The Wrack

blog of the wells reserve & laudholm trust

Associated People Kristin Wilson Jacob Aman Jeremy Miller

Measuring a green crabThe invasive European green crab is not only a popular topic in the media these days; here at the reserve green crabs are receiving their fair share of attention as well — 5,878 of them so far to be exact!

The Wells Reserve has teamed up with the University of Maine, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and Southern Maine Health Care to study the impacts of the invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) on the geology and “stability” of our marshes. Over the summer we have been collecting abundance data that will later be used in conjunction with fyke net data, water quality data, and even geological techniques to better understand the effects green crabs are having on salt marshes throughout southern Maine.

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Fabricating 'Reading the Landscape

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 8/17/2014.

Around the time I was twelve, I went through what my parents called “the Indiana Jones stage.” I wore an officially licensed brown fedora, carried a homemade clothesline “bullwhip,” and definitely expected to be an archaeologist when I grew up. I even talked my way into a field expedition to the Caribbean island of Grenada, though I was two years short of their minimum age requirement. Rules didn’t matter – in search of lost tribes, buried treasure, even whip-cracking adventure, I dreamt only of piercing the jungle’s dark heart. Cue the trumpets!

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Associated People Paul Dest

Sunny dayTwo years ahead of schedule, our goal to obtain all our electricity from the sun is within reach. We have been awarded two grants to launch the final phase of our initiative. With $86,898 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $10,000 from the Davis Conservation Foundation, we are poised to install another set of photovoltaic panels on the Alheim property while making energy efficiency improvements in the Visitor Center.If we can raise just $30,000 more in donations by December 31, our dual “conserve and convert” effort will make us the first nonprofit in Maine to meet 100% of our electricity requirements using solar power.

In the first 14 months of our commitment to solar, our system has produced 74,425 KWh of electricity, avoiding 96,807 pounds of carbon dioxide and saving $10,345. You can always see our current statistics online.

Kilowatt-hours of solar power generated at the Wells Reserve, April 2013 to June 2014

Kilowatt-hours of solar power generated at the Wells Reserve, April 2013 to June 2014

 

This article appeared in Watermark 31(1): Summer 2014

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As you walk the loop trails in the Yankee Woodlot, check out our new interpretive signs! On each sign, you'll learn a little more about the Yankee Woodlot timber harvest project. Be sure to also check out these informational videos featuring some of the stars of the Yankee Woodlot project, which can be accessed using the QR codes found on each of the four signs on the trail. You can also view and read the transcripts for the videos below.

Bounty of the Harvest: Ken Canfield, District Forester with the Maine Forest Service

"Timber harvesting is an essential tool for long term, responsible forest stewardship. You can remove some of the more stressed, less valuable, less healthy trees, and utilize those trees for different products.

"The trees that were removed here, some of them were turned into chips that will be burned for biomass to create electricity, some of them went as pulp wood to a pulp mill to become paper. We didn't have a whole lot of high quality trees here that were removed, but there was a load or two of logs that went to sawmills to become boards.

"Maine's timber industry contributes about $8 billion a year, so it's one of the biggest pieces of the economy and one of the most important ones, and it creates a lot of really good and important jobs here in Maine.

"We can also use harvesting to create or improve wildlife habitat. These open areas are going to be great for songbirds and different animals that like more open, younger habitats. There are plenty of young trees coming up that deer and other animals can browse on. We can also use it to improve recreational access, so some of these trails used for the equipment may be used as trails for people to hike, and some of the chips were left here to help with making and maintaining trails.

"There are all sorts of goals that a landowner could have when they are doing a timber harvest. We recommend working with a licensed forester and a professional logger to make sure that those goals are achieved for any timber harvest and that the long term health of the property is protected."

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Associated People Tin Smith

As you walk the loop trails in the Yankee Woodlot, check out our new interpretive signs! On each sign, you'll learn a little more about the Yankee Woodlot timber harvest project. Be sure to also check out these informational videos featuring some of the stars of the Yankee Woodlot project, which can be accessed using the QR codes found on each of the four signs on the trail. You can also view and read the transcripts for the videos below.

Making the Cut: Tin Smith, Stewardship Coordinator at the Wells Reserve

"We're in the Yankee Woodlot, which we are managing for timber production after this forest had grown up from a farm field. What we are looking for here as we come in to manage our trees is selecting the trees we want to keep for management for timber. We are looking for tall straight trunks, 17 to 24 feet tall, and we'll be trimming these branches off and giving them room to grow. Often that means looking around and seeing which trees are shading them and removing those trees to give the other trees the light they need to grow.

"We are not as concerned about selecting for a specific species. In fact, in this woodlot, we a re looking for a diversity of pine, oak, and birch that we want to grow in the future. That's mainly because we want any tree that's in good condition, and we can't predict what might happen in the future forest, such as insects and disease and storms, and also we can't predict timber markets in the future.

"Poor quality trees are removed, and we can use those for firewood, we can chip them or use them for pulp wood, or sometimes we can even leave them on the forest floor to provide nutrients to the soil and wildlife habitat.

"The trees we are looking to remove are such as this pine tree, which as you can see not only has thick lower branches but has multiple stems as well. A tree like that, even in the next 30 to 50 years, is still not going to produce high quality timber, so in the next harvest we will remove this tree.

"In this section of the woodlot, there are very few high quality trees. and as a result we removed a large number of them creating a large sunlight opening and allowing a new generation of seedlings to appear. We will let these seedlings compete for light for about 15 to 20 years, and then come in again and harvest.

"Our key management strategy is to come in and cut every 15 to 20 years, following the same principles of selecting the best trees and removing the poorer quality ones to give them sunlight to grow."

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