610 Project Update

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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.