Partner membership at the Annual Meeting on May 21, 2016.
  • Check out the blog post students from Chris Petersen and Natalie Springuel’s Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Communities course at College of the Atlantic wrote about the rockweed meeting: Between a Rock and a Weed Place.

Frenchman Bay Partners to Host Rockweed Meeting

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The Frenchman Bay Partners is hosting an informational Rockweed Meeting on April 2, 2016 from 9-12 pm at the Sullivan/Sorrento Recreation Center. Rockweed is a seaweed with a wide range of uses. It has recently made headlines in the Frenchman Bay area, and was brought up by some Partners as a concern. The major issue is, “Who owns the rockweed?” In response, the Partners decided to host an educational meeting to learn about the impacts and sustainability of rockweed harvesting, the legal and policy issues surrounding the seaweed, and the biology of the plant itself. At the meeting, a variety of speakers will give their perspectives on rockweed, and a panel question and answer session will follow the presentations. The Frenchman Bay Partners will decide on next steps after the meeting, including if the Partners would like to integrate rockweed as a conservation target. For more information, contact Anna Farrell at afarrell@mdibl.org.

Mayday: Gulf of Maine in Distress

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The Portland Press Herald is running a 6-part series by award-winning author and Press Herald reporter Colin Woodard titled “Mayday: Gulf of Maine in distress”. Woodard touches on the same targets the Frenchman Bay Partners have identified, and much more. To view each part of the series click on the links below.

Part 1: Big changes are occurring in one of the fastest-warming spots on Earth – Yarmouth Bar, Nova Scotia
Canadian government hinders scientists from talking about climate change – St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Part 2: As Gulf of Maine warms, puffins recast as canaries in a coal mine – Eastern Egg Rock
Part 3: Gulf of Maine’s cold-craving marine species forced to retreat to deeper waters – Veazie Dam Site
Part 4: Invasive species exploit a warming Gulf of Maine, sometimes with destructive results – Brunswick
Part 5: Shellfish can’t keep up with shifting ocean chemistry – Walpole
Part 6: Maine isn’t doing enough to protect Gulf from effects of climate change – Augusta

FBP Steering Committee Meets to Discuss Rockweed

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It’s something everyone’s talking about, and Frenchman Bay Partners is no exception. Rockweed, or Ascophyllum nodosum, is a seaweed that grows in the intertidal. According to a rockweed fact sheet published by the Maine Sea Grant, rockweed is a valuable resource. It is harvested for use in food, fertilizer, soil conditioners, animal feed, and other products. Coastal Maine began seeing commercial-scale harvesting in the 1970s; rockweed management has been a discussion ever since. Continue reading

HCPC Has Grant Funds for Environmental Site Assessments

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The Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC) has received a $400,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program.  The grant is intended to spur re-use of sites where there is potential contamination.  HCPC has used the grant funds to hire an environmental consultant to conduct site investigations.
Continue reading

Thank you, Frenchman Bay Partners

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I wish to express my thanks to all who participated in the recent Frenchman Bay Partners Survey! Our response rate was 41.67%, so nearly half of the Partners are represented in the survey results. The preliminary results are intriguing, so I encourage each of you to contribute your responses if you haven’t already. Every point of view matters! I am excited to share the aggregate, summarized survey results in a technical report later this fall. For anyone who did not get a chance to fill out the survey but is interested in participating, please use the unique survey code you received through email in August. If you lost your unique survey code, please email me at emma.fox@maine.edu for a code and link to the survey. Thank you again for your participation!

Sincerely,

Emma Fox

New England Sustainability Consortium Update and Request for Your Help!

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photo 5I’m Emma Fox, a former AmeriCorps with MDI Biological Laboratory, now a Master’s Student in Ecology and Environmental Science with the University of Maine School of Economics. You may remember me from my presentation about the New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST) at the Frenchman Bay Partners (FBP) 2015 Annual Meeting at College of the Atlantic.

A response report for a NEST Maine and New Hampshire coast-wide survey is now available (by request), with information on citizen perceptions of: current water quality, factors that impact water quality and consequences of changing water quality in Maine and New Hampshire. As a Partner, you will receive an invitation later this summer to participate in a similar survey. I’m working on making the coast-wide data even more relevant for FBP work, so I plan to use the survey results to produce an FBP-centered report and provide support for the Partners as we continue to explore market-based solutions to conservation and Ecosystem Service Valuation. The FBP survey and subsequent technical report will be a piece of my Master’s thesis research.

So, how clean is our water? 

DSCN0010When evaluating the outcomes of water quality testing from beach areas, National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) “Testing the Waters 2014” ranked Maine #27 out of 30 in terms of water quality, and New Hampshire was ranked #2, only behind Delaware. Maine and New Hampshire’s coastal residents did not necessarily agree with the NRDC rankings, indicating a potential gap between perceptions and water quality testing: 68.8% of respondents said that Maine had very good or excellent coastal water quality, compared to 46.3% of respondents who said NH had very good or excellent coastal water quality.

Do citizens think about what impacts our coastal water quality?

71% of residents did not believe there was any change they could make to their behavior that might negatively affect coastal water quality; however, 94% of residents believed that if their neighbors changed their behavior, it could improve coastal water quality.

What are citizen priorities for coastal managers?

Residents had strong opinions about coastal manager priorities: “reducing pollution entering coastal environments” was listed by residents as a top priority for coastal managers, followed by “protection or enhancement of coastal water quality.” When asked to contribute financially towards protecting coastal water quality, 61.3% of residents responded that they would agree to pay higher water/sewer/septic fees to improve coastal water quality.

Thank you for your continued interest in this important work, and thanks in advance for your participation in the upcoming survey!