In “Notes from the Coast,” we delve into a particular topic area, share thoughts and questions we’re exploring at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and celebrate the good work you’re making possible.
Kate Stookey, MCHT President and CEO
THE MOMENT OF INSPIRATION
At Old Pond Preserve in Hancock we’re working with restoration specialists to improve the functionality of the marsh, which was extensively manipulated for salt hay harvesting starting as early as the 17th century.
This is one of the first restoration projects of its kind in Maine, and MCHT will be sharing learnings with other land trusts and groups in the state caring for salt marshes.
A PARTNER I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET
B E V E R L Y J O H N S O N
Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences at Bates College
Beverly has been studying Maine’s marshes since 2002. In particular, she’s interested in the carbon dynamics and history of salt marshes, what they reveal about environmental conditions past and present, and what that may tell us about the future.
In recent years, Bates College students in Bev’s classes have been taking core samples from tidal marshes protected by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Data generated here and elsewhere on the coast is being used by state and international groups to better understand how
carbon is captured and stored in coastal wetlands, and what management techniques can increase carbon sequestration.
“Approximately 50% of historical coastal wetlands have been lost. The vast majority have been altered by human activities which diminish their ability to sequester and store carbon,” says Bev. “MCHT is playing a critical role in conserving and restoring coastal wetlands here in Maine, which has significant climate mitigation benefits that we’re learning more about every day.”
DID YOU KNOW?
About 70% of Maine’s commercial fish species spend some portion of their life cycle in marshes, including clams, mussels, and lobsters.
Tidal marshes act as sponges, soaking up storm surge and reducing flood damage and erosion, saving the state millions of dollars annually.
Healthy coastal wetlands clean water by filtering out excess nutrients and other harmful chemicals and are extremely effective at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust has completed over 35 marsh protection projects over the past six years, and currently has another 25 active projects in the pipeline.
Photo of Kate: Katherine Emery
Photo of Old Pond Preserve: Redbird Media Group
Photo of Beverly: courtesy of Beverly Johnson