Ecological Values

Working in watersheds to understand what communities value: Chris Feurt, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Chris Feurt's Presentation (9 MB PDF)
Beaches are shaped and affected by the coastal watersheds that deliver sand, influence water quality, and function as part of land-sea integrated habitats for biodiversity. Recent work by collaborative partnerships in the Salmon Falls Watershed, the Merriland River, Branch Brook and Little River complex and the Saco Watershed are identifying the ecosystem services valued by communities, monitoring the health of those systems, and developing collaborative governance strategies that engage all levels of government, nonprofits and business. Partners offer lessons learned and challenges experienced as they work together to sustain the ecosystem services of coastal watersheds and estuaries linked to Maine’s Beaches.

What does a forest in Sanford have to do with a beach in Wells? Tin Smith, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Tin Smith's Presentation (4 MB)
The change in southern Maine from forests and farms to houses is impacting the water quality of our coastal rivers, estuaries and beaches. This degradation could prove irreversible once certain thresholds are crossed. There are numerous efforts to protect our natural landscapes and there are numerous reasons why coastal residents should not only care but be active participants.

Endangered shorebirds on Maine's beaches—the birds, the beaches, and why it matters: Laura Minich Zitske, Maine Audubon
Laura Minich Zitske's Presentation (1 MB)
Both piping plovers and least yerns are “beach specialists” in terms of nesting behavior: they require sandy beaches in order to raise their young and survive. With increasing demands on Maine’s limited beaches, both species are endangered in Maine and piping plovers are listed as threatened on the federal level. These birds are well-equipped to handle the rigors of the beach environment, but increasing pressures are making their recovery more difficult. But they are worth protecting, and everyone can help.

Session Notes (PDF)