Monthly Archives: August 2011

What is Rockweed and why is it important?

The familiar greenish-brown macroalgae that covers the rocky shores of New England and maritime Canada is commonly called rockweed. Most of it is the species Ascophyllum nodosum. Rockweed has been harvested commercially and extracts from it are used for fertilizer or thickeners for food and cosmetics (these thickeners are called alginates). Until recently, there has been little regulation on rockweed harvesting.

Continue reading What is Rockweed and why is it important?

A Living Lab

Sears Island’s clam flats are healthy and productive thanks to an ongoing clam restoration project begun in 2003. Under the guidance of Dr. Brian Beal, Professor at UMaine Machias and Director of the Downeast Institute, the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee has regularly seeded the flats with juvenile clams and monitors the overall condition of the flats all year. A license is required to dig clams – inquire at the Town Office on Union Street.

For several years juvenile clams were seeded on the flats in pots so they could been counted and measured several times during the summer and fall months, before being returned permanently to the flats “on their own”.

During one season brood clams were seeded when the optimum sized juveniles were not available. All data, including the presence of predators, has been recorded and compiled.

The Shellfish Committee members continue to monitor the flats all year to determine the health and abundance of the clams. Their 2010 projects included: an official clam population survey, working in teams with the Regional State Biologist on one of the open harvesting areas; and transferring clams from a restricted area to an open area.

Recent Projects Completed on Sears Island

Trail Improvements

A Grant from the Recreational Trails Program enabled FOSI to have bridges placed along the Homestead Trail in wet or sensitive areas, as well as some ditching to divert runoff during rainy seasons. These improvements make walking easier and safer for visitors and reduce erosion, thus protecting the trail. Special thanks to Bonneville Canyon, 10 strong young men and their leader who volunteered 5 hours moving 134 heavy planks and logs to various places along the trail, cheers to the Maine Conservation Corps team that worked for 5 days to complete the project and to McCormack and Jay Economy, owners of the Yardarm Motel, who donated 6 rooms for the team, also thanks to other volunteers and behind the scenes helpers.     Continue reading Recent Projects Completed on Sears Island