The Gouldsboro Shore Program currently builds its work around two projects.

Shellfish Resilience

Two men in boots working in the mud to haul mesh nets that were on top of the mud.
Hauling off the nets used to protect clams over the summer.

For the past five years or so, Gouldsboro’s shellfish committee has taken an active approach to restoring clam flats and protecting clams from predators. About two years ago, the shellfish committee recognized that having more “seed clams” to use in mudflat restoration was necessary to scale up the restoration work.

Gouldsboro’s “Shellfish Resilience Lab” — sometimes known as the “Clam Lab” — grew out of that desire to explore ways to expand the restoration and resilience effort. The Lab is important not just because of what it can do for Gouldsboro but also because it collects data and sets up experiments to develop and refine approaches to shellfish conservation that other towns can use.

Green wire mesh box sitting in a tank of seawater. The box contains mesh bags of small clams.
Clams overwintering inside the Shellfish Lab

The Maine Shellfish Restoration and Resilience Fund provided the primary support for the construction of the Shellfish lab. Other support came from the Hancock County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, the Schoodic Community Fund, and the Schoodic Institute.

This past year, we got the lab up and running. As we said in our report to the funders, the lab performed beyond our hopes. It is a great place for community engagement and will allow us to start new, ambitious work in the coming year when we will gather information about the growth and survival of first-year clams grown inside the lab.

The “Shore and Storm” Project

The Maine Coastal Program, drawing on funding from NOAA, awarded a contract to Gouldsboro to address disappearing shore access and threats to coastal infrastructure from sea-level rise and increasingly severe storms. The grant, which extends to the end of 2022, will help Gouldsboro pull together the many sources of mapping information and data needed to look across the coming decades.

As Gouldsboro extends down the Schoodic Peninsula to the ocean, the center of the peninsula is hilly and steep. When we get a lot of rain quickly, it quickly channels into streams that run deep and fast. We now are getting more storms that are more intense, a trend that is predicted to continue. The Maine Coastal Program funding will help Gouldsboro prioritize the steps it needs to take to keep it from suddenly losing critical shore infrastructure.

A satellite view of a map showing how Grand March Bay reachers down to the ocean.
Satellite view of Grand Marsh Bay’s path to the ocean.

Gouldsboro is also flat and marshy. On the right is a satellite map of the southern tip of the well-named Grand Marsh Bay as it reaches down to Sand Cove Beach and the ocean. Grand Marsh Bay will continue its journey southward as the sea level rises. At some point in the next 20 to 30 years, flooding at high tide will be likely in that area. With a storm surge, the Corea Peninsula could be an island for a short while. With more sea-level rise, Corea’s island status will be permanent. Gouldsboro needs help estimating how fast and large these changes will occur under different sea-level rise scenarios.

The funding from the Maine Coastal Program will also help Gouldsboro develop a realistic, well-researched approach to preserving critical shore access. With help from volunteers and partners such as Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, the new funding will enable Gouldsboro to create an inventory of shore access locations that are already protected and a list of the points that are important, but not protected. By the end of 2022, as the Maine Coastal Program grant wraps up, Gouldsboro intends to have a shore access preservation plan that is based on good data and is well underway.

For more details about the Shore and Storm project see the announcement about Gouldsboro’s receiving funding.