Conservation Planning Short Course at UMaine Orono

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EES 598 (Section 0860) Special Seminar in Ecology and Environmental SciencesDesigning Conservation Projects, 2 credits
The University of Maine, Orono
March 6-10, 2017
9am- 5pm

This course is focused on learning how to scope and design a real-world conservation project. It is based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, an approach to project management that is widely used by practitioners in leading conservation organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation), major funders (e.g., the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and the Moore Foundation), and key government agencies (e.g., the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Agency for International Development, and various national protected area agencies).  See http://cmp-openstandards.org/ for more background.  The course will be co-taught by staff from World Wildlife Fund and others, who have trained hundreds of practitioners in organizations and institutions, in collaboration with Aram Calhoun and Mac Hunter in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Although the course will focus on natural resource management projects the principles are relevant to many forms of project design and planning.

 We currently have 8 students registered and we need 12 to run the class so please sign up if you are interested or recruit if you are already signed up!  To reserve a spot in the class, please email Julie Eubanks at julie.eubanks@maine.edu ASAP.

Partners Continue to Explore ESV Tools

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ESV Tools, or Ecosystem Services Valuation Tools, help determine the benefits people receive from ecosystems. The Frenchman Bay Partners, in their quest to inform and support policy decisions, have been researching various tools, each possessing different emphases and strengths. Consultant Margaret Snell prepared a summary of 14 tools, highlighting their attributes, strengths, weaknesses, inputs, outputs, and scales. Next steps include determining the scope and needs of specific Frenchman Bay Partners projects and selecting the most appropriate tool.

Rockweed Group Holds Meeting

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The Frenchman Bay Partners continue to explore rockweed in Frenchman Bay. A well attended meeting back in April produced a multitude of questions centered on legal issues, rockweed ecology, and rockweed economics. To keep the conversation going, a rockweed group, headed by Hannah Webber, Schoodic Institute, and Chris Petersen, College of the Atlantic, was created. In late July, the group met to discuss the Frenchman Bay Partners Conservation Action Plan, what the concerns about rockweed are, what we know about rockweed in Frenchman Bay already, what we want to know about rockweed in Frenchman Bay, and possible next steps. You can read the minutes here.

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.
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