Casco Bay Currents, an email newsletter of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
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Spring 2020

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to the Spring 2020 edition of Casco Bay Currents, the newsletter for Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP).

You are receiving this quarterly email newsletter because you signed up for our newsletters in the past. If you wish to unsubscribe, please click the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Portland Community Rowing Association
@Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography

Maine Climate Council is in Session


Governor Mills has made combating climate change and encouraging clean energy policy one of her top administration priorities. The Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future is coordinating the work of the Maine Climate Council.

CBEP Director Curtis Bohlen, along with many CBEP partners, is a member of the Coastal and Marine Working Group, one of seven working groups.

The goals of the Climate Council are bold emissions reductions, mitigation, resilience, and transition. A four-year State Climate Action Plan will be completed by December 2020.

You can keep up to date with the public meeting schedule, agendas, minutes, and other climate resources on the Maine Climate Council site.

You can find other CBEP resources and documents on climate change here.

Living Shorelines Demonstration Projects Underway in Casco Bay

A multi-year NOAA-funded Regional Resilience Grant is focused on developing regional and state-level monitoring protocols for "living shorelines" projects in coastal New England states. In each state, projects are being developed to design, permit, construct, and monitor demonstration living shorelines concepts. 

Living shoreline* is a broad term that encompasses a range of shoreline stabilization techniques along estuarine coasts, bays, sheltered coastlines, and tributaries. A living shoreline:

  • has a footprint that is made up mostly of native material;
  • incorporates vegetation or other living, natural “soft” elements alone or in combination with some type of harder shoreline structure (e.g. oyster reefs or rock sills) for added stability; and
  • maintains continuity of the natural land–water interface and reduce erosion while providing habitat value and enhancing coastal resilience.

The Maine Project Team, which includes state agencies, NGOs, municipal partners, permitting agencies, and consultants, selected two demonstration treatment sites. These sites are Wharton Point and Maquoit Bay Conservation Lands in Brunswick (a third site, Lanes Island in Yarmouth, is still under consideration). Each site includes a living shoreline “treatment” of approximately 50 feet in length, with a minimum 50-foot natural control. Recycled and aged oyster shell and fallen trees were the chosen demonstration treatments as they beneficially reuse naturally occurring materials common to Casco Bay. Installation will be completed by Brunswick volunteers this spring.

CBEP is leading a long-term (five-year) monitoring program to track the efficacy of the different installations in curtailing erosion, the impacts of the treatments to surrounding habitats, and how well these installations can survive in Maine’s harsh winter climate. 

Learn more about this project on the Maine Geological Survey website here.

*Definition adapted from NOAA’s Guidance for Considering the Use of Living Shorelines (2015)

2020 Casco Bay Community Grant Awards

Christina Hassett from Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) replacing signage on good island pet practices, on Little Snow Island in Quahog Bay. MITA received a 2019 Community Grant to do education and outreach on the impacts of visitor pets on islands.

CBEP has awarded nearly $11,000 in grants to local organizations carrying out projects in Falmouth, Freeport, Chebeague Island, and Cumberland in 2020.

The 2020 projects:
  • The Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust is starting an "explorers" program aimed at preschool kids in both Cumberland and Chebeague, with activities at land trust preserves.
  • The Falmouth Land Trust will lead a team of volunteers to inventory vegetation in Mill Creek to inform management decisions about the creek, which empties into Casco Bay.
  • Freeport Middle School seventh graders will conduct field-based research into clam recruitment, survival, and growth in Freeport. The school is partnering with the Town of Freeport and student findings will be shared with the Freeport Shellfish Conservation Commission.
  • Friends of Fort Gorges is creating a new docent program, training a pool of volunteers that will educate visitors about the Fort's historical significance, its relationship to Casco Bay, and ecological features.
Congratulations to all organizations!

Casco Bay Coastal Academy:
Stream Smart Road Crossings for Conservation
April 28

Photo: Sarah Haggerty, Maine Audubon

WHAT: Learn about constructing road/stream crossings that connect fish and wildlife habitat while protecting roads and public safety. Get a chance to try out an online planning tool called Maine Stream Habitat Viewer to identify important fish habitats and barriers to stream connectivity in your community.

Presenters: Sarah Haggerty, Maine Audubon; Matt Craig, CBEP; Heather Huntt, CCSWCD 

WHO: Conservation commission members, planning board members, other municipal board members, municipal staff, interested citizens

WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 5:30— 8 p.m. (light dinner included)

WHERE: Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm

FMI: Contact:

CBEP and Partner Events

  • March 20 : 2020 Maine Sustainability & Water Conference, Augusta Civic Center. Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, The University of Maine. Conference website here.
  • April 25: Urban Runoff 5K (link to register) and Green Neighbor Family Fest, Portland (free). Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District.
  • April 28: Save the Date! Casco Bay Coastal Academy: Stream Smart for Conservation, Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm, Falmouth. FMI, contact Victoria Boundy.
  • May 11-12: 2020 Local Solutions. Portland, Maine. This conference will empower participants to take action steps that center on climate equity, which ensures that all people have the opportunity to influence and benefit from climate resilience-building solutions. Antioch University New England, in partnership with NOAA and the Island Institute. More information and register here.
  • May 15: Southern Maine Children's Water Festival, University of Southern Maine, Portland. More information here.
Copyright © 2020, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service
Wishcamper Center #229, 34 Bedford Street
Portland, ME 04104

Phone: (207) 780-4820
Fax: (207) 228-8460

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