Coastal Conversations 8/27/21: Life and Science on Mount Desert Rock

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Maine coastal and ocean issues: Life and Science on Mount Desert Rock

Today, we venture out to the most remote of all of Maine’s islands, Mount Desert Rock, an exposed ledge, barely 3 acres in size, that emerges from a remarkably productive patch of ocean about 22 nautical miles south of Mount Desert Island.

Since the early 19th century the island has had a light tower to assist mariners, and various buildings to house light-keeper families. In the mid-20th century, the island was occupied by the United States Coast Guard. And since the 1990’s, after the Coast Guard automated the light station, Mount Desert Rock has been the home of the Edward McC. Blair Marine Research Station, operated by College of the Atlantic out of Bar Harbor.

On our show today, we’ll start our exploration with a history of Mount Desert Rock with Olivia Jolley, one of this summer’s station managers and a recently graduated senior at College of the Atlantic whose final project was to develop a comprehensive timeline of the island through interviews and archival research.

We’ll then hear about life on the Rock and the rhythms of the daily research tasks, like tower watches, where all wildlife and vessels spotted from the lighthouse are documented, in an ever growing, decades old data set. We’ll learn about the scientific, logistical and artistic work happening at Mount Desert Rock this summer, from interviews with a number of this summer’s undergraduate residents.

And then we’ll wrap it up with a conversation among those residents about the ethical questions they are grappling with related to science and the impact of humans on Mount Desert Rock’s wildlife, from sharks to seals, to gulls, the omnipresent gulls, and even down to the microscopic plankton species that drive this complex oceanic food web.
Tune in August 27, 2021 to learn all about Life and Science on Mount Desert Rock. Only on WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM and streaming online at WERU.org.

The voices on today’s show are all members of the 2021 College of the Atlantic Mount Desert Rock crew, all of whom, including station managers, are either current students or ’21 graduates of COA, including:
Olivia Jolley, station manager
Nathan Dubrow, station manager
Jasper White, station manager
Ryan McGraw, buildings and grounds staff
Tess Moore
Kiernan Crough
Baily Tausen
Zach Aiken
Annika Ross
Izzy Grimm
Em Comeaux
Abby Jo Morris
Thomas Gonye
Levi Sheridan

Thanks also to Galen Koch of The First Coast and her intern Camden Hunt for their help gathering audio and brainstorming story lines.

Thanks to the behind the scenes Mount Desert Rock support crew from COA who helped us get out there, including Toby Stephenson, Ela Keegan, Dan Den Danto, and Sean Todd.

And thanks especially to Olivia Jolley, whose passion for this strange rocky oceanic ledge inspired this episode of Coastal Conversations.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 7/23/21: Art of the Maine Coast

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

The Maine Coast has captured the imagination of artists for generations. On today’s Coastal Conversations we talk with two contemporary artists and an art writer about the relationship between art and the coast of Maine. Why is it that Maine inspires a deep sense of place in so many people? How and why do artists paint here? What are the threads that link Maine’s well known historical artists with today’s painters. What makes them different? And finally, how can art help Maine communities be more resilient to changes along the shorelines and in society?

Our guests on todays’s Coastal Conversations are Tom Curry, a landscape painter from Brooklyn, Maine, Judy Taylor, landscape and figure painter from West Tremont, and Carl Little, art writer, critic and poet from Somesville. Carl Little’s art writing featured in Maine Boats Homes and Harbor

Join me as they share insights about their work and what inspires them to keep coming back to the Maine coast for artistic inspiration.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 6/25/21: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: Ecological Connections and Research Methods

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Maine coastal and ocean issues: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: Ecological Connections and Research Methods

Today’s coastal conversations is in honor of the annual spring running, that time of year when several species of fish, such as alewives and blue-back herring, return from the ocean to Maine’s streams and ponds to spawn. Our show is about marine and freshwater ecosystems, and specifically the ecological connections that occur where salt and freshwater meet, where fish, marine mammals, birds and even water itself, moves along freshwater and into the ocean.

We’ll learn about several research projects underway in these systems, and new research methods, like environmental DNA, as well as existing research methods, such as hook and line fishing, to understand the species that inhabit these zones. We’ll also talk about local and traditional ecological knowledge that gets handed down through generations and helps provide critical information on how to protect estuaries and fish.

Our guests will help us understand why we should care about the research programs that occur at the intersection of marine and freshwater estuaries. Our geographic scope will span the Downeast region, from the Penobscot River system all the way down to Passamaquoddy Bay on the Canadian border.

Guests:

Justin Stevens, leader of the sea run fish ecosystem project, a partnership between Maine Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries.

Chris Bartlett, marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, based in Eastport Maine where he works on multiple research and restoration projects at the intersection of fresh and salt water.

Julia Sunnarborg, UMaine PhD student in Marine Biology who works with the Maine eDNA program to assess shifts in coastal community structure and biodiversity.

Michelle de Leon: UMaine master’s student in Ecology & Environmental Sciences focused on social-ecological resilience and partnership building in eastern Maine where fisheries have cultural and commercial significance.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 5/28/21: Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Perspectives from the Archives

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

The Maine Fisherman’s Forum is an annual event that brings together thousands of people who are connected to Maine’s fishing industry. Like so many events, the 2021 Fisherman’s Forum was cancelled due to COVID, but the stories and voices from the fishing industry persist! For this month’s episode of Coastal Conversations, our stellar team of student production assistants from College of the Atlantic sifted through the archives of 60+ interviews collected at past Maine Fishermen’s Forum.

They found some gems, including the voices of fishermen, legislators, and scientists, reflecting on ecosystem-based fisheries management, ecological knowledge gleaned from years at sea, and life in fishing communities.

Today’s show was assembled by our student production assistants who explain they wanted this show “to explore the lives of people deeply connected to the water, and weave together an image of Maine’s marine ecosystem including the ocean, the fish, and the humans that inhabit it. We want to share the tremendous amount of knowledge and experience fishermen have about the ecosystems they work within.”

Thanks to Camden Hunt, Ela Keegan and Ellie White of College of the Atlantic for your excellent radio production assistance, and Galen Koch of The First Coast for your tireless guidance.

Note: A few of the voices featured on today’s episode may sound familiar to our listeners but the show in its entirety is new.

Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum interviews were collected at the 2018 and 2019 Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland Maine by volunteers, staff and students from The First Coast, Maine Sea Grant, College of the Atlantic and Island Institute. All the interviews on today’s show are part of the Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum Collection which can be found on The First Coast website and at NOAA Fisheries Voices Oral History Archives.

Today’s featured voices include the following (please note that affiliations may have changed since the time of interview):

Paul Anderson, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Stonington
Herbert (Herb) Carter Jr., commercial shellfish harvester, Deer Isle
Philip Conkling, co-founder and former president, Island Institute
Parker Gassett, University of Maine graduate student
Dan Harriman, fisherman who operates Maine’s last mackerel weir in Cape Elizabeth
Pat Shepard, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Stonington
Angus King, United States Senator from Brunswick
Edwin McKie, lobsterman, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Dave Cousens, lobsterman, South Thomaston
Avery Waterman, lobsterman, North Haven
Marcia Beal Brazier, fisherman’s wife, Ogunquit

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 4/23/21: From the mud to your plate: shellfish markets and the seafood supply chain

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

In 2020, the soft-shell clam fishery was the second highest value commercial fishery in Maine, netting over $15 million in revenue, yet there is not broad awareness about what it takes to dig clams and bring them to the market.

During this event we will learn from harvesters, shellfish buyers, retailers, and others in the supply chain about shellfish markets, challenges in the fishery, and opportunities for expanding markets for soft-shell clams, quahogs (hard clams), razor clams, and other shellfish in Maine, New England, and beyond.

We explore factors affecting market price, market shifts resulting from COVID-related restaurant restrictions, and new potential opportunities to export products to the European Union.

Guests:

Jessica Joyce from Tidal Bay Consulting and Maine Shellfish Advisory Council

Joseph Porada, commercial harvester and Chair of the Frenchman’s Bay Regional Shellfish Committee

Mike Danforth, operations manager, Maine Shellfish, Shellfish Advisory Council, and Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council

Tim Sheehan, owner, Gulf of Maine, Inc. and commercial harvester

Quang Nguyen, owner, Fishermen’s Net

Boe Marsh, operator, Community Shellfish Company

Babara Scully – owner, Scully’s Sea Products and commercial harvester

Kohl Kanwit – Director of the Bureau of Public Health, Maine Department of Marine Resources and Chair, Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 3/26/21: Mainer Fishermen’s Forum Shellfish Day 2: What’s Changing on the Mudflats

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Mainer Fishermen’s Forum Shellfish Day #2: What’s Changing on the Mudflats

Harvester insights about the status of shellfish in their community;
New shellfish survey techniques that use local ecological knowledge and mapping;
Development of a standard protocol for an ecosystem survey in the intertidal that incorporates predators;
The feasibility of using environmental DNA (e-DNA) technology to collect information.

Guests:

Bailey Bowden, Harvester and Chair of the Penobscot Shellfish Conservation Committee
Nate Orff, Harvester and Chair of the Scarborough Shellfish Conservation Commission
Joanie Mcdonald, Harvester and Shellfish Advisory Council member, George’s River
Kevin Oliver, Harvester and member of the Yarmouth Shellfish Conservation Commission
Denis Nault, Maine Department of Marine Resources
Marissa McMahan, Manomet
Sara Randall, Downeast Institute
Sarah Risley, University of Maine Darling Marine Center
Anne Hayden, Manoment

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 2/26/21 Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Part 1: Shellfish Harvesting for the Future

-We talk with harvesters, wardens, marine resource committee members, and residents in Gouldsboro, Harpswell, and Brunswick, about their work restoring shellfish populations and intertidal mudflats to protect the future of shellfish harvesting as a livelihood.

-Methods to grow shellfish (including upwellers and floating nurseries deployed in the water, and a new learning lab dedicated to growing shellfish) and long term plans for reseeding mudflats.

-How communities are working together for the shared goal of mudflat repatriation in the face of climate change, predation from green crabs and ribbon worms, ocean acidification and water quality issues.

Part one of a three-part Coastal Conversations series featuring portions of webinars hosted by the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in lieu of their annual in person event.

Guests :
David Wilson, Chair, Marine Resources Committee, Harpswell;
Scott Moody Jr., Vice Chair, Marine Resources Committee, Harpswell;
Dan Devereaux, Coastal Resource Manager, Brunswick;
Mike Pinkham, Shellfish Warden, Gouldsboro;
Sarah Hooper, Education Specialist, Schoodic Institute;
Bill Zoellick, Education Research Director Emeritus, Schoodic Institute.
Dr. Bridie McGreavy, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Communication and Journalism and the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.

Coastal Conversations 1/22/21: The History and Future of Maine’s Seaweed Industry

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel
Production assistance from Ela Keegan

Seaweed has always been an important species in Maine’s coastal ecosystems. Maine gardeners have for generations used seaweed to enhance their soil. But in the last decade or so, seaweed is finding a new role in our coastal communities. Both wild harvested and farmed seaweed are becoming important resources for people working along Maine’s waterfronts.

In today’s episode of Coastal Conversations, we share the voices of seaweed harvesters, scientists and others whose work revolves around seaweed. Guest co-producer Ela Keegan, a student at College of the Atlantic, has scoured interviews with seaweed people and conducted a few of her own. She weaves these voices into a narrative that recounts past uses of seaweed, present opportunities for youth to get into the industry, and the impact of a 2018 court case on the right to harvest rockweed (perhaps the seaweed species best known by our listeners).

Guests and interview sources:

David Myslabodski, Seaweed Consultant, interviewed by Galen Koch at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, 2018. Interview archived with The First Coast.

Micah Woodcock, Wild Seaweed Harvester, Atlantic Holdfast Seaweed Company. Interviewed by Galen Koch at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, 2018. Interview archived with The First Coast.

Jessie Muhlin, Professor and Marine Biologist, Maine Maritime Academy. Interviewed by Ela Keegan, 2020. In addition, portions of Muhlin’s comments were captured in an earlier interview conducted by Springuel, some of that interview previously aired on the February 2018 episode of Coastal Conversations.

Ari Leach, Area Biologist, Department of Marine Resources. Interviewed by Ela Keegan, 2020.

Greg Tobey, General Manager, Source INC. Interviewed by Natalie Springuel in 2019.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.