A group of wildlife researchers will meet with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September to discuss a conservation plan for the saltmarsh sparrow. Studies show a sharp decline in their numbers in the last 15 years due largely to habitat loss from development, sea-level rise, and more frequent storm surges. Read more about SHARP (The Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program), a group of academic, governmental, and nonprofit collaborators gathering data to conserve tidal-marsh birds at http://www.tidalmarshbirds.org
Scarborough High School students from Environmental Science classes will be involved in a year-long project designed to locate sources of pollution in Mill Brook. Students will collect and test water samples from the brook at several locations and then track the pollution levels as the year progresses. Because water from the Mill Brook ends up in the Scarborough Marsh, any pollution from the brook can affect wildlife, plants and aquatic species and then eventually can end up affecting our beaches, too. Friends board member Greg Bither is spearheading the project.
A three-year project to control the invasive reed Phragmites australis in the Scarborough Marsh has achieved its goal of a 95% eradication rate in the areas treated under the program. The project was a collaboration among the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the Friends of Scarborough Marsh, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Program, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited, and Maine Audubon. Launched in August 2010, it involved a variety of actions utilizing highly specialized mowing equipment, licensed and trained contractors and application of a specially formulated herbicide that affects only plants.
The Friends of the Scarborough Marsh recently extended an invitation to the Town to work collaboratively on improving and protecting water quality in the Scarborough Marsh. (see letter)
A report released in July 2013 by the National Resources Defense Council showing that in 2012 Scarborough’s Ferry Beach tied for 5th place (out of 60) in Maine’s most contaminated beaches. Also at about that time, FOSM partnered with the University of New England to collect and analyze data gathered at the Mill Brook area of the marsh. The study found water quality to be good overall, with one major exception: coliform bacteria rated as poor at all four sampling sites during almost every month of the study period. High coliform bacteria levels are the primary reason for closing clam flats. In light of our results and the recent water quality study, we need to act in a collaborative fashion to restore and protect water quality in the Scarborough Marsh. FOSM is dedicated to participating in and where appropriate facilitating this collaboration.
Researchers will compare the abundance of marsh plants and birds before and after Super Storm Sandy from Maine to Virginia.
Check out the new website put together by Maine Memory Network, the Scarborough Historical Society, Scarborough Public Library and others! (scarborough.mainememory.net) Images from Scarborough's past include views of the Marsh through the seasons as well as through the ages, showcasing the Marsh's role as a resource to people as well as the natural ecosystem.
BioDiversity Research Institute is a nonprofit ecological research group based in Gorham. Dedicated to progressive environmental study and education to further global sustainability and conservation policies, they recently released two new reports focusing on contaminants, mercury, and saltmarsh sparrows. Links to these reports may be found in our online library of reports.
Conserve, protect, restore, and enhance the Scarborough Marsh.