Mayday: Gulf of Maine in Distress

by |

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

by |

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

by |

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

by |

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 for a code and link to the survey. Thank you again for your participation!


Emma Fox

New England Sustainability Consortium Update and Request for Your Help!

by |

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!


Clam Seeding Success

by |

Thanks to the great participation by many, we had successful clam seeding and netting events this weekend at Raccoon Cove in Lamoine and Settler’s Landing in Hancock. Joe, Steve, and Bill led effort, Chris and students from COA did an initial survey for abundance, and Mark from the DEP measured pH at each plot.

Grow clams, grow!

2015 Annual Meeting

by |

The Gates Center at College of the Atlantic (COA) was abuzz with 40 Partners and COA students on May 2nd at the Frenchman Bay Partners Annual Meeting. The third annual meeting was organized around a series of Flash Talks, each followed by breakout sessions modeled on the World Cafe, a model that structures conversations around specific questions. Eight speakers presented on a variety of topics relating to successes of the Frenchman Bay Partners and emerging opportunities.  Continue reading

Downeast Salmon Federation Seeks Volunteers for Spring Smelt Surveys

by |

The Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF) is looking for people with an interest in recreational smelt fishing, natural history buffs and/or citizen scientists, to help collect data on the health of the sea-run smelt population, and help identify smelt habitat, in Downeast Maine. This project extends all the way from Stonington to the St. Croix, so we are inviting people anywhere in that region to participate in monitoring streams near where they live. Recreational smelt anglers can provide information on the health of this fishery by making a few simple observations while out smelting.

There are hundreds of smelt streams in our area, and any one person would find it impossible to check all of them for spawning smelts. That is why we are reaching out the community to help collect as much information as we can, so we can stay up to date on the health of our Downeast smelt population.

A decline in sea-run smelt numbers the past couple of years pushed the Department of Marine Resources to implement an emergency closure to the fishery in 2014, and resulted in changes to regulations on recreational smelt harvests this year. It is important to collect information on our local smelt populations to ensure they are healthy, and to keep regulations appropriate for this region. Visit the Maine Department of Marine Resources website for more information on sea-run smelt fishing regulations at

The Downeast Salmon Federation is a community-based, non-profit fisheries conservation organization focused on maintaining sea-run fish, improving and protecting habitat, and securing public access to streams and rivers. Therefore, if you have a favorite smelt stream, and are interested in participating in our smelt stream surveys, or supporting us in other ways, please contact us at our hatchery facilities in East Machias (255-0676) or Columbia Falls (483-4336) or via e mail ( We will also be offering informative trainings for interested smelt survey participants. Please use the contact information above to find a training nearest you.

Op-ed: A rationale for protecting and restoring eelgrass in Maine

by |

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.

Continue reading