Comfort, if not safety, in numbers as towns face climate change

On Friday, December 9th, the Island Institute co-hosted GrowSmart Maine’s December Smart Growth Forum, “Sea Level Rise: Practical Tools and Community Implementation,” at our Rockland offices. In this community contributed piece, Phil Crossman, a Vinalhaven resident and selectmen, offers a recap of the event. For more information, including speaker presentations, visit the GrowSmart Maine event page.

Consider the Lobster and Electricity: Helping Meet the Energy Challenges of Maine’s Small Islands

Most island communities do not have economies of scale or local fossil fuel resources, two key factors contributing to significant increases in energy costs relative to mainland peers. A case in point is two islands located off the coast of Maine—Isle au Haut and Monhegan, both of which are currently weighing their energy futures. The Energy Department and EERE are helping to address those challenges through the Energy Transition Initiative (ETI), which provides technical assistance and resources to support communities that want to achieve clean energy goals and in the transition to a clean energy economy.

Report details Island Institute’s 2016 impact on islands and coast

The Island Institute has published its 2016 annual report, which showcases its community-building initiatives in 15-year-round island communities and 105 coastal communities. 
The Rockland-based nonprofit reported operating revenue of $5.47 million and almost $5.4 million in operating expenses, which included $883,179 being spent on community development and $1 million on economic development. 
Read more about the highlights included in the 20-page report.

Things Mainers can do to combat climate change

What is one small thing Mainers can do in their everyday lives to help combat climate change? We asked our panelists that question. They overwhelmed us with good ideas, small and large. Try some. Or all. An edited list follows.

Maine mussels: Not on the rocks

Mussels are one of Maine’s most coveted seafoods. But the bivalve molluscs that used to be readily available and ripe for the picking aren’t quite so easy to come by these days.
Marine biologist Jon Lewis said mussel settlement on mudflats and rocks has become a problem. “The decline in wild mussels may be related to warming waters, predators such as green crabs, ice scouring or ocean acidification.”

Kelp company approved for long-term lease

A Casco Bay company that bills itself as the country’s first open-water commercial kelp farm got state approval Friday to convert a temporary seaweed plot off Chebeague Island into a 10-year lease, giving it the financial and regulatory certainty it needs to support the expansion of its Saco processing operation.

Teacher can lavish attention on island’s school’s students

Dick Broom provides a profile of Jan Keiper, the lone teacher in the town of Frenchboro on the remote offshore island of Long Island. According to the 2010 census, the town had a population of 61. The estimated 2015 population was 79, but residents say the year-round population is no more than 40.
In this article, Keiper talks about the advantages and challenges of teaching in a tiny school on a remote island, including support received through the Island Institute’s Outer Islands Teaching & Learning Collaborative. 

Salmon and seaweed — not just good for you, good for the ocean

ROCKLAND — Lobster and blueberries might get most of the media attention when it comes to Maine’s most iconic foods, but salmon and seaweed are the hottest products these day. On Oct. 16, Good Tern Co-op in Rockland put the focus on Maine’s most promising up-and-coming exports with their Salmon Cookout & Seafood Celebration. The event took place from noon to 4 p.m with the Co-op offering grilled salmon and seaweed salads, and free iced tea and spring water.

Annie Tselikis runs the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association

Annie Tselikis is the executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association, and the marketing director for Maine Coast, a York-based wholesaler of lobster and seafood. In this interview with the Portland Press Herald, Tselikis talks about her career so far, including her deckhand days, a 2006 fellowship in Stonington through the Island Institute, work with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the lobster industry and sustainability.