The Frenchman Bay Partners (hereafter Partners) are a diverse group of people who help organizations in the watershed work together for ecosystem health and marine-based livelihoods. The Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee (hereafter Shellfish Committee) formed in 2009 in response to widespread red-tide closures to manage the intertidal mudflat resources in the 7 towns in the ordinance. The respective missions of two organizations address the long-term stewardship of the region’s resources. The two groups have been working together since 2011.
Opening closed clam flats: The groups worked together to develop the 610 Project, which seeks to build capacity for opening closed clam flats by improving communication and coordinating, identifying sources of pollution, and finding ways to fix these sources. There are currently 610 acres of closed clam flats in Frenchman Bay. We received a $7,500 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to support this work and are in the process of assessing the abundance of clams in Martin and Weir Cove and developing a watershed survey for these areas. We are also purchasing seed from the Downeast Institute to plant in the spring.
Controlling green crabs: Building from the 610 project, the Partners and the Shellfish Committee received a $6,000 grant to the Maine Community for the Green Crab Control Project. This project allows the Committee to extensively trap green crabs in select coves, measure the impact of the trapping, and also be prepared to participate in market-based solutions to this problem. Market solutions may include participating in Asian live-markets, supplying processing facilities, and providing suppliers with chitin from the shell.
Resolving conflict and collaborating: The Partners and Shellfish Committee helped resolve conflict related to the development of an ordinance to regulate mussel harvesting. The Partners continue to monitor the need for group facilitation to address conflict among different user groups as the need may arise.
Key successes so far
♦ Selected Martin and Weir Cove as initial target for opening in; developing a watershed survey to implement Spring 2015.
♦ Built a website for the 610 Project: http://frenchmanbay.wix.com/fbrs.
♦ Creating maps with all the state and conservation closures for website
♦ As match for the grant, the Municipal Joint Board purchased a computer for the committee to use for minutes, agendas, website, and other organizational needs.
♦ Continued to build good relationships with DMR and towns to connect water quality dots. Hannah Annis, Allie Rohr, and Meggan Dwyer work with us on the 610 and Green Crab Control Projects.
♦ Produced an economics report that estimates the value of mudflats in Frenchman Bay and the economic losses when flats are closed: http://www.frenchmanbaypartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Frenchman-Bay-Economics-Report.pdf (lots of info on Gouldsboro towns, all estimates)
♦ Purchased 30 green crab traps (Brazier Traps and Brooks Trap Mill) and are currently collecting data about green crab populations and on how the traps fish.
♦ Resolved conflict between clam and mussel harvesters around the development of the mussel harvesting ordinance.
♦ Created a collaborative agreement to balance mussel harvesting and eelgrass restoration.