GOULDSBORO — Digging for clams in Jones Cove can be tricky. Diggers must consider the time of the year, tides and wind conditions at the inlet visible from Route 186 on the western shore of the Schoodic Peninsula. Depending on those factors, harvesters say having more than just one public point to reach the shore makes more sense for them to pursue their livelihood. But property owners must permit them that access.
Jones Cove is just one of the numerous inlets bisecting Gouldsboro’s 55-mile coastline, where generations of shellfish and marine worm diggers have made a living in the intertidal zone flats. Harvesters discussed the cove’s particular conditions and current public access at a Dec. 15 meeting. That session was the first of many planned as part of the town’s year-long “Gouldsboro Shore” project to sustain the shellfish fishery by inventorying and conserving public shorefront access in this predominantly commercial fishing community where waterfront properties have changed hands much more frequently in recent years. Another aim is to determine how Gouldsboro can shore up its shoreline infrastructure and better prepare for sea-level rise and storm events in the future.
Integral to the multiyear project is the town’s newly unveiled “Gouldsboro Shore” website (www.gouldsboroshore.me), where information and progress is regularly updated about the multifaceted project.
Schoodic Institute’s Education Research Director Emeritus Bill Zoellick designed and created the “Gouldsboro Shore” website as an evolving online resource for housing and unifying data collected through the “Gouldsboro Shore” project’s different “Gouldsboro Shore Access” and “Gouldsboro Shore and Storm” initiatives in coming months and years. The website is easy to navigate and plainly presents the different issues of interest to the town’s year-round and seasonal residents. Besides producing the site, Zoellick is serving as volunteer project manager of the “Gouldsboro Shore and Storm” initiative while Gouldsboro Shellfish Warden Mike Pinkham is facilitating the “Gouldsboro Shore Access” initiative.
Last year, acting on behalf of Gouldsboro, Zoellick and Pinkham partnered to carry out the “Gouldsboro Shore” project and secured $29,623 in state and federal funds from the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Maine Coastal program. That grant runs through Dec. 30. By then, Zoellick and Pinkham will draw up a final report of their findings and recommendations they say could prove a significant resource for other coastal Maine towns.
“This project will enable Gouldsboro to take actions to sustain existing shore access agreements,” the grant reads. “It will also create a plan for coastal infrastructure investments over the next 20 to 30 years that will reduce vulnerability to sea-level rise, storm surges and runoff from intense storms.”
The Maine Climate Council’s four-action plan, “Maine Won’t Wait,” calls for coastal Maine communities to plan for 3 feet sea level rise by 2050 and 8.8 feet by 2100. Responding to the challenge, Zoellick says preliminary research entails inventorying what erosion and other significant changes already have occurred at coastal properties and enterprises in town. “We are planning to involve people in telling us what they have seen,” Zoellick said early last fall when the “Gouldsboro Shore” project got going. “I think getting people really involved [and saying] what they have noticed in their backyards will fill out the picture.”
To learn more or get involved, visit www.gouldsboroshore.me and sign up for the monthly newsletter.