Environmental Solutions 2018

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Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

Downeast Institute Identifies Cause Of Clam Decline COURTESY OF THE DOWNEAST INSTITUTE

The Downeast Institute has discovered why Maine’s important soft-shell clam populations are dwindling to record lows. Rather than ocean acidification or overharvesting, as some suspected, DEI’s research has shown that predators are causing the decline. DEI teamed up with clammers to conduct large-scale field research to determine the reason for the decline and find ways to enhance clam populations. DEI’s Director of Research Dr. Brian Beal said the kind of research DEI conducts is important. “It’s tempting to assume there is a cause and effect when you observe multiple changes in the environment,” Beal said. “But an observation is just step one. We then develop a hypothesis, and design ways to test and disprove our theory. Experiments need to be large enough, and with adequate controls and replicates, to properly test the validity of the hypothesis and produce findings that are real.” DEI’s experiments have repeatedly found that juvenile clams are still settling onto the mudflats. However, the clams are not surviving to adulthood due to high levels of predation from invasive green crabs and other predators. DEI discovered that a shocking 99%-100% of baby clams in southern Maine are being killed and eaten by predators before they can grow to commercial sizes, meaning that less than 0.01% of juvenile clams are surviving beyond their first year. DEI’s discovery means that the iconic fishery is in jeopardy unless management practices change to account for the ecological conditions of warming water and

Dr. Brian Beal plants clams in a specially designed box that protects clams from predators and allows them to grow. PHOTO COURTESY DOWNEAST INSTITUTE.

increased predators. New management methods could prevent the fishery from declining to levels that are no longer commercially viable. “The major predators are green crabs, especially small crabs that feast on juvenile clams, but even native species such as milky ribbon worms are now having a significant impact on clam populations,” said Beal. “However, our results also show that when clams are protected from predators they are able to survive and grow. Our research has pinpointed effective methods to grow clams to adulthood.” “Steamer” clams are a staple food of Maine gatherings, and a key source of income for clammers and seafood dealers. Their numbers have declined to a precarious level over the past 30 years, as seawater temperatures have risen and populations of green crabs have increased rapidly, especially along the southern Maine coast.

Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

Finding Natural Solutions For People and Nature COURTESY OF THE NATURE CONSERVANCY It’s no surprise that folks at The Nature Conservancy enjoy pointing out Maine’s unique combination of extensive forests, clean waters, and rich marine life. They’ve been working to conserve habitats in the state for more than 60 years. “These ecosystems are all interconnected to form a remarkable and complex natural system,” says Andy Cutko, director of science for the organization, “and they’re remarkably intact here in Maine.” “People are members of the natural community as well, and possess an outsized ability to influence change,” adds State Director Kate Dempsey. “We have the power to reconnect rivers, restore degraded forests, and push back on climate change. The Nature Conservancy in Maine works with people, and for people, to ensure that our forests remain healthy, our rivers clean and free-flowing, our ocean waters abundant, and that solutions to climate change can be found.” The world-wide, member-driven conservation organization was established in Maine in 1956 by a dedicated group of founders that included famed conservationist Rachel Carson. Today, the organization works to maintain healthy forests across the state through a network of protected areas connected to sustainably-harvested timberlands. They remove barriers to fish and wildlife passage in Maine’s rivers and streams while improving the ability of road-stream crossings to withstand flooding. They partner with fishermen to test and implement techniques aimed at reversing the decline of habitats and species in the Gulf of Maine. And they engage with communities to develop energy efficiencies, reduce carbon emissions, and prepare for increased storms and rising oceans with natural buffers. “The legacy of conservation leadership in Maine is remarkable,” says Dempsey. “We proudly follow in the footsteps of leaders like Rachel Carson and Ed Muskie, who spearheaded the Clean Water Act. We’ve come so far, but there is so much more to do to ensure future generations will thrive in Maine and around the world.” The Nature Conservancy recognizes that people have depended on the area’s natural resources for economic well-being and cultural nourishment for centuries. Now they say nature can help solve the complex challenges of today’s world. Employing a team of skilled conservation specialists, the organization employs a scientific approach, a pool of impressive partner organizations, and the support of committed members to care for Maine’s entire natural system—focusing the power of people to make positive changes for nature. “We depend on nature,” says Dempsey, “and nature depends on all of us.”

For more about The Nature Conservancy, visit nature.org



Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

Clean Harbors: 30 Years Of Keeping Maine Beautiful COURTESY CLEAN HARBORS This year, Clean Harbors celebrates its 30th year at the company’s Bangor location. As the company’s name suggests, Clean Harbors has a long history of environmental stewardship on land and water. For three decades, the company has been meeting Maine’s toughest environmental challenges by cleaning up oil and other toxic liquid spills, mitigating potential environmental impacts after emergency situations, collecting and properly disposing of hazardous waste, and protecting waterways as cargo is transferred from marine shipments. In the past few years, Clean Harbors has become the expert in a new, environmentally-friendly way to dig. Hydro excavation is a more precise, faster, more cost effective and safer option than construction equipment like backhoes, bulldozers, and dump trucks. Clean Harbors crews employ state-of-the-art hydrovac trucks that use highpressured water streams to blast through the earth while simultaneously vacuuming up the newly loose soil into the truck’s tank. Since the water stream won’t damage underground utilities like a hard-edge digging tool, the method is perfect for exposing underground wires and pipes in need of maintenance. It can also be used for installation, locating utilities, trenching, pier holing and clean-up work on tanks and spills.

Given the surgical precision in which the water cuts through the ground, hydro excavation has far less of an impact on the surrounding environment than traditional digging methods. It reduces waste and requires far less backfill to restore the land. After the job, crews simply drive the collected soil away for reuse or disposal. “We’re really the only ones using hydrovacs in northern New England,” said Bangor Branch Manager Kevin Kelly. “It’s the future of the industry.” Staffed by Maine natives, the branch covers from Augusta to Aroostook County. Clean Harbors is an official sponsor of the BikeMaine ride along the Canadian border each year. Clean Harbors has been doing its part for three decades to keep Maine pristine: from responding to disasters and protecting the environment from hazardous spills to cleaning up downed transformers during storms or partnering with towns for household hazardous waste collection events. While proud of its legacy, Clean Harbors is an innovative company that’s always looking for the next and best technology to provide its customers with unsurpassed results while doing its duty as a corporate citizen of Maine. “We’re Mainers protecting Maine,” said Ronda Hartley, who’s worked at the Clean Harbors Bangor branch for 29 years. “We’re proud of our 30-year service record and we’re looking forward to at least 30 more.”

Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018


Environmental Solutions for a Healthier Indoors PROVIDED BY THE MAINE INDOOR AIR QUALITY COUNCIL, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO CREATING HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE, AND ENVIRONMENTALLY-SUSTAINABLE INDOOR ENVIRONMENTS. Fortunately, homeowners can adopt easy strategies to both prevent pollutants from entering their indoor environment as well as provide a reliable way to ventilate them out. Here are some tips to protect yourself, your home, and your family:

Control Moisture to Prevent Mold and Building Rot. Too much moisture allows mold to grow. Mold is an allergen linked to asthma and can cause structural damage to your home. Fix leaks promptly and dry wet areas quickly and completely. Keep humidity between 30-50%. Ventilate high moisture areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms directly to the outdoors.rooms directly to the outdoors. You may think environmental pollution is just an outside problem. But in fact, the air indoors (where people actually spend most of their time) can be significantly more polluted than the air outside. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air quality as the number one environmental threat in the country today. Radon, lead, mold, carbon monoxide, pests, and the many chemicals found in furnishings, cleaning/personal care products, building materials, and consumer goods are just some of the things found indoors that may impact your health and damage your home.

Let the Fresh Air In. Buildings are for people, and people need fresh air. Ventilate your home to let fresh air in and exhaust stale air and pollutants out. Actively use your operable windows, exhaust fans or install whole-house mechanical ventilation.

Clean Regularly. Dust particles, allergens, and chemical residues settle onto surfaces. Use a good quality vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove microscopic contaminants.

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Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

Test Your Home for Radon.

Avoid Chemicals.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer nationwide, and the #1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. 1/3 of Maine homes likely have a radon problem. Visit the Maine Radon Home Page at www.maineradiationcontrol.org for tip sheets, lists of contractors, and registered testing laboratories.

Chemical exposures can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat; damage the central nervous system and kidneys; and increase the risk of cancer. Control pests without pesticides; switch to non-chemical cleaning practices (such as baking soda and vinegar); avoid air fresheners; read product labels; and think twice when purchasing personal care products and home furnishings.

Test Your Well Water.

Inspect Your Home Annually.

Naturally occurring pollutants, including radon, arsenic, uranium and lead, may be in your private well water and can make you sick. Visit the Maine CDC website for more information: wellwater.maine.gov.

Just like people, your home needs an annual check-up. Thoroughly inspect your home inside and out for moisture, pests, or necessary repairs. A well-maintained home is a healthier home.

Maintain Your Heating System and Avoid Combustion By-Products.

Burning anything--oil, gas, wood, food, or candles--releases chemicals into the indoor air. Make sure all heating and cooking systems are vented outdoors. Service systems regularly using a licensed professional. Don’t continuously burn candles. Never smoke indoors. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean and/or change system filters regularly.

Check for Lead BEFORE Scraping or Sanding Paint. Lead is a poison that attacks the nervous system. 80% of Maine homes and apartments built before 1978 could have some lead paint in them. Visit the Maine Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ mecdc/environmental-health/eohp/lead/ for more information.

For more information about healthy indoor environments, visit the website of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council at maineindoorair.org.

The Saco River Watershed Collaborative BY GENIE JENNINGS There are many examples of people coming together to repair damaged or polluted waterways. The Saco River Watershed Collaborative is unusual in that it was formed preemptively, to maintain rather than repair the currently high quality of its water. Beginning in Saco Lake, near Crawford Notch in New Hampshire, the river flows 130 miles through Maine to Saco Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. It traverses forests, hills, mountains, farmland, towns, and industrial areas. It makes its journey through and over myriad dams and other natural and manmade impediments. Throughout its journey the river supports an abundance of wildlife. It also supplies drinking water to approximately 250,000 residents in southern Maine. The Saco Watershed is the southernmost and fourth largest water system in Maine. The people who live within the 1,700 square mile area are as diverse as their livelihoods and the uses they make of their surroundings. One thing many have in common is a strong belief in their rights to both the land and their particular use of the water for consumption, work, or recreation. SRWC’s main goal is to protect the quality of the water in the Saco River and its watershed from future degradation. Because their interest in environmental issues varies greatly, one goal of the collaborative is to educate the population about the importance of good stewardship of the land. They have a partner within the Maine government. In 1973 the Saco River Corridor Commission was created by the legislature. The purpose of this

quasi-state organization is to protect the quality of the water of the Saco, Ossipee and Little Ossippee Rivers. The main way the SRWC does this is by controlling development along the riverways. The SRWC strives to do more. It is composed of many groups and individuals who have an interest in how the area proceeds into the future. They understand that the entire ecosystem is mutually reliant. While each organization has its own focus, they are eager to work with each other to solve mutually recognized problems. Developing a set of best practices for the variety of activities that occur within the system is paramount. In 2016 the concept of a collaboration of diverse parties interested in protecting the watershed was conceived. The program is supported by the University of New England in Biddeford. Members include government entities at all levels, federal, state, both Maine and New Hampshire, and municipal. Membership is growing as more people become aware of its existence, and SRWC is accommodating to new groups with their own special foci and ideas. There have been large gatherings of members at the UNE campus as well as field trips throughout the year to various areas demonstrating innovative ways of integrating both new and historical uses of the land surrounding the water. From replacing culverts to designing housing developments, from dairy farms to aquaculture, people are finding ways of using their land productively and responsibly.

Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

Organization in Profile: Maine


Healthy Beaches

BY BDN ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS The Maine Healthy Beaches Program is a statewide effort to monitor recreational water quality and protect public health at Maine’s 63 participating coastal beaches. The program is a unique partnership among municipalities/ state parks, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, state agencies, and nonprofits. MHB works to ensure Maine’s saltwater beaches remain safe and clean by training volunteers at coastal towns and state parks to perform monitoring of beach water quality. Regional laboratories process the samples and the public is notified when health risks are detected. Additionally, residents and visitors are educated on the best actions they can do to keep Maine’s beaches healthy. Elevated bacteria levels degrade ecosystems and can pose human health risks, said Meagan Sims, MHB’s program coordinator. This can lead to advisories and closures of valued coastal beaches. The MHB Program provides a unified, quality-assured structure for monitoring public beaches and issuing warnings when there is a potentially hazardous condition, such as when routine water monitoring shows that a disease-causing microorganism might be present based on the presence of an elevated level of indicator bacteria. Sources of pollution are often difficult to find and typically require investigations beyond the shoreline. Data collected has been used by partners to inform ongoing efforts to improve impaired water quality including funding proposals to support pollution identification and elimination projects, replacing

Organization in Profile:


old and leaky sewer lines, eliminating malfunctioning septic systems, and installing boat pump out stations. Given the limited resources available to accomplish this monitoring work, the MHB program provides tools and recommendations to support local level decisions. The MHB program plays a critical role in keeping coastal waters healthy. The federal support that’s been provided has raised awareness regarding water quality issues and helped build the foundation for local actions to identify, remove, and prevent pollution sources. MHB will continue supporting towns/ state parks with their efforts to improve water quality and protect public health at Maine’s beaches.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

BY BDN ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS Maine Coast Heritage Trust is a statewide land conservation organization, working in all of Maine’s coastal counties to conserve and care for Maine’s threatened coastal lands. MCHT creates and maintains access to the coast including trails, campsites, and launch spots. All MCHT preserved land is free and open to the public. According to MCHT’s Director of Communications Rich Knox, Maine’s coastline has extremely limited guaranteed public access to the shore—only about 1%. MCHT is addressing this by conserving lands that guarantee what access already exists, and through efforts to conserve lands that will expand access to the coast. Maine’s coastline is subject to many environmental threats including pollution, climate change, and development. MCHT responds by protecting endangered wildlife, caring for critical habitat, cleaning the coastline, and fighting back invasive species. “We are known for our conservation of islands,” said Knox. Two of the largest islands that MCHT has conserved are Frenchboro Long Island and Marshall Island. According to Knox, MCHT is currently working to conserve Clark Island in St. George to keep it open to the public. “We seek conservation solutions that benefit Maine’s economy, ecology and communities,” said Knox. “More and more of our conservation projects are working directly with municipalities and local partners to address community needs that benefit from conserved lands.” Some of the examples he gave include protecting access to clam flats, creating community garden spaces, and creating handicapped trails to the shore.


Black Island in Frenchboro, one of MCHT’s protected properties.


Environmental Solutions • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • June 29, 2018

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