Kennebec Estuary: Restorations and Challenges

100 page report available for download here

BATH- Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, with support from Merrymeeting Bay Trust, Biological Conservation, and Maine State Planning Office, recently released The Kennebec Estuary: Restoration Challenges and Opportunities.

The 100+ page report provides a comprehensive look at shifting ecological conditions in the lower section of the Kennebec River, known as the estuary. An estuary is a coastal water body where salt and fresh water mix. The report used a wide variety of source material spanning several hundred years.

Completed with the participation of over 50 experts, the report documents how historic and ongoing land-use practices have caused undesirable changes to the Estuary’s water quality, native plants, migratory fish, wildlife, and levels of toxic contaminants.  The implications of ongoing sea level rise and climate trends are also evaluated.

The report notes that efforts to improve the health of the Estuary have been somewhat successful, but concludes that this work is not enough to repair centuries of environmental abuse.  It also reveals that there is a lack of knowledge about basic natural cycles in the Estuary. These cycles are key to understanding the recovery potential of this unique place.  The Kennebec Estuary: Restoration Challenges and Opportunities provides compelling grounds for Maine’s policy makers, environmental professionals, and citizens to call for new and reinvigorated approaches for the protection and recovery of the Kennebec Estuary, a place of regional and national significance.