Project Report:
Supplement: Protection for eelgrass beds: Overcoming Economic Imbalances through Marine Conservation Agreements and Community Involvement in Frenchman Bay and the Gulf of Maine
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.


The supplement amount was be used for outreach and education. After several meetings funded by the Alex C. Walker Foundation and Maine Coastal Program, Frenchman Bay Stakeholders decided to form a partnership~~The mission of the Frenchman Bay Partners is to ensure that the Frenchman Bay area is ecologically, economically and socially healthy and resilient in the face of future challenges. To that end, the FBP is creating an adaptive management plan for the bay. In order for the Frenchman Bay Plan to be a useful tool in managing bay resources, there has to be a lot of local buy-in. We have created a website that links to all partner websites, produced outreach materials for town officials, new partners, and the public, and hosted focus groups to garner feedback on the Frenchman Bay Plan. We are continuing our outreach to new partners through one-on-one interviews and a new Facebook page, and an e-newsletter.


One of our goals has been to reach out to additional Frenchman Bay stakeholders and help them become well-informed and feel that their voices have been heard in the Frenchman Bay planning process. To this end we hosted two group focus sessions and have initiated interviews with individual stakeholders.

Frenchman Bay Partners worked with graduate students from the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at University of Maine to conduct focus sessions and interviews with particular stakeholder groups, including shellfish harvesting communities, as a prelude to our first formal bay planning retreat. Information gathered from these groups helped to inform the bay planning process. Focus group outcomes and a drafts of the Frenchman Bay Plan are available at

Focus Session 1: Municipal Committee Members and Harbormasters: September 12th, 2011

Summary: In attendance at the first focus session was a harbor master, a member of the Bar Harbor Marine Resources Committee, and four members of the Bar Harbor Conservation Commission. Participants in this focus session spoke less about habitats and species as conservation targets and focused on the overall ecosystem, largely referencing the upland areas and the impacts of land use on the bay. One member of the focus session identified a goal of wanting to see commercial fish species in the bay again. After that there was a lot of conversation about bringing fishing back. There was also mention of improving water quality in the bay but again, largely by improving use of uplands through land ordinances and education. They would like to see specific actions come out of the Frenchman Bay planning retreat in October but did not have particular suggestions.

Focus Session 2: Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee: September 22nd, 2011
Summary: In attendance at the second focus session were five individuals associated with the Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee. This focus session focused largely on the degradation of the intertidal zone and water quality issues. They feel the mud flats are being over worked due to dragging and worm digging and there is not enough regulation of this area. They also identified green crabs as an invasive species that is largely impacting the mudflats. They would like to see strict regulations for point source pollution such as failing septic systems and dog fecal matter. They would like to see more communication among users of the intertidal area, perhaps by having some social event for all of them to get together. The group would like the Frenchman Bay Partnership to work on improving water quality and reducing effluent in the water, have a funding program for those who can’t afford septic replacements, and help pressure municipalities to enforce existing regulations.

Seafood Dealer Interviews
Seafood dealers were identified by stakeholders as a good source of information about the state of marine resources in the bay.
Two interviews have been conducted to date and more are being planned.

Another goal of the Frenchman Bay Partners is to open communication between stakeholders from around the bay. We have created a new website to disseminate information about efforts to protect the entire Frenchman Bay watershed. Our new website can be found at Posters depicting a working bay and an invitation to participate in efforts to understand and protect the bay are being prepared for dissemination to the 13 towns in the Frenchman Bay watershed.


Degradation of marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine have resulted in economic imbalances. MDIBL is investigating the causes and impacts of these imbalances by working with partners to understand and quantify the ecosystem services provided by these habitats to communities in the Frenchman Bay area. MDI Biological Laboratory is working toward increased communication among Frenchman Bay stakeholders, including the fishing and mussel dragging communities. Dissemination of information through stakeholder meetings, community education, and the use of digital and social media is leading to an increased awareness of these economic imbalances and the importance of intact habitat to all fisheries.


Scope: Outreach and Education materials are being created to disseminate throughout the Frenchman Bay Watershed in the Downeast and Acadia Region of Maine. This includes the towns of Bar Harbor, Trenton, Lamoine, Ellsworth, Hancock, Sullivan, Franklin, Gouldsboro, and Winter Harbor.

Information Dissemination

We have created a new website to disseminate information about efforts to protect the entire Frenchman Bay; see Posters depicting a working bay and an invitation to participate in efforts to understand and protect the bay are being prepared for dissemination to the 13 towns in the Frenchman Bay watershed. We have created a Facebook page ( and an e-newsletter as well. A full page article on our efforts was published in the MDI Islander newspaper on 12/8/2011.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$5,000.00 on 6/2/2011 (Check sent: 7/5/2011)

  Related Organizations
MDI Biological Laboratory  

Frenchman Bay Homepage
Homepage of Frenchman Bay project

Focus Session 1 results
Text analysis of transcript from focus session 1: Municipal Committee Members and Harbormasters

Focus Session 2 results
Text Analysis of Focus Session 2: Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee

Focus Session 1 results
Focus Session 2 results
Frenchman Bay Homepage
Frenchman Bay Partners Poster

159 Old Bar Harbor Road
Bar Harbor , ME 04609

After driving onto Mt. Desert Island, bear left to stay on Route 3. Drive about 4 miles, then turn left onto Old Bar Harbor Road at sign for the Lab. Turn left again onto Biol Lab Road and continue straight to parking area.

(207) 288-9880 ext 125


Dr. Jane Disney
Eelgrass Project Co-Manager
Judy Sproule
Deputy Director of Development, Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory

Posted 3/31/2011 12:01 PM
Updated   3/29/2012 2:38 PM

  • Nonprofit

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