This study focuses on the Saco estuary, the tidal portion of the Saco River, which drains the largest watershed in southern Maine. With headwaters in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the watershed encompasses more than 4,400 km2, and provides clean healthy drinking water to over 100,000 people living and working in communities in southern Maine.
When the study began in 2009, very little was known about the ecology of the Saco estuary. Researchers at the University of New England and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve employed the process of collaborative learning to bring together people who care about the estuary in order to identify their concerns. A Stewardship Network composed of people employed by municipal, state and federal governments, water supply organizations and businesses, volunteers from municipal boards making land use decisions, land trusts, property owners and representatives from other organizations that are uniquely focused on the region was formed. The Stewardship Network helped to define the project goals and objectives, and provided input and guidance over the five-year project.
This report explains what the researchers discovered about the ecology of the estuary, along with what they learned about its social and economic components. This baseline assessment contributes to the long-term goal of restoring and sustaining the structure and function of the estuary, and supports the efforts of government, businesses and local organizations that value the estuary and depend upon the natural services it provides.
Feurt, Christine B. Ph D; Morgan, Pamela A.; Adams, Mark D. O.; Bass, Anna L.; Byron, Carrie J.; Daley, Michael C.; Esty, Michael O.; Perlut, Noah G.; Smith, Kayla; Spillane, Tyler; Steen-Adams, Michelle M.; Sulikowski, James; Zeeman, Stephan I.; Aman, Jacob; Dionne, Michele; Miller, Jeremy; and Wilson, Kristin, "Sustaining The Saco Estuary: Final Report 2015" (2015). Environmental Studies Faculty Publications. 27.