WERU News Report 7/29/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

Attorney Kim Ervin Tucker joins us today with all the latest news on the proposed dredging project in Searsport Harbor, including an important deadline coming up next week for anyone who would like to be involved as an intervenor.

For more information about becoming an intervenor: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=dep-comment&id=648954&v=govdel

FMI re the “Dawson Alternative”: http://islesboroislandstrust.org/dawson-searsport-dredging/

Special thanks to Ron Huber for allowing us to use audio clips he recorded at the 7/16/15 BEP meeting. To hear more visit his website: http://penobscotbay.blogspot.com/2015/07/maine-bep-wont-take-jurisdiction-over.html

WERU News Report 10/8/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The site of the GAC Chemical plant on the shoreline in Searsport has been the location of chemical & fertilizer
companies dating back to the early 1900s. The beach is littered with relics of the industrial past, but little was
known about what toxic legacy was left behind — until local residents, tired of refusals from state and federal
agencies, took matters into their own hands. In recent days news broke that DEP may be stepping in — but can they be counted on to conduct a full assessment? We talk with Ron Huber, Executive Director of Friends of Penobscot Bay; Sheila Dassatt, Executive Director of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association; Nick Seeger, Friends of Penobscot Bay.

(Photos that accompany this story can be found on the WERU facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/werufm )

WERU News Report 6/3/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: Maine People’s Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council went back to court today in their years-long battle to force the corporations responsible for the mercury contamination in the Penobscot River to clean it up, using the best methods available. We join them at a press conference outside the courthouse

Segment 2: Attorney Kim Tucker has sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, outlining new information that she says warrants putting the Searsport dredge and dump plan on hold and re-opening the public comment period. She explains why.

Mid-Coast Currents 5/16/14

Producer/Host: Sara Trunzo
Engineer: Joel Mann

Issue: People, events, and ideas in mid-coast, Maine

Program Topic: Maine Fare and celebrating Maine foods

Key Discussion Points:
1. What is the Maine Fare event?
2. Why did you organize the event?
3. What opportunities will there be for locals and visitor to enjoy or learn about farms and fisheries?


a. Ellen Sabina is the Outreach Director at Maine Farmland Trust,  and an aspiring farmer.
b. Alex Fouliard is an Outreach Intern at Maine Farmland Trust. She recently graduated from College of the Atlantic and spends her free time running around with baby goats in Jonesboro.
c. Robin Alden is Executive Director of Penobscot East Resource Center, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2003. Located on the waterfront in Stonington, Maine, the organization’s mission is to secure a future for fishing communities in eastern Maine.  Alden was Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997. For twenty years she was publisher and editor of Commercial Fisheries News, a regional fishing trade newspaper that she founded in 1973 and later became publisher and editor of the publication, Fish Farming News. She was a co-founder of the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum. She is a current member of Maine Sea Grant’s Policy Advisory Committee.

For More Information:

WERU News Report 3/18/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Maine Department of Marine Resources held a public hearing in Bucksport last night, as part of their process of the closure of the lobster and crab fisheries near the mouth of the Penobscot River due to elevated mercury levels. The department became aware of the elevated levels after they were given results from independent testing done in association with the Maine People’s Alliance’s decade long legal battle over the clean up of the former Holtrachem site in Orrington. The Department of Marine Fisheries decided to close this specific area rather than issuing an advisory on all Maine lobster.
Last night’s public hearing was facilitated by Kevin Rousseau & Meredith Mendelson of the Dept of Marine Resources, and Dr Andrew Smith, the State Toxicologist with Maine Center for Disease Control. It was required as part of the process of making February’s emergency closure a regular rule, before the emergency rule expires in May. DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson provided some back ground. An informal question and answer session was held, followed by a formal public comment period.

The deadline for comments to the Department of Marine Fisheries regarding the closure of the lobster and crab fisheries near the mouth of the Penobscot River, is Friday, March 28th

WERU News Report 2/12/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The 2014 elver season starts on March 24th, and today legislators on the Marine Resources committee are considering emergency legislation that would amend regulations on the lucrative fishery. This issue has been a contentious one, with Maine’s state government attempting to regulate the tribes, who of course have their own government and history of conservation of the resource. To give you a better sense of the debate behind the headlines, today we take you inside the committee meeting. (Includes testimony from AAG’s office and Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Nation officials)

Talk of the Towns 11/22/13

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Program Topic: Scallops—Trying to Sustain the Fishery

Key Discussion Points:
a) Share a profile of scallops as much sought after public fisheries resource… their biology, habitat requirements, two methods of catching (dragging and diving), and anything else that distinguishes scallops when compared to other fish, and a sense of the overall market and the value of the scallop fishery in Maine
b) On the broadest scale, how do we “manage” marine fish, including scallops, trying to make sure that we have these public resources into the future?
c) What is different in how we manage lobster fishing, including those conservation measures that fishermen supported long ago and are part of current management?
d) Despite our best attempts to manage fisheries along these lines, what is our track record, including with ground fish, sea urchins, lobster and scallops?
e) How have we managed the scallop fishery in the past, bringing us forward to last year? Include role of Department of Marine Resources, and Scallop Advisory Council?
f) What triggered the desire by the Department of Marine Resources to try new methods of managing the scallop fishery, and how did you work with them to gain input from fishermen?
g) What is new and different about how Maine is managing scallops this coming season, beginning December 2nd? What are results are you hoping for?
h) Dana Morse describes briefly the pilot efforts to grow scallops in cages, as a kind of aquaculture? What are the challenges to be overcome, what would be some of the potential benefits to scallop aquaculture and who might benefit?
i) Hopes for managing the scallop fishery for the long haul

A) Dr. Carla Guenther, Penobscot East Resource Center
B) Trisha DeGraff, Resource Management Coordinator, Department of Marine Resources
C) Andy Mays, Scallop Diver, Southwest Harbor,
D) Dr. Erin F. Owen, Husson University
E) Dana Morse, University of Maine Sea Grant

WERU News Report 11/6/13

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

31 Maine Legislators have signed onto a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, requesting a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement or “at the very least a Supplemental Environmental Assessment” for the controversial Searsport Harbor dredging project. If completed, the project would allow access for larger ships. It would also result in the need to dispose of what has been estimated to be close to 1 million cubic yards of sediment – sediment from an area that has seen more than 100 years of chemical companies, industrial spills and questionable disposal of waste along the shoreline. The dredged material would then be dumped elsewhere in Penobscot Bay, possibly in a dump site between Belfast and Islesboro. This has raised serious concerns about the potential impacts on the environment and the fisheries in the area.

State legislators and representatives from the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club and Islesboro Island Trust held a press conference at the Belfast Boathouse this morning, to explain their concerns. (Coverage of the press conference, and interviews with Marietta Ramsdell of “Friends of Sears Island”, and Ron Huber of “Friends of Penobscot Bay”