Mar 18, 2015

Penobscot Bay Data Sources: Federal and State




EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online website

EPA Facility Registry Service 

A complete search and order tool for free aerial photos, elevation data and satellite products distributed by the USGS. 

USGS Satellite  Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis)
Browser-friendly Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 4/5 TM, Landsat 1-5  and more data sets



Maine Department of Environmental Protection GIS Data

Maine NPDES permit list and links 

Maine DEP Maps and data

Maine DEP GIS forest cover & impervious surface cover

ME Office of GIS


ME OGIS Map Server 

Maine orthoimagery viewer 

Maine DOT mapviewer

Maine Dept of Conservation  MDOC

Scenic Resources Data

* Searsport, Stockton Springs, Castine. AND Islesboro, Vinalhaven, North Haven and Associated Offshore Islands

Mar 14, 2015

Three waterkeepers tell Friends of Penobscot Bay: set up a baykeeper!

Our bioregion's three waterkeepers  have visited Penobscot Bay in recent months to talk with those interested in getting a Penobsot Baykeeper project. 

Matt Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper
Listen to a January 7, 2015 talk & Q&A by  Fundy Baykeeper Matthew Abbott;  a February 27, 2015 talk & Q&A  by Casco Baykeeper emeritus Joe Payne and a March 14, 2015 talk & Q&A  by  Great Bay/Piscataqua River Waterkeeper Jeff Barnum

 A common thread of the discussions  has been setting up a unique affiliates-style West Penobscot Baykeeper program as start up, with expansion to other reaches as local communities sign on to the value of waterkeeping Penobscot Bay.
This acknowledges the  enormous size of the bay and and the varied societies, economies and ecology of its different reaches, and also focuses on the most environmentally and ecologically challenged western reaches of Penobscot Bay. 

Joe Pay, Casco Baykeeper emeritus
There are immensely significant  geographic,  ecological, environmental, economic and cultural differences between the reaches which loosely consist of  West Penobscot Bay from Port Clyde to Stockton Springs;  tidal Penobscot River from Prospect to  head of tide at  Veazie;  East Penobscot Bay from Stonington to the town of Penobscot;  Islesboro and the Fox Islands; and the outer islands

West Penobscot Bay and its coastal forests face increasing commercial, residential and industrial development pressure  along the US Route 1 corridor. The pace of development in East Penobscot Bay and on the major islands  is much slower  and lower impact.  Our board members have collectively more than a century worth of experience on (mostly) west Penobscot Bay in one way or another. .

While all-volunteer  Friends of Penobscot Bay has been committed to  carrying out FOPB's missions on a shoestring budget,  a paid part time, regional waterkeeper is a good first step and necessary as development pressures increase under an industry-friendly  administration.
Jeff Barnum, Great Bay/Piscataqua keeper

An affiliate waterkeeper program may prove to be an excellent way of achieving this over the medium run, while gaining us the many support benefits  of being part of an association of more than 100 waterkeepers around the natoin and the world - each of whom has faced similar challenges fighting for clean water, healthy habitat & successful renewable fisheries and scenic natural assets

While there have been some successes along our way in Penobscot Bay, there is a great deal more that we could accomplish. Affiliating with this noble movement may be just the thing. 

Mar 12, 2015

LePage admin opposes state ocean acidification council bill.

 Maine DMR & DEP both submitted testimony to the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee at its March 11 2015 public hearing,  opposing LD 493 An Act To Create the Ocean Acidification Council

DMR's Commissioner read a statement prepared by his Marine Policy Director Dierdre Gilbert suggesting that academic institutions and NGOs  are the proper home of such a council, not state government.

DEP's Patty Aho complained in her letter that passage of the  bill would  require  "significant Departmental resources and time which will take away from other important environmental programs."  

Gilbert  wrote that  "...the Department appreciates and supports the work that was done by the Ocean Acidification Commission. Certainly there are many good recommendations resulting from their efforts that should be pursued."

However, she added:  "[T]he structure proposed  - a new Council  - is not the most appropriate vehicle to carry these recommendations forward.  There are several entities, including the University, and multiple NGO's, that have made this topic a focus of their work."

Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patty Aho said her agency  "utilized approximately 200 hours of staff time to support the legislative Ocean Acidification Commission from August through December 2014."

"Without additional funding or resources," she said, "enactment of LD 493 will put a significant burden on the Department for managing existing programs while participating in this Council."

Representatives  at the public hearing of  that "coalition of groups with an interest in this topic"  and others with a jaundiced view of  the Lepage Admin's skill at "managing existing programs "  frowned severely when they  heard that.

Mar 10, 2015

Great Bay-Piscataqua Riverkeeper's talk in Belfast March 4, 2015 AUDIO

Jeff Barnum on right. Ron Huber on left
On March 4, 2015, Jeff Barnum, the Great Bay-Piscataqua River Waterkeeper gave a talk in Belfast Maine public library. 

An employee of the Conservation Law Foundation, Jeff has been waterkeeper since August 2013.  He explained how he stewards his waterbody and the challenge of recent declines in eelgrass and oysters, stormwater, runoff, the Grimmel Corporation's scrap steel export facility - that may open up in Searsport -and more!

Just as we heard from the the Fundy Baykeeper and Casco Baykeeper, Barnum urged attendees to proceed with starting a waterkeeper program.
Part 1. 14 minutes
Intro. Big drop in Piscataqua  River's  & Great Bay's oysters & eelgrass.
Part 2.   6 min 55sec
Nutrients  and Sewage treatment plants

Part 3. 13 min 29sec
Stormwater & biocides

Part 4.  23min 29sec
Grimmel Industries scrap exporter in Piscataqua and now for Penobscot Bay.

Part 5.  11min 30sec
Spill preparedness. Penobscot Bay shellfish closures  

Part 6.  6min 38sec
Oilspill preparation. Penobscot bay shellfish closures, dams  & pollution effects on  alewives, herring smelt  Piscataqua Waterkeeper boat. 20 feet long, 8 foot beam. Platform for elected officials and media.

Part 7.  10 min 45sec
"Sealkote"  driveway & parking lot sealer: Asphalt-based safer than coal tar-based. Less PAHs into the water. Grimmel baseline study of heavy metals must be done. Riverine mercury. GAC Chemical acid wastes. West Penobscot Bay Affiliate Waterkeeper may be a good start, given size & variation of bay.  END OF TALK

Mar 8, 2015

Dredge Talk at 2015 Maine Fishermens Forum: Searsport megadredge plan not discussed!

DMR's Kohl Kanwit 
As predicted, the 3 agencies chiefly involved in reviewing the controversial Searsport Harbor mega-dredge plan steered clear of the topic in their all-about-the-process talk at Maine Fishermen's Forum. Though one of the proposed dredge spoil dumpsites was literally within view of meeting participants!

Hosted by DMR public health director Kohn Kanwit, the speakers from Army Corps and DEP asserted ignorance of the Searsport "channel widening project and wandered over the well trodden ground of dredging basics.DMR's Denis Nault, too, focused his presentation to non-local dredgery. Here are MP3s of each speaker and of the Q&A session.

1. Introduction by Kanwit and Army Corps Mike Walsh 18min
2. Maine DEP John Cullen 5min 25sec
3. Maine DMR Denis Nault 12 min 25sec
4. Question and Answer 1  10min 15sec  
5. Question and Answer 2  6min 30sec 
6. Question and Answer 3  8min 47sec //
7. Question and Answer 4 to end   7min 55sec  
8. Walsh says  Searsport dredge not on meeting off topic 14sec

Mike Walsh, Army Corps of Engineers
The audience was there to hear these "officials" describe this biggest ever dredge project  in Maine.  
Instead, Army Corps' Mike Walsh professed ignorance of the Searsport project and did an 18 minute "all about dredging" powerpoint snoozer.  

Then DEP's John Cullen  stepped up to the plate. Mercifully brief, Cullen also informed the audience that he knew nothing about the Searsport megadredge and, like Walsh rambled on with generalities about dredge permit reviewing basics. 

Cullen was followed by DMR's Denis Nault, who frittered away 12
DMR's Denis Nault
minutes describing - for the upteenth time to most of the audience - even more generalities about the dredging process. 

 Other officials lurked in the audience, occasionally popping up to add their two cents.

Jay Clement, Army Corps of Engineers
These included Army Corps of Engineers   project reviewer Jay Clement, who put in a few words once he saw  how the "know nothing" stance of the other 3 officials was angering the audience.

DMR attorney Meredith Mendelson popped up toward the end and unhelpfully brushed aside citizen concerns raised about the cumulative impacts of industrialization on the upper bay and lower river that the dredge project would induce. 
Meredith Mendelson, DMR

Mendelson seems to believe that because the project had gotten its earliest approvals  years ago,and indudstrial interests favored it, it was a done deal. Too late to divert the mammoth project an inch from its projected course. Admirably informed in fishery management, it appears that she needs a refresher course on Maine Site Law. 

Several members of the audience spoke out. 

Richard Nelson
Lobsterman Richard Nelson  of Friendship challenged the idea of holding a dredging info meeting that ignored the local dredging project. 

Ron Huber of Friends of Penobsot Bay agreed and further criticized the DMR and MDEP for ignoring the cumulative impacts law.Vivian Newman of South Thomaston, and several others also spoke up.