Sunday, October 31, 2010

ENVIRONMENT: Upper Fundy land returned to saltmarsh

Anyone living in upper Bay of Fundy is quite aware that large tracts of our coastal land are currently protected from tidal inundation by dykes. The original dykes were built by Acadian settlers over 350 years ago to convert salt water marshes to farm land.

Although these converted salt water marshes or "dykelands" remain some of the region's most fertile agricultural land, much of it today is underutilized: 15% of dykeland in Nova Scotia and 41% of dykeland in New Brunswick is no longer being farmed. 

It's estimated that 85% of the saltmarshes in the Bay of Fundy were lost due to dyking. With the pressures of climate change and rising sea levels, there certainly appears to be case to be made returning some of these unused dykelands to the Bay as salt marshes.

Ducks Unlimited launched an interesting project this week in upper Bay of Fundy: it intentionally returned 16 hectares of farmland to saltmarsh and will closely monitor how the restored saltmarsh can act as a buffer to rising sea levels and storm surges. It's also expected that salt marshes may ease the pressure on remaining dykes. 'Twill be interesting to watch...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AQUACULTURE: New Coalition squares off with Fundy aquaculture operators

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New coalition wants major changes to aquaculture methods Published Tuesday October 26th, 2010


Fishermen, environmentalists and coastal residents on the Bay of Fundy have banded together to voice serious concerns about the impacts of fish farming on marine life.

Scott Dougan/NB Images
The Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform is calling for wholesale change in the way the industry operates.

The Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform is calling for wholesale change in the way the aquaculture industry in the region operates to lessen its impact on traditional fisheries and the marine environment.

"Large-scale salmon aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy is known to have a negative impact on the water through excess waste, fish feces and excess food with antibiotics and colour," said Matthew Abbott, project co-ordinator with Fundy Baykeeper.

The current sea lice outbreak in New Brunswick salmon cages has also added toxic pesticides to the mix, he said.

"We're concerned about the impact these pesticides have on traditional fisheries and the marine environment," Abbott said.

The coalition aims to raise awareness about the possible side effects of fish farming and encourage sustainable reform in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

"We're not trying to sink the aquaculture industry," he said. "But we can't allow it to operate to the detriment of the marine environment and others on the water."

Pamela Parker, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, said she welcomes the collaboration of stakeholders.

"We have been operating in the Bay of Fundy for over 30 years," she said. "During that time we have managed to work closely with the traditional fishing sector, tourism and others that share our working waterfront and we're proud to be recognized as world leaders in sustainable and environmentally responsible salmon production."

Parker said there is a misconception that the stocking density of salmon is too high.

"We grow our fish in the most natural way possible," she said. "Salmon, as any fish, are schooling animals and we farm them in a way that they are comfortable with because salmon simply will not grow if they are stressed. So our stocking density is based on fish health and environmental sustainability."

"We're criticized for being too intensive, but the entire production capacity of our industry would fit into an area about the size of Yankee stadium," she said.

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Mike Olscamp said the traditional fisheries and aquaculture industry are both important to the Bay of Fundy region and to the province's economy as a whole.

"We are committed to ensuring that the two sectors operate in a manner that supports a sustainable co-existence," he said on Monday. "I have had the opportunity to speak to representatives from both industries and it is paramount that channels stay open so that we can continue the dialogue as we move forward."

According to the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, the aquaculture industry generates an estimated $159 million in farm gate sales a year. There are a total of 95 fish farms in the province that provide up to one in five jobs in the Fundy Iles - more than 1,500 positions in total.

Melanie Sonnenberg with the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association said the fish farming industry is hurting traditional fishing. Last year the association reported dead and dying lobsters in their traps to Environment Canada.

"We would like to all co-exist," she said. "But if they need to use toxic chemicals to continue to survive that is a tremendously big problem."

Sea lice outbreaks do require the use of pesticides, Parker said, but she said New Brunswick companies only use chemicals that have been approved for use.

Use of the illegal pesticide cypermethrin found recently in the Bay of Fundy is under investigation.

Last week Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency to approve deltamethrin, sold commercially as AlphaMax, to kill sea lice in floating salmon cages delighted fish farmers but angered traditional fishermen.

The move flew in the face of a request by the Traditional Fisheries Coalition, including the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, to suspend the use of chemicals in the bay.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

ENERGY: Sierra Club targets export of nuclear waste.

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 SCC awaits decision on Bruce Power’s plan to ship 1600 tonnes of nuclear waste across the Great Lakes to Sweden
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held two days of public hearings in Ottawa September 28- 29th, 2010 to discuss Bruce Power’s proposal to move 16 used steam generators to Studsvik, Sweden where they would be disassembled, melted down and recycled. Leftover waste would be shipped back to Canada.

Interveners representing concerned environmental and community groups joined Sierra Club Canada’s Executive Director, John Bennett, in asking the CNSC to adjourn the hearing to allow time to prepare a proper study on the potential environmental impacts that such an undertaking would entail.

Bruce Power’s proposal represents “a major deviation from the approved plan” set out in their 2005 Environmental Assessment. As such, John argued before the panel that Bruce Power’s current proposal “should require revisiting the environmental assessment.”

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BUSINESS: Eastport Boat School may have new and bright future.

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Yacht maker offers to buy Boat School

The Marlow Voyager 76E long range vessel is one of the boats built by Marlow Yachts Ltd. Inc., which hopes to manufacture similar craft in Eastport. Marlow’s yachts range in price from $1.5 million to $3.6 million depending on the model.

10/21/10 08:34 pm Updated: 10/21/10 11:19 pm
By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff

EASTPORT, Maine — One of the world’s premier yacht makers, who has previously focused his manufacturing efforts in Taiwan, China and Tampa Bay, Fla., has made an offer that could turn around the financially struggling city of Eastport.

David Marlow of Marlow Yachts approached the City Council during a workshop this week and floated a proposal to buy The Boat School, which is owned by the city and leased to Husson University.

His plans include expanding The Boat School program from a two-year to a four-year marine trades program while keeping Husson University involved. He also plans to revamp the campus, expand the existing boatyard and build an on-site yacht manufacturing facility that could create 100 new jobs.

“This could be a godsend for Eastport,” City Manager Jon Southern said Thursday. “This business is compatible with every city goal for our working waterfront. It is ecologically friendly. It would create high-quality jobs. It protects The Boat School and retains the partnership we have with Husson.”

Chris Gardner, executive director of the Eastport Port Authority, said he had a chance Tuesday to discuss the port’s role in shipping million-dollar yachts to Marlow’s customers worldwide.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ENERGY: NS seeks input on Renewable energy legislation.

CONSULTATION: NOVA SCOTIA'S MARINE RENEWABLE ENERGY LEGISLATION Nova Scotia is preparing legislation for the development of its offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, as part of the Province's renewable electricity targets. Public comment is being sought; 15 November is the deadline for input. A discussion paper entitled "Marine Renewable Energy Legislation for Nova Scotia" and contact information is available at

ENERGY: Time for communities to focus on windpower and reap the rewards.

NB: The time to focus on wind power is now, says Swift

By Katie Tower, Transcontinental Media

Source: The Sackville Tribune, October 15, 2010

[SACKVILLE, NB] — Small communities like Sackville are now in a better position to reap the rewards if a multi-billion dollar, multi-national company comes calling to develop a wind farm in their municipality.

That was the message heard last week from the town’s economic director Bonnie Swift, as she reported to council last week on a recent Canadian Wind Energy Association seminar she attended in Moncton.

Swift said much of the discussion at the seminar centred around the economic development opportunities that are being created now that these companies are more willing to collaborate with local communities.

Swift said she learned, for example, that the town of Lameque negotiated a profit-sharing deal with Acciona Energy as well as dozens of long-term local jobs before agreeing to the wind farm project.

And that’s only one example out of a number of communities that have been speaking out about “how they made these companies work for them,” during these multi-million dollar projects, said Swift. “I think a lot of these companies have come to realize it’s not going to work unless they work with the communities.”

Swift said wind energy is bound to come to the southeastern New Brunswick region in the near future and the town needs to consider how it might approach companies like Acciona to gain an economic advantage.

“Wind power is coming and we have to be prepared for it.”

Councillor Margaret Tusz-King agreed and suggested a committee could be established to develop a proposed list of priorities if these companies come back to the table.

“And with the new community wind policies in place, we have greater leverage than the last time they were here,” she said.

The CanWEA seminar, which focused on Growing Wind Energy in Atlantic Canada, was held September 22-23 in Moncton. CanWea, a national non-profit association, serves as Canada’s leading source of information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits.

ENERGY: Repsol strikes deal for LNG supply from Qatar

Qatar to supply LNG to Canada for 3 yrs - minister
Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:03pm BST

* Repsol deal LNG for use "only in Canada"

* Qatar in talks with other potential LNG buyers

By Regan Doherty

DOHA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Qatar's deal to supply liquefied natural gas to Spain's Repsol (REP.MC) will run for three years, with the LNG destined solely for Canada, Qatar's energy minister said on Monday.

State-controlled Qatargas and Spain's biggest oil company announced a multi-year deal to supply Repsol's Canaport terminal in Canada's New Brunswick province last week but gave no details on volumes, duration or whether Repsol had to deliver the fuel to Canada. [ID:nLDE6961GO]

Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told reporters the Repsol deal would last about three years -- after which many industry observers expect the current gas glut to end and prices to rise -- but did not detail the sales volume.

"I think this is short-term, for three years or so," Attiyah said when asked about the Repsol deal, adding the LNG was for use "only in Canada."

Qatar, the world's largest exporter of LNG which hopes to be able to produce up to 77 million tonnes a year by early 2010 as new production lines open over the next few months, is in talks with other potential buyers.

"So far we are having a lot of discussions, we will announce it when the time is right," Attiyah said.

After former big LNG market the United States lost much of its appetite for imported gas over the last few years because of a North American shale gas boom, Qatar has increasingly relied on China to make up for lost U.S. sales.

Qatar hopes to sell more LNG to China but Attiyah said it was unclear whether a new deal would be signed this year.

"I hope so. We are still discussing, but there is an improvement. Qatargas is engaging now, to finalize the deal," he said.

In the last few weeks France's GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) has signed three-year deals to supply LNG to China and Korea. [ID:nTOE69800X]

Many analysts expect supplies of gas to tighten from around 2013, pushing up prices for the key power generation fuel, after a glut in supply created by the economic downturn, a U.S. shale gas boom and rising Qatari output. (Writing by Daniel Fineren; editing by James Jukwey)

ENVIRONMENT: Project aims to create new salt marsh at Aulac-Beausejour

Project aims to create new salt marsh Published Tuesday October 19th, 2010

New marsh expected to reduce erosion, provide new habitat

By Craig Babstock
Times & transcript staff

AULAC - An ambitious project is underway to restore a salt marsh that disappeared when Acadian farmers built a dike in the mid-1800s.

N.B. Department of Transportation
A sod-turning ceremony was held yesterday to launch the Aulac-Beausejour Salt Marsh Restoration project on the Bay of Fundy. From left: Jeff Ollerhead, dean of Science at Mount Allison University; Tom Duffy, Atlantic operations manager of Ducks Unlimited; Mark McLean of Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada; N.B. Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Mike Olscamp; and Department of Transportation assistant director Mike Phillips.

It's hoped the marsh will help protect agricultural land and transportation infrastructure from flooding and erosion caused by high tides.

"Over 150 years ago this was a salt marsh and it's being restored to its original state," says Wade Lewis, Ducks Unlimited's manager of restoration services for the Atlantic region. "I've spent close to the last two and a half years on this and absolutely I'm very excited to be a part of this."

The project is a partnership between Ducks Unlimited, New Brunswick's Departments of Transportation, Environment and Agriculture and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans' Small Craft Harbours program. Total cost is estimated at close to $1 million, with Transportation and DFO contributing approximately $464,000 each and New Brunswick's Environmental Trust Fund providing $40,000 in support.

Ducks Unlimited is co-ordinating the science, planning, construction and monitoring at the site.

Lewis says the project started with a year of planning, followed by a year and a half of site work. Three breaches will be made this week in a 900-metre stretch of dike near the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border to flood a 16-hectare parcel of former farmland, then the site will be monitored for three years to see how the marsh develops. Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Mike Olscamp was at the sod-turning ceremony yesterday to launch the salt marsh restoration project. He credited the previous government with getting this project started and said the dike in question was no longer adequate.

"It's been identified that there are some older dikes that are not as stable as they should be," says Olscamp, also the MLA for Tantramar.

The dike has been repaired over the years, but the repairs were not a permanent solution. The government built a new dike in this area farther inland, leaving a 16 hectare parcel of land between the new dike and the old dike. The breaches in the old dike will allow water to flood in between the dikes during high tide, then out again during low tide.

Over time a salt marsh will be created and the hope is the water will leave sediment behind, building up the marsh. Then during storm surges, the marsh will take the brunt of the water before it gets to the new dike, which is bigger than the old one, limiting erosion and reducing the chance of flooding.

Lewis says this is the first time something like this has been attempted in the upper Bay of Fundy region, so it's a pilot project that could be applied to other areas if it works. He says this particular dike was a good place to start because some of the other dikes in the area have salt marshes in front of them already to help absorb the brunt of tides. This old dike does not.

"It was being breached and being eroded heavily," says Lewis.

This particular area was not known for bad flooding, says Olscamp, but the work is preventative, to avoid any possible storm surge flooding in the future that could damage agricultural land or the nearby rail tracks and Trans-Canada Highway.

"There's always a possibility that with the right conditions something could happen," says the minister.

Lewis adds that with rising global water levels, this kind of work needs to be done in case of a big weather event down the road.

Ducks Unlimited says 65 per cent of salt marshes in Atlantic Canada have been altered, degraded or destroyed and in the Upper Bay of Fundy region, it's 85 per cent. Lewis says not only will this future marsh help protect from flooding and erosion, but it will also be a new environment for plants and animals.

"Salt marshes are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet," he says.

This restoration project involves long-term monitoring and research in areas such as how quickly the vegetation becomes re-established, how quickly sediment builds up, bird response, and presence of fish and invertebrates. This research will be done in partnership with faculty and students at Mount Allison University, the University of New Brunswick and Acadia University.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ON STAGE: Terry Gillespie Tonight in St. Andrews. More Tommorrow!

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Something a Little Different
at the Sunbury Shores Gallery  8pm  $10
Lovestorm Is
Tim Isaac (Isaac and Blewett)
Nina Khosla (Great Balancing Act)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AQUACULTURE: Four investigations underway for illegal use of pesticides.

Salmon farms probed for illegal pesticide use
by Edward French, Quoddy Tides -

Environment Canada now has four active investigations into the possible release into the waters around Passamaquoddy Bay or Grand Manan of a pesticide that is not permitted for use in Canada but is used in other locations, including Maine, to control sea lice outbreaks in salmon farms. Along with the ongoing investigation into the death of nearly 1,000 lobsters last fall around Deer Island, Grand Manan and Pocologan, the department recently opened two new investigations, following the detection of the pesticide cypermethrin at area salmon farms that are owned by Northern Harvest Sea Farms and Ocean Legacy. Cypermethrin is toxic to lobsters, and fishermen's associations have been calling for the elimination of the use of pesticides in the marine environment.

Throughout the winter and spring Environment Canada and provincial and federal partners monitored salmon sites for illegal usage of pesticides, according to Robert Robichaud, operations manager for the district of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island for Environment Canada's environmental enforcement branch. During May, July, August and September the department conducted routine and sporadic inspections at sites to verify compliance with the federal Fisheries Act's pollution prevention provisions that prohibit the release of harmful substances into the waters. Lab results from samples taken in May and July showed that farms owned by Northern Harvest Sea Farms and Ocean Legacy, which are headquartered in Letang, had detectable levels of cypermethrin in fish samples. Those results triggered the opening of two more investigations on September 8 and the issuing on September 22 of inspector's directions to those two companies, ordering them to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to prevent the release of substances that are harmful to fish into fish-bearing waters.
Environment Canada will not release the location of the companies' farm sites or the number of farms that had detectable levels of cypermethrin in fish samples. However, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture's listing of marine aquaculture sites, Ocean Legacy has a site located near Back Bay that is off the western side of Frye Island and just north of Douglas Island. Northern Harvest has three salmon farms at Harbour de Loutre, Campobello; a single farm site off the western side of Deer Island, just north of Davidson's Head near Hersonville; a farm in upper Passamaquoddy Bay, just north of McCann Head, St. Andrews; two farms just east of Frye Island in Bliss Harbour; and a farm in Letang Harbour.
In addition to those investigations, on September 8 Environment Canada received a report from fishermen of a possible lobster kill in the area of Harbour de Loutre on Campobello. Robichaud cannot confirm if lobsters were actually killed. Two days later, on September 10, officers conducted a routine inspection of nearby salmon farms, and fish samples are presently being analyzed at Environment Canada's Moncton lab. Robichaud says it can take four to eight weeks to receive the lab results. The alleged lobster kill was not reported to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Violations of pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act can results in fines of up to $300,000 for summary convictions and up to $1 million for indictable offenses. Also, separate penalties, up to $200,000, can be levied for noncompliance with inspector's directions.
Along with the two new investigations, Environment Canada is continuing to conduct two investigations into the lobster deaths last fall, with the investigation into the cause of dead lobsters found near Seal Cove, Grand Manan, having been opened on December 22, and one concerning the lobster deaths near Fairhaven, Deer Island, having been opened on February 10. Robichaud can only say that those investigations are ongoing, with evidence still being collected. So far, Environment Canada is only releasing that the lobsters were exposed to cypermethrin and is not commenting on the cause of the deaths. "Most environmental investigations take quite a bit of time," he says.

While some suspect salmon farms as the source of the cypermethrin, Environment Canada has not made that determination. Fish farmers have been challenged in controlling sea lice outbreaks this summer, particularly in the upper Passamaquoddy Bay area. They have been using other licensed chemicals to control the outbreaks, including hydrogen peroxide, Salmosan, SLICE and Calicide. New Brunswick aquaculture organizations have maintained that fish farmers would not use cypermethrin, which is not permitted for use.

Although cypermethrin's use in the marine environment is prohibited in Canada, the pesticide is permitted under certain restrictions for use at salmon farms in Maine, under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) program. With the drug usage, FDA requires environmental monitoring of the water, sediments and any organisms in the environment, and the results must be provided to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Survey results following treatments in Cobscook Bay show that cypermethrin is at non-detectable levels in the waters or in any of the nearby environment where samples were collected. Well boats that are used to treat salmon at farms in Cobscook Bay discharge the water used near the farm sites, after the concentration decreases over time as the pesticide binds with organic compounds in the water. Salmon farmers believe the chances are virtually nil that cypermethrin used at Maine farms caused any of the lobster deaths in New Brunswick.
October 8 , 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

ENERGY: More problems at Lepreau - Fuel tube problems could delay N.B. nuclear plant

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Last Updated: Friday, October 8, 2010 | 7:03 PM AT
CBC News

Any further delay of the Point Lepreau refurbishment could jeopardize a campaign promise to freeze power rates made by the incoming Progressive Conservative government. (CBC)

NB Power has announced that Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will have to start over with one of the most important parts of the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant.

The federal Crown corporation is going to remove all 380 calandria tubes to reinstall and reseal them, which could further delay the completion of the project, already more than a year behind schedule.

It has been estimated that NB Power will have to pay $1 million a day to purchase replacement power while the reactor is not in service.

"Project staff are proceeding with the removal of all 380 calandria tubes," said an NB Power statement that was released at 5 p.m. AT Friday, as New Brunswickers prepared for the three-day Thanksgiving weekend.

"We do not have specific details from AECL on how it will impact the overall timeline of the project.

"In our continued efforts to be open and transparent with our employees and customers, we are releasing this information to you now as this is currently happening and will provide you with more detailed information as it becomes available later next week."

The calandria tubes are made to house smaller nuclear pressure tubes, which in turn contain radioactive nuclear fuel bundles.
Refurbishment originally scheduled for 2009 completion

They were the first major piece of equipment to be installed in the reactor as part of the much-delayed refurbishment of the 27-year-old generating station in southern New Brunswick.

The refurbishment, which began on March 28, 2008, is expected to extend the generating station's life by 25 to 30 years. It was supposed to be completed by September 2009.

Before Friday's announcement, the $1.4-billion refurbishment was already hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.

The most optimistic recent forecasts estimate the refurbishment will be completed by October 2011, and NB Power will need until February 2012 to get the power plant to begin generating electricity again.

The removal of the original calandria tubes took AECL one year.

With the delays, the incoming Progressive Conservative government will be in charge of a refurbishment deal they signed up for in 2005, when they were led by Bernard Lord.

The newest delay could be a problem for incoming leader David Alward, who takes power Oct. 12. He promised a three-year freeze on power rates, which was calculated on the assumption the reactor would be operational in February.

NB Power predicted in April that power rates would rise an extra three per cent next year because of the refurbishment cost overruns.

Read more:

Pre-operational environmental monitoring report for the Point Lepreau, N.B., nuclear generating station - 1981 (Canadian technical report of hydrography and ocean sciences)

ENERGY: N.S. government extends deadline for proposals on Bay of Fundy tidal energy (NS-Tidal-Power)

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HALIFAX _ The Nova Scotia government is extending a deadline for proposals to study ways of transforming the powerful Bay of Fundy tides into electricity.

Developers looking to join a tidal demonstration program had earlier been given until Oct. 20 to submit their information, but they now have until Nov. 22.

Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks says that some companies have asked for more time to prepare.

The successful developer will join several other companies including Nova Scotia Power in the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy project.

Undersea cables, expected to be installed by next summer, will carry power from four test sites to the provincial electricity grid.

Search for Nova Scotia TIDAL POWER

Thursday, October 7, 2010

CONSERVATION: Rockweed biologist receives national award

10/6/10 10:40 pm Updated: 10/6/10 10:42 pm
By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff

MACHIAS, Maine — Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley was driving Wednesday from New York to Pembroke despite still recovering from the flu. She said she needed to come to testify today before the state’s Regulatory Fairness Board in Calais regarding the impact of mechanical and hand harvesting on Maine’s rockweed — a coastal seaweed.

This dedication to environmental issues is why Seeley stands out in her field and was recently honored by the Audubon Society with a $10,000 national Together Green Fellowship.

The fellowship, one of 40 awarded across the country, will enable Seeley to continue her work to protect the rockweed intertidal habitat by working with students, the public and policymakers.

“Rockweed plays a fundamental role in Maine’s coastal and estuarine ecosystems, serving as habitat for more than 100 fish and invertebrate species, as well as shorebirds and ducks,” Seeley said Wednesday. “Unregulated, industrial-scale cutting of rockweed threatens the fishing potential, ecological health and natural beauty that are vital to Maine’s future.”

Seeley is an assistant director at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine, which is operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire.

The fellowship is supported by a conservation alliance between Audubon and Toyota. It offers specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. The fellowship stresses community-focused projects that engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy and contributing to greater environmental health.

Seeley is working to preserve intertidal habitat in Maine by protecting rockweed beds from industrial-scale cutting. For her project, Seeley will expand on the work of the Rockweed Coalition, an organization she co-founded, by working with local educators to design lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students on the value of seaweed habitat. She also plans to work with policymakers at the state level to promote the value of the intertidal habitat for Maine fisheries and wildlife.

Seeley has spent the last 10 years working on rockweed management, sharing scientific knowledge on the effects of rockweed cutting while also listening to local communities. She helped mobilize support for a Maine law that strictly manages the cutting of seaweed in Cobscook Bay by putting all federal, state and private conservation areas off-limits to commercial cutting.

“Robin is the kind of person who can make a real difference in the health of our environment and the quality of our future,” Audubon President David Yarnold said in a prepared statement. “Each of our Together Green Fellows demonstrates exceptional environmental understanding and commitment, combined with tremendous potential to inspire and lead others. Together, they represent the talented and diverse leadership the environmental community will need to tackle the huge challenges and opportunities confronting us today and in the years to come.”

Seeley said the award comes at a key time for the Rockweed Coalition.

“Support from Together Green provides a great boost to our work informing policy-makers and the public about the unrecognized breadth of ecological services provided by rockweed in Maine,” she said.

Seeley, a Maine native, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Bowdoin College, a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Rhode Island and her doctorate in biology from Yale University. She has served as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Marine Science, University of Maine.

A complete list of the 2010 Together Green Fellows can be found at

Ecology and management of Maine's eelgrass, rockweeds, and kelps: Executive summary

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

$7 million in federal port grants headed to Eastport, Portland

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10/5/10 11:53 pm Updated: 10/6/10 05:46 am
By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff

EASTPORT, Maine — A permitting problem that held up $7 million in federal funds for Maine’s ports at Eastport and Portland, was cleared this week and the funding should be released immediately, according to Maine’s congressional delegation.

The funds were part of a $14 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery — TIGER — grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that was awarded eight months ago to upgrade the infrastructure at three ports in Maine.

Another $7 million in the package for Searsport is still being withheld because of a “Buy American” requirement in the agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and Maine had been holding up the process since February. Searsport needs to buy a mobile harbor crane that is not produced in the U.S.

According to John Henshaw of the Maine Port Authority, all three projects were part of one grant request, and as such the funding for all three was held up.

But the USDOT announced this week that it will allow the projects at Eastport and Portland to proceed while Searsport seeks a waiver. Moving those projects ahead is critical, especially at Eastport, since the state has a short construction season. The Eastport project requires blasting and drilling, which now can be accomplished before winter sets in.

The three ports and their projects are:

ä $2 million will go to Eastport for a warehouse, conveyer equipment and storage pad.

ä $5 million to the International Marine Terminal in Portland for capacity and infrastructure improvements to improve access to the pier and cargo-handling capability.

ä $7 million to Searsport for investments in a heavy-lift mobile harbor crane and cargo-handling equipment. “These TIGER grants were designed to put people back to work,” U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe said in a prepared statement. “The last thing we want is government paperwork preventing critical infrastructure initiatives, like the ‘Revitalizing Maine’s Ports’ project, from moving forward and creating jobs. I am delighted we were able to find a way to cut through the red tape, so that Mainers may get back to work on such a vital project

TOURISM: UNESCO names N.B. home to new geopark

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | 6:35 AM AT
CBC News

UNESCO named Stonehammer Geopark, which includes Fundy National Park, the world's newest geopark at a conference in Greece. (CBC)UNESCO has named a large swath of land along the Bay of Fundy coastline as the world's latest geopark.

Stonehammer Geopark covers 2,500 square kilometres across southern New Brunswick and stretches from Lepreau Falls to Norton, Saint John and Grand Bay-Westfield to St. Martins.

The United Nations Education, Scientific, Cultural Organization awarded Stonehammer Geopark the distinction of becoming North America's first geopark at a conference in Greece late Sunday.

The title comes just after construction workers at a nursing home project in Saint John found a 500-million-year-old rock formation called a hinge.

And scientists discovered 318-million-year-old reptile footprints in rock slabs near St. Martins in 2008.
'From a marketing perspective, as well as educational and preservation perspective, it just gives us that extra notch, that extra level we're able to work with now.'— Gail Bremner, Stonehammer Geopark

Gail Bremner, the executive director of Stonehammer Geopark, said the designation and the prestige it carries will help attract more tourists and bring some of them back.

"It provides new product. For example, for the cruise ship visitors that are coming, we get a lot of repeat visitors, so it gives them an opportunity to explore our region in a different perspective," Bremner said.

Geologists from Germany and Ireland visited southern New Brunswick in August to assess whether the area should be home to the continent's first geopark.

This is just another distinction for the region.

The Bay of Fundy is one of 28 finalists in a worldwide campaign by the New 7 Wonders Foundation, a group based in Switzerland. The online campaign is intended to increase knowledge and tourism to some of the world's great natural wonders.

Other entrants include the Amazon rainforest, South Africa's Table Mountain, Uluru in Australia (also known as Ayers Rock) and Mount Vesuvius in Italy.

EVENTS: October - Upcoming in Charlotte County, NB

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Thursday at Harry and Martha Bryan's
Mascarene Road near St. George
Next Thursday at The Arena Theatre
St. Andrews
Mark Your Calendar for
New Brunswick Emerging Artist Showcase
Wednesday Oct 27th
Owen Steel, Babette Hayward, Andy Brown, Lisa Leblanc

Monday, October 4, 2010

500 million year old rock stops construction and stirs online debate

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 Interesting article for sure. But the debate it stirred in the comments is even more interesting. Don't miss it!!



Ancient rock formation uncovered in N.B.

Geologist estimates 4.5-metre rock formation is 500 million years old
Last Updated: Monday, October 4, 2010 | 8:52 AM AT
CBC News

Construction was stopped at a Saint John nursing home site after workers found a rock formation estimated to be 500 million years old. (CBC)

Saint John construction workers are altering a nursing home's renovation plans after discovering a rock formation that is estimated to be 500 million years old.

Construction crews had been excavating for the expansion to the Loch Lomond Villa Nursing Home since mid September.

A unique 4.5-metre rock formation was found jutting through the shale and that forced the workers to change their construction plans. Geologists are now debating over what could be done with the discovery.

Terry Moore, the facilities manager at the nursing home, said the ancient rock formation appears to resemble a tree.
'I knew right away it wasn't going to be a fossil tree because it's about 500 million years old. We know trees don't appear in the geological record until about 360 million years ago, so it's much too old to be a tree.'— Randy Miller, N.B. Museum

"It actually looks like the side of the tree, the formation of bark all along here … it's just so unique," Moore said.

Once the geological surprise was found, the nursing home staff called in experts from the New Brunswick Museum to investigate the rock formation.

Randy Miller, the provincial paleontologist at the New Brunswick Museum, said the age of the formation makes it impossible for the discovery to be a tree.

"I knew right away it wasn't going to be a fossil tree because it's about 500 million years old," Miller said.

"We know trees don't appear in the geological record until about 360 million years ago, so it's much too old to be a tree."

Miller said the log is actually a hinge, which happens when layers of rock are folded on top of each other when heated up deep within the earth.
Preserving the discovery

The provincial paleontologist said the hinge is worth preserving right where it is situated.

Miller said other examples of the rock formations have been unearthed around Saint John and he hopes this latest discovery can help the city's push toward geo-tourism.

"Some people think about the geo-park being fossils and that part of the story. But there are other really important parts of the story, about plate tectonics, how the big processes of geology work," Miller said.

"So all these little sites are kind of interesting because we use them for teaching.… It may be a place that you could take the public to, if it's accessible, and say, 'Look, how rocks are folded and this is how it happens.'"

While Miller and other experts decide how to accomplish that, construction crews at the Saint John nursing home have reworked their plans to avoid disturbing the rock any further.

The geological discovery at the nursing home comes about two weeks after highway construction was halted in southwestern New Brunswick after First Nations artifacts were found.

The discovery of what are believed to be First Nations artifacts happened in Charlotte County after torrential rains during post-tropical storm Earl in mid-September exposed the objects.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

BOOKS: Mary Majka Book launch tomorrow

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From - Thanks Terri!!

Bay of Fundy book launch tomorrow!

There's a very exciting event taking place tomorrow, October 2, in Albert County, New Brunswick: the launch of a biography of well-known Bay of Fundy naturalist, Mary Majka.

Mary is one of Canada’s great pioneering environmentalists. She is best known as a television host, a conservationist, and a driving force behind the internationally acclaimed Mary’s Point Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve on the Bay of Fundy.

Sanctuary (her authorized biography to be released this weekend) gives full expression to the intensely personal story of Mary’s life. A daughter of privilege, a survivor of World War II Poland, an architect of dreams, Mary Majka became passionately intent on protecting fragile spaces and species for generations to come.

In this amazing chronicle of determination and foresight, Deborah Carr reveals a complex, indomitable, thoroughly human being — flawed yet feisty, inspiring and inspired. With information gleaned from Mary’s own memories, present day scenes and passages of reportage, Sanctuary engages the reader in a shared remembering as Deborah weaves together the story of a young Polish girl named Marysia, who faced sorrow, loss and then war alone, and through this discovered a healing connection to nature. It is the story of how she evolved into the award-winning woman known as Mary Majka, who played a key role in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of New Brunswick and encouraged others to pursue their passion and make their own mark on the world.

But beneath all this, it is the story of finding sanctuary – of achieving that sacred place of acceptance and refuge, both in the world and within the soul.

The book launch for Sanctuary takes place Oct 2, from 2PM – 4PM at the Harvey Hall, 29 Mary’s Point Road, Harvey, Albert Co. (Near Riverside-Albert), NB. Both the author and Mary Majka will be there to sign books.

To read more about the story behind the writing of Sanctuary, visit author, Deborah Carr’s blog, What If?

AQUACULTURE: Aquaculture company denies using harmful pesticide

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Investigation: Environment Canada probing discovery of illegal substance in Bay of Fundy

Derwin Gowan

ST. STEPHEN - Northern Harvest Sea Farms does not use the pesticide cypermethrin, company chief executive officer Larry Ingalls said in a news release Thursday.

On Sept. 23, Environment Canada issued "inspectors directions" telling Northern Harvest and Ocean Legacy Inc. to cease using cypermethrin, and prevent its use in the future, in floating salmon cages in the Bay of Fundy off Charlotte County.

The department based these orders on results of samples taken in the spring that show cypermethrin was present in salmon cages belonging to the two companies, said Robert Robichaud in Moncton, operations manager for the department's enforcement branch in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The test results showed "detectable" levels of this chemical licenced for agricultural use, but not for a marine environment in Canada, Robichaud said.

The department took the samples from May through July as part of a program of routine inspections of aquaculture sites that began this spring, Robichaud said.

The two companies must "immediately stop any use of cypermethrin and prevent any future use of cypermethrin," Robichaud said. The companies could be fined up to $200,000 for not complying.

The investigation continues into who put the cypermethrin, commonly used to kill potato bugs and on blueberries, in the water.

The probe could lead to criminal charges.

Environment Canada's laboratory in Moncton identified cypermetrhin on dead lobster in the Bay of Fundy last fall.

On Nov. 19 the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association reported dead lobster in traps. More were found Nov. 23 in Pocologan, and off Deer Island Dec. 3.

On Sept. 8 this year, a fisherman reported a number of dead lobsters off Campobello Island. The laboratory has yet to identify any chemicals on these lobsters.

Canada does not licence cypermethrin for use in water, but the substance does kill sea lice, a bane to salmon farmers.

Traditional fisheries favour banning all chemicals from the bay, controlling sea lice by reducing the number of salmon in sea cages, Fundy North Fishermen's Association executive director Maria Recchia said in an interview.

The industry should raise fish in tanks on land, John Werring with the David Suzuki Foundation said from Vancover.

"This is just all part of an ongoing investigation," said Pamela Parker, executive director of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers' Association. "We shouldn't draw conclusions until the investigation reaches its end point."

"Northern Harvest Sea Farms has not, is not and will not use cypermethrin. The use of this, or any other unauthorized products is strictly against the company and owner's policy," Ingalls said in his written statement.

The company will co-operate with Environment Canada's investigation, he said.

Environment Canada found "positive results at very low levels in May" at two sites, Ingalls said.

"Ongoing tests at these sites have resulted in negative readings. All other farms tested had negative results, including recent testing at three farms in Campobello.

"Because of the seriousness of this issue, Northern Harvest immediately contracted an independent laboratory analysis of the sites in question among others. All those results have been negative," he said.

Northern Harvest will say no more while the investigation continues, he said.

Ocean Legacy did not return calls.

BUSINESS: Maine pulp mill at Woodland may be sold to Hong Kong buyer

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Domtar pulp plant nearing sale to Hong Kong investors
$64M sale would promise stability to pulp producer

Gov. John Baldacci (center) concludes a tour of Domtar’s pulp mill in Baileyville in March 2009 along with then-mill manager Tim Lowe (left) and Washington County Sen. Kevin Raye of Perry.

9/30/10 11:48 pm Updated: 10/1/10 02:24 am
By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — An announcement could come as early as today regarding the potential sale of Domtar’s hardwood pulp facility to a Hong Kong investment group, International Grand Investment Corp.

Negotiations between Domtar and International Grand Investment reportedly still were under way late Thursday.

Gov. John Baldacci said late Thursday that the sale could bring stability to the area and ensure that the more than 300 people working in the pulp mill can be secure in their jobs. All current employees are expected to be retained.

The sale, at a reported $64 million, would be effective immediately, according to an announcement by Domtar that was obtained by the Bangor Daily News.

The new company will be known as Woodland Pulp LLC, recognizing the village of Woodland within Baileyville, where the mill is located.

“The sale of the Woodland mill is part of our strategy to reduce our exposure to hardwood pulp markets; the majority of our market pulp activities are in softwood and fluff pulp grades,” John D. Williams, president and chief executive officer of Domtar, said in the announcement. “We concluded that this transaction was in the best interest of the company, in terms of strategy, and for the mill as it continues the employment of its dedicated work force.”

Baldacci said that Domtar’s ownership always was perceived as temporary, as the company is a paper company, not a pulp manufacturer.

The Baileyville mill is Domtar’s only pulp mill. It has an annual production capacity of 395,000 metric tons. International Grand Investment annually brokers more than 800,000 tons of pulp.

International Grand Investment represents individual investors in pulp trade and imports. This is the corporation’s second pulp mill acquisition in the U.S. this year; the other mill is on the West Coast. International Grand Investment maintains corporate offices in Delaware.

“With this sale, the workers at Domtar won’t have to worry,” Baldacci said. “The community won’t have to worry.

Rosair Pelletier, Maine’s senior forest products adviser, said that when Domtar closed in 2009 for six weeks and then reopened, it was only a temporary move.

“The company was looking to transition out of pulp,” he said. “Domtar is a papermaker. [International Grand Investment] concentrates on pulp. It is a big corporation that deals only with pulp. This is such good news because it will bring stability to the entire area. It is also good news any time a new, major investor comes to Washington County.”

Baldacci said Domtar has had a $15 million annual payroll in Washington County and the sale will stabilize that. “No one will have to look over their shoulder now,” he said.

Pelletier said that International Grand Investment “will keep the mill in tip-top condition” and that could include a $20 million to $30 million investment in infrastructure each year.

Baldacci said it is too early to say if a mill expansion is planned or if new workers will be hired. “I think they want to hit the ground running and get into production first,” Baldacci said.

“Since 2001, I have appreciated Domtar’s commitment to the Woodland mill,” Baldacci said. “I want to convey my thanks and appreciation for their hard work in Washington County.”

The mill’s story

For more than a century, the Baileyville mill has been an integral part of Down East Maine.

Construction on St. Croix Pulp and Paper was begun in 1905 and completed in 1906. Soon after construction began, the village of Woodland, now within the town of Baileyville, grew up around the mill.

In 1964, Georgia-Pacific purchased the facility, owning and operating it until 2001, when it was purchased by Domtar, which is headquartered in Quebec.

One of Domtar’s first actions was to return Gordon’s Island, a tribal burial ground during the 1800s, to the Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe in May 2002. The mill operated well and during the period of Domtar ownership set production records and solidly established, through the shipment of market pulp, the viability of the Port of Eastport.

Declining paper markets forced the closure of the company’s only paper machine in 2007, but pulp production continued at the facility. In 2009 the global recession forced a six-week shutdown of the mill, but upon the mill’s restart in June 2009, the mill has had strong production numbers.

Today the mill employs 300 men and women. It is Washington County’s largest employer.


Bangor Daily News