The Associated Press advanced a July 31 public meeting in Penobscot to provide information on the science of shellfish aquaculture. State officials will also inform the public about the ecological impacts of aquaculture, according to the article. Maine Sea Grant staff are facilitating the meeting and officials with the Maine Department of Marine Resources will lead discussions. WLBZ (Channel 2) and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried the AP report
Current reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking six to eight volunteers to collect beach profile data for Pine Point in Scarborough in an effort to monitor monthly changes in sand erosion. No prior scientific knowledge is needed. The collected data will be submitted to the Maine Geological Survey and will be used by state geologists who will review and analyze the information to produce reports every two years regarding the effect of climate change on Maine’s beaches, according to the article. The Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program is a project of Maine Sea Grant.
Elissa Koskela, an assistant coordinator of the Signs of the Seasons program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald about the decline of the monarch butterfly population. Signs of the Seasons is a phenology program that helps scientists document the local effects of global climate change through the work of volunteer citizen scientists who are trained to record the seasonal changes of common plants and animals in their communities.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with UMaine Extension, were interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “Climate change presents Maine farmers with new challenges.” Handley spoke about testing new crops for the region, such as grapes, as the climate changes. Moran, who is currently testing several varieties of peaches, plums and cherries, warns climate change is unpredictable and more research is needed before any farmer is recommended to make a big investment in traditionally warmer weather fruits.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. All of these can affect people who live on shorefront land. To help property owners take steps now to make their homes more resilient and less damage-prone over the long run, Maine Sea Grant has updated the Maine Property Owner’s Guide to Managing Flooding, Erosion & Other Coastal Hazards.
The online resource contains detailed information on navigating state and federal regulatory and permitting processes associated with actions such as elevating a house, moving a house back away from the water, restoring dunes, creating buffers and stabilizing coastal bluffs. Normandeau Associates Environmental Consultants worked in partnership with Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension to make this new information available. Now, not only can coastal property owners learn more about the hazards they face and what can be done to protect their property, they also can access step-by-step recommendations and permitting guidance.
Examples of property owners who have taken some of these steps are highlighted in case studies from across southern Maine. Information about a tour of resilient properties to be offered in September will be online.
Property owners in Maine’s coastal communities are encouraged to review this updated guidance document as soon as possible. By taking action now to prevent hurricane damage, public and private property owners can greatly reduce their risk of damage and avoid significant costs and delays associated with repairs and restoration.
The Bangor Daily News article, “UMaine researchers helping coastal communities weather the storms,” focused on a study being conducted by a team of UMaine researchers who are seeking to figure out the effects of climate change on coastal communities. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. According to the article, the team worked with people from Lincolnville and Ellsworth over 18 months to develop plans to deal with overtapped culverts. The communities were selected as models to generate information that hopefully will have broader applications around the coast. “Culverts are the backbone of infrastructure. They’re super important to communities. When they fail, it can be very expensive and disastrous for homeowners or for businesses, or for people traveling on that road. People have lost their lives,” said team member Esperanza Stancioff, an associate extension professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant.
Elissa Koskela, an assistant coordinator of the Signs of the Seasons program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Sea Grant, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Wondering how climate change is affecting us now? Citizen scientists have a role to play.” Signs of the Seasons is a phenology program that helps scientists document the local effects of global climate change through the work of volunteer citizen scientists who are trained to record the seasonal changes of common plants and animals in their communities.
Research being conducted through Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative was cited in the the newly released National Climate Assessment report, which found global warming is affecting life in Maine and other New England states.
Under the “Selected Adaptation Efforts” of the Northeast section of the report, it reads:
“Officials in coastal Maine are working with the statewide Sustainability Solutions Initiative to identify how culverts that carry stormwater can be maintained and improved, in order to increase resiliency to more frequent extreme precipitation events. This includes actions such as using larger culverts to carry water from major storms.”
The paragraph is referring to a project being conducted by SSI researchers Shaleen Jain, an associate professor of civil engineering; Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant; and Alexander Gray, a research assistant.
The “Helping Communities Weather the Storm” project aims to help Maine communities better understand and prepare for the potential local impacts of climate change.
The research is part of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, a program of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center, which is supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.
The Free Press reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant will offer free training sessions for Signs of the Seasons, a program for volunteers to contribute local plant and animal life-cycle data for climate change research. Sessions are open to all interested volunteers, and registration is required. Sessions in the midcoast area will be held March 22 in Newcastle, March 25 in Belfast and April 5 in Boothbay.
The Free Press reported the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association of Newcastle, Maine, will host a talk by Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, as part of its winter talk series “Citizen Science in the Sheepscot Watershed.” Stancioff will speak on February 5, 2014 about the current research on how coastal Maine’s climate is changing, how it might change in the future and the current adaptations that are under way.