Waterlines is a publication of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research
MWC 2006 TO FOCUS ON CONTROVERSIAL WATER RESOURCE ISSUES FACING MAINE
The 2006 Maine Water Conference will take place on Wednesday, March 22 at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine from 7:30am-4:00pm.
The 2006 plenary session features a selection of diverse speakers. Pat Donoho, V.P. for Government Relations with the International Bottled Water Association will provide a national and international perspective on Maine's position in the bottled water industry and the market forces that move and influence the investments and actions of bottling companies. He will also offer a view of what future demands might ask of Maine's groundwater resources, and how the state might best prepare to manage groundwater withdrawals for bottled water.
Colin Apse, Deputy Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Freshwater Program, will discuss conservation of freshwater biodiversity in the Northeast. This will include discussion of conservation efforts by TNC, including their approach to assessing large scale threats to healthy ecosystems and defining strategies to combat these threats. Since these approaches require balancing human needs such as adequate quantities of drinking water, with ecological requirements such as seasonal base flows, the talk will include some of the opportunities available to collaboratively design mutually beneficial solutions.
Kathy Fallon Lambert, former executive director of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, designed the Science Links program to help bridge the gap between research from Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and related public policy. Kathy’s talk will explore the rationale for Science Links and share the techniques used for increasing interactions between scientists and decision-makers, encouraging policy-relevant synthesis, translating scientific findings and engaging in outreach with policymakers.
Posters and exhibits will be available for viewing throughout the day. The poster session features juried undergraduate and graduate competitions and a new high school competition.
For additional information contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207/581-3196.
MWC 2006 SPONSORS: U.S. Geological Survey • Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research • Maine Drinking Water Program, Dept. of Health & Human Services • Portland Water District • Aqua Maine • Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection • Maine Geological Survey • Maine Coastal Program, State Planning Office • Maine Rural Water Association • Maine Wastewater Control Association • Maine Water Utilities Association • Maine Congress of Lake Associations • Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program • UMaine Cooperative Extension
BEAR BROOK WATERSHED PROVIDES CHALLENGES TO GRADUATE STUDENT
Melinda Diehl came to the Mitchell Center in the summer of 2003 from Morris, Minnesota. She jumped headfirst into college as a full-time student at the age of 16. After a few years as an undergraduate, she chose to enter the working world. She worked as a bank teller, plumber, electrician, pig farmer, and was working as a property manager for a non-profit corporation when she decided to return to college. She re-entered with a renewed enthusiasm for science. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2003, and left ten days later for the University of Maine. Mel is pursuing a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science under co-advisors Katherine Webster and Steve Kahl. She came to Maine to “get out of the Midwest”, and chose the Mitchell Center because of its wide variety of research opportunities.
As a graduate research assistant at the Mitchell Center, Mel works as the hydrology field coordinator for the Bear Brook Watersheds in Maine. This paired-watershed study site on Lead Mountain in Washington County was established by researchers at UMaine in 1986. In 1989, researchers began artificially acidifying one watershed by helicopter, leaving the other as a reference site. Mel has worked closely with John Cangelosi on the project, and her responsibilities include weekly sampling, chemical analyses, quality control and quality assurance, statistics and flux preparation and interpretation, and data delivery. Research goes on at Bear Brook year-round, so Mel often has to deal with cold, wet, and muddy conditions. The site can only be accessed via logging roads, so a four-wheel-drive field vehicle is a necessity. She even uses a snowmobile to access the sampling sites in the winter.
Her job ties in well with her own thesis research; Mel is trying to determine what effects the acid treatments and Clean Air Act Amendments are having on the water chemistry at the Bear Brook study site. Melinda is planning on defending her thesis in March of 2006, which will coincide with the start of her Ph.D. research here at UMaine. She is planning to build on questions that surfaced during her Master’s research, looking at soil processes that mitigate the effects of acidic deposition and how they may affect a watershed’s recovery from acidification.
Mel currently resides in Brewer with her partner, François, and her two cats, Chukka and Samantha. She also maintains a large freshwater fish tank full of Tanganyika cichlids. She is an avid gardener, and preserves much of her fall harvest. True to her German roots, she is famous for her homemade sauerkraut. She also enjoys camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Mel says that in addition to the beautiful scenery and recreation opportunities that Maine has to offer, she appreciates the independent mindset and can-do attitudes of Mainers.
THE MITCHELL CENTER & THE PENOBSCOT RIVER
Anticipating increased interest in the Penobscot River as the Penobscot River Restoration Project moves forward, the Mitchell Center is helping to provide scientists, educators, and communities with needed information on water quality trends, expected impacts of dam removal, river flora and fauna, environmental history, and current monitoring efforts in the Penobscot River watershed. Here, we highlight two of our current Penobscot-related projects.
Penobscot River data on the Web…
PEARL is a clearinghouse for environmental information in Maine, serving as the portal to data from lakes, streams, wetlands, and terrestrial systems, including flora and fauna, water chemistry, and landscape-level information. Data can be retrieved via text-based and map-based searches, at the level of township, watershed and individual waterbody. A section of the PEARL web site dedicated to the Atlantic salmon watersheds provides direct access to key data sets and information summaries for the salmon watersheds, including the Penobscot. Biological data include fishway trap counts, redd counts, and electrofishing survey results. Chemical data include pH, temperature, and stream chemistry from a variety of monitoring projects. PEARL is currently developing a feature that generates "on-the-fly" summaries of watershed information and data availability. Also under development is a geo-referenced database of journal articles, reports and information summaries. Both features will be available by February 2006. As a statewide information resource, PEARL is housed at the Fogler Library, University of Maine. It is administered by the Mitchell Center in collaboration with PEARL's many partners. http://www.pearl.maine.ed
Bringing together scientific knowledge of the Penobscot River ecosystem…
The Penobscot River Synthesis consists of a literature review and data inventory of past and current research in the Penobscot River and its watershed. Housed on PEARL, the Synthesis will provide direct access to a broad array of information from the Penobscot River basin, including: a searchable, geo-referenced bibliographic database of articles, reports, books, videos, recordings, and published research on the Penobscot River; access to key datasets in the PEARL data bank; narrative summaries of topics relevant to dam removal; and publications for a non-scientific audience about the environmental history of the lower Penobscot. Pending future funding, we hope to continue the Penobscot River Synthesis and include more information on current research projects. We hope to extend coverage to the estuary and upper bay, providing a conceptual meeting place for the freshwater and marine science communities. The Synthesis is currently supported by the University of Maine, the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, Maine Sea Grant, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation through an Olin Fellowship. http://www.pearl.maine.edu/windows/penobscot
SPRING SEMINARS FOCUS ON PENOBSCOT RIVER RESEARCH
Our 2006 spring seminar series is co-sponsored by UMaine’s Program in Ecology and Environmental Science.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Biological Assessment of Rivers and Streams in the Penobscot River Basin
Tom Danielson, Maine DEP
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Long term biological monitoring of the Penobscot River as illustrated with a field-based stressor-response model, the Biological Condition Gradient
Susan Davies, Maine DEP
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Continued Development of a Fish Assemblage Assessment Method for Non-Wadeable Large Rivers in Maine and New England: 2002-2005
Chris Yoder, Midwest Biodiversity Inst.
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Does descaling impair osmoregulation in seawater-challenged Atlantic salmon smolts?
Sturgeon habitat in the lower Penobscot River
Gayle Zydlewski and Stephen Fernandes, UMaine
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Water Quality of the Penobscot River
Barry Mower, Maine DEP
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Oceanography at Maine Maritime; Particles, Currents and Hydrography in the Penobscot Estuary
Lauren Sahl, Maine Maritime Acad.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Potential for River Water Toxicity to Increase Following Dam Removal
Adria Elskus, USGS/UMaine
Thursday, May 4, 2006
Mercury (Hg) Cycling in Sulfide-rich Sediments: Contaminant Storage in the Penobscot River Estuary, Maine
Karen Merritt, UMaine
All seminars take place at 12 noon in Norman Smith Hall at UMaine, Orono. Please contact Ruth at 581-3196 for parking permits and directions.
The Mitchell Center will host Dave Krabbenhoff, a Research Scientist with USGS on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 from 12noon -1:30pm. The seminar will take place in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union. Dave is nicknamed “Mr. Mercury” by fellow scientists, and his talk will focus on
Mercury Contamination of the Environment: A Wide Spread Problem with an Uncertain Future. The talk is cosponsored by the UMaine Program in Ecology and Environmental Science.
Congrats Times Three
Three Mitchell Center students recently graduated with their Masters’ degrees from the University of Maine. Congratulations to Lucner Charlestra (The Use of Passive Samplers for Monitoring Dioxin and Pesticide Levels in Maine Surface Waters), Catherine Rosfjord (An Evaluation of 20 Year Changes in Chemistry in the EPA Eastern Lake Survey, A Statistical Population of Lakes in the Northeastern U.S.), and Kit Sheehan (Vegetative and Landscape Influences on Forest Litter Mercury at Acadia National Park).
Kirsten and Catherine Celebrate New Jobs
Congratulations to Mitchell Center graduate student Kirsten Ness! Kirsten has been hired as a teaching assistant in Colby College’s Biology department (her undergraduate alma mater), and has been appointed to the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program’s Board of Directors. Graduate Catherine Rosfjord also has a new job; she is working for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection as an Environmental Resource Specialist. Catherine will be in the field for eight months of the year performing water quality assessment of streams throughout West Virginia.
New Students Join the Center
The Mitchell Center recently welcomed two new graduate students, Jamie Pinto and Chris Proctor. Both are working with John Peckenham on the SWAAT project – studying drinking water security. Welcome also to Gail Lipfert, who will be working with John on his disinfection byproducts study while she finishes up her thesis.
Recent Publications & Reports
Look for these recent reports and publications from Mitchell Center Researchers: Estimation of Critical Loads of Acidity for Lakes in Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Linking Water Quality to the Watershed, published in the Journal of the American Waterworks Association, and the technical report on the ASCpH survey.
2006 Maine WRRI Awards
The 2006 awards for funding through the Maine Water Resources Research Institute’s 104b grant program have been announced. Congratulations to this year’s funded projects: Enhancing lakefront buffer adoption through social marketing (Laura Wilson, John Jemison), A sequential time-weighted average approach for monitoring pesticide levels in Maine surface waters (Howard Patterson, Lucner Charlestra), Does food-web structure mediate landscape-scale responses of Maine lakes to nutrient enrichment? (Katherine Webster, Linda Bacon), and Identification of Disinfection Byproducts by High Resolution Gas Chromatography Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (Touradj Solouki, John Peckenham).
A huge thank you to all of the speakers that made the Fall 2005 Brown Bag Seminar Series such a success. We had a great response to some really interesting topics. A list of the Spring 2006 talks is posted on the Mitchell Center website.
Welcome to Cheryl
Cheryl Daigle, the campaign and outreach coordinator for the Penobscot River Restoration Trust has taken up residence with us in Norman Smith Hall. Welcome, Cheryl!
Wrapping Up 2005
Another successful fall field season has been completed at the Mitchell Center! In addition to regular sampling projects, the RLTM and HELM projects gave another round of intrepid staff and students the chance to get outside and see Maine in the fall. Some even got to see it from a helicopter!
BDN Publishes Penobscot Articles
In case you missed it, the Bangor Daily News featured a two-part series on the Penobscot River written by the Mitchell Center's very own Catherine Schmitt. Part I: River of Islands ran in the December 26 edition. Part II: River of Dams, River of Defiance ran in the December 27 edition. Copies of the articles are available from the Mitchell Center 207/581-3344.