Vol. 2, No. 3
Boston, Massachusetts - Over the past two years, the Gulf of Maine Council has led an effort to document, for the benefit of groups working on restoration projects, the work ongoing throughout the region by government and non-government organizations, scientists, consultants, educators, and advocates to protect and restore coastal habitats and species.
Information compiled and available electronically or on hard copy includes contacts, such as consultants and researchers; notes on monitoring restoration projects; and information collected for specific projects.
Promising restoration efforts that have taken place in recent decades include restoring tidal flow to salt marshes, transplanting seagrass, providing fish passage at dams for salmon and herring, and building wetland habitat for waterfowl. Information on projects involving tidal marshes, tidal flats, and seagrass is organized in a Coastal Wetland Restoration Database. It covers approximately 100 tidal marsh restoration projects, more than 100 freshwater impoundments in Canada, and several innovative projects aimed at restoring seagrass and tidal flats. In addition to these projects that are underway or have been completed, the database includes information on more than 400 potentially restorable tidal marshes, representing more than 2,000 acres/809 hectares.
These restoration projects as well as efforts to restore seabird and anadromous fish populations are described in a companion report to the database.
The database, the report, and a fact sheet on habitat and species restoration may be accessed or downloaded from gulfofmaine.org, the Council's home page. Click on What's New, or Our Library/Regionally Significant Coastal Habitats/Coastal Habitat Restoration. For a hard copy of the report, fact sheet, a copy of the database on disk, or if you have new information on a restoration project to add to the database, please contact Susan Snow-Cotter at Massachusetts Coastal Zone Manage-ment, (617) 727-9800 ext. 210.
Chris Cornelisen developed the Coastal Wetland Restoration Database as part of a fellowship he recently completed with Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management.
Gulf of Maine - Marine debris data collected during this year's Gulfwide coastal cleanup will support the Gulf of Maine Council's efforts to control a problem that jeopardizes marine life.
Marine animals that eat trash they find in the ocean can die as a result of suffocation, starvation, poisoning, and injury. Others can become entangled in discarded nets, fishing line, plastic bags, or other material and drown. Marine debris is, at the least, unsightly to humans, but can also endanger barefoot beachgoers.
More than 10,000 participants picked up and tallied refuse on beaches in the Maritime Provinces, as Beach Sweeps took place there during the first week of June, according to Clean Nova Scotia, the nonprofit environmental organization that has organized the program there for nine consecutive years. Moosehead Breweries sponsored the Beach Sweeps.
Coastal cleanups are also scheduled to take place in Maine September 26 through October 3, in New Hampshire September 18-19, and in Massachusetts starting September 19 and continuing into October.
The Council will release the results of the Gulfwide cleanup later this year.
Boston, Massachusetts - The first of a series of forums to be organized by the Gulf of Maine Council and the Boston-based New England Aquarium will take place at the Aquarium and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) November 4-6, focusing on electronic information exchange among groups and individuals working on Gulf of Maine issues.
The forum is funded by the Cabot Family Charitable Trust and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
"The goal is to build upon work done by the Gulf of Maine Council and other organizations to improve information exchange via computer," said Maggie Mooney-Seus of the New England Aquarium. "We want to take it to the next step and reach more people including scientists, teachers, and resource managers with more information on the Gulf of Maine, in an easier way," she said.
Sponsors of the forum include the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Collaboration of Community Foundations for the Gulf of Maine, Environment Canada, the Gulf of Maine Council, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine State Planning Office, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, MIT Sea Grant, and the Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine.
Gulf of Maine - Sponsored by the Gulf of Maine Council, Gulfwatch has released a report on the marine monitoring program's first five years collecting baseline information on the health of the Gulf at 62 sites in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
Under the program, launched in 1991 by the Gulf of Maine Council, US and Canadian scientists analyze blue mussels that live in shallow coastal habitats throughout the Gulf in pristine to heavily populated areas, examining them for the presence of toxic contaminants including mercury, lead, and pesticides.
This analysis has provided the first long-term, comprehensive picture of the potential presence of toxic trace metal and organic contaminants in the Gulf of Maine, and can be used to evaluate how changes in the marine environment may be affecting the health of the Gulf, providing a focus for Gulf-wide cooperation on issues affecting the US and Canada.
The December Gulf of Maine Times will include a feature on the Gulfwatch program. For a copy of the report call Steve Jones at (603) 862-2175, or Peter Hennigar at (902) 426-6191.
Salem, Massachusetts - Ship strikes involving North Atlantic right whales and the potential dangers of exotic species in ballast water drew representatives of industry, environmental organizations, government, and the military to the Gulf of Maine Council's Marine Shipping Environmental Forum at the Peabody Essex Museum here June 4.
Ship strikes are currently the number one documented cause of right whale deaths. The shipping industry, government, and environmental organizations are working to address the issue, but experts say more solutions are needed to prevent this threat to the endangered whale.
Those participating in the forum also discussed how live organisms contained in ballast water brought from other ports could invade Gulf of Maine harbors, causing economic and environmental problems.
On June 5, the Council Secretariat officially moved from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia. "Balancing and protecting the concerns of this valuable ecosystem will be a priority of the Secretariat in Nova Scotia," said Keith Colwell, Minister of Nova Scotia's Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, who will serve as the Secretariat for the Council through June 1999.
The Gulf of Maine Council is an international body brought together to foster cross-border cooperation among government, academic, and private groups on implementing sustainable management strategies for the Gulf, which extends from Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy.
Visit www.gulfofmaine.org for more information.