Op-ed: Curbing ocean acidification to protect Maine’s shellfish industry: a rationale for protecting and restoring eelgrass in Maine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlong the coast of Maine, from the Piscataqua River to Passamaquoddy Bay, eelgrass populations are declining. What is eelgrass and why should we care? Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a flowering marine plant that essentially defines the coast of Maine. It grows in thick beds that provide shelter to commercially important fish and shellfish species and other organisms that make up near-shore food webs. The underground stems and roots of the plant help to stabilize bottom sediments, thus preventing erosion and promoting water clarity.

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Maine Fishermen’s Forum Minutes: NEST Project Presentations

Fishermen’s Forum 2015

Frenchman Bay Partners panel

610 Committee panel

Location: Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Date and Time: 3-5-15, 10am-12pm

Attending: Emma Fox, Bridie McGreavy, Anna Farrell, Chris Peterson, Fiona DeKonig, Joe Porada, Jim Norris, Allie Rohrer, Hannah Annis, Natalie Springuel.

Bridie McGreavy (Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maine and FBP Secretary) introduced the New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST) session by describing the history with the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, continued involvement with key partners, and how the science is focused on solving problems. She then turned the session over to the researchers from the University of Maine.

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Shellfish Focus Day at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Rockland- Thursday, March 5, 2015 was Shellfish Day at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. Dozens of people showed up to hear academics, government representatives, and fishermen speak about the shellfish industry. Topics in the morning included red tides, economic losses from wastewater treatment plant closures, using technical and applied marine science to support management decisions, and action planning. Afternoon topics focused on viral indicators and shellfish sanitation, clam projects in Freeport, and clam farming in Maine. Click to view the Frenchman Bay Partners presentation, Working Together to Get Things Done.

Eelgrass Collaborators Meet to Share Progress and Discuss Future

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Eelgrass collaborators from Maine and New Hampshire gather at MDI Biological Laboratory.

On January 22, eelgrass scientists and others interested in eelgrass conservation in Maine and New Hampshire came together to share work in progress and discuss future directions for eelgrass research and restoration in Maine. Six presenters covered topics ranging from eelgrass loss in Frenchman Bay, Casco Bay, Lamprey Bay, and Great Bay, to what archaeological flounder bones can tell us about past eelgrass habitats. Attendees discussed possible next steps, including eelgrass restoration in Casco Bay with assistance from the MDI Biological Laboratory and partners. Read the full summary here.

 

Stakeholder groups identify similar ecosystem service priorities for Frenchman Bay

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Facilitators from Cardno-Entrix, College of the Atlantic, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, MDI Biological Laboratory, and the University of Maine were the moving force behind the development of the ESValue Decision Support Tool.

The Frenchman Bay Partners has been engaging community members in conversations about the benefits we all derive from our connections to Frenchman Bay. Last November, a series of workshops led to the development of an Ecosystem Services Value Decision Support Tool. The tool helps users identify and prioritize the attributes of the bay that are most beneficial to them, which builds a shared vision of resource management and a common language for discussion. Read the full FBP ESValue Technical Report, including background, results, and next steps.

Stay tuned: Another stakeholder meeting aimed at prioritizing ecosystem services will take place on the Hancock side of the bay this spring.

Ocean acidification panel calls for action to address threat

 

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The Ocean Acidification Commission on Thursday presents its report to the public and unveils four bills for the legislative session. (from left to right: Richard Nelson of Friendship, Rep. Joan Welsh, D-Rockport, Rep. Wayne Parry, R-Arundel, Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, and Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle)

Ocean acidification panel calls for action to address threat
Legislative members to unveil four proposals to protect marine ecosystem, coastal economy

AUGUSTA – The Commission to Study the Effects of Coastal and Ocean Acidification on Commercially Harvested and Grown Species on Thursday presented its report to the public and unveiled four proposals for the current legislative session that are informed by the panel’s work.

“Maine is taking the lead on ocean acidification on the Eastern seaboard. We understand just how dangerous it is to our marine environment, jobs and way of life,” said Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, co-chair of the panel and sponsor of the legislation that created it. “It isn’t just valuable shellfisheries that are at risk, but other parts of our economy like tourism. No one visits the Maine coast looking for a chicken sandwich. Let’s make sure visitors can have a lobster roll, a bowl of clam chowder, a bucket of steamers or a platter of Damariscotta River oysters on the half shell when they come to Maine.”

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Jenn Booher’s Coast Walk to document objects and species along the coast of MDI

jellyfishFrenchman Bay Partners member and Bar Harbor artist Jenn Booher will be walking the length of Mount Desert Island’s shoreline over the next two years, photographing the objects she finds on her way as part of an art and citizen science project called Coast Walk.

Jenn will be sharing the resulting photos on her blog and mapping data on the Coast Walk project on Anecdata!

The Coast Walk project will begin on January 1st, 2015. If you would like to join Jenn or find out how you can help, just email quercus@jenniferbooher.com.

Fall 2014 Newsletter

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Sunrise over Frenchman Bay. Photo credit: Bridie McGreavy

Frenchman Bay Partners has been busy! Read all about:

  • The impact conservation efforts, led by the Frenchman Bay Partners and the Maine DMR, have had on alewife populations in the area.
  • The research on green crabs and eelgrass loss, as well as restoration events, carried out this summer by scientists and interns at the Community Environmental Health Lab.
  • The progress of the 610 Project, a collaboration between the Frenchman Bay Partners and the Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee.
  • Discover what’s new on Anecdata, an online citizen science portal created by staff at the Community Environmental Health Lab.
  • Check out our e-newsletter, or subscribe today to receive quarterly updates!