Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lakesmart begins third year of pilot program in Bremen.

If you see these signs in Bremen you should know that Lakesmart is hard at work educating Bremen residents about the importance of protecting our lakes and ponds. If you have a property on or near the lake and would like to learn more about Lakesmart contact the Bremen Conservation Commission via email or visit

Invasive Aquatic Identification Training

Wednesday, July 20 with DLWA: Invasive Aquatic Plant Identification Training at the DLWA office in Jefferson from 2:30-8:30. There will be a ½-hour break. The primary goal of this comprehensive, 5 ½ -hour workshop is to provide those who wish to join Maine's "early detection" effort with information and guidance needed to get started. The training session is open to the public and FREE to anyone interested in learning more about the threat of invasive aquatic plants in Maine. The workshop is presented in four parts:
• Overview of invasive species issues in Maine and beyond
• Plant identification fundamentals
• Plant identification hands-on exercise with live plants
• Conducting a screening survey, tools and techniques
All workshop participants receive an “Invasive Plant Patroller’s Handbook,” and Maine's Field Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants. Register online at: Sponsored jointly by the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association and the Pemaquid Watershed Association. FMI: 207.549.3836 or 

DIRECTIONS: To reach DLWA office from the south, follow route 32 to Jefferson from its junction with US 1 in Waldoboro. Go through Jefferson Village on 32, pass Bond Bros. Lumber and Baptist Church. At the next intersection, bear left onto Rte 126, go about 50 yards, then turn left at the DLWA sign. Follow drive to bottom of the hill & park. The DLWA office is to the left.

Public Preserves in the PWA


Lake or Pond?

Linda Bacon

Maine DEP
Technical Advisor

One of the most frequently asked questions posed of biologists in the Lake Assessment Section of Maine DEP, is "what is the difference between a lake and a pond?" About half of Maine's 6,000 lakes and ponds that have been assigned a state identification number have been named, many having two or three names. At least thirty have one name with the word lake in it and the other with the word pond. For example, Bryant Pond is also known as Lake Christopher and Dexter Pond sports the name Wassookeag Lake! It is often these dual names that make folks wonder exactly where do we draw the line in Maine?
One classic distinction is that sunlight penetrates to the bottom of all areas of a pond in contrast to lakes, which have deep waters that receive no sunlight at all. Another is that ponds generally have small surface areas and lakes have large surfaces. In Maine the latter distinction totally breaks down when one considers that one of the three Great Ponds is over 8,800 acres and one of the thirty-six Long Ponds is 2,500 acres! So a combination of surface area and depth are considered from a technical perspective. Some of Maine's large and deep bodies of water are indisputably lakes. Others are ponds - small and shallow. But there is a transition between the two where the definition becomes fuzzy. If we held to the depth distinction, some ponds would become lakes mid- summer when algal populations limit light penetration to the bottom. The surface area distinction makes no sense for seven-acre waters that are 50 feet deep (like Maine's kettle ponds), or for 400-acre waters that have emergent vegetation across their entire surface.
Comparison of Depth to Surface Area for Lake/Pond Designation
So to answer the question above: no definitive line exists between lakes and ponds. The one distinction that has any legal application is the designation of a body of water as a Great Pond. Maine state statues define lakes and ponds greater than ten acres in size as Great Ponds. If an impounded waterbody is greater than thirty acres in size it is also legally considered a Great Pond; impounded waters less than thirty acres that were greater than ten acres before being dammed are also Great Ponds.
Thus there is no exact technical distinction between lakes and ponds. All lakes and ponds provide critical habitat for other living creatures - aquatic macroinvertebrates, plankton, fish, wildlife and vegetation - and all need protection, so that clean fresh water continues to be one of Maine's premier natural resources.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bremen Alewives Arrive!

It's been a little more than a week since the Muscongus Brook alewife run began. They came into the brook over a few nights when the tides were highest around May 29th.  All said this first phase of the run was only
about 2,000 fish.  100 or so remain below the fish ladder today and a handful below the north culvert.  Yet higher evening tides come around again this weekend with a full moon approaching next week.
I will keep an eagle eye out for more fish. They have run as late as July 1st in previous years here.

Attached find a picture of alewives in the fish ladder last week and a picture trying to show the spiny
scales on the belly of an alewife.
I have heard it said that these spines help hold an alewife from falling back downstream
when in fast flowing places.  Has anyone heard about this?

David Wilkins

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Maine

Bat Disease, White-Nose Syndrome, Confirmed in Maine; Not Harmful to Humans, but Deadly to Bat
Red Arrows indicate bats with White Nose Syndrome
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has received confirmation that white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed more than one million bats in eastern North America, now is in Maine.
Until this year, Maine appeared to be insulated from white-nose syndrome while states and provinces outside its borders were not. However, during surveys conducted by MDIF&W biologists this spring, bats at two sites in Oxford County displayed visible signs of white-nose syndrome fungus on their wings and muzzles. Carcasses collected from one of the sites were sent to the U.S. Geological Survey-National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for diagnostic evaluation for the disease, and MDIF&W recently received confirmation of the disease in Maine.
White-nose syndrome is associated with a newly discovered fungus, Geomyces destructans, and was given this name because, when first discovered, infected bats had white fungus on their muzzles. WNS was first documented in New York in 2006 and has since spread throughout the Northeast and Canada. Between 90 and 100 percent of hibernating bats in some hibernacula – or caves and mines where bats hibernate in the winter – in the Northeast have died from WNS.
With the addition of Maine, white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 17 states and four Canadian provinces.
“We are saddened by the discovery of white-nose syndrome in Maine, the final New England state to confirm the presence of this devastating disease,” said Jeremy Coleman, National White-Nose Syndrome Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We will continue to work closely with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and our other partners to support research and management of the disease in Maine and across North America.”
Bat species that hibernate in mines or caves are susceptible to WNS. In Maine, those species are big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), little brown bats (Myotis lucifungus), northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), tri-colored bats (Pipistrellus subflavus), and eastern small-footed bats (Myotis leibii).
The disease is not harmful to humans, but scientists believe it is possible for humans to transport fungal spores on clothing and gear. In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advised cavers and researchers to curtail caving activities and implement decontamination procedures in an effort to reduce the spread of white-nose syndrome. The fungus cannot be killed simply by washing clothing.
“Scientists are still learning about WNS, but the fungus lives in cold, damp environments and we know of no risk to humans from contact with infected bats,” according to MDIF&W Wildlife Biologist John DePue.
According to DePue, Maine has only a few hibernacula, or places where bats hibernate for the winter, potentially delaying the infestation of some bats in Maine. However, the fungus associated with WNS may be passed from one bat to another even in the summer, especially when bats gather in maternity roosts. “It is possible that bats that winter in Maine spent the summer in contact with bats from WNS-infected sites in other states, and then carried the fungus back with them to their winter hibernaculum in Maine,” according to DePue.
Bats play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and have an enormous impact on pest control. Therefore, bats benefit the economies of forestry and agriculture in the United States. For example, the one million little brown bats that have already died due to WNS would have eaten between 660 and 1,320 metric tons of insects in one year. A recent study published in Science estimates that insect-eating bats provide a significant pest-control service, saving the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Courtesy Boat Inspection Training

On Saturday, May 21 there will be Courtesy Boat Inspection Training from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Nobleboro Town Office at 192 Rte 1. This is an opportunity to learn how to be part of the front-line educational effort to keep milfoil and other invasive plant species out of our ponds and lakes. This training is free. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Case Study: Significant Vernal Pool Identification and Mapping

Identified as a conservation priority in Bremen, significant vernal pools need our attention and protection.  The link below provided by MEACC is a case study of what one Maine town is doing to protect significant vernal pools.  If anyone in Bremen is interested in attending workshops/training sessions regarding vernal pools please contact us via email at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Conservation Priorities | Projects

The Bremen Conservation Commission began 2011 by writing a new chapter in its history.  For the first time the BCC developed a document that outlined Conservation Funding Priorities and Projects.  This document was recently presented to the town selectmen and the BCC is now ready to begin a series of projects all dedicated to achieving conservation goals in areas of Public Access to Saltwater and Freshwater Resources and Trails Development to name a few.

Below are conservation projects that the BCC will begin this year:

Conservation Priority #1 - Public Access to Freshwater Resources
Project A:  Inventory freshwater sites suitable for public access   
Project B:  Identify funding sources to acquire properties for public access
Project C: Survey and mark town of right-of-way on Biscay Pond

Conservation Priority #1 - Public Access to Saltwater Resources
Project A: Medomak Town Landing Use Study
Project B: Verify Creek Road Landing Documentation
Project C: Study to explore acquisition of right-of-way(s) to saltwater/Working Waterfront

Conservation Priority #2 - Trails Development
Project A: Develop trails on town property north of the Town House
Project B: Identify private properties suitable for trail/trail system and build trails

If anyone is interested in any of these conservation projects the BCC encourages you to get involved.  For more information please call Dennis Prior / 529-2987 or Diane O'Connor / 529-4499.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bremen Clean Up is April 30

The Patriotic Club of Bremen is celebrating Earth Day this year on Saturday April 30 with the annual roadside clean up.  Residents of Bremen collect trash that has collected beside the Bremen town roads every year at this time. Volunteers may pick up empty bags, provided by the State Department of Transportation, at the Bremen Fire Department on Route 32 at 9:00. When the bags are full, just tie them up and leave them along the side of the road. Pickup of the bags will start at 11:30, with the last pickup at 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 30. The event will take place rain or shine. Let's take pride in our community and work together to beautify Bremen and Mother Earth.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Lands Conserved on BLI

Medomak Valley News, March 2011

Daniel and Suzanne Goldenson of Bremen made a further gift of land to complete the Karl F. Berger Preserve on Bremen Long Island.  The gift was made to Medomak Valley Land Trust and consists of an additional 15 acres, including a cove and 700 feet of deep water frontage on the eastern shore of the 165 acre preserve.

Working closely with MVLT and the Bremen Conservation Commission, the Goldensons souht to preserve a major part of the 850 acre island, which, in the days before paved roads and electricity on the mainland, had several hundred residents who were farmers and fishermen.

The Berger Preserve is accessible from Hockomock Channel, on the western shore, and extends more than 4,000 feet to the eastern shore where the swift ocean current inspired the name "Flying Passage."  The newly donated parcel protects a beautiful cove on the eastern shore of the island.  Trails, signage and brochures will be developed this spring by MVLT and the Bremen Conservation Commission.

Bradley Family Donates Easement on BLI

Medomak Valley News March 2011

Thanks to the generosity of Robert and Suzanne Bradley of Bristol a small parcel of wooded land on Bremen Long Island, with 900 ft. of frontage on Muscongus Bay, was placed under conservation easement.

The property is on the southwestern end of Bremen Long Island, and includes several beautiful wetlands, mature woods, and rocky shoreland.  A historic 'cattle run' passes along the eastern edge of the property.  Conservation of this property ensures that the land will stay forever undeveloped and available to the public for hiking, picnicking, and other low impact activities.

The property was donated in the memory of Robert's mother , Elizabeth Bradley, and has been in the Bradley family for almost half a century.  Rob, a local lobsterman, says that his mother enjoyed spending summers for years on Bremen Long Island before handing the property down to him.  He and Suzanne will, in time, hand it down to their children.

During the time that the Bradleys have owned the property, they have seen public access to the shore decline precipitously, and wanted to make sure that there were still places that locals could go to enjoy the water.  They decided that an easement was the best vehicle for protecting both the natural resources of the property, and the public's access to it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Clearing Up the Mud

Kennebec Journal
April 2, 2011

MAINE COMPASS: Clearing Up the Mud
Some facts about Maine's significant vernal pools

By Anne Duperault

As the snow begins to melt, many of us soon will hear the sounds of
spring peepers and wood frogs calling around vernal pools -- unique
natural areas that have garnered much attention and confusion this
legislative session.

Vernal pools are small, shallow wetlands that provide big benefits to
people and wildlife. They are critical habitat for many species,
particularly frogs and salamanders, but they also are used by
waterfowl and deer.

Vernal pools also help fuel the surrounding forest food chain as
countless larger predators, from red fox to mink to woodland hawks,
prey on the annual crop of frogs and salamanders that emerge from
these habitats every year.

Recently, there has been substantial focus and misconceptions
regarding Maine's laws on vernal pools. Unlike several other
northeastern states, Maine does not protect all vernal pools. The
state protects only "significant vernal pools" based on specific
scientific criteria designed to target pools hosting rare and
endangered species or exceptionally high populations of pool-breeding
indicator amphibians.

Not every mud puddle or skidder rut is considered significant. In
fact, of the nearly 1,200 vernal pools reviewed to date by the Maine
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, only about 240 pools (20
percent) have been identified as significant vernal pools.

Further confusion arises when Maine is compared against other states
in the Northeast, especially with regard to "buffers" -- the setback
for land surrounding the pool.

Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia apply
smaller buffers to a larger proportion of vernal pools than does
Maine. These buffers (25-100 feet) are too small to adequately support
many of the wildlife populations that require forested habitat
surrounding the pool.

Maine has a more scientifically supported buffer size of 250 feet that
is applied to a limited subset of the state's highest-value vernal
pools. The state's conservation approach focuses on quality and
functionality, not quantity.

Some have blamed Maine's vernal pool protections for impeding
development. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection,
however, has not denied a single permit for a development proposal
involving a significant vernal pool, according to its own briefing to
the Legislature last week (March 23).

Some also assume the word "buffer" to mean "no development activity."
This is not the case with Maine's vernal pool rules. Forest management
activities, including associated road construction, are exempt from
vernal pool protections. Low-intensity development activity is also
permissible, provided it is planned in a manner that minimizes its
impact to pool-breeding wildlife.

Maine's significant vernal pools have been part of the state's
regulated natural resources for almost four years, and part of Maine's
natural landscape for thousands of years.

Poorly planned development, however, can wipe these unique habitats
out in a matter of days.

Legislators beholden to a few outspoken, highly paid development
lobbyists should remember that the silent majority of Mainers treasure
the natural heritage that makes this state special. Any change to
science-based natural resource protections should not be done hastily
and in response to unsubstantiated rhetoric, but rather with careful
consideration of the facts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Update: Bremen Alewife Fishery Status

David Wilkins, Contributing Blogger

On March 26th, at the Bremen Town meeting, voters approved unanimously to not operate an alewife fishery in either Muscongus Harbor, nor Muscongus Brook. Recent federal regulations require municipalities managing alewives, to operate them in ways promoting sustainability. Beginning in 2012, federal regulators are closing all U.S. ocean target fishing of alewives and the majority of in-river alewife fisheries.  These actions are in response to a steep decline in alewife numbers along their entire Atlantic seaboard range.  Towns granted harvesting rights will have needed  to provide a history of spawning count data as well as catch samples.

Presently Bremen’s alewife numbers in Muscongus are small and their spawning is limited by the 2 RT 32 road crossings.  The DOT has been working on design and engineering of these 2 road crossings, with some talk of their fish friendly replacements  in the next year or two.

When Bremen approved conservation measures at town meeting, it tells regulators that Bremen is committed to the restoration of this recourse

Monday, March 28, 2011

Working Together

TOWNSHIP 3, RANGE 8, Maine (AP) -- The mere mention of Roxanne Quimby's name used to rile some Maine sportsmen because she wouldn't let them hunt, trap or snowmobile on her vast acreage.
But the hard feelings have eased since the multi-millionaire founder of Burt's Bees cosmetics began meeting face-to-face with sportsmen to share her conservation goals.
Quimby says she wants to give more than 70,000 acres next to Maine's cherished Baxter State Park to the federal government, hoping to create a Maine Woods National Park.
In a nod to sportsmen, she envisions allowing another 30,000 acres she owns north of Dover-Foxcroft to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed.
George Smith, former director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, says Quimby has gained trust from sportsmen by listening to their concerns.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wildlife Habitat Protection Hearing April 1st

Here's a call for support Maine Audubon has put out regarding proposed
legislation that would roll back wildlife habitat protections,
including vernal pool protections. Visible support matters, so please
attend the hearing if you can. And calls or emails to members of the
Environment and Natural Resources Committee are also very important,
particularly if you are a constituent.

As you know, a host of rollback bills have been introduced in Augusta
this winter that would gut many of the balanced, science-based
protections that keep our lakes and rivers clean and provide critical
feeding, nesting, and resting areas for wading birds, waterfowl,
coastal shorebirds, and many woodland creatures.

These destructive bills go after the best-of-the-best significant
areas that are the highest value to wildlife as well as our most
common-sense protections for Maine’s water resources. We cannot let
this happen.

Maine’s water, land, and wildlife are the heartbeat of Maine people
and the natural legacy we hold dear. They are central to our economy
and our quality of life. Preserving and protecting them is a core
value shared by families and businesses across the state. Yet these
precious natural resources are facing one of their biggest threats in

Threats to Significant Vernal Pools
Threats to Wading Bird and Waterfowl Habitat
Threats to Coastal Shorebirds

Attend the public hearing before the Environment and Natural Resources
Committee on Friday, April 1st at 9:30am in room 216 of the State
Office Building in Augusta (map).
Call or email members of the Environment and Natural Resources
Committee and urge them to reject LD 872 and other devastating threats
to our water quality and significant wildlife habitat. Click here for
contact information.

Visit our website for more information and other ways to take action:

If you care about Maine's water, land, and wildlife, and the
opportunities for good jobs and quality of life they provide to all of
us, please take action today!

Jenn Burns Gray
Maine Audubon Staff attorney and advocate

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open Space Protection in the Midcoast

MEACC will hold a regional meeting in Waldoboro on March 9, 2011, from
4-6:00 p.m. at University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service
office, 45 Manktown Road, Waldoboro. The event will feature two
presentations regarding open space protection in the Mid-Coast area of
interest to both area conservation commissioners and land trust

Beginning with Habitat has developed a variety of planning tools that
will be of interest to any group interested in open space and habitat
protection. Steve Walker, director of Beginning with Habitat, will
review those tools and how they can be used effectively.

The Twelve Rivers Collaborative is a regional land protection
initiative being spearheaded by nine Mid-Coast area land trusts to
protect lands within the one million acre region between the Kennebec
and Penobscot Rivers. Maureen Hoffman of the Sheepscot Valley
Conservation Association and Liz Petruska of the Medomak Valley Land
Trust will describe the vision driving that initiative and discuss the
role area conservation commissions might play in that project.

The event is open to conservation commissioners, land trust members
and other people interested in open space protection at a municipal
and regional level. The agenda will include both presentations and
ample time for participant / presenter discussion.

There is no charge for the event, but pre-registration is required via
MEACC’s website, Please register by March 4th.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


By a wide margin attendees at a Conservation Planning Workshop in Bremen January 27 picked access to the water as the greatest conservation concern in Bremen.

Bremen Conservation Commission Chairman Dennis Prior said the commission organized the workshop as one way of learning what residents see conservation priorities for the town. Prior said he was pleased with the wide cross section of residents who attended the workshop. He thanked everyone for coming on a cold winter night and said he was happy to see families bring their young children.

After viewing the latest version of the Beautiful Bremen slide show, participants heard a brief explanation of how the meeting would work, and then  gathered in small groups to suggest what they feel town conservation priorities should be. They were asked to asked to consider what natural resources that are important to Bremen residents are currently limited or in danger of being lost. The suggestions from the small groups were merged and discussed by all participants who were then asked to each select the five ideas they considered the most important and rate them as to priority.

Following the workshop, the Conservation Commission compiled all the prioritized suggestions, assigning a weighted score to each. Workshop participants selected public access to the town's saltwater and freshwater resources as the highest priorities by more than twice as much as that of any other.  Access to saltwater included access to the working waterfront and for recreational boating. Freshwater access included opportunities for non-motorized boating and swimming, including suggestions for a town park, picnic area and future public water supply.

Other top priorities were hiking trails; access to the town's high elevation areas; maintaining unfragmented blocks of land, open space and farmland; recreational facilities and programs, especially for children; and better access to Bremen Long Island and town alewife runs.

In addition, there were suggestions from workshop participants to develop revenue streams from town recreation opportunities, consider the financial aspects of public properties, map vernal pools, and make better use of existing town properties including the town landing. It was also suggested that funds in the town's Conservation Account might go further if spent for rights-of-way and easements rather than large land purchases.

Prior said the Conservation Commission will use all the prioritized suggestions to develop a strategic plan for acquiring and maintaining the town's natural resources that residents see as important to Bremen's future.