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Portland, Maine, United States

Wheeler J.S.,Acadia National Park | Thiet R.K.,Antioch University New England | Smith S.M.,Wellfleet
Park Science | Year: 2012

The tidal restoration of Hatches Harbor, a 100-acre (41 ha) salt marsh in Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, has resulted in substantial native halophyte (salt-tolerant taxa) reestablishment in portions of the marsh. However, extensive stands of the invasive Phragmites australis still occupy a large area of the marsh. These stands present a physical barrier to the dispersal and establishment of seeds from the adjacent, recovering salt marsh. The goal of this study was to evaluate the establishment success of native halophytes in response to manual cutting of Phragmites growth in Phragmites-dominated areas of Hatches Harbor where halophyte reestablishment has been poor. We measured species composition, abundance, and diversity in one hundred 10.76 ft2 (1.00 m2) plots at Hatches Harbor over two growing seasons in 2008 and 2009. Very few halophytes naturally grew within dense stands of untreated Phragmites, whereas halophyte abundance and diversity were significantly greater in plots where Phragmites was mechanically removed. Thus, mechanical removal of Phragmites improves conditions for halophyte establishment, presumably by reducing barriers to seed dispersal and through increased light exposure. Source

Mittelhauser G.H.,Maine Natural History Observatory | Tudor L.,50 State Street | Connery B.,Acadia National Park
Northeastern Naturalist | Year: 2013

We systematically surveyed the Maine coastline from Washington County to York County to provide baseline data concerning Calidris maritima (Purple Sandpiper) population status. Focusing on a particular region each winter, we conducted 66 winter surveys by boat along the entire coast of Maine between 2002 and 2007 plus three days surveying from the mainland between Kittery and Biddeford during the winter of 2005-2006. We tallied 13,318 Purple Sandpipers during these surveys. After accounting for birds present but not detected, we estimate that 14,000 to 17,000 Purple Sandpipers wintered annually in Maine between 2002 and 2007. Based on an assessment of historical records and data collected during this study, flocks of≥250 Purple Sandpipers have been reported from 48 sites along the Maine coast. The area from Isle au Haut to Swans Island along the midcoast supports the highest concentrations of wintering Purple Sandpipers in Maine and the largest wintering concentration of Histrionicus histrionicus (Harlequin Ducks) in eastern North America, highlighting the potential importance of this geographic region. Source

Ciccotelli B.,College of the Atlantic | Harris T.B.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Harris T.B.,WRA Inc. | Connery B.,Acadia National Park | And 2 more authors.
Rhodora | Year: 2011

We conducted a preliminary floristic study of six vernal pools in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Plant species were recorded on three sampling dates from April to October, 2008. Sixty-five vascular plant species from 26 families were recorded. Of these, 27 are considered occasional or uncommon in Acadia National Park. Thirteen species are new reports for vernal pools in the northeastern United States. This represents the first published study of the vernal pool flora of Acadia National Park. © 2011 New England Botanical Club. Source

Mittelhauser G.H.,Maine Natural History Observatory | Tudor L.,50 State Street | Connery B.,Acadia National Park
Journal of Field Ornithology | Year: 2012

Although within-year site fidelity to specific wintering sites allows shorebirds to use prior knowledge of resources and microhabitats, such fidelity may also make populations more vulnerable to extirpation in the event of increased predation pressure, habitat loss, or disturbance. In the eastern Atlantic, Purple Sandpipers (Calidris maritima) have been found to be highly faithful to specific sites in wintering areas. However, little is known about the use of wintering areas by these sandpipers along the coast of Maine. We quantified movements of 60 radio-marked Purple Sandpipers in a bay near the mainland and on an offshore cluster of islands along the mid-coast of Maine during two winters (2005-2006 and 2006-2007). Birds marked in early- and mid-December remained until spring migration, with no evidence of onward migration. Mean maximum distances moved did not differ significantly between either males (8.6 ± 1.0 [SE] km; N= 30) and females (7.4 ± 0.8 km; N= 30) or juveniles (9.9 ± 1.6 km; N= 9) and adults (7.8 ± 1.1 km; N= 26). We also detected no monthly (January-May) differences in maximum distances moved. Sixty percent of marked individuals moved ≤5 km between the two most distant relocations and no birds moved >25 km during the 2- to 4-month tracking period. We attribute the high site fidelity primarily to the plentiful prey base in the study area. During a 2-d period with severe cold, feeding areas at locations protected from wave action became encased in ice and birds at these locations moved up to 10 km offshore to sites with less ice. Species with strong site fidelity, like wintering Purple Sandpipers, may be at higher risk in the event of large-scale changes in their food base, increased predation pressure, habitat loss, or disturbance. However, the short-distance movements made when intertidal feeding areas became encased in ice suggest that Purple Sandpipers could potentially move greater distances in response to changing conditions in their wintering areas. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology © 2012 Association of Field Ornithologists. Source

Kidd A.M.,Utah State University | Monz C.,Utah State University | D'Antonio A.,Utah State University | Manning R.E.,University of Vermont | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2015

The unmanaged impacts of recreation and tourism can often result in unacceptable changes in resource conditions and quality of the visitor experience. Minimum impact visitor education programs aim to reduce the impacts of recreation by altering visitor behaviors. Specifically, education seeks to reduce impacts resulting from lack of knowledge both about the consequences of one's actions and impact-minimizing best practices. In this study, three different on-site minimum impact education strategies ("treatments") and a control condition were applied on the trails and summit area of Sargent Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine. Treatment conditions were designed to encourage visitors to stay on marked trails and minimize off-trail travel. Treatments included a message delivered via personal contact, and both an ecological-based message and an amenity-based message posted on signs located alongside the trail. A control condition of current trail markings and directional signs was also assessed. The efficacy of the messaging was evaluated through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking of visitor spatial behavior on/off trails. Spatial analysis of GPS tracks revealed statistically significant differences among treatments, with the personal contact treatment yielding significantly less dispersion of visitors on the mountain summit. Results also indicate that the signs deployed in the study were ineffective at limiting off-trail use beyond what can be accomplished with trail markers and directional signs. These findings suggest that personal contact by a uniformed ranger or volunteer may be the most effective means of message delivery for on-site minimum impact education. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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