MWC 2012 - Presentations
- Maine Rivers: Promises, Partnerships and Progress
- Recent Research in Northern and Western Maine Ecosystems
- Citizen Participation in Natural Resource Science
- Freshwater Fish Habitat Research and Restoration
- Evaluating Restoration Outcomes of the Penobscot River Restoration Project: An Assessment of Pre-dam Removal Conditions
- Pollutants and Remediation: New Approaches and Green Solutions
- The Influence of Climatic Changes on Maine Water Resources
- Water Monitoring Results: Implications for Land Use and Conservation
- Lake, Stream, and Wetland Water Quality
Chairs: Carrie Kinne, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and Eileen Johnson, Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College, doctoral student, University of Maine
In November of 2011, the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in coordination with the Sustainability Solutions Partners from Bates, Bowdoin and the University of Southern Maine convened nearly 100 stakeholders and researchers throughout the Androscoggin and Kennebec watersheds. The goal was to identify research priorities and the barriers to implementation of projects associated with the restoration of these two river systems. A second goal was to facilitate collaborations among the many stakeholders and researchers in order to move many of the identified priorities forward. The symposium was one of many aspects of the “Knowledge to Action” component of a five-year EPSCoR/SSI project. This panel will reconvene several individuals associated with stakeholder and researcher partnerships to discuss progress made to date, the scale of implementing solutions and future goals for this project. Panelists will include members of the SSP research team and stakeholders from the local, regional to state level who are engaged with the Androscoggin and Kennebec systems.
Chair: Julia Daly, Department of Geology, University of Maine at Farmington
Maine’s less populated western and northern areas host habitats of high interest, but their remote locations often preclude extensive research and monitoring. Some of these areas, especially the subalpine and alpine sites, are likely to be impacted by climate change in the coming decades, stimulating interest in building baseline data for future comparison. In addition, these remote watersheds and their associated flora and fauna provide valuable comparisons to more developed watersheds in other parts of the state. This session will focus on current work in these remote watersheds, including ecological research, watershed and lake dynamics, challenges and opportunities related to establishment of new monitoring programs, and/or results from long-term studies studies in these watersheds.
Changes in surface water chemistry in Maine high elevation lakes in response to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
Adam J. Baumann1, Jeffrey S. Kahl2, Thomas R. Boucher3, Kevin J. McGuire4
1. University of New Hampshire, Water Resources Research Center, NH
2. James W. Sewall Company, Old Town, ME
3. Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH
4. Virginia tech, Water Resources Research Center, Blacksburg, VA
The 1990 US Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) set target reductions for both sulfur and nitrogen emissions to reduce acidic deposition and improve the biological status of low alkalinity surface waters in the United States. The Maine High Elevation Lake Monitoring (HELM) project was designed to complement assessments from other acid rain monitoring programs in the northeast that had underestimated the number of acidic lakes. HELM lakes are more susceptible to the effects of acid deposition than lowland lakes typically included in other surveys because they receive higher amounts of precipitation, and the watersheds are less able to neutralize acidic inputs because of steep slopes, shallow soils, and resistant bedrock. Since 1986, decreases in HELM surface water SO4-2 concentrations of 1.6µeq/L/yr. combined with lesser decreases in base cations (0.68 µeq/L/yr.) have led to increases in ANC (0.58µeq/L/yr.) and decreases in hydrogen ion (-0.05µeq/L/yr.). These improvements have led to a 50% decrease in the number of acidic (ANC <0) HELM lakes since 1986-87, and a 10% increase in the number of lakes projected to resist spring acidification (baseflow ANC > 30). Toxic inorganic aluminum comprises 9% less of the total aluminum in HELM lakes today than in 1986-87, possibly due to the decrease in acidity and a 0.03mg/L/yr. increase in DOC which complexes inorganic Al. At current rates of change in both surface waters and deposition, we predict a recovery scenario for 2025 in which HELM lakes reach a background 24µeq/L SO4-2 and non-dystrophic lakes have pH ≥ 6 and ANC ≥ 30µeq/L as depositional SO4-2 becomes undetectable.
Rugged shores and clear waters: Interpreting biogeochemical response to environmental stressors using the lakes and ponds of Maine’s Baxter State Park
Sarah J. Nelson1, Jeffrey S. Kahl2, Adam J. Baumann3, Kenneth B. Johnson4
1. University of Maine, Senator George J. Mitchell Center and Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Orono, ME 04469
2 Sewall Company, Old Town, ME
3 University of New Hampshire, Water Resources Research Center, NH
4 Husson University, Bangor, ME
Conserved lands provide a setting where biogeochemical response to non-point source stressors can be evaluated through time without being confounded by land-use change. Lakes and ponds within Baxter State Park (BSP) (209,501 acres) include some of the most remote ponds in Maine, many of which are at high elevation (>600 meters). The database spans 1978-2010 and includes ‘snapshot’ surveys and long-term monitoring. Many of these lakes have been sampled as part of Maine DEP and US EPA-funded research that is evaluating surface water response to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA), and temporal trends in lake chemistry. This allows us to compare response in these lakes to other northeastern lake sets. In contrast to lakes in Acadia National Park (ANP) and high-elevation sites in Western Maine, BSP lakes tend to be relatively neutral (pH ~6.5-7.0) and low in dissolved organic carbon (~2 mg/L). However, many of the high elevation BSP sites have low conductivity and low acid neutralizing capacity characteristic of dilute, bedrock-dominated watersheds. This talk will present results of new statistical analyses of BSP surface water chemistry and compare trends in lake acidification or ‘recovery’ to those reported for ANP (a similar lake dataset with different landscape context and a coastal influence), and those reported throughout the Northeast. The results will be used to determine effective sampling strategies that might use the rich lake set within BSP for future geochemical and climate assessments.
Controls on lake stratification in high elevation lakes of western Maine
Julia Daly, Ben Engel, Sara Adams
Dept. of Geology, University of Maine at Farmington, Farmington, ME
High-resolution water temperature data collected in fifteen high elevation lakes in western and central Maine reveal three types of summer stratification: 1) strongly stratified, 2) weakly stratified with extended periods of mixing in late summer, and 3) moderately stratified and subject to short duration mixing events during summer months. The short duration mixing events are identified in simultaneous records at multiple sites, and correlate with the passage of high pressure systems over the region. Because each mixing event results in a net temperature increase of water on the bottom of the pond, the density contrast between the surface and the bottom is reduced, weakening the stratification and lowering the threshold for mixing during later weather events. The type of stratification correlates best with water transparency, and we are now beginning to examine the relationship between water color, dissolved organic carbon, and bedrock geology of each watershed. The water temperature data is collected year-round, and shows that, although these ponds may diverge in summer behavior, the onset of winter stratification is nearly simultaneous across all sites, corresponding to an abrupt and sustained drop in air temperature.
Chairs: Bridie McGreavy, UMaine Dept. of Communication and Research Assistant, Sustainability Solutions Initiative and Laura Lindenfeld, UMaine Dept. of Communication & Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center
Citizens in Maine are increasingly involved in a range of natural resource science activities, including testing lake water quality, mapping invasive species, documenting bird abundance, and identifying potential wildlife crossings. Presentations in this session will share research from citizen science activities in natural resource contexts. Projects may include but are not limited those that analyze the reliability of data produced through citizen science, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) learning outcomes, citizen-scientist collaboration models, and general lessons learned and best practices for program development and implementation.
Utilizing Local Volunteers to Organize and Implement a Successful Face-to-Face Septic and Stormwater Survey
Jennifer Jespersen, Laura Diemer
FB Environmental Associates, Portland, ME
Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the amount of algae in both Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake in Wolfeboro, NH. The Lake Wentworth Foundation and the Town of Wolfeboro received a 319 Grant for High Quality Waters to develop a Watershed Management Plan for Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake. A septic survey was designed to collect baseline information about the current state of septic systems within 250 feet of all waterbodies in the watershed, and to identify sources of stormwater runoff. The primary goals of the survey were to estimate phosphorus loading from developed areas in the watershed, and to educate watershed citizens about NPS pollution and how it affects lake water quality. The survey was led by FB Environmental Associates (FBE) with assistance from 21 resident volunteers over the course of 11 days in August and September 2011. Volunteers from organized “shores” around the lakes served as a point of contact for the survey, hand-delivering postcards to their neighbors several days in advance, and spending several hours to a full day working with FBE to conduct the door-to-door survey. Absentee landowners received the survey by mail, email, and were offered an optional on-line survey. With volunteer assistance, this project resulted in a 54% and 88% success rate for the septic and stormwater survey, respectively. Results of the survey were used to estimate total phosphorus loading to the lakes from septic systems in the shorezone. The educational value of this face-to-face survey was extremely high.
Cooperative Research on Fishes and Tidal Power in Cobscook Bay
Jeffrey Vieser, Teresa Johnson, Jessica Jansuwicz, Gayle Zydlewski
University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences, Orono, ME
Cobscook Bay is renowned for its strong tidal flows and has become a site of intense interest for marine hydrokinetic (MHK) device developers. The prospect of development brings with it an abundance of questions that need to be answered before, during, and after potential installations. Our research, in cooperation with local fishermen, focuses on generating baseline data of fish presence and general distribution throughout Cobscook Bay. Such data are important for understanding broad scale changes resulting from anthropogenic changes, such as the introduction of MHK devices. The impacts of these changes cannot be predicted, and as a result they pose challenging issues for those involved in decision-making related to MHK development. To address these uncertainties, we are working with community members to document fish presence and spatial distribution throughout the bay for two years. Before sampling began, we brought this research problem to the local fishermen to gather information on how best to capture the diversity of the bay. Their knowledge combined with our initial ideas resulted in an approach that targeted a variety of habitats to document annual and seasonal presence and distribution of fishes. All data are being shared with local fishermen throughout the research process. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, we assess the impacts of including fishermen and other community members in our research, including the perceived benefits and challenges with this approach to better understand the benefits of balanced cooperation and involving community members in scientific research.
Collaborations for effective lake monitoring and outreach
Catherine R. Bevier¹, Maggie S. Shannon², Jake Lukach³, Ruthie Hawley³
1 Department of Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME
2 Maine Congress of Lakes Association, Belgrade Lakes, ME
3 Colby College, Waterville, ME
The Belgrade Lakes region of central Maine is a popular destination for year-round and seasonal residents and summer tourists. Recently, declining water quality and documented infestations of invasive aquatic plants in three of the Belgrade Lakes have concentrated the concerns of property owners, local businesses and conservation organizations on lake protection. Fortunately, this seven-lake region has also been the focus of research among Colby faculty and students for over 30 years, often in collaboration with five local lake associations and the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance. Recently, these local conservationists and the Maine Congress of Lake Associations have partnered with scientists at Colby College to investigate the causes of declining water quality, to engage citizens in stewardship of the lakes, and to strengthen efforts to mitigate infestations and contain the further spread of invasive plants. Education will play a key role in achieving these objectives. Using the Vital Signs Program of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Colby and Maine COLA will teach students in grades 5-8 to collect and properly record observations on the Vital Signs database. Vital Signs is the tool we will use to help students record data collected from their hands-on EYES ON THE WATER plant identification training. This in turn will help local groups monitor areas at high risk of infestation in all Belgrades. Students at watershed middle schools will participate in this project which will culminate hands-on plant identification and lake learning activities aboard floating classrooms owned by Colby and Maine COLA.
Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program – Working to enhance the participation of a diverse volunteer community while providing quality data to science partners.
Esperanza Stancioff¹, Beth Bisson¹, Abraham Miller-Rushing², Medea Steinman³
1. Sea Grant, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. Acadia National Park, Schoodic Education & Research Center, Bar Harbor, ME
3. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Franklin, ME
Signs of the Seasons is an environmental monitoring and climate change education program for Maine citizens of all ages. Through the program, citizens contribute to scientists’ understanding of the local effects of global climate change by observing and recording the phenology (seasonal changes) of common plants and animals living in their communities. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant coordinate the program in partnership with the Schoodic Education and Research Center at Acadia National Park, the USA National Phenology Network, Maine Audubon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Maine, and Maine Maritime Academy. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of (1) the program structure and educational materials we have developed to support a diverse community of volunteer participants with different educational needs and motivation for program participation; (2) the role of our program advisory committee of educators and collaborating scientists in balancing scientific and educational objectives and communicating with our volunteers; and (3) our relationship with the USA National Phenology Network for online data management and analysis, and using/developing standard monitoring protocols for nationwide data compatibility.
The Role of Citizen Science in Monitoring the Health of Maine Lakes: A Successful Four Decade Experiment
Scott Williams, Roberta Hill
Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, Auburn, ME
Formed in 1971, Maine’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) is the longest standing statewide citizen lake monitoring program in the U.S., as well as one of the largest, with more than 1,000 active certified volunteers monitoring approximately 500 lakes statewide. The VLMP trains, certifies and provides technical support to volunteers throughout Maine who gather a wide range of scientific information on the health of Maine lakes. Volunteers are trained to monitor indicators of water quality, watershed health and function, and to screen lakes for invasive aquatic flora and fauna. A substantial percentage of what is known about Maine’s lakes and ponds is the result of years of commitment by VLMP volunteers, many of whom have been active in the program for a quarter century, or more.
With several thousand bodies of water spread across a large geographic area, VLMP founders recognized that it would only be financially feasible to gather and track long-term trends in Maine’s lakes if the public could be engaged in the process. Moreover, in order for “citizen science” data to be credible and effective, and for the program to be sustainable, strict quality assurance protocol would be required at all levels of information gathering. During its four-decade history, the VLMP has encountered and successfully overcome a number of challenges, while experiencing nearly continuous growth and expansion of the number of volunteers and lakes in the program, and the indicators of lake health monitored.
Maine’s VLMP has been internationally recognized for its innovation, effectiveness, and leadership, as well as for its unique contribution to the increasingly important endeavor of citizen science.
A Framework for Partnership: Supporting Scientific Research Goals and Formal Education
Hannah Webber¹, Bill Zoellick¹, Sarah Nelson², Beth Bisson³
1. SERC Institute, Winter Harbor, ME
2. Senator George J. Mitchell Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME
3. Maine Sea Grant, University of Maine, Orono, ME
For the past five years the Schoodic Education and Research Center
(SERC) Institute, with partners- the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research and Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine, has engaged high school teachers and students in fieldwork to collect samples and data used in a study of spatial patterns of mercury (Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) across the northeastern US. This program’s success in producing useful scientific research data and achieving formal science education outcomes has resulted in new funding for both the scientific work and the education work. Core elements of the framework that are essential to the success of this kind of participatory science are: (1) structuring research designs to ensure that data collected by students are scientifically useful; (2) promoting and supporting student research questions that differ from the research undertaken by working scientists; (3) developing pedagogical strategies to guide student research; (4) supporting peer review and publication or presentation of student research. An integrated research project in a formal education setting requires strong partnerships between researchers and teachers. Development and maintenance of such partnerships generally falls outside the purview of both teachers and scientists. Creating durable partnerships requires facilitated collaboration with sustained teacher-scientist interactions and teacher professional development. We present the Acadia Learning Project’s framework as a case study in facilitated collaboration- lessons learned and new directions.
The Wayne and Readfield Vernal Pool Mapping Project: A Community Endeavor
Wayne Conservation Commission, Wayne, ME
Natural resource protection and private property rights often knock heads. In 2007, a law regulating development in a 250 ft consultation zone around Significant Vernal Pools was implemented with the burden of determining a pool’s significance placed on the landowner. “Significant” vernal pools are those with exceptional wildlife value judged in part by counting egg masses of obligate amphibian species. To reduce the burden on landowners, the Wayne and Readfield Conservation Commissions partnered with Kennebec Land Trust and University of Maine at Orono to offer free surveys of potential vernal pools in the two towns. High quality color infrared aerial photographs of potential vernal pools were acquired and local citizen scientists were trained to identify and count amphibian egg masses. Greater than 540 potential vernal pools were identified and 110 landowners took advantage of free surveys. This proactive approach conserves a valuable natural resource, minimizes frustrations for landowners, provides a valuable educational opportunity for local residents and fosters cooperation between towns and agencies.
Chairs: Barbara S. Arter, Diadromous Species Restoration Research Network, Senator George J. Mitchell Center, UMaine and Merry Gallagher, Division of Fisheries and Hatcheries, Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife
Although many of Maine’s native coldwater fish species historically thrived throughout a diversity of aquatic habitats, over 30% of lake subwatersheds today maintain greatly reduced native populations due to impacts from non-native fishes and habitat degradation from land-use changes, forestry and agricultural practices, and urbanization. This session will focus on recent efforts to enhance the quality of native fish habitats using many new site-specific restoration techniques and a better understanding of pond and stream habitat dynamics. Topics of interest include but are not limited to: stream and pond eco-hydro-geomorphic interactions, riparian integrity, in-channel restoration, fish population studies, monitoring seasonal movements, invasive species mitigation, and water quality as habitat. We welcome presentations exploring work throughout the state and beyond.
Stream Restoration on Cold Stream and Enchanted Stream near the The Forks, ME
John Field¹, Robert Richter²
1. Field Geology Services, Farmington, ME
2. Nextera Energy, Hallowell, ME
Stream restoration was undertaken on Cold Stream and Enchanted Stream near the Forks, ME to improve aquatic habitat on two streams severely degraded by a legacy of log drives. As a result of log drives, both streams were artificially straightened with boulders and wood removed from the channels, leaving few pools or little habitat complexity. The streams are reforming meanders naturally as wood and boulder obstructions become established in the channel. Complete natural recovery was inhibited by the presence of berms and dam fill blocking access to the adjacent floodplains. With energy focused in the channel, the natural retention of wood in the channel is difficult and habitat improvements not sustained. Restoration efforts on the streams have focused on the removal of constraints preventing floodplain access and the introduction of wood and boulders in the channels. Boulder weirs and sills have been constructed in such a way to encourage flow to be diverted into the banks and on to the floodplain in order to encourage meander formation along the straightened channels. The reestablishment of floodplain access has allowed flows to access side channels and recreate meanders naturally. The restoration of Cold Stream and Enchanted Stream demonstrates the value of mimicking natural channel processes as an effective approach for improving aquatic habitat on streams heavily altered by a long history of log drives.
Effects of large woody debris addition on brook trout and in-stream habitat in western Maine
Stephen M. Coghlan Jr., Paul D. Damkot
Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
We tested effects of large woody debris (“LWD”) addition on habitat and wild brook trout in twelve 1st – 2nd order streams in the Mahoosuc Range of western Maine. In 2007 and 2008, we treated ~2 km stretches of six streams at a rate of 40 LWD pieces / 200 m; six streams served as reference sites. Brook trout sampling occurred twice yearly and habitat surveys occurred yearly. We sampled all streams 1 – 3 times prior to, and 5 – 8 times subsequent to, LWD addition. Natural abundance of LWD was low (mean ± 2 S.E.: 1.1 ± 0.6 pieces / 200m). Two years after LWD addition, treatment sites contained twice the abundance of LWD as reference sites (19 ± 3. 6 pieces vs. 8.5 ± 2.8), but abundance of pools did not differ (12 ± 1.5 vs. 13 ± 1.7 pools / 200 m). Brook trout density (range: 0.02 ± 0.001 fish/ m2 to 0.47 ± 0.15) and biomass (range: 0.3 ± 0.15 g/ m2 to 6.1 ± 2.9) was highly variable over time and among sites, and effects of LWD were not clear. In 5 of 6 treated sites, trout abundance and density declined sharply after treatment but recovered above pre-treatment levels 3 years subsequent, but metrics in most reference streams also increased. By the 4th year post-treatment, there were few differences between treated and reference sites. A longer time series is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of LWD addition, but these results suggest little impact on brook trout.
The Influence of Riparian Forest Characteristics on Allochthonous Invertebrate Input and Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) Diet in Headwater Streams
Paul Damkot, Stephen M. Coghlan, Jr.
Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
The importance of terrestrial invertebrates as an energy subsidy for stream dwelling salmonines has been acknowledged widely. However, relatively little research has been conducted to examine the connection between riparian vegetation and allochthonous invertebrate input. We investigated the influence of riparian forest characteristics on invertebrate infall in seven headwater streams of western Maine and northeastern New Hampshire across a gradient of deciduous and coniferous stand dominance. Additional riparian vegetation metrics included canopy closure, understory cover and ground cover. We used principal component analysis to collapse riparian data into independent variables representing variation in riparian forest structure. These data, along with weather variables wind and rain, were then used to test for differences in the availability and consumption of allochthonous invertebrates. We collected terrestrial and aerial (i.e. winged adult) invertebrates using pan traps, drifting invertebrates using drift nets, and brook trout diet samples by gastric lavage. Sampling was conducted during three time intervals in the summers of 2008 and 2009: late May/early June, mid-July, and late August. We found that streams with high PC1 scores (deciduous dominated stands with low canopy closure and high ground cover) had significantly higher terrestrial invertebrate infall and consumption, while aerial invertebrate availability and consumption was influenced by both riparian conditions and wind. These results suggest that while riparian forest structure may have an impact on allochthonous energy input, environmental factors may be equally as important in determining the benefit to brook trout populations.
East Branch of Greenlaw Brook Restoration
Douglas B. Stewart
Stantec Consulting, Topsham, ME
During base closure activities at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, contaminated sediment was removed from a 2.5-mile section of the East Branch of Greenlaw Brook, a high value brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) stream, and 35 acres of associated floodplain wetlands. The sediment removal removed approximately 132,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment. Stream and wetland restoration immediately followed each stage of the removal action. The 2.5-mile stream restoration consisted of reconstructing the stream channel using gravel and boulders from a nearby quarry and woody materials from site clearing and grubbing. Stream structures were installed to create diverse aquatic habitat and included wing deflectors, log deflectors, log banks, cover logs, and cover boulders. Restoration of the floodplain wetland habitat consisted of re-soiling the site with native topsoil and confirming that wetland hydrology was adequate for the planned assemblage of wetland communities. Installed terrestrial habitat restoration features included coarse woody debris and vertical snags salvaged from site clearing. Revegetation of the site included transplanting over 20,000 trees and shrubs from other areas at the former base. The site was seeded with annual rye grass to establish herbaceous cover and mulched with a weed free straw of wetland hay. Following 10 years of intense long-term monitoring, the stream channel remains stable, the native brook trout population has been restored, and the stream supports a variety of other fish and aquatic fauna. The wetland communities provide habitat for many wetland-dependant species, and the wetland functions and values have been successfully restored.
In Through the Outlet: Getting to Culvert Rules for the State of Maine
Deane VanDusen, Charles Hebson
Maine Department of Transportation, Environmental Office, Augusta, ME
The development by MaineDEP of new culvert rules that better promote effective fish passage has followed a frustrating and tortuous path. The old culvert rules were generally conceded to be vague and ineffective, with the result that Federal regulations were the primary vehicle for achieving fish passage in culvert projects. In 2010 MaineDEP made two attempts at rules that were better aligned with current understanding of the issue. Both attempts failed in the stakeholder process amidst irreconcilable differences between environmental objectives, cost, and the real difficulties that municipalities would face in compliance. The State Legislature subsequently directed MaineDOT to facilitate a new stakeholders process towards resolving the question of state standards for culvert design. MaineDOT is approaching this from the perspective of a comprehensive Aquatic Resources Management Strategy (ARMS), kicked off in November 2011. This approach was pioneered in the Pacific Northwest and is new to Maine. The aim is to place culvert expectations in the wider context of statewide aquatic resources. We report on our experience to date and implications for the development of new state culvert rules.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) growth and survival as an indicator of habitat quality in tributaries of the Machias River watershed
Wesley Ashe¹ (M.S. Student candidate), Stephen Coghlan¹, Joan Trial², Joseph Zydlewski³
1. Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. ME DMR Dept. of Sea-Run Fisheries and Habitat, Bangor, ME
3. USGS ME Coop. Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
The Machias River, located in downeast Maine, harbors one of the few remaining wild populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmon salar) in the U.S. and provides a model system for investigating the productive capacity of headwater streams currently inaccessible to wild juvenile salmon because of impassable culverts. In spring 2010 and 2011, we scatter-stocked salmon fry in twenty study reaches and quantified growth and survival across multiple environmental gradients. In late summer, fry abundance per 100 m reach averaged 40 and 62 individuals (2010 and 2011, respectively) and ranged from 0 to 225 fry. Mean mass of fry at time of capture was 1.5 g and 1.6 g, and ranged from 0.6 to 2.7 g; whereas mean length at time of capture was 54.0 mm and 55.5 mm and ranged from 40.5 to 70.4 mm. Apparent survival among sites ranged between 0 and 50.5%, with yearly means of 13.7 and 13.4%. Mean density was 0.33 and 0.32 fry/m2 and ranged from 0.00 to 1.21 fry/m2. Mean biomass was 0.46 and 0.55 g of salmon tissue/m2 and ranged from 0.00 to 2.15 per reach. Of the habitat variables measured, temperature, brook trout density, interstitial space availability, coarse wood abundance, percent detritus and percent cobble were correlated most strongly with growth and survival. We anticipate results that will validate the importance of headwater streams as critical nursery and rearing habitat for juvenile salmon, thus providing the impetus toward culvert removal and the reestablishment of watershed connectivity.
You are what you eat: using stable isotopes to assess freshwater and marine food web change in response to dam removal
Karen Wilson, Graham Sherwood
1. Dept of Env. Science, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME
2. Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME
A primary objective of the Penobscot River Restoration Project is to improve anadromous fish passage between the upper reaches of the river and the nearshore marine environment. Increased connectivity is expected to positively impact resident biota in both marine and freshwater environments in part by providing food web subsidies from the adjacent ecosystem. In the freshwater system, spawning anadromous fishes (e.g., river herring) are expected to add marine-derived nutrients to lakes and rivers. In the marine system, it is expected that juvenile anadromous fishes out-migrating from freshwater nursery habitat will be consumed by nearshore marine predators (e.g., cod). In order to quantify linkages between these two systems, we are using stable isotopes to estimate energy flows before (this study) and after (future study) dam removals. Stable isotope studies are based on the idea that ‘you are what you eat’ because isotope signatures of consumers reflect the isotope values of their prey, which in turn can be used to infer food chain level and habitat associations (in this case marine vs. freshwater). Pre-dam removal data collected in 2009-2011 shows strong isotopic distinctions between the freshwater and marine food webs. We found intriguing intermediate signatures in roving nearshore marine predators such as mackerel who are known to eat out-migrating juvenile river herring. This approach provides reliable and cost effective indicators of food web change in response to dam removals.
5. Evaluating Restoration Outcomes of the Penobscot River Restoration Project: An Assessment of Pre-dam Removal Conditions
Chairs: Rory Saunders, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and Charlie Baeder, Penobscot River Restoration Trust
We have invited presentations from researchers working in the Penobscot River watershed who are assessing fish passage, the ecosystem effects of dams, ecosystem restoration, and related socioeconomic issues for a special session of the 2012 Maine Water Conference entitled “Evaluating Restoration Outcomes of the Penobscot River Restoration Project”. Desired objectives are to describe and summarize baseline pre-dam removal conditions, to flag data gaps, to identify synergies among projects, and to inform post-removal monitoring planning. Many populations of diadromous (sea-run) fish are at, or near, historical lows in abundance caused, in part, by barriers to fish habitat. To improve fish passage, several dam removal projects in Maine have been initiated in recent years. The Penobscot River Restoration Project is the largest scale effort in the region and among the more innovative, and holds great promise for improving access to hundreds of miles of river habitat for imperiled species such as river herring, shortnose sturgeon, and Atlantic salmon. While the expectations for ecosystem improvement are well founded, there are few empirical studies in the peer-reviewed literature that quantitatively demonstrate the ecological effectiveness of dam removal for diadromous fish recovery. With significant investments by NOAA, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (mainly through the American Recovery and Re-investment Act), and The Nature Conservancy substantial progress has recently been made toward characterizing pre-dam removal conditions in the Penobscot River and adjoining components of the Gulf of Maine. These assessments are a critical step toward evaluating the state of the ecosystem with dams, for interpreting future restoration outcomes in the Penobscot Basin, and for informing other dam removal restoration projects.
Pre-dam removal trends in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) adult returns to the Penobscot River
Maine Department of Marine Resources, Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat, Bangor, ME
The Penobscot River has been a strong hold for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in New England since 1969, accounting for 66% of documented adult returns. The Penobscot River has been monitored near head-of-tide for over 40 years to document age, origin, and return rates of Atlantic salmon and to collect brood stock for the stock enhancement program. A trapping facilities was first established at the Bangor Dam in 1969 and relocated located at the Veazie Dam in 1978 following the breach of the Bangor Dam. Long-term trends on the number of returning adults, return rates, and population demographics will be presented.
Quantifying the structure of fish assemblages in the Penobscot River in order to assess change due to dam removal
Ian Kiraly¹ (student), Stephen Coghlan Jr.¹, Dan Hayes², Joseph Zydlewski³
1. University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
3. U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
The Penobscot River once provided spawning and juvenile rearing habitats to migratory fish. The construction of dams blocked migrations of these fish and fragmented habitats, changing the structure of fish assemblages throughout the river. The Penobscot River Restoration Project (PRRP) is anticipated to increase passage of anadromous and resident fishes and improve the connectivity among currently fragmented habitats. The purpose of this study is to quantify and characterize fish assemblages in the lower ~70 kilometers of the Penobscot River so we can quantify changes that occur post-dam removal. Boat electrofishing surveys were conducted during 2010 and 2011, in both the early summer and fall. During most seasons, we employed two different sampling designs. Fixed sampling was conducted along eleven pre-established transects (1000 meter). Stratified-random sampling was conducted along multiple randomly selected transects (500 meter) per stratum, within nine strata. Sampling effort for each design was sufficient to adequately assess fish assemblages, and neither design provided significantly different results. Fish assemblage structure differed by strata, especially with increasing distance upstream. Many diadromous fishes were restricted to tidal waters below Veazie Dam, although Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey, and American eel were captured or observed upstream. Species richness was relatively high below Veazie Dam, but was consistently low in the stratum above the dam. Smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, and white sucker were well distributed throughout the river, along with a variety of smaller fish species, many of which exhibited spatial, seasonal, and annual patterns in abundance.
Acoustic Telemetry: An established monitoring tool for assessing pre-dam removal conditions for diadromous fishes of the Penobscot River
James Hawkes¹, Gayle Zydlewski², Joe Zydlewski³, Graham Goulette¹, John Kocik
1. NOAA Fisheries, Orono, ME
2. School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
3. U.S. Geological Survey Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
Acoustic telemetry is a modern research tool that allows researchers to remotely monitor tagged animals. Passive fixed position receiver networks collect temporal data to provide information on migration behavior, routes, areas of high mortality as well as seasonal activity patterns of individual animals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Maine and United States Geological Survey have deployed an extensive array of more than 100 telemetry receivers in the Penobscot River, estuary and Bay each year since 2005. This array has been used to monitor several diadromous fish species, including Atlantic salmon and shortnose sturgeon that are protected under the US Endangered Species Act. Additionally, with the Penobscot River Restoration Project in early planning phases, research on pre-restoration fish ecology was particularly important. As a result, data collected since 2005 have been used for risk assessment of proposed in-stream construction and repair or removal activities which may threaten fish during migration periods or sensitive periods during their life history. Additionally, these data provide documentation of habitat use of fish prior to dam removal and other proposed restoration activities. Once dam removal has occurred we will be able to identify any changes of habitat use, behaviors and migration corridors as species are reintroduced to areas that have been inaccessible for decades.
Shortnose sturgeon of the Penobscot River
Matthew Altenritter¹, Gayle Zydlewski², Kevin Lachapelle¹, Matthew Wegener², Michael Kinnison¹, Joseph Zydlewski³
1. School of Biology & Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
3. U.S. Geological Survey Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
The presence of shortnose sturgeon the Penobscot River was confirmed in 2006. Since this time, seasonal movement patterns and use of the upper river (near the first dam) have been documented using acoustic telemetry. Two methods, mark-recapture and acoustic imaging, have been used to independently estimate abundance. Mark-recapture estimates have been made during summer and fall when tagged shortnose sturgeon are not observed migrating in or out of the Penobscot River. During winter, shortnose sturgeon also form dense aggregations (located via telemetry) that can be estimated using acoustic imaging and spatial interpolation. Winter data analyzed for 2010 using a kriging spatial interpolation produced a preliminary estimate of 681 individuals (446-1506 95% CI), comparable to previous fall mark-recapture estimates of 641 individuals (399 – 1074 95% CI) for 2008 and 602 individuals (410 – 911 95% CI) for 2009. Similar data will be presented for fall/winter 2011. Currently, spawning of shortnose sturgeon is undocumented in the Penobscot River, although the presence of both late stage females and suitable spawning habitat have been documented. Movements of these fish to the Kennebec River may indicate a complex reproductive migration pattern. Characterizing the movements, reproductive patterns, and population size of shortnose sturgeon in the Penobscot River provides a baseline for assessing the impact of the Penobscot River Restoration and will inform the status of sturgeon populations throughout the Gulf of Maine.
Estimating Penobscot River Fish Passage using Fixed Location SONAR
P.J. Erbland¹, Gayle Zydlewski¹, Joseph Zydlewski², J.E. Hightower³
1. School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. U.S. Geological Survey Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
3. U.S. Geological Survey North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Raleigh, NC
Dam removals and passage improvements by the Penobscot River Restoration Project are anticipated to improve connectivity and access for diadromous fish species in New England’s second largest river. In order to assess changes in the fish community, we are using fixed location, side-aspect acoustics to estimate the number of fish passing a designated location below the head of tide on the Penobscot River Our methods are similar to other North American efforts, however strong (3 m) tidal flux and tight restrictions on capture sampling (due to federally listed species) pose unique challenges. Since May of 2010 two Biosonics DTX, 200 kHz, split beam transducers, have been mounted on opposite sides of the river (rkm 35), sampling perpendicular to flow(excluding months of ice cover). Complementary sampling with Dual Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) is being used to validate split beam data. DIDSON data also provide realistic imaging such that physical and behavioral characteristics may be used for taxonomic discrimination. Initial analysis indicates pulses of upstream moving fish following spring freshets and suggests these movements predominately occur between peak ebb and low tide. Methods will be discussed and fish passage estimates from the 2010 and 2011 field seasons will be presented in the context of documented environmental cues and clues to migration.
Pre-dam Removal Monitoring of Penobscot Estuarine Fish and Zooplankton using Mobile Split-Beam Hydroacoustic Methods
Michael O’Malley, J. Stevens, R. Saunders, C. Lipskey, J. Kocik
NOAA Fisheries, Orono, ME
We tested the feasibility of using multifrequency split-beam hydroacoustic techniques to evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of fish and zooplankton distribution in the Penobscot Estuary, Maine, prior to dam removals. We conducted mobile transects using downward-looking SIMRAD EK60 split-beam (38 and 120 kHz) to provide acoustic target strength and biomass distributions throughout the estuary. Using Sv dB differencing techniques to distinguish fish and zooplankton1, we produced biomass (NASC) and single target detection target strengths estimates over large spatial and volumetric scales to investigate changes in distribution. Fish biomass and target strength distributions showed variation temporally during the survey period (May–June and Nov-Dec 2011) and spatially through the estuary on survey dates. Coordinated acoustic and pelagic trawl surveys conducted to perform validation experiments revealed that fish length frequencies and single target detections from hydroacoustics follow similar bi-modal distributions. Target strengths were assigned to sizes of fish and specific species following validation work. For example, in the trawl surveys on 06/21/2011, >90% of trawl catch were made up of Alosa pseudoharengus, Alosa sapidissima and Alosa aestevalis, allowing us to assign fish size/species to target strength on that date. Dam-removal upstream will likely cause changes in estuarine communities, and an expansion of methods to investigate changes in fish and zooplankton over larger spatial and temporal scales is warranted. The multifrequency split-beam method can provide fish and zooplankton biomass data over larger scales for relatively small investment over the long term.
Historical alewife predation by four gadids, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), white hake (Urophyscus tenuis), and pollock (Pollachius virens) in Muscongus Bay and Penobscot Bay
Edward P. Ames¹, Karen Wilson², Theo Willis²
1. Penobscot East Resource Center, Stonington, ME; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
2. University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
In an effort to evaluate the significance of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) restoration will have on coastal fisheries, gadid predation of alewives near Muscongus Bay and Penobscot Bay were mapped and evaluated. Changes associated with the availability of alewives were linked to the distribution and population structure of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), white hake (Urophyscus tenuis) and pollock (Pollachius virens). Determination of gadid distribution and population structure was derived from empirical data and fishermen’s anecdotal information gathered in the 1920s during a period of greater abundance and when coastal habitats were relatively undamaged. During the 1920s Muscongus Bay had two secondary rivers with documented landings of alewives and local resident gadid groups near the Bay’s entrance. Predation at the site was evaluated by tracking the seasonal movements of each gadid species toward the rivers hosting alewife populations. Movements toward arriving or departing alewives were assumed to indicate predation. Gadid groups had abandoned their coastal fishing grounds in Penobscot Bay north of Vinalhaven by 1935, but still remained south and out along the coastal shelf, often near Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) spawning areas. However, gadid groups remained near Muscongus Bay and the spawning migrations of alewives. All fishing grounds in outer Penobscot Bay and Muscongus Bay collapsed in the 1980s, though some juvenile cod, pollock and white hake continue to be present. A proposed hypothesis links the formation of coastal resident gadid population units to the abundance of alosids and clupeids, but not to crustaceans, mollusks, or annelids.
Chair: John Peckenham, University of Maine Mitchell Center and Sustainability Solutions Initiative
This session will present new developments in environmental remediation technologies and applications to contaminated water and land. This includes topics related to green remediation, waste water treatment, brownfields re-development, and new policies. Case studies directly related to these topics will be included.
Freeze-Drying Water Treatment Residuals: Low cost processing to improve recycling options
Andrew Carpenter¹, Scott Minor²
1. Northern Tilth, Belfast, ME
2. Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District, Kennebunk, ME
There are very few existing recycling programs for the semi-solid residuals generated during the treatment of drinking water in New England states. Aluminum sulfate, sometimes referred to as “alum” is commonly used as a flocculent in the treatment of drinking water. Because of the ability of aluminum sulfate to sorb phosphorus, much of the national research on recycling options for alum-containing water treatment residuals (WTRs) has focused on using the materials to reduce phosphorus availability in over-manured soils. Since 2003, Northern Tilth has worked with the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District (KKWWD) to develop and manage a WTR recycling program in which their alum-containing WTR has been successfully used as a component in manufactured topsoils. The manufactured topsoil is used both by KKWWD and local contractors in place of stripped topsoil for landscaping projects.
After observing the improved physical properties of WTRs exposed to winter conditions, KKWWD developed a freeze-drying bed that relies on low winter temperatures to change the physical characteristics of their WTR from axel grease-like consistency, to a dry, soil-like product with a texture similar to coffee grinds. This processing innovation has improved the marketability of the manufactured topsoil which in turn has helped keep costs low for this unique recycling program. This presentation will focus on the development of the WTR recycling program from field trials to full-scale implementation, including topsoil recipe development and physical and fertility-based considerations of the manufactured topsoil.
Investigation of the Photocatalytic Degradation of Crude and Refined Oils with TiO2 and TiO2/Ag Supported Zeolites via Parallel Factor Analysis
John Ahern¹, Howard Patterson¹, Gregory Hall²
1. Department of Chemistry, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. PhD. Science Department, United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Nearly 3000 oil spills are reported to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection annually, mostly from overfilled fuel tanks and overturned tanker trucks.(Maine DEP Reports 2002-2006) This March a tanker overturned and spilled over 1000 gallons of diesel into the Pleasant River in Maine endangering a local salmon hatchery. Fish hatcheries are very sensitive to petrochemicals so it is essential to have a reliable way to break them down and to prevent their reintroduction to the environment after recovery operations during a future spill. The effectiveness of novel zeolite substrates doped with metals for the photocatalytic degradation of crude and refined oils at the ppm (µg/ml) level in fresh water samples has been assessed in a series of laboratory experiments. The dopants in the zeolites include TiO2 with different stoichiometric amounts of Ag. Photodegradation kinetic experiments have been performed using an excitation resolved synchronous scan fluorescence technique that the Patterson group has developed. Also, the photodecomposition products have been analyzed using Excitation Emissions Matrix (EEM) spectroscopy as well as GC-MS. Chemometric techniques including parallel factor analysis provide information about the kinetics of degradation of the different classes of organic compounds in oil and how different zeolites aid in this degradation. Data gathered thus far has shown degradation dependence on UV and zeolite exposure. The results will be used to develop the ideal zeolite catalyst system for the assisted photodegradation of crude and refined oils in fresh waters. This is an ongoing investigation.
In-Situ Remediation of Chlorinated Solvents in Fractured Rock – Approach Informed by Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) Investigations and Pilot Studies
Allan H. Horneman, Daniel B. Carr
Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc., Portland, ME
This presentation will discuss findings of bench and field pilot testing of remedial alternatives at a fractured sedimentary rock site contaminated by chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs), principally trichloroethene (TCE) and its breakdown products. This is one of the few sites where the DFN approach has been employed by a U.S. based consulting firm.
Remediation of CVOCs in fractured rock has historically been addressed using technologies requiring relatively large energy inputs, intensive operations and maintenance, and perhaps relatively long, near interminable operating periods. However, these approaches have only had limited success in reducing groundwater concentrations due to matrix diffusion effects and other factors. Even where source zone remedies have been attempted, long-term migration control has been necessary to limit perceived risks associated with downgradient transport.
Pilot studies of enhanced biochemical degradation at this site have documented that even a modest one-time mass injection of carbon source amendment in a portion of the source area stimulated a two order of magnitude reduction in groundwater TCE concentrations for an extended period in the vicinity of the injection zone with more limited but still substantial improvements in downgradient water quality. The downgradient improvements coincided with a shift to geochemical conditions more conducive to biochemical degradation and transport of volatile fatty acids and bromide tracer.
We will present how the DFN investigation established a design basis for pilot testing. The findings support that stimulation of intrinsic processes is protective and more sustainable than alternatives such as groundwater extraction and treatment or in-situ thermal desorption.
Green Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Groundwater Using Oxygen Injection in Western Maine
Brian Bachmann, Keith Taylor
St. Germain Collins, Westbrook, ME
Typically in Maine, petroleum contamination is remediated utilizing techniques that don’t take into account energy consumption or the overall “carbon footprint” of the remedial option. Soil excavation is the most common method, while groundwater extraction and treatment is used for sensitive groundwater resources. Trucking contaminated soil has the obvious environmental impacts of fuel consumption and air emissions. Pump and treat groundwater systems consume large amounts of electricity for pumps and filters, and often generate wastes that requires special disposal.
At a site in western Maine, St.Germain Collins designed and implemented a green technology for groundwater treatment that consumed no electricity, generated no waste, and had a carbon footprint limited to vehicle use for periodic site visits. This system was based on the fact that petroleum hydrocarbons in groundwater are degraded by microbes naturally present in the subsurface. Biodegradation is often limited by a lack of oxygen, and to accelerate the process, St.Germain Collins installed a ten well oxygen injection system.
The effectiveness of the system was monitored by sampling five wells known to be contaminated. Before system startup, groundwater impacts were dominated by volatile petroleum hydrocarbons (VPH) with a high of 11,961 ug/L. After six months of operation, VPH at the same location was reduced to 4,599 ug/L. A similar pattern was observed across the Site with no significant rebound observed two months after system shutdown. Because of its effectiveness and minimal environmental impact, oxygen injection should be considered as a viable remedial method for petroleum contaminated groundwater in Maine.
LID pollutant removal and potential cost savings: It works better and costs less
Maine NEMO, South Portland, ME
This presentation highlights results from the UNH stormwater Center evaluation of several traditional BMP and LID systems for pollutant removal and cost of installation, and includes additional material from Antioch University and Virginia Commonwealth University on case studies comparing the cost of traditional stormwater treatment with LID methods on projects ranging from small subdivisions to CSO sewershed retrofits. Results show that LID techniques are superior for pollutant removal, perform well in cold climates and can save developers money in stormwater treatment.
Simulating residential development and stormwater runoff under alternative policy scenarios
Daniel J. Kary, Kathleen P. Bell, Shaleen Jain, Brian McGill
University of Maine, Orono, ME
Landscape changes from residential development lead to changes in water runoff patterns that may degrade water resources through altered hydrologic regimes and increased pollution. Water resource managers often seek to mitigate these impacts, but policy choices are complicated by uncertainty regarding how alternative strategies influence future outcomes. Economic models provide a framework for quantifying the landscape effects of policies that influence landowner decisions. Our objective was to develop and describe a method that links an econometric simulation model to a simple stormwater runoff model in order to estimate hydrologic outcomes of alternative land use policies. As an application of this method, we investigated how changes in a zoning regulation, minimum lot size, affects simulated residential construction and stormwater runoff in the city of Ellsworth, Maine. Our model results suggest that increased minimum lot sizes in the Branch Lake watershed lead to decreases in future residential construction and stormwater runoff within that watershed. However, our model also predicted increased construction and runoff in neighboring watersheds not subject to the increased zoning restriction (based on the assumption that neighboring watersheds will make up for the decreased housing supply in the restricted watershed). With this investigation we demonstrated one way in which our model can be used to gauge impacts of alternative policies and also highlighted the importance of regional planning in water resource management. This research was based upon work supported by the Maine Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, US EPA, and the National Science Foundation (award # EPS-0904155).
Chairs: Robert M. Lent and Glenn Hodgkins, US Geological Survey
Several published studies have shown the influence of historical climatic changes on the hydrology of the northeastern United States, including Maine. This session seeks presentations on studies that further define the impact of climatic changes on the historical and future hydrology of this area. This could include design of data collection networks, statistical analyses of historical data, watershed modeling of historical and projected future hydrologic variables, and the development of tools to provide systematic and predictive capabilities to resource managers and the general public.
Global climate models indicate annual precipitation and air temperature in the northeastern US are projected to increase during the next century. Determination of the magnitude of peak streamflows is important for the safe and economical design of bridges and culverts. The USGS, in cooperation with Maine DOT, investigated potential future changes in peak flows at four basins in coastal Maine on the basis of projected changes in air temperature and precipitation. To calculate potential future peak streamflows at these basins, historical temperature and precipitation in the basins were adjusted to encompass projected climate-related changes. These adjusted meteorological data were input to Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) watershed models of the four basins and annual peak flows were output for each change scenario. PRMS-computed peak flows resulting from the adjusted meteorological data were then compared to unadjusted (historical/calibrated) PRMS-computed peak flows. Annual daily maximum peak flows change in different directions, depending on whether temperature or precipitation is adjusted; increases in air temperature lead to decreases in peak flows whereas increases in precipitation lead to increases in peak flows. In many cases where temperature and precipitation both increase, small (less than 25 percent) increases or decreases in annual peak flows result. The decrease in modeled peak flows with increasing air temperature, given no change in precipitation, is caused by decreases in winter snowpack.
Why climate matters in recovery from acidification in northeastern US surface waters
Kristin E. Strock¹, Jasmine E. Saros¹, Sarah Nelson²
1. University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology and Climate Change Institute, University of Maine Orono, ME
2. Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research and Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
University of Maine Orono, ME
In New England, lake chemistry data from US EPA long-term research and monitoring projects have been used to evaluate trends in surface water acidification and evidence for recovery in acid-sensitive regions in response to the Clean Air Act Amendments. The 2003 assessment of the success of the Clean Air Act Amendments documented sulfate (SO4) declines in many surface waters but the response in acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) was not as expected, and varied among systems. A confounding factor in evaluation of these trends and expected response is variable weather, with major episodic excursions in surface water geochemistry driven by extreme events. We combined multi-variate and time-series statistical techniques to analyze acid-relevant surface water chemistry from a set of 400 lakes across Maine and New England. Trends in SO4, ANC and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were related to watershed characteristics and climate variables over the past three decades by coordinating data analysis of legacy lake and streamwater data from US EPA long-term research and monitoring projects. New England lakes are some of the most affected by acidification and exhibiting some of the broadest variability in the DOC signal. DOC is one of the most important regulators of aquatic ecosystems, and also has important implications for drinking water treatment. Hence, clarifying the response of lake water SO4 and DOC to extreme weather events, watershed characteristics, and SO4 deposition is needed to interpret long-term assessments of success in meeting Clean Air Act Amendment goals in a region experiencing rapid changes in climate.
Climate response network – streamwater dissolved organic carbon and temperature
Thomas. G. Huntington
U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Water Science Center, Augusta, ME
The U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Water Science Center has begun collecting water samples for analysis of dissolved organic carbon and measuring water temperature continuously at a network of streamflow gauging sites in Maine. These monitoring programs are designed to support and enhance the established Climate-Response Network in Maine where several hydrologic variables are regularly monitored and analyzed. Some of the sites in each network overlap with sites in other networks but each network includes some sites that are unique. Site selection was based on the availability of long-term records, ongoing data collection in support of other independent projects, and locations that were representative of Maine’s hydrologic climate-response regions. Riverine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and fluxes, and water temperatures are indicator variables that can be used to assess integrated watershed responses to climate variability. DOC integrates carbon cycling processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that have been shown to respond to changes in temperature, hydrologic conditions, wetland abundance and connectivity, and changes in vegetation and soils. Water temperature is related to air temperature and timing of snowmelt and is a key variable that defines habitat suitability for native and invasive species. These DOC and water temperature networks have been in operation for a little more than one year. In this presentation, preliminary data will be presented to illustrate the range of DOC and temperature spatial and temporal variability and individual watershed characteristics.
Spatial and Temporal Changes in Lake Ice-Out Dates—Implementing a New England Hydrologic Climate Response Network
Luther F. Schalk, Robert M. Lent, Glenn A. Hodgkins
US Geological Survey Maine Water Science Center, Augusta, ME
The USGS Maine Water Science Center has developed a framework for a New England hydrologic climate response network designed to provide indication of changes in the seasonal hydrologic conditions for resource management. Lake ice-out dates are a key variable for detecting those changes. Lake ice-out dates are the annual Julian dates when winter ice cover leaves a lake. Previous work in New England has shown a strong correlation between ice-out dates and winter air temperatures.
Lake ice-out dates for at least 50 years are available from 43 lakes in New England. Each lake was mapped and attributed by 10-year average ice-out date for every decade between 1881 and 2010 in which it had at least 6 records. All lakes and climate response units demonstrated temporal change toward earlier ice-out dates, reflecting regional temporal change toward warmer winters.
Using inverse-distance weighting, a surface was generated from all available average date points in each decade. The contour corresponding to Julian date 120 (chosen to be common to all decades) was delineated along each surface, and its centroid was found. The 120-day centroid was found to move by decade throughout western Maine, thereby spatially quantifying the regional change in lake ice-out dates over time. During warm periods, the centroid moved north-northeast; during cool periods, it moved south-southwest. Over 130 years, it moved about 100 miles NNE.
Chair: Melissa Evers, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
We undertake water quality monitoring for many reasons that includes connecting land use practices to the health of our waters. Everybody wants more data and the goal of monitoring might be to: better understand the impact of our rural or urban landscape, determine water quality status, identify pollution sources, or prepare a watershed restoration plan. This session will cover salt, biological monitoring, wetlands, bacteria, threshold detection and potentially look at how much monitoring is enough, with a special focus on connecting land use practices to water quality and conservation.
Impervious cover thresholds for Maine stream macroinvertebrates
Tom Danielson, Doug Suitor, Leon Tsomides, Jessica Balukas
Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Augusta, ME
Recent studies have documented the impacts of urbanization and increased impervious surfaces on the condition of streams. Urbanization can alter stream hydrology, geomorphology, temperature, chemistry, and composition of biological communities. The Biological Monitoring Program is completing its study of the effects of urbanization and impervious cover (IC) on Maine’s stream macroinvertebrates. We sampled benthic macroinvertebrates from 148 sample locations across the state ranging from minimally impaired to urban. We delineated watersheds upstream of sample locations using ArcMap and calculated % urban and % IC for each watershed. We compared IC estimates generated with two spatial layers with 5 m and 1 m resolution. The spatial resolution of IC layers matters. In general, the finer resolution IC data produced larger % IC estimates in rural areas and smaller estimates in urban areas. Effects on the macroinvertebrate community are observable at low amounts of IC (<3%). We identified % IC thresholds for Class AA/A, B, and C streams that can be used as targets when developing stream restoration or land use plans. In addition, we calculated % developed and % IC for riparian corridors of 23, 50, 100, 200, and 400 m. Location of IC in a watershed matters. In general, watersheds with development close to the streams had poorer quality macroinvertebrate communities than streams with intact riparian corridors.
The 2010 Report of the New Hampshire Stormwater Commission: The End of Pipes and Ponds
Steve Kahl¹, Rob Roseen²
1. Sewall Company, Old Town, ME
2. UNH Stormwater Center, Durham, NH
Stormwater is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of water quality pollution and habitat degradation. The New Hampshire legislature established the NH Stormwater Commission in 2008 to identify issues and find socially-acceptable solutions for reducing impacts from stormwater runoff. After two years of study, the commission reported back with a variety of recommendations that addressed the underlying issues leading to stormwater, improvements to stormwater management, and reducing barriers to implementation of better management methods. The commission’s main findings and recommendations are that: Stormwater is only the symptom; impervious surfaces represent the disease that needs to be mitigated; Imperviousness is probably more of an issue for flood frequency and magnitude than projections from climate change; policy must recognize that property owners are responsible for their own stormwater and the impacts; low impact development solutions for reducing imperviousness are less expensive to build and to maintain that traditional stormwater management methods; stormwater utilities, which are common nationally except in New England, provide a fair and effective mechanism to fund stormwater projects that will protect water quality.
Use of Private Well Water Testing Results Help Determine Aquifer Quality, Identification of Future Public Water Sources and Land-Use Planning Mechanisms
RCAP Solutions Inc., Peaks Island, ME
Approximately 25% of New Englanders rely on private water wells. Away from the population centers such as New York and Boston, as high as 40% depend upon domestic wells. Some towns do not have any, or sometimes very limited, public water and wastewater infrastructure. Increasingly, rural home buyers are inheriting well water and onsite wastewater systems without the knowledge of historical performance or previous experience for their operations or maintenance.
In Maine, RCAP Solutions worked with a town that actually appropriated funds to conduct aquifer health analysis for themselves. Private well water tests were obtained and analyzed to determine base-line contamination typical of an area. This information led to improved and focused water testing routines, indications of contamination sources and helped determine filtering and treatment options. GIS-supported water source protection by the use of data overlays show how potential public aquifers, wildlife habitats and recreational areas could coincide.
A win-win-win opportunity exists. Regardless of public water service existing, town officials wanted a detailed, ongoing review of their aquifer distribution and health to improve placement and category planning of various developments. Additionally, homeowners understood what contaminates to test in their water to ensure their health and consequently realize they have the responsibility of a “very small utility” operator. And lastly, financial institutions can benefit from this information to improve fair market value judgments of their mortgaged assets.
Spatial Analysis and Risk Modeling of Road Salt Impacts on Residential Water Supply Wells
John Hopeck, Mark Holden, Christian Halsted
Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Augusta, ME
This study expands on previous work by assessing the effect of road salt on residential well water quality in seventy-seven areas spatially distributed throughout Maine. The current research confirms the dependence of chloride concentration on slope and distance from road, includes additional factors in the analysis, and suggests a general method of risk analysis. Chloride-concentration data were obtained from pre-construction well sampling conducted by Maine DOT from 2003 through 2008; the risk model uses data from 968 wells, with outliers removed (after normalizing the data). Spatial analysis tools in ArcMap were used to consider the effects of source proximity, slope, slope direction, simplified hydrologic soil groupings, surficial geology, and bedrock geology on chloride concentration. The set of all normalized data shows a distribution pattern of chloride concentrations with distance from the road centerline, with highest concentrations occurring on the downslope side but within 75 feet of the centerline of the road. Distributions of chloride data from different sites appear to be skewed downhill as function of the slope; slopes were compared from one degree to greater than seven degrees in this analysis. Other significant differences are observed when sites were sorted by locally dominant hydrologic soil groups of A+B and C+D. Analysis of the significant factors is incorporated in an ArcMap application developed by DEPGIS to predict relative risk of chloride contamination.
Chair: Linda Bacon, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
What’s new with Maine’s inland waters? Maine’s lakes, streams and wetlands are jewels on our landscape providing us with opportunities for recreation/relaxation and wildlife with essentials for survival. As our understanding of these complex, fragile ecosystems improves, we can make better decisions about protecting our waters. This session invites talks that cover all aspects of surface water quality, including results of recent research and the latest protection strategies.
Remote monitoring of regional lake water clarity with satellite imagery
Ian M. McCullough¹, Cynthia S. Loftin ², Steven A. Sader ³
1. Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
2. U.S. Geological Survey, ME Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Orono, ME
3. School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Water clarity is an ideal metric of regional water quality because clarity can be accurately and efficiently estimated remotely on a landscape scale. Remote sensing is useful in regions containing many lakes that are too expensive to monitor regularly using traditional field methods. Field-assessed lakes generally are easily accessible and may represent a spatially-irregular, non-random sample. We developed a remote monitoring program for Maine lakes using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery. Similar Landsat-based procedures have been implemented for Minnesota and Wisconsin lakes, however, we improved existing methods by incorporating physical lake variables and landscape characteristics that affect water clarity on a regional scale. No published studies exist using MODIS data for remote lake monitoring owing to the low spatial resolution (500 m) (Landsat = 30 m), however, daily image capture is an important advantage over Landsat (16 days). We estimated water clarity of large lakes during 1990-2010 using Landsat imagery (1,511 lakes) and during 2001-2010 using MODIS imagery (80 lakes). We calibrated linear regression models using visible blue and red spectral data and volunteer-gathered secchi disk data collected near concurrently with satellite image capture. Landsat is useful for long-term monitoring of lakes > 8 ha and MODIS is applicable to annual and within-year monitoring of large lakes (≥ 400 ha). These methods can be used to supplement field-based monitoring and to detect spatial and temporal patterns in regional water clarity and potential downward shifts in trophic status.
A Macroinvertebrate Model to Predict Attainment of Tiered Aquatic Life Use Criteria for Maine Wetlands
Jeanne L. DiFranco¹, Beth Connors¹, Thomas J. Danielson², Leonidas Tsomides²
1. Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Portland, ME
2. Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Augusta, ME
The Maine DEP Biological Monitoring Program assesses the condition of rivers, streams and freshwater wetlands by evaluating resident aquatic macroinvertebrate and algal communities. River and stream biomonitoring data have been used for many years to inform a variety of resource management activities and regulatory programs, supported by the development of numeric biological criteria based on sound statistical modeling. In recent years, requests to the Biomonitoring Program for assessments of wetland water quality and ecological condition have significantly increased. In response, DEP biologists developed a linear discriminant model (LDM) to assess freshwater wetland macroinvertebrate communities by predicting attainment of tiered aquatic life use criteria described in Maine’s water quality standards. Sites included in the LDM are typically lacustrine and riverine fringe wetlands having emergent and/or aquatic bed vegetation. DEP also developed macroinvertebrate inference models for selected environmental stressors, individual taxa tolerance values, and a community level invertebrate tolerance index. Maine has narrative biological criteria for all surface waters, including wetlands, but previously relied on expert judgment to interpret the criteria for wetlands. The LDM will serve as the basis for wetland-specific numeric criteria, and greatly enhances the ability of the Biomonitoring Program to provide data users with consistent, standardized assessments of wetland condition and impacts from human activities. Numeric biological criteria will also help DEP to fully integrate wetlands into its water quality monitoring and assessment program and fulfill federal requirements for wetland monitoring, assessment and water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.
Biomonitoring of heavy metals in the tidal Kennebec River system using blue mussels, Mytilus edulis
Miguel Barajas, Jason Duff, Melissa Smith, Shane Poppas (undergraduate environmental science students); Faculty Mentors: Dr. Joseph Staples and Dr. Karen Wilson
University of Southern Maine, Portland Maine
Previous research suggests that industrial processes of the 19th and 20th centuries have resulted in drastic changes to Maine’s rivers due to increased inputs of chemicals into the river systems (Islam and Tanaka, 2004; Lichter et. al., 2006). Although in the last few decades the water quality of Maine’s rivers has improved, heavy metals still persist in the environment (Larsen and Gaudette, 2010). To assess the amount of heavy metals in the tidal Kennebec River system, we collected sediments and utilized the blue mussel, Mytilius edulis, as a bioindicator of heavy metals. We hypothesized that concentrations of heavy metals in M. edulis would be lower than NOAA National Status and Trends Musselwatch Program. Through XRF analysis, it was observed that As, Ni, Cu, and Zn were found to be in low-medium ranges of concentrations when compared to NOAA data. Due to high variability, concentrations of Hg, Pb, Cd and Sn could not be determined. Although the concentrations determined in this study were found at low levels when compared to NOAA data, the fact remains that heavy metals are presently entering the river system. Our data supports the hypothesis of Larsen and Gaudette (2010) that due to the ebb-tide dominated flow of the Kennebec River; the majority of suspended particles in the water column are being flushed out into the Gulf of Maine. We may therefore conclude that heavy metal deposition in the tidal portion of the Kennebec River system is temporary and minimal.
Swimming Beach Bacteria Monitoring on Sebago Lake
Portland Water District, Standish, ME
The Portland Water District (PWD) uses Sebago Lake as a drinking water source to serve nearly 20% of the Maine population. The water quality is good enough to receive a “filtration waiver” from the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that the water is treated but not filtered which results in significant savings for the customers. To maintain this filtration waiver, PWD must demonstrate adequate control of the water source.
One way we control the lake is through a “no bodily contact zone” within 2 miles of the intakes. Bacteria monitoring shows the importance of keeping people away from the intakes. E.coli levels at swimming beaches are significantly higher than in the “No Bodily Contact Zone.” Results show that bacterial levels increase when people are in the water.