Conference to focus on Penobscot River, Bay issues

FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Contact Stephen Miller, Islesboro Islands Trust, 207.734.6907, iitsmill@gmail.com

Residents of the Penobscot watershed will meet with scientists, researchers, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, fishermen, and government representatives to discuss the state of the region past, present, and future at the Penobscot Watershed Conference, scheduled for April 8-9 at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine.

“We wanted to bring together concerned community members for a conversation about sustainable economic development in the region—development that protects or even enhances ecosystem functions while simultaneously providing high quality of life for all people in the Penobscot Watershed,” said Stephen Miller, Executive Director of Islesboro Islands Trust and chair of the conference planning committee, which includes representatives from 16 Maine organizations.

The conference will open with a ceremony by Butch Phillips of the Penobscot Nation and remarks by Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis, Curt Spaulding of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Office, and Representative Chellie Pingree.

“The Penobscot River connects its inhabitants in many ways, physically, economically, socially, culturally, and in spirit. This conference is the first of its kind to bring together the entire watershed from its headwaters to the sea, to share ideas about how we can work together to protect, restore, and celebrate this great resource,” said John Banks, Director of the Penobscot Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources and member of the conference planning committee.

University of Maine professor and marine biologist Robert Steneck will give a keynote presentation about Penobscot Bay. This will be followed by six concurrent workshops on the themes of maritime heritage and industry, watershed economy, indicators of environmental health, collaborations, recreation and tourism, and environmental policy issues. The workshops feature presentations and panel discussions by more than 70 experts from the watershed and beyond.

On Friday, April 8, the Island Institute and other members of the conference planning committee will show the film, The Great Bear Sea: Reflecting on the Past—Planning for the Future, as part of the Ocean Frontiers Film Series.

For more information, a draft conference program, and registration, visit http://seagrant.umaine.edu/penobscot-watershed-conference.

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