Oct 31, 2012

Penobscot Bay Responder 2012 After Action Report (AAR) Meeting Nov 1st.


On November 1, 2012  at 9:00 AM,  Knox County EMA will host an After Action Report  meeting for the October 13th Penobscot Bay Responder 2012 full scale exercise.

The meeting will be at the Knox County Emergency Management Agency, 62 Union Street, Rockland ‚ ME (courthouse basement)

If you took part in the event then bring or send in your exercise evaluations.

For more information, contact:   594-5155

Oct 28, 2012

Licensed outfalls of Penobscot Bay and tidal Penobscot River.

Source US EPA
Tenants Harbor (Tenants Harbor) East Wind Inc. (PDF) (24 pp, 1.1MB) ME0036765 04/20/2006

Saint George (Atlantic Ocean) East Wind Incorporated (PDF) (2 pp, 2MB) ME0036773 07/18/2011


St. George (Long Cove) Great Eastern Mussel Farms, Inc. (PDF) (42 pp, 2.1MB) ME0023124 11/08/2007
Owls Head (Atlantic Ocean) Crescent Beach Association (PDF) (40 pp, 2.8MB) ME0036781 11/30/2010
Owls Head (Atlantic Ocean) Crescent Beach Association (PDF) (30 pp, 1.3MB) ME0036781 11/29/2005
Rockland (Atlantic Ocean) Rockland POTW, City of (PDF) (25 pp, 216K) ME0100595 11/21/2009
Rockland (Atlantic Ocean) Rockland POTW, City of (PDF) (84 pp, 229K) ME0100595 12/21/2007
Rockland (Rockland Harbor) Rockland POTW, City of (PDF) (13 pp, 102K) ME0100595 01/31/2008
Rockland (Rockland Harbor) Rockland, City of; Waste Snow Dump (PDF) (29 pp, 2MB) ME0036323 04/12/2012
Rockland (Rockland Harbor) Rockland, City of; Waste Snow Dump (PDF) (15 pp, 817K) ME0036323 12/28/2006
Rockland (Rockland Harbor) FMC Biopolymer (PDF) (31 pp, 1.59MB) ME0000400 10/09/2007
Rockland (Rockland Pier) Dragon Products Company, LLC (PDF) (16 pp, 45K) ME0036994 11/25/2008
Rockport (Rockport Harbor) Rockport, Town of (PDF) (16 pp, 649K) ME0036307 10/03/2006
Camden (Camden Harbor Watershed) Camden, Town of (PDF) (32 pp, 3MB) ME0100137 07/18/2003
Camden (Camden Harbor) Camden Waste Snow Dump, Town of (PDF) (29 pp, 1.2MB) ME0102725 08/05/2010
Camden (Megunticook River) Camden Waste Snow Dump, Town of (PDF) (13 pp, 643K)


Northport Atlantic Blanket Company (PDF) (33 pp, 2.3MB) MEU508257 12/02/2010


Belfast Moore’s Septic, Inc. (PDF) (40 pp, 3.2MB) MEU508259 10/03/2012
Belfast (Atlantic Ocean, Belfast Harbor) Belfast POTW, City of (PDF) (81 pp, 3.2MB) ME0101532 02/18/2011
Belfast (Belfast Harbor) Belfast POTW, City of (PDF) (5 pp, 24K) ME0101532 02/12/2008
Belfast (Belfast Harbor) Belfast POTW, City of (PDF) (64 pp, 3MB) ME0101532 05/23/2006
Belfast (Passagassawakeag River) Penobscot Mccrum, LLC (PDF) (64 pp, 2.5MB) ME0023043 10/17/2007


Searsport (Atlantic Ocean/Stockton Harbor) General Alum New England Corporation Chemical Manufacturing Facility (PDF) (42 pp, 3MB) ME0001830 03/03/2011
Searsport (Long Cove, Penobscot Bay) Irving Oil Terminals, Inc. (PDF) (75 pp, 2.3MB) ME0002461 04/09/2010
Searsport (Penobscot Bay) Searsport, Town of (PDF) (79 pp, 1.4MB) ME0101966 11/12/2008
Searsport (Searsport Harbor) Irving Oil Terminals, Inc. (PDF) (70 pp, 2.2MB) ME0021181 04/09/2010
Searsport (Searsport Tidewaters) Sprague Energy Corporation (PDF) (73 pp, 14.3MB) ME0002208 09/14/2009
Searsport (Searsport) Sprague Energy Corporation (PDF) (27 pp, 1.3MB) ME0002208 12/15/2006
Searsport (Stockton Harbor) GAC Chemical Corporation (PDF) (30 pp, 1.6MB) ME0001830 03/21/2006

Islesboro (East Penobscot Bay) Islesboro, Town of (PDF) (11 pp, 1.8MB) ME0100269 01/20/2012
Islesboro (East Penobscot Bay) Islesboro, Town of (PDF) (25 pp, 1.3MB) ME0100269 11/21/2005


Penobscot (Penobscot River) School Union 93 (PDF) (21 pp, 71K) ME0101974 08/28/2008


Castine Castine POTW, Town of (PDF) (15 pp, 55K) ME0101192 03/12/2008
Castine (Castine Harbor) Castine POTW, Town of (PDF) (77 pp, 2.3MB) ME0101192 12/29/2009


North Haven (Fresh Pond) North Haven DWTP, Town of (PDF) (34 pp, 1.1MB) ME0102482 08/02/2012
North Haven (Fresh Pond) North Haven DWTP, Town of (PDF) (22 pp, 1.1MB) ME0102482 06/15/2007


Vinalhaven (Atlantic Ocean) Vinalhaven POTW, Town of (PDF) (49 pp, 2.1MB) ME0102491 11/15/2007




TIDAL PENOBSCOT RIVER
Bucksport Bucksport, Town of (PDF) (65 pp, 4.1MB) ME0100111 04/10/2012
Bucksport Verso Bucksport LLC (PDF) (23 pp, 1.4MB) ME0002160 06/07/2012
Bucksport Verso Bucksport LLC (PDF) (22 pp, 1.8MB) ME0002160 09/02/2010
Bucksport (Penobscot River) Verso Bucksport LLC (PDF) (65 pp, 3.3MB) ME0002160 01/07/2010
Bucksport (Penobscot River) Webber Tanks, Inc. Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (PDF) (68 pp, 16.1MB) ME0001457 10/15/2010
Bucksport (Penobscot River) Webber Tanks, Inc. Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (PDF) (28 pp, 1.3MB) ME0001457 04/25/2006


Winterport (Penobscot River) Winterport Water District (PDF) (61 pp, 3.6MB) ME0100749 04/02/2012
Orrington (Penobscot River) Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PDF) (67 pp, 2.6MB) ME0023230 08/26/2009
Bangor (Penobscot River) Webber Oil Company Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (PDF) (43 pp, 2.2MB) ME0022225 05/19/2010
Bangor (Penobscot River) Webber Oil Company (PDF) (28 pp, 1.5MB) ME0022225 04/25/2006
Bangor (Penobscot River, Kenduskeag Stream ) Bangor POTW (PDF) (135 pp, 4.4MB) ME0100781 05/26/2011
Brewer (Penobscot River) Brewer POTW (PDF) (111 pp, 2.7MB) ME0100072 05/19/2011
Brewer (Penobscot River) Brewer POTW (PDF) (34 pp, 933K) | Fact Sheet (PDF) (16 pp, 297K) ME0100072 04/25/2003
Brewer (Penobscot River) CES Inc. (PDF) (16 pp, 742K) ME0102695 11/04/2005












































































































Oct 26, 2012

Feds vague at public meeting on Statoil's Hywind Maine application

What is it about federal & state agency ocean windpower people & public information meetings?

On October 23rd, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a  public information meeting in Boothbay Harbor on how Uncle Sam is handling Statoil's Hywind Maine offshore windpower application.

A very important public information meeting. A historic plan to bring floating ocean windmills to deep waters off Maine. A lively resistance by offshore fishermen looking at their commons closing. This meeting was to be a followup on the very well attended  public information meeting that BOEM held in Boothbay back in June.

But alas, though the  October 25th meeting was supposed to inform people about  what has happened in the Statoil review process since June, and explain the coming environmental impact study, very little of that happened
 Boothbay Register reporter Sue Mello noted in her coverage of the BOEM meeting, there were few useful answers to any of the attendees' questions. Instead the agency crew reiterated its last meeting, and kept its presentation couched in  acronym speak, and mostly shrugging helplessly when questioned on anything substantial

There were several telling incidents that characterized  BOEM's polite unhelpfulness.

* Asked why there weren't any pictures or simulations of what the wind turbines would look like in BOEM's slide presentation, nor among on the agency's maps on the walls, the agency demurred that  Statoil had not supplied them one.

This from a federal agency with a vast graphics department at its disposal, and with all the details of the turbine at hand. Right there, on their projector's slides: distance from land, height & width of tower above and below sea surface, size of blades, types of anchors, types of cables.

Clearly the agency could have produced simulations and design drawings for this meeting - had it wanted to.  (See simulations of the Cape Wind proposal at various distances from land).  

Instead, BOEM has purposely chosen not to supply the public with this important basic visual information.

* When questions were asked of the three feds at the head table,  either they had not that information, or, as in questions about the cables that would knife through federal and state waters, they'd say the question was premature and would be discussed at a future information meeting. 


Yet many of the state and federal officials that DID have much of that information were there. Representatives of Statoil were there.  But  instead of being up front with BOEM's trio, where they could do some good, they were scattered through the audience.

It was as if the officials were there as  spectators of the project, not the active participants  that they actually are.  They answered no questions, offered no information - with the exception of a Coast Guard attendee who offered her expertise. But the BOEMers ignored her - and the other officials who were there. The answers to the public's questions were there - but but not given.  
 .
* A fisherman noted that there had been a great deal of informed comments given to BOEM at the June 2012 BOEM/Statoil meeting in Boothbay Harbor.  Had Bornholt or her coworkers at the meeting Aditi Mirani read those comments. Could they comment on them?? Answer: No & No. 

The breathtaking  audacity of officialdom: seeking public input, receiving it, then ignoring it.  What did that mean for the comments being made at this meeting, one wonders? 

The BOEM's Maine staff tasked with this project as earnest as they may appear, are not interested in the input from their "public information meetings."  Evidently the reason the meeting was held was so that BOEM could check off the "meet with locals" box on their to-do list. 
 WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you care about the Gulf of Maine, the most important thing to do is by November 8th send written comments to BOEM about what it needs to look at in its Environmental Impact Study. Use one of two methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the entry titled "Enter Keyword or ID,'' enter BOEM-2012-0049, and then click "search." Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view related materials.
2. By Postal Service send your comments and info to: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Note that your letter is about BOEM-2012-0049.

Oct 20, 2012

Sinking global warming - will it be a unicellular solution?


Possible influence of bacterial quorum sensing on the hydrolysis of sinking particulate organic carbon in marine environments  

FROM: Environmental Microbiology Reports (2011) 3(6), 682–688

Possible influence of bacterial quorum sensing on the hydrolysis of sinking particulate organic carbon in marine environments

Laura R. Hmelo,† Tracy J. Mincer and Benjamin A. S. Van Mooy*
Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MS #4, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
.

Summary
A central component of the ocean’s biological carbon pump is the export of sinking, photosynthetically derived, particulate organic carbon (POC). Bacteria colonize these particles and produce enzymes that hydrolyse sinking POC thereby acting as one of the major controls on the biological pump.

Here we provide evidence that a bacterial cell–cell communication mechanism, quorum sensing (QS), may influence the activity of hydrolytic enzymes on sinking particles.
(Continued below image.)
 We collected sinking POC from a site off Vancouver Island, Canada and found that it contained acylated homoserine lactones (AHLs), a suite of well known bacterial communication molecules. Furthermore, we observed that the addition of exogenous
AHLs to incubations containing sinking POC affected the activity of key hydrolytic enzymes involved in POC degradation in some cases.

Our results suggest that AHL-based QS could play an important role in regulating the degradation of sinking POC and that variability in AHL-triggered POC hydrolysis is a heretofore unrecognized process that impacts the marine biological carbon pump.
Introduction
Carbon fixed by photosynthesis is transferred to the deep ocean via sinking particulate organic carbon (POC) where it is removed from the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. Sinking POC flux declines significantly in the upper few hundred meters of the ocean (Martin et al., 1987; Buesseler et al., 2008), but there is significant
spatial and temporal variability in this attenuation (Buesseler et al., 2007). 

It is generally accepted that POC - attached bacteria contribute significantly to organic
carbon degradation during sinking (Steinberg et al., 2008), but parameterizing their contribution remains a major obstacle to the development of accurate carbon cycle models. Currently, flux attenuation is represented by empirical (Martin et al., 1987) or chemical models (Armstrong et al., 2001), which do not explicitly incorporate the
activities of particle-attached bacteria.

Many bacteria use a cell-density dependent signalling system, ‘quorum sensing’ (QS) to coordinate the expression of genes encoding behaviours that benefit cells at high population density (e.g. extracellular hydrolytic enzyme production, luminescence, biofilm formation).

Extracellular hydrolytic enzymes are used by particle attached bacteria in the conversion of sinking POC to suspended POC or dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the environment (e.g. Smith et al., 1992). Bacteria that produce the particular class of QS signal molecules, acylated homoserine lactones (AHLs), are readily isolated
from marine environments where bacterial population densities are high (Gram et al., 2002; Wagner-Dobler
et al., 2005).

At this time there are only a limited number of cultivation-independent reports of AHLs from natural marine environments (e.g. Decho et al., 2009).

Although micromolar concentrations of AHLs have been reported in bacterial cultures (Boettcher and Ruby, 1995; e.g. Puskas et al., 1997), many bacteria can respond to concentrations in the nanomolar range (Kaplan and Greenberg, 1985; Boettcher and Ruby, 1995; Burton et al., 2005).

In the marine environment, AHLs are most likely to accumulate in microenvironments where bacterial densities are high (Hmelo and Van Mooy, 2009), such as within sinking POC.

Direct measurements of AHLs in environmental samples require extremely sensitive and selective analytical tools, which are only now becoming available to the oceanographic community.

Although bacterial cultivars from marine particles have ben shown to possess the capacity for Quorum Sensing (Gram et al., 2002), in situ QS activity has yet to be demonstrated in sinking POC

Oct 18, 2012

Toxic Release Inventory of Penobscot Bay companies with industrial outfalls or stacks

West Penobscot Bay companies with licensed and historic  toxic releases. Click on Facility Report, then scroll down below facility map, for details on company's waste discharges. 

 SEARSPORT

GAC CHEMICAL  Facility Report 34 Kidder Point Rd, Searsport ME 04974-3111
EPA Registry Id: 110000581549

IRVING OIL TERMINALS INC Facility Report
52  Station Acvve Searsport, ME 04974-3389
EPA Registry Id: 110025246847

SPRAGUE ENERGY-SEARSPORT TERMINAL Facility Report
70 Trundy Road, Searsport, ME 04974
EPA Registry Id: 110028276513

SUNRISE MATERIALS Facility Report
Dump Road, Searsport, ME 04974
EPA Registry Id: 110007273510

US DEFENSE LOGISTICS FUEL SUPPORT POINT Facility Report
58 Trundy Road, Searsport, ME 04974
EPA Registry Id: 110008459916


BELFAST

STINSON SEAFOOD (2000) INC. Facility Report
101 Front Street, Belfast ME 04915
EPA Registry Id: 110008053541 


CAMDEN

CAMDEN TANNING CO  Facility Report
116 Washington Street, Camden ME 04843-1529
EPA Registry Id: 110015329928 


ROCKLAND

FISHER ENGINEERING
  Facility Report
12 Water Street Rockland ME 04841-3523
EPA Registry Id: 110000314696

FISHER ENGINEERING  Facility Report
50 Gordon Drive, Rockland, ME 04841-2139
EPA Registry Id: 110002088507

FMC BIOPOLYMER FOOD INGREDIENTS  Facility Report
1 Crocketts Point Rd. Rockland  ME 04841-3444
EPA Registry Id: 110000581512

NORTH END COMPOSITES Facility Report
23 Merrill Drive, Rockland , ME 04841
EPA Registry Id: 110031001190

NORTH END COMPOSITES  Facility Report
28 Gordon Drive, Rockland, ME 04841
EPA Registry Id: 110000314703

JOURNEY S END MARINA (O'Hara)  Facility Report
120 Tillson Avenue, ROckland, ME 04841-3450
EPA Registry Id: 110022438441

SEAPRO INCORPORATED  Facility Report
779 Maine Street, Rockland, ME 04841
EPA Registry Id: 110001839146


GAC Chemical's annual licensed discharges into Penobscot Bay, 1987-2011.

GAC Chemical's licensed discharges of Ammonia, Chlorine and Sulfuric Acid  through an outfall into Stockton Harbor of Penobscot Bay. Average annual discharge 1987 to 2011. Click on  the chem names for EPA info about each pollutant. Source: MDEP and GAC.


Chemical Name Year Unit Of Measure Release Amount Stream Or Body of Water
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2011 Pounds 493.53 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2010 Pounds 445.51 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2009 Pounds 555.73 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2008 Pounds 788.7 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2007 Pounds 498.03 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2006 Pounds 713.14 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2005 Pounds 1312.14 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2004 Pounds 622 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2003 Pounds 694 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2002 Pounds 534 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2001 Pounds 578 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
2000 Pounds 301 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1999 Pounds 619 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1998 Pounds 57 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1997 Pounds 633 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1996 Pounds 39 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1995 Pounds 39 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIA
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664417)
1994 Pounds 39 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1990 Pounds 5200 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1993 Pounds 3000 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1992 Pounds 5200 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1991 Pounds 5200 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1989 Pounds 5200 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1988 Pounds 5200 PENOBSCOT BAY
AMMONIUM SULFATE (SOLUTION)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007783202)
1987 Pounds 2000 PENOBSCOT BAY
CHLORINE
(TRI Chemical ID: 007782505)
2004 Pounds 1 PENOBSCOT BAY
CHLORINE
(TRI Chemical ID: 007782505)
2003 Pounds 3 PENOBSCOT BAY
CHLORINE
(TRI Chemical ID: 007782505)
2002 Pounds 2 PENOBSCOT BAY
SULFURIC ACID (1994 AND AFTER "ACID AEROSOLS" ONLY)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664939)
1989 Pounds 1350 PENOBSCOT BAY
SULFURIC ACID (1994 AND AFTER "ACID AEROSOLS" ONLY)
(TRI Chemical ID: 007664939)
1988 Pounds 16000 PENOBSCOT BAY

Oct 14, 2012

From Waldo Village Soup  A friendly approachLocals who rely on Penobscot Bay forge partnership. By Tanya Mitchell | Oct 12, 2012

SEARSPORT — On a chilly and overcast afternoon Thursday, Oct. 4, residents and businesspeople of the Penobscot Bay region met on the Sears Island causeway to introduce a newly formed alliance aimed at cleaning up the local waterway.
Ron Huber, executive director of Penobscot Baywatch, joined forces with people like Sheila Dassatt of Belfast, who heads the Downeast Lobstermen's Association and fishes on the bay with her husband, Mike, and Searsport Shores Campground co-owners Astrig Tanguay to form the fledgling Friends of Penobscot Bay.
"There are thing happening here that affect the other end of the bay, and vice versa," said Huber during the press conference. 
Photo:  Sheila Dassatt of Belfast, second from left, head of the Downeast Lobstermen's Association, speaks during a press conference at the Sears Island causeway Thursday, Oct. 4 Photo by Tanya Mitchell
Huber said the idea behind forming FOPB was to unify individuals and businesses who all depend on the bay to thrive so those parties may act collectively toward working with area businesses and industry to improve the health of the bay.
In a prepared statement provided to the media Thursday, Tanguay said her campground depends on the tourism industry, which she said is directly linked to the bay.
"Anecdotally, I know that our guests come to Searsport and the region because of the bay — a chance to kayak, hike, sail, pick mussels and eat lobster," she stated. "The state's research backs this up with numbers: The primary purpose of overnight leisure trips is outdoor recreation."
Tanguay went on to say the top four trip activities among Maine visitors are enjoying ocean views, resting and relaxing, outdoor activities (including fishing, sailing, kayaking and hiking) and shopping.
"When those of us who [live] here rely on the bay for sustenance, we must ask why our wild mussel beds and fin fish are at historically low levels," she said. "If we accept that we are all dependent on clean water, let's deal with the petroleum spills, waste dumps and tainted sediments in and around Pen Bay while they may still be manageable."
Dassatt, whose family has deep lobster-fishing roots in the region, said she and other lobster fishermen are working with the University of Maine in an effort to learn more about the shell disease that she said now appears in about one out of every 10 lobsters caught here. The study, said Dassatt, is aimed at learning whether the meat of those affected lobsters is safe to eat, and also to see if water pollution may be adversely impacting the bait used to capture Maine's best-known shellfish.
"Even for the fishermen who are handling the water, we're seeing things that we haven't seen before this year," she said. "Fishermen with open cuts come up with things that aren't healthy."
Specifically, she said, fishermen are developing blistering rashes and skin infections after being exposed to the bay water.
Huber said he hopes that by forming FOPB, all involved will have more resources to accomplish their bay-related goals, and in the end, all Maine residents will be better off.
"We want clean water so that people keep coming here," said Huber. "Someone has to speak for the bay, not just one town or another town."

Oct 9, 2012

Northern Shrimp Science! meeting Oct 17th, Portland


On October 17th, 10am to 3pm, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is holding a workshop on the Northern Shrimp, Pandalus Borealis. at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute offices in Portland. 

Workshop will include an overview of the lives of northern shrimp, how the ASMFC measures the # of shrimp out there in the Gulf of Maine, and how they decide and divvy up the total allowable catch.

GOMRI is at 350 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine. All are welcome to attend.

FMI: Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mwaine@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740

Oct 5, 2012

Penobscot Bay gets 'Friended'

A new environmental organization has risen to steward Penobscot Bay's water quality, fish and shellfish habitat and scenic resources. It held its first press conference October 4th 2012 on the Sears Island causeway. See TV coverage.

Why a new NGO? Aren't there enough already? Not..exactly.

For too long, Maine's biggest bay has suffered from a scattershot approach to protection of its natural resources from oil spills and other pollution sources and from inappropriate development.

Maine's newest marine conservation group, the Friends of Penobscot Bay, which held a media rollout of the organization on Thursday October 4, 2012 on the Sears Island causeway will bring expertise from around the bay and among the bay's fishery and tourism sectors to bear on these many local concerns.

Communities and citizens in the trenches defending their piece of Penobscot Bay
 from sprawl or pollution rarely have an opportunity to assist the bay's other defenders up and down her coast. Yet the problems raised by developers and waste dischargers around the bay are often very similar, often involving the same officials of the same agencies. The companies are represented by the same environmental consultants, law firms and public relations teams

The Friends of Penobscot Bay has come into being to respond to the need to coordinate such information. With a baywide organization run by fishermen and others whose living is dependent on their Bay having clean water and healthy marine and shoreline habitats, abundant prey and forage species, and high quality natural scenic beauty, the Friends are able to respond to any kind of issue, anywhere around the bay.

The vast majority of the bay's hatchling  fish and shellfish do not survive their first year before falling to predation, starvation or poor water quality. 



Unique among environmental groups the makeup of the Friends of Penobscot Bay's Board of Directors reflects its small business/ natural resource protection orientation: Sheila Dassatt of the Downeast Lobstermen's Association; Thomas Atherton of Bucksport, a commercial wormdigger and biologist; scalloper Michael Keating of Owls Head, workboat operator and diver Robert Izerbyt of Rockport, oyster farmer Jesse Stuart of Penobscot, recreational clammer and coastal camp operator Astrig Tanguay of Searsport, environmentalist Harlan McLaughlin, also of Searsport, and conservationist Ron Huber of Rockland
 
The Friends of Penobscot Bay  will inventory the knowledge and talents of the bay's many natural resource-reliant commercial businesses, from fishermen to wormdiggers to coastal campground operators and apply it  to each bay impacting development proposal, be it a summer home builder seeking to riprap an eroding shoreline or an energy giant.

Combining the local close-in citizens are critical for protection and improvement of our natural environment, bit by irreplaceable bit. However, the Friends of Penobscot Bay seek to boost the likelihood of bay-friendly outcomes in those efforts, by bringing  the combined  talents, knowledge, skills and assets of  the bay's fishermen, eco-defenders, and other bay users and enjoyers to bear on each local issue.

The bay is suffering from a thousand local cuts, inflicted over the last three hundred years. The combined effect is such that even small new development projects and waste sites can combine with dreadful effect on our bay's entire ecology.

An unhappy result of those 'thousand cuts' is that Penobscot Bay's finfish, mussels, scallops, seaworms, urchins and more are at historic low levels. Meanwhile many of the bay's irreplaceable scenic  and sonic viewsheds and other natural assets have been degraded by inappropriate coastal development, and many more are threatened. Lobstermen have reported a new  and stubborn skin disease infecting from even the minor cuts and abrasions that occur on the job.

While overfishing and inappropriate fishing tech are part of the poor fish stocks picture, has a rise in larval mortality of many bay fish and shellfish species added another stress to these animals?  

The vast majority of the bay's hatchling  fish and shellfish do not survive their first year before falling to predators, sometimes, as in the case of the cod, even their own species

BAY POLLUTION Under the guidance of that board,  the Friends of Penobscot Bay will take up the task of reducing water pollution and cleaning up the 100s of legacy toxic and petroleum waste dumps and spills that were created in the 19th and 20th centuries. They will also keep an eye on the bay's many operating outfalls, each of which has strict limitations on the discharges they are allowed to make into Penobscot Bay. 

BAY REPLENISHMENT The Friends of Penobscot Bay will attempt to redevelop and replenish the diversified fisheries and scenic wonders that, once overwhelmingly bountiful, have declined in many reaches of Penobscot Bay over the last 300 years.

Let's hope the Friends of Penobscot Bay accomplish what they are setting out to do!