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
At College of the Atlantic, students have been developing protocols for measuring the pH on clamflats, and comparing different meters to see which ones are the most precise, and this fall will measure pH on several flats in Bar Harbor. One student, Katie O’Brien, has also buried clam pre-weighed clam at three different sites in look at rate of weight loss of shells as a measurement of the potential threat to clam growth from low pH on clamflats. Those clams are being collected in October and if the technique shows promise, the study will be expanded next year.
The Frenchman Bay Partners’ plan of restoring an additional 228 acres of eelgrass this summer had to be put on hold when it became clear that eelgrass was not coming back in the restoration areas that had been thriving for years. Not only that, many formerly healthy beds that had been growing at least since mapping began in 1996 were also lost this year. MDIBL’s Community Environmental Health Lab (CEHL) had to quickly change gears to begin studies on possible causes of the loss. Scientists and interns looked into the possibilities of “wasting disease” (the pathogen Labyrinthula zosterae) which caused devastation to the plant in the 1930s, nutrient deficiency in the sediment, temperature changes, and invasive green crabs. Continue reading
Lamoine Conservation Commission has organized its records and materials and made them available to anyone who might like to use them for research or any other purpose. You can download the LCC Archives Overview, a general directory of what’s in the archives.
Project Noah users
Another way to participate in CEHL’s collaborative eelgrass mapping project is by creating a free account at Project Noah and uploading pictures of the plant to the mission “Eelgrass in Maine”.
The Hancock County Planning Commission and consultant Barbara Arter, in partnership with the Friends of Blue Hill Bay, have completed the Blue Hill Bay Needs Assessment, a preliminary assessment of the environmental, economic, and social assets and needs of Blue Hill Bay Watershed. The report focuses on fisheries, recreation and tourism, water quality, and land use and development, and offers recommendations that promote the long term sustainability of Blue Hill Bay. Many land use maps were updated and new maps depicting ecological and economic features of the bay were created for the assessment. It is a comprehensive and informative report which Frenchman Bay Partners will refer to often.
Go to the Hancock County Planning Commissions website to learn more about the project and its process, find links to resources and download the new assessment maps that were created, or download the full report here.
During her time as Americorps volunteer, Emma Fox produced a case study on the interaction between user groups, intertidal mudflat resources, and how their interaction impacts the economy in Frenchman Bay. She analyzed landings data of soft shell clams and blue mussels for 2008-2011, interviewed a diverse cross section of stakeholders, and reviewed literature on clam flat management, ecosystem valuation, social capital and ecological economics to provide a preliminary attempt at a market-based ecosystem valuation, an evaluation of potential losses in harvester sales incurred from pollution closures in Frenchman Bay, and recommendations about economic data gathering for each of the other conservation targets of the Frenchman Bay Partners. Download the report here. [PDF]
Eelgrass in Maine is now closed to new submissions. To share what you’re seeing in the natural world, you can now create an account at CEHL’s new collaborative nature journal, Anecdata!
Scientists, interns, and volunteers at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) have been successfully restoring eelgrass in Frenchman Bay with community partners for six years. But this year, the marine plant didn’t come up, and not just in restored areas. Eelgrass throughout the upper bay didn’t seem to get its annual signal to send up shoots, and only rhizomes remain in the mud where eelgrass beds had been.
In order to find out the extent of this event along the coast of Maine, MDIBL is asking the public to look for eelgrass beds and report their locations, or where they missing from places where there had been beds in the past. The lab is asking people to search for the plant as soon as possible, because eelgrass’s growing season usually ends in August. Continue reading
The First Annual Meeting took place on Saturday February 2nd at the MDI Biological Laboratory. The Partners updated each other on the progress of their conservation and planning projects and spoke about the path toward change thus far. In 2011, the group began working to create an adaptive management plan for the bay, and has identified mudflats, eelgrass, subtidal benthic habitats, and migratory fish (such as alewives and American eels) their areas of particular concern. The 26 partners in attendance unanimously voted in their first Executive Committee.
- Jane Disney, of MDIBL: President
- Chris Petersen, of College of the Atlantic: Vice President
- Bridie McGreavy, Ph.D. candidate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine: Secretary
- Bob DeForrest, of Maine Coast Heritage Trust: Executive Officer at Large
- Fiona de Koning, of Acadia Aqua Farms: Executive Officer at Large
After Executive Committee elections, the partners shared a potluck meal and spoke about next steps. Jane Disney, newly elected president of the Frenchman Bay Partners, led the discussion about creating subcommittee working groups for each of the ecological targets in the adaptive management plan, as well as a separate communications subcommittee.
“Seagrasses in Classes” is an academic year education program in five Mount Desert Island region elementary, and two inland high schools. The program is a school-year extension of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory’s efforts to restore and study eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in northern Frenchman Bay. Eelgrass is a native seagrass that grows underwater in thick beds just below low tide in sheltered coastal areas and in river estuaries. Eelgrass is an essential component of the coastal marine ecosystem. It offers protection to small fish and shellfish and buffers the ocean from intrusions of sediment and pollution. Scientists and interns affiliated with MDIBL’s Community Environmental Health Laboratory have established a restoration site near Hadley Point in Bar Harbor, and are studying the efficacy of different methods of eelgrass replanting, the broadcast of eelgrass seeds by currents, and the population genetics of eelgrass communities.