Road to Solutions — Coastal Systems

Maine BeachgoersCharacterizing Watersheds that Influence Coastal Bacteria Pollution – WRRI 2018

This project is designed to refine and advance the knowledge and understanding of coastal watershed-estuary systems initiated by the NSF funded “Safe Beaches and Shellfish” project led by the collaborative New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST). The Safe Beaches and Shellfish project’s goal was to equip resource managers to make better science-based decisions about the closure of beaches and shellfish beds in response to bacterial pollution problems.

Sustainability for Maine’s Coastal Cultural Heritage: Creating a Maine Midden Minder Network and Database

Developing a protocol for use by volunteer citizen scientists in conservation organizations to monitor the erosion of Maine shell middens—human-created accumulations of mollusk shells, fish, mammal, and bird skeletonsrtifacts such as bone and stone tools—that archive 4,000-plus years of cultural and environmental data.

Integrating and Sharing Data to Support Resilience in Coastal Maine Communities

Understanding the barriers and opportunities for integrating and sharing data from disparate sources is critical to create more usable knowledge that fits within existing social and political structures.

Strengthening Coastal Economies

In January 2017, the Mitchell Center launched the Strengthening Coastal Economies project as part of the Diana Davis Spencer Partnership for a Sustainable Maine. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to develop, implement and evaluate solutions to complex problems requiring a careful balance between economic development and environmental preservation.

Nested Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has been widely touted as the future of fisheries conservation and stewardship, appearing prominently in an array of highly visible policy documents in the United States and internationally.

Ocean and Coastal Acidification in Maine

Ocean and coastal acidification (OCA) presents a unique set of chronic sustainability challenges at the human-ecological interface along the coast of Maine. It threatens the livelihoods of coastal communities through its current and future negative impacts on commercially important species such as oysters, clams, and lobsters and the delivery of ecosystem services like controllng climate and disease.

Safe Beaches & Shellfish Beds (New England Sustainability Consortium)

Led by the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, the New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST) is a regional research partnership focused on strengthening the scientific basis for decision-making regarding the management of coupled coastal systems…

Past Projects

Lobster Trap Bycatch
Understanding Ecological, Social, and Economic Aspects of Bycatch and Building Stakeholder Alliances in the Gulf of Maine Lobster Fishery
Bycatch, or the incidental catch of non-target species, represents both an ecological and social problem in fisheries management. The decision of fishers to keep or discard bycatch caught in a targeted fishery is based on a fisher’s knowledge, understanding, and attitudes…

Towards Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management
Towards Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in Eastern Maine: Understanding the Linkages
between Social-Ecological Setting and Institution Formation and Function
This project explores the ways in which existing formal and informal institutional arrangements enable or impair the implementation of ecosystem-based management of marine fisheries in eastern Maine. The conceptual approach is multiscale but with a strong emphasis on local institutions because they tend to be absent or less robust than State or Federal institutions engaged in the management of these resources…

Helping Communities Weather the Storms
Increasingly intense and frequent storms are striking Maine and New England, causing millions of dollars in damage and threatening fragile ecosystems. This SSI research team is helping Maine communities better understand and prepare for the potential local impacts of climate change…

Renewable Energy from the Tides
Maine is one of the most promising places in the world for tidal power. This SSI research team is helping ensure that tidal power is developed in ways that promote economic development and protect marine ecosystems as part of the Maine Tidal Power Initiative…

Quality of Place in the Saco River Estuary
After several decades of clean-up efforts, the Saco River Estuary is coming back to life. Surrounding communities are now turning to the estuary as a source of renewal and economic development, but new pressures are emerging, including increasing coastal development…

Virtual Reality Interactions
Using Immersive Virtual Reality to Understand the Impacts of Wind Energy Siting
Many sustainability solutions are designed or enhanced by developing and siting new technologies (e.g., reducing greenhouse gases by generating power using wind energy). Yet the impact of these newly sited technologies on the quality of life of local residents and on tourism can be incredibly difficult to envision…