A SPECIAL RAFFLE JUST FOR NEW MEMBERS!
Join FOMB by the Annual Auction, December 10, and you could win a "Get Away to the Bay." escape. Prizes include a night for two at Brushwood Cottages on the Kennebec, donated by Bill and Nancy Milan, an evening tour of the Bay by wooden canoe and a picnic on the Sands, and a sea kayaking lesson with LL Bean's Outdoor Discovery Program. If you became a member in 1998 you are already entered for the drawing.
Existing members who give a gift membership (see details on page 7) also have a chance to win! No tickets will be sold; the only way to be a part of the raffle is to join in 1998 or give the gift of membership. Anyone joining at the Family level or above will receive two chances to win. The drawing will be held on the night of the Auction, December 10. You don't have to be present to win but it's more fun!
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Support comes from members' tax deductible donations and grants.
Hands Around the Bay, Speaker Series, field trips.
Conservation & Stewardship
Research and Advocacy
Water quality, data collection, toxics. fisheries restoration.
1998 Steering Committee Frank Burroughs,
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
TALES OF A MAINE GUIDE:
Linwood Rideout, Bowdoinham native and a registered Maine Guide, shares his experiences of hunting, fishing and even haying on the Bay.
WHEN: October 21 starting at 7pm
ANNUAL MEETING AND POT LUCK SUPPER .
Join your fellow members for some good food, good company and a chance to meet with this evening's speaker, George Quintal Jr. Bring a-dish and help elect next year's officers. (Quintal's presentation on Benedict Arnold follows at 7 pm. See p 2)
WHEN: November 18:from 5pm to 6:45pm
BENEDICT ARNOLD'S MARCH TO QUEBEC
When Benedict Arnold sailed through the Bay he brought with him nearly 100 Mainers, many from the Bay area. Learn about their trip through the Bay, up the Kennebec and through the rugged Maine Wilderness from George Quintal Jr., Historian and Genealogist to The Arnold Expedition Historical Society.
WHEN: November 18 starting at 7pm
THIRD ANNUAL FOMB AUCTION--DECEMBER 10, 5:30-9 PM (see p 5)
TOXIC SOURCE REDUCTION AND THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Steve Taylor, Community Organizer, Maine Peoples Alliance will speak about toxins in our communities and how source reduction can make our communities cleaner, healthier places to live.
WHEN: December 16 starting at 7pm
"Merrymeeting Bay comprises some of the best habitat for many of
these [rare mud plant] species anywhere in the world!" notes
ecologist Andy Cutko (see companion piece on page 4). The Bay unlike
other tidal estuaries, supports many rare plants because it remains
relatively undeveloped and undisturbed.
The Bay's shoreline remains intact largely because private landowners around the Bay have been good stewards. Large tracts of undeveloped or minimally developed land support mud plants and a great variety of waterfowl.
If you own land on the Bay, a conservation easement is one way for you to voluntarily continue your good stewardship forever. An easement is a flexible legal document which, although its primary goal is usually to keep the land unsubdivided and free of new structures, can allow for activities such as farming, forestry and even limited development. An easement's primary reward is the satisfaction of preserving your land, but you may also receive reductions in income, estate and property taxes depending upon your personal financial situation.
An easement on your land is one way you as a landowner can help insure that Merrymeeting Bay remains a haven for rare and globally imperiled mud plants. If you would like more information on easements call Betsy Ham at 666-3376."
ANNUAL MEETING AND POTLUCK SUPPER
Nov. 18 at 5 pm
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay will hold its annual meeting on
November 18 beginning at 5pm with a potluck supper at The Unitarian
Universalist Church in Brunswick. Please bring a dish to share. FOMB
will provide dessert and coffee. At 6pm over dessert and coffee we
will discuss the year's events and our plans for next year. The
members will then vote for the new Steering Committee and
George Quintal Jr., the speaker for that evening, will be joining us for dinner. This will give members a chance to meet with the speaker informally. George has a wealth of knowledge about Benedict Arnold in particular and the Revolutionary War in general.
This is your chance to meet other members, the Steering Committee and the Executive Director, and to vote on who will govern the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay for the next year. Friends and family are welcome but only members can vote. If you can't join us for the potluck, please join us at 6pm for dessert, coffee and the meeting portion of the evening. The Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 15 Pleasant Street in Brunswick across from the post office and next to the public library. George Quintal Jr.'s talk on Benedict Arnold will begin at 7pm at the Visual Arts Center at Bowdoin College. We look forward to seeing you there!
While most of us were getting out on the Bay to recreate this summer others were working hard to try to better understand this unique ecosystem (see Rare Mud Plant article on page 4).
PHOTOS OF THE BAY FLOWN IN AUGUST
In August Friends of Merrymeeting Bay hired James W. Sewall Company to take color infrared photographs of the Bay at low tide and peak plant growth. We will compare them with other professional photographs of the Bay taken from the 1950's to the 1980's, trying to understand the changes in the vegetation, mud flats and shoreline development over this forty year period. With this knowledge we can start to answer questions such as: Does shoreline development negatively effect wetland quantity and quality? Is the Bay filling in? How has the wildlife habitat changed over the past forty years? This flight will also be used to show what the Bay looked like before the removal of Edwards Dam.
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay also took advantage of an opportunity offered by the Navy and organized by the State Planning Office to have Images of the Bay taken using radar mounted in a P3 airplane: Using this type of radar to assess wetland vegetation is very experimental but if proven accurate could greatly reduce the expense and time it takes to analyze images of the Bay. We will use the color infrared photos flown during the same month to test the accuracy of the radar images. If the radar proves accurate we may be able to use it more frequently to better monitor the Bay in the future.
To improve the accuracy of the analysis for both the infrared and the radar images Andy Cutko from Maine Natural Areas Program and Bob Houston from U.S: Fish and Wildlife spent a summer weekend identifying the location of different plant species on the Bay using a GPS unit to pinpoint several locations of each major plant species in the Bay. These locations can later be pinpointed on the photos and radar images to verify what species we are seeing on the images.
CURRENTS STUDY TO BE DONE THIS FALL
This fall FOMB will sponsor a study of the currents on the Bay. In the Bay we know that the majority of toxins and other pollutants come from sources on the Kennebec and the Androscoggin. What we don't know is where this pollution goes when it gets into the Bay. Do the tides push the pollution far up the Eastern, Cathance, Abadagasset and Muddy? Does the pollution circulate round and round in the central part of the Bay? Do polluted waters tend to stay in the river channels of the Androscoggin and the Kennebec and quickly exit the Bay? Where can nutrient-rich waters be found on the Bay? Dory Kistner from the University of Maine will help us answer these and other questions as she studies the currents of the Bay through several tide cycles. If all goes well, she will be out with her equipment and boat this fall taking measurements to help us better understand the Bay.
Well, it's over, but members took full advantage of the warm summer weather to get out and enjoy the Bay! In July members joined the Wild Flower Society to tour the Coffin Wild Flower Sanctuary. The Society members commented on the hard work our members had done cleaning up after the Ice Storm. Thank you to Bob Edson, Jean Parker, Bob Dale and Don Lipfert for doing such a nice job. Friends of Merrymeeting Bay is proud to be the caretaker for the Sanctuary.
The fun on the Bay continued during the Androscoggin River Canoe Trek. We had thirty members and friends with fifteen canoes join us on a picture perfect calm day in mid-July. Some participants stopped at the old Bay Bridge to enjoy the dedication of the new wetland there. Most of us continued on. across the Bay and through the Chops to have lunch on the lawn at Chops Point School. The school generously let us keep our canoes there while we continued on down the river on the Maine Maritime Museum Lobster Boat. We docked at the Museum for a tour and then headed back to our-cars after a wonderful day on the Bay. Thanks to FOMB member and Museum staff person Ruth Maschino for setting up the ride and tour, which was donated by the Maine Maritime Museum.
We continued our streak of good weather on the Bay at the annual Swan Island Picnic. Forty-seven members and friends joined us for lunch and a truck tour of the island. Most of us swam, canoed and hiked around the island and watched deer and wild turkey. Thirty four of us spent the night. After a pot luck dinner fit for royalty we lingered by the camp fire singing songs led by Helen Watts. David Hunt accompanied us on guitar. A special thanks to the Inland Fish and Wildlife staff who really enhanced our stay on the island by providing water, firewood and tours. Thanks also to Jean Parker, Helen Watts and Peg Parsons who helped organize and do the shopping for the event. As we left on Sunday we were already making plans to return again next year, so save the weekend of August 14-15, 1999. After all it could be the last time you have that much fun in this millennium!
Pipewort. Pygmyweed. Mudwort. The names don't exactly evoke images of nature's splendor. Neither does their habitat &emdash;gooey, knee-deep mud with all the aroma of a pig farm. But these rare plants, along with nearly a dozen more (see inset), are part of the natural fabric that makes Merrymeeting Bay such a special place
Rare species and biological diversity are important for several reasons. First, a full compliment of native species provides resilience to disturbance or stress, much like a healthy body relies on a broad array of antibodies to ward off disease. When species are gradually lost from intact habitats, ecosystems begin to tilt precariously out of balance. Second, rare plants may provide subtle but important functions for ecosystems such as rendering habitat or food for other species. Lastly, humans have utilitarian reasons to be concerned about plant diversity. Nearly half of the pharmaceutical products available today were derived from plants, so the protection of the world's plant diversity grants us an insurance policy for future discoveries.
Last summer, the Maine Natural Area's Program, a division of the state's Department of Conservation, surveyed parts of the Bay's shoreline to update existing records of rare plants and to identify new locations for these species. Program biologists surveyed only areas where adjacent landowners granted permission. This information is non-regulatory, and it helps the state determine how rare these plants really are. The results of the survey were quite promising. Estuary bur marigold, a delicate yellow flower in the aster family, was found frequently on tidal shores from Swan Island to Lines Island. Spongy arrowhead, an inconspicuous inhabitant of the muddiest flats, was found in the thousands in many locations around the Bay. Other rare plants known to occur around the Bay were harder to find. Long's bittercress, a small, cryptic plant that appears abundantly in some years and is virtually absent in others, was found in only one location in 1998.
Why are these plants rare? While most of the Bay's plants, such as wild rice and pickerel weed, occur in other types of freshwater wetlands, many of the rare species are adapted specifically to the freshwater tidal conditions the Bay provides. With abundant flow entering the Bay from the Kennebec. Androscoggin, and several smaller rivers, the Bay is one of the largest freshwater tidal estuaries in the eastern U.S. Consequently, Merrymeeting Bay comprises some of the best habitat for many of these species anywhere in the world!
Take, for instance, New England bur marigold. It is considered globally rare or imperiled, and it is restricted to Merrymeeting Bay and four other tidal estuaries in the northeast: the Merrimac River in Massachusetts, the Hudson River in New York, the lower Connecticut River in Connecticut, and the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Because Merrymeeting Bay's shore line has undergone less degradation than these other rivers, the Bay remains the world's best stronghold for this plant . The same may be true for Parker's pipewort, which occurs in tidal estuaries from Virginia to Quebec. '
"the protection of the world's plant diversity grants us an insurance policy for future discoveries"
With continuing improvements in the Bay's water quality and overall habitat, the outlook for these rare plants is good. Much of the Bay's shore frontage remains undeveloped, and recreational use is restricted to deeper water amid a few sandbar areas.
Nonetheless, lessons from tidal marshes in other states can serve as warning signals for Merrymeeting Bay. In Connecticut, for instance, as the lower Connecticut River has become cleaner in the last few decades, rivershore development and recreational use have increased dramatically. The result has been a gradual elimination of buffer zones, increases in boat traffic, and overall degradation of shoreline habitat.
In the Hudson, Connecticut, and Merrimac rivers, a non native plant, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), has become the scourge of tidal marshes. It has invaded marshes and virtually eliminated habitat for rare plants. In Merrymeeting Bay, purple loosestrife is scattered around the upper edges of the tidal zone, particularly in disturbed areas, but it has not yet gained much of a foothold below the high tide line.
With these issues in mind, there are a few things landowners can do to ensure that the shoreline habitat remains intact:
€ Avoid or minimize disturbance to the inter tidal zone.
€ Where docks or boat launches occur, limit the area of impact.
€ Avoid disposing leaves, grass clippings, or brush into the Bay. Leaves and grass clippings may smother tidal vegetation and alter the substrate on which plants grow.
€ When clearing vegetation for yards and fields near the Bay, leave a forested or shrubby buffer between cleared areas and the shoreline. This buffer will help to reduce sediment and nutrients from entering the Bay. The buffer width should be greater where there are steeper slopes or thin soils.
€ Be particularly aware of non-native plants, such as purple loosestrife, establishing a stronghold on the shoreline. Where root masses can be fully extracted without uprooting other plants, try removing a few clumps.
€ Learn to identify the rare plants listed on p. 5, and see if you have any adjacent to your property! Fact sheets for most species are available from the Maine Natural Areas Program Department of Conservation, at 287-8044.
RARE MUD PIANTS
Estuary Bur Marigold
New England Bur Marigold
Save the evening of Thursday December 10, for FOMB's Annua1 Auction. Last year we raised $10,000 which we used this year to further our mission of preserving, protecting and improving the unique ecosystems of Merrymeeting Bay. The special projects that you read about in each issue of Merryrneeting News were made possible primarily through your generous contributions and the money we earned at last year's auction. This year we hope to do even better!
The fun will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a potluck supper and musical entertainment and silent auction to be followed by a live auction. Last year's auction items included, arnong other things, an Old Town Discovery canoe, airplane flights around the Bay, clothing, guided kayak trips, overnight stays at remote cabins, food items and fine dining, and art work. What a great way to do your holiday shopping and help raise funds for Friends of Merrymeeting Bay!
DONATED AUCTION ITEMS NEEDED
To make this auction a success we need donatioris from you. Do you have a special talent you could teach others? Could you host a family at your cabin? Are you a good cook or a ta!ented artist? Do you run a family business from which you could donate items? Do you have a pair of wooden skis sitting unused in your barn? Donations like these made our auction a success last year. Last year our categories were: Lodging Near and Far, Services Fun and Useful, Arts and Crafts, Fun Outdoors, Fun Inside, Gardening and Other Stuff You Want and Need. If you can donate an item or you have a friend who can, please fill out the form below and return it to us by October 26. We will call you to arrange delivery or pick up. If the item can not be present at auction time (a gift of lessons for example) a card, certificate etc. signed by the donor describing the donation and indicating an expiration date (We recommend Dec. 31, 1999), is useful and avoids later confusion. Pictures of the donation also help to sell the item. If you have questions call 666-3376 or 666-3372. Thank you for your generosity.
Members will be receiving our auction catalog describing items to be sold and announcing the location of the auction in the mail in November. Others can call 666-3376 to obtain a copy. Come join the fun and do your holiday shoppingwith us!
FOMB 1998 Auction Donor Form
(retum to FOMB, P.O. Box 233, Richmond, ME 04357 - (DEADLINE October 26)
Minimum Price (Optional)
Fair Market Price
Your donations qualify as tax deductible contributions to the extent allowed by law.
The apostle Matthew asserts that Providence is involved even in the fall of a single sparrow, sold for half a farthing in the market place. We can presume that it is no less manifest in the fall of a grouse. Providentially misdirected, one can fly into your windshield or window at any time of the year, but the odds of such a boon befalling you are better late in the autumn than at other seasons, if my very limited experience is a guide. I think there may be reasons for this&endash; grouse eat apples all through the late summer and on into October and November, by which time the fruit can be well fermented. Twice in November I have seen grouse, not pursued by anything so far as I could tell, fly across a yard and into the side of a building&endash; in one case, my house in.Bowdoinham, in the other, a dormitory on the campus of Bowdoin College. If the grouse had been a motorist, we would have said it was a clear case of OUI&endash; nothing else would seem to account for this most uncharacteristic recklessness.
The first thing you should do, if Providence sends a grouse your way is to pick the bird up and admire it. It is heaven-sent, and guaranteed fresh. Especially look at the feathering of the lower back, which is too beautiful to be altogether credible. Then, even though you may feel with every bone in your body that two birds in the bush are worth much more than one in the hand, you should set about dealing responsibly with what Providence has dealt you. Pluck the bird&endash; to skin it is a sacrilege. Then gut it.
If you are not up to these tasks, find someone who is. (The membership list of FOMB contains many likely candidates, if there's no convenient neighbor or relative) . The point is this: you do not throw away a perfectly good grouse because it entails a slight messiness, any more than you throw away a perfectly good baby because its diapers need changing. We are obligated to do more with our blessings than merely count them, and we have to remember that they are all to some extent disguised. None more beautifully so than this-one.
In handling this bird, in dressing, cooking, and eating it, you will notice a very delicate savor&endash; a slight retsina quality, as though it had spent its life marinating itself in the coniferous essence of the North Woods. Once you have tasted it, chicken or pheasant will forever afterwards taste synthetic That flavor tells you something about the bird. Unlike pheasant, unlike quail, unlike even our noble wild turkey, grouse cannot be pen-reared and artificially propagated. When they are gone, we can't restore them by stocking. Their habitat, especially in Southern Maine, is shrinking; and, like all ground nesting birds, they are especially vulnerable to the semi-domestic cats of moderately settled areas that might otherwise support them. Unlike deer, foxes, skunks, raccoons, and even coyotes, they can't cope with suburbanization.
Living or dead, they command respect. We value secular things for the use we may make of them; we value sacred things for what they are. In the older religions of North America, it was well understood that any fish or animal caught or killed for the nourishing of the tribe had voluntarily offered itself as a sacrifice. To reject or mishandle it would be impiety. Eating it was a sacrament, not a thing to be done casually.
With a certain solemn humility, then. you should pin a strip or two of bacon across the breast of the plucked and gutted bird, and put one or two small, sour, gnarled and knobby uncultivated apples, quartered, inside its body cavity. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan; roast it for 35 or 40 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove the bacon for the last five minutes, so the breast will brown. The meat should be slightly pink, when you carve it along the breastbone. To overcook this bird is a grave offense against all true religions.
It is an uncompromised creature. Ingest it; metabolize it. It will fortify whatever originality you have within you.
The carcass and remnants make an excellent stock.
When there is nothing left but the bare bones, take them from the stock pot and throw them to your chickens. It can't hurt.
Frank Burroughs "Tidings" is a regular feature of Merrymeeting News
Need just the right gift for the Holidays? Is someone's birthday coming up soon? Why not a gift membership to Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. Just mark the gift membership box on the newsletter form and we will send the lucky person the latest newsletter along with a gift certificate acknowledging your gift. You'll be doing something nice for your friends and the Bay!
To Jean Parker, Peg Parsons, Helen Watts, David Hunt and the Swan Island staff for making the Swan Island Picnic a success. A special thanks to Shop and Save and Shaws for donating food items to the Picnic. Thanks to Andy Cutko, Bob Houston, Theresa Torrent-Ellis and Rosi Armstrong (a new member) for doing ecosystem research on the Bay this summer, and to Chops Point School and the Maine Maritime Museum for helping out with the Androscoggin River Trek to the Sea. A special thanks for all of you who have become new members!
Frank Burroughs, 81 Wallentine Rd., Bowdoinham 04008 .................666-5979
Dana Cary, 1052 Foreside Rd., Topsham 04086.........Treasurer .........729-4945
Ed Friedman 42 Stevens Rd., Bowdoinham 04008 .......Chairman....... 666-3372
Steve Hammond, 1 Grove St., Bath 04530 ....................................442-8535
Kathleen Kenny, River Rd. #1105, Dresden 04342 ..........................737-2511
Esther Lacognata, 19 Elm St., Topsham 04086 ...............................729-4088
Don and Joan Lipfert, 1108 River Rd., Woolwich 04579................... 443-8751
Robert Lenna; PO. Box 185, Bowdoinham 04008 .......................... .666-8421
Pat Maloney, 31 Bridge St., Topsham 04086 ............................... .729-8941
Tenley Meara, RR 1 Box 96, Topsham 04086.........Vice Chairman..... .725-2738
Jay Robbins, PO. Box 9, Richmond 04357.................................. .737-2239
Karin Tilberg, 9 Main St., Bowdoinham 04008........... ................. ..666-5902
Warren Whitney, 145 Pork Pt. Rd., Bowdoinham 04008....Secretary ....666-3376
Conservation & Stewardship Coordinator:
Karin Tilberg, (see above) ...................:..................................666-5902
Hands Around the Bay Coordinator:
Pat Maloney (see above) ........................................................ 729-8941
Special Events Coordinator:
Jean Parker, 82 Island Drive, Woolwich 04579...............................442-0982
Betsy Ham, 145 Pork Point Rd., Bowdoinham 04008 ......................666-3376
ANNUAL; DUES $15.00............O Renewal............ O Gift From______________________
O..$15.00 enclosed for individual membership.....O..$20 Family....O..$30 Contributing
O..$50 Supporting...O..$100 Sponsoring...O..$250 Sustaining...$500+ Benefactor
O..$ ____________ enclosed as an additional tax-deductible donation
O..$6.00 enclosed for a copy of Conservation Options: A Guide
for Maine Landowners.
($5 for the book, $1 for postage)
RR# OR STREET ADDRESS __________________________________________________
TOWN / STATE/ ZIP _________________________________________________________
As most of you know, all cash contributions to FOMB are tax deductible. But did you also know that.we can accept other types of gifts which may help reduce your tax burden? Here are some examples of other ways you can give to Friends of Merrymeeting Bay:
Depending on your personal financial situation, a gift of a conservation easement to FOMB can reduce your estate, property and income taxes.
There are a variety of estate planning vehicles which can benefit nonprofits such as Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. Conservation easements mentioned above may assist you in the planning of your estate and reduce your estate taxes if a significant portion of your income is tied up in land. Wills and bequests are another tool in estate planning which can benefit Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. If you would like to bequest a certain sum of money to FOMB, consult your lawyer or call us for some suggested wording.
GIFTS OF STOCK
Certain appreciated stocks can be significant gifts to FOMB. These gifts may, at the same time, allow you to claim an income tax deduction and/or eliminate the capital gains taxes you would have paid if you had sold the appreciated stock.
All these potential tax savings options greatly benefit Friends of Merrymeeting Bay by allowing us to continue to work towards our mission of preserving, protecting and improving the natural ecosystems of Merrymeeting Bay. How they benefit you will depend on your personal financial situation. If you are interested in pursuing any of these options consult your financial advisor. We would be happy to provide you with more information by calling 666-3376. Thank you for your generous support.