Project 610 Update

The 610 Project, coordinated by Bridie McGreavy, is a collaboration between the Frenchman Bay Partners, the Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and the Hancock County Planning Commission to build capacity towards the goal of opening closed clam flats in Frenchman Bay. A grant awarded by the Maine Community Foundation in May, 2013, has lead to substantial progress.

First, an advisory board was assembled. A harvester who conducted an extensive scoping of the status of closed clam flats was hired, relationships with representatives from DMR to identify priority closure areas that might be targeted for opening were developed, and meetings with municipal staff such as town managers and licensed plumbing inspectors to follow up on the status of problem forms related to failing septics and overboard discharge were organized.

Second, regular updates and announcements about the 610 Project are provided at the monthly meetings of the shellfish committee. Through this forum, one of the harvesters was hired to create a website for the committee: http://frenchmanbay.wix.com/fbrs. The committee also has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FrenchmanBayRegionalSHellfish.

Harvester liaison Paul Davis has conducted an extensive scoping and relationship  building effort that has improved the network among different types of managers who monitor water quality, survey clams, enforce water quality violations, and who make decision about opening and closing clam flats. Through this process, conducting a watershed survey of Weir Cove has been prioritized, a step that would likely result in the identification of a pollution source(s) which would improve the  ability of this group to open this important resource area . Furthermore, progress is being made on organizational capacity building. A second harvester was hired to work on the organizational infrastructure and, as mentioned above, the newly designed website will serve as an important source and repository of information for the shellfish committee. Further funding has been provided by the New England Sustainability Consortium, which will be used to hire two students to work with the advisory board and shellfish committee members to make progress on the Weir Cove watershed survey this summer, conducting preliminary scoping and initiating a plan to contact landowners.

 

Anecdata: Collecting observations of a changing world

The idea for Anecdata grew out of CEHL’s project at eelgrassinmaine.org, developed in summer 2013 as a way to enlist the broader public in documenting loss of eelgrass in upper Frenchman Bay and elsewhere in Maine. People up and down the coast reported — and continue to report — sightings of eelgrass and places where the plant was lost. During that time, the lab was also receiving reports from the public about changes in organisms and habitats other than eelgrass. A place to put that information was needed, and a grant from Long Cove Foundation allowed Bailey to spend the winter building a larger, more robust data portal where emerging trends could be documented.

dunc@symposiumDuncan Bailey unveils Anecdata at the Acadia National Park Science Symposium on April 16.
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Upcoming Legislation: Maine Coastal Islands Wilderness Act

In April 2013, Representatives Michaud and Pingree introduced Bill H.R. 1808, the Maine Coastal Islands Wilderness Act of 2013 which would designate 3,125 acres on 13 of the 59 islands in the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness due to their wild character, ecological features, and opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation.

The Maine Coastal Islands NWR supports an incredible diversity of biological communities ranging from coastal islands to salt marshes, and its islands provide habitat for a wide variety of migratory seabirds, waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors, as well as hosting a diversity of other wildlife species and plants.

Wilderness Designation prescribes a “light touch” management approach to ensure that mature forested habitats are retained and motor vehicles do not damage these fragile islands. Wilderness Designation provides the greatest level of protection for federal lands and an Act of Congress is needed to designate land as wilderness.

The vote on this legislation will be coming up this winter.

MDIBL Receives $239k Grant for Eelgrass Restoration

Eelgrass_Restoration.jpg
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the Mount Desert Island Bio Lab a grant of $239,000 for eelgrass restoration in Frenchman Bay. The grant will enable the Lab and its partners to restore an additional 214 acres of subtidal habitat off Lamoine, Bar Harbor, and Trenton over the next two years.
The grant is the first to be awarded in Maine under the Estuary Habitat Restoration Act of 2000 and one of only two to have ever been awarded in New England. The Army Corps grant will fund two years of restoration and research activity in Frenchman Bay and two AmeriCorps positions at MDIBL.
“With the Army Corps’ support, we will be able to ramp up our research and restoration efforts substantially,” said Jane Disney, director of the Community Environmental Health Laboratory at MDIBL and president of Frenchman Bay Partners. “Our goal is a productive and sustainable future for Frenchman Bay. By restoring eelgrass, we will improve the bay’s economic productivity as well as its biodiversity.”

Workshop on market-based approaches to conservation

On Oct. 2, 2013, Tundi Agardy of Forest Trends visited Mt. Desert Island and facilitated a discussion about market-based approaches to marine conservation. Frenchman Bay Partners executive committee and other stakeholders around the bay participated in the workshop. Agardy then gave a public lecture on her work at the College of the Atlantic.

From the workshop, FBP put together a primer on market-based conservation tools, which you can download here.

Download Agardy’s presentation as a pdf here.

Presentation diagrams are from Agardy et al “Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Based Management: An Introductory Guide,” UNEP Nairobi, 2011. Diagrams were produced by the Integration and Application Network of University of Maryland