2011 Maine Water Conference
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
Water and Land Conservation: Interactions and New models
Chair: Mark Berry, Executive Director, Downeast Lakes Land Trust
Mark Berry returned to Maine in 2006 to join Downeast Lakes Land Trust and has served as Executive Director since January 2007. His previous position was manager of the 34,000-acre Pine Creek Conservation Area in north central Oregon for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. He has taught and researched in the outdoors from Antarctica to Wyoming. Mark holds a Master's degree in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado. He completed his thesis on the effects of habitat and landscape context on songbird use of breeding habitat in the Colorado foothills. Mark received a degree in Environmental & Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College. Mark enjoys many outdoor activities including kayaking, canoeing, and skiing.
Description: Healthy water and land are tightly entwined, but experience different economic, political, practical, and regulatory environments that affect conservation opportunities. For this session, talks will feature:
- Interactions between land and water conservation, including:
- Water & aquatic habitat conservation through large landscape conservation;
- Forest conservation, ecologically based forest management, and water;
- Implications of water quality influences that are outside the control of land managers; and,
- Water quality and aquatic habitat restoration on conserved lands.
- Economics of ecosystems services markets: opportunities and uncertainties.
Tools and strategies for protecting forests and enhancing water quality in the Crooked River watershed in southwestern Maine.
Ethel Wilkerson¹, John Gunn¹, Bill VanDoren², Paul Barten², Lee Dassler³, Therese Tepe4
1 Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Western Foothills Land Trust
World Resources Institute
Maintaining forest cover is key to protecting the ecological, economic, and social benefits of clean water. The Crooked River watershed in southwestern Maine is rural and predominately forested and a recent study determined it contains the cleanest water of all watersheds in the Northeast. The Crooked River supplies over 40% of the surface inflow to Sebago Lake which is the reservoir for the Portland Water District, a utility that supplies drinking water to 200,000 customers in 11 communities. The United States Forest Service has determined this region is at high risk for forest conversion and this development pressure along with unsustainable land use practices are threatening water quality. The Northern Forest Watershed Incentives Project was initiated to protect forests and maintain and enhance water quality and other watershed services within the Crooked River. This project develops tools to prioritize conservation planning and uses new funding strategies to incentivize forest conservation, responsible land use practices, and financing watershed enhancements. This presentation will highlight specific tools and strategies including: a GIS based threat assessment and prioritization index to identify parcels with significant contributions to water quality, using a in-lieu fee compensation program to finance the purchase of a conservation easement and restoration of 4 road/stream crossings, developing a voluntary carbon offset program to fund restoration of riparian buffers, and using a “green vs. gray” infrastructure analysis to promote private investments in watershed protection projects.
Temporal and Spatial Distributions of Conserved Lands in Maine
Spencer Meyer¹ (student), Michelle L. Johnson², Robert J. Lilieholm³, and Christopher S. Cronan4
Graduate Fellow, Sustainability Solutions Initiative and School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Graduate Fellow, Sustainability Solutions Initiative and School of Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME
E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy, University of Maine, Orono, ME
4 Professor of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
The northeastern United States has led the nation in many land conservation innovations. Large landscape conservation efforts are becoming increasingly comprehensive in scope and scale, yet little is known about the temporal and spatial evolution of conservation lands in Maine. This study constructed a temporal signature for conserved lands in Maine and assessed the spatial relationships between fee simple conserved lands and those under conservation easements. Using spatial data from multiple sources, we reconstructed a timeline showing decadal patterns in conservation for 95% of currently conserved lands. Using spatial pattern analyses we assessed the cluster patterns and relationships between conserved parcels. Preliminary results indicate only 18% of currently conserved lands were conserved prior to 1980, with 6%, 33% and 38% added in subsequent decades (i.e., the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, respectively). Spatially, nearest neighbor analyses indicate that easement lands are more tightly clustered than those in fee simple ownership. Furthermore, small easement parcels (i.e., those less than 1000 acres) were more tightly clustered than easement parcels greater than 1000 acres. The temporal results of this study show the relatively recent increase in societal interest, both with available funding and political will, to conserve land for future generations. Anticipated future work quantifying the influence existing conserved parcels have on the likelihood that adjacent areas will be conserved will help land managers identify conservation value across the landscape and best prioritize future efforts.
Using Bayesian Belief Networks to Identify At-Risk Aquatic Resources under Alternative Future Development Scenarios
Michelle L. Johnson¹ (student), Christopher S. Cronan², Dave Owen³ , Spencer R. Meyer4, and Robert J. Lilieholm5
1. Ph.D. Graduate Fellow, Sustainability Solutions Initiative, School of Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Maine
2 Professor, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine
3 Associate Professor, University of Maine Law School, Portland, Maine
4 Ph.D. Graduate Fellow, Sustainability Solutions Initiative, School of Forest Resources, University of Maine
5 E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy, School of Forest Resources University of Maine.
The influence of urbanization on hydrologic systems is well documented, with stream impairment resulting from a diverse set of physical and chemical drivers including hydrological alteration, chemical and nutrient pollution, and thermal stress. These drivers are emergent properties of social and economic processes that are in turn influenced by ecosystem processes, resulting in a complex set of linkages among social and ecological factors. Given these complexities, it is difficult to predict which streams are at risk for degradation, how landscape changes will differentially affect stream resources, and which impaired streams are most likely to respond to restoration efforts. Such predictions could be quite valuable, however, because proactive efforts to prevent or manage urban stream degradation are likely to produce positive environmental outcomes at much lower cost than restoration efforts begun after degradation has substantially progressed. Here, we use Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) models to combine spatial data, expert knowledge, and stakeholder values to develop decision tools designed to identify streams and watersheds likely to experience new residential and commercial development. We initially focus on a pilot-scale municipal BBN, with the expectation of scaling-up to identify at-risk watersheds state-wide. Future development scenarios consider zoning and land use policies, and explore varying levels of population growth and development densities. We also evaluate opportunities for prioritizing policy and regulatory responses within existing legal frameworks.