Downeast Working Waterfront Protected (ME)

Washington County, Maine, 4/19/2006: The Trust For Public Land (TPL) and the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education (DEI) today announced the acquisition of the Black Duck Cove lobster pound on Great Wass Island. The project, nearly five years in the making, protects a traditional working waterfront Downeast, allowing DEI to expand its marine research facilities in the Washington County town of Beals.

U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins secured $1 million for the project in the Fiscal Year 2006 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill, and the project also received support from U.S. Congressman Michael Michaud. The federal grant funds are administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The project also received a $450,000 grant from the state’s Maine Marine Infrastructure and Technology Fund, bond funds administered by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI).

“I am pleased that the Trust For Public Land and the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education have finally been able to acquire Black Duck Cove lobster pound for their marine research activities. This project has been many years in the making and will benefit the local community as well as traditional Maine industries,” said Senator Snowe (R-ME).

“I want to thank the Trust for Public Land, the DEI, and the people of Maine for their generous support of the Black Duck Cove lobster pound project,” said Senator Collins (R-ME). “This important facility will help the DEI continue its mission to improve the quality of life for the people of downeast and coastal Maine.”

“I am glad to have played a role in the Downeast Institute’s (DEI’s) purchase of the Black Duck Cove lobster pound on Great Wass Island,” said Congressman Michaud (D-ME). “These new facilities will allow DEI to expand its marine research efforts, supporting an industry important to Washington County and Maine as a whole. With these new facilities, DEI will continue engaging students from elementary to university-level in the research process, and preparing Maine’s next generation of marine researchers to sustain this important industry.”

DEI will use the 8-acre property to further its mission of supporting the region’s traditional industry with applied research and education and to help explore the link between fishing communities and their natural landscape. The facility includes two natural coves ideal for shellfish research, a nearly-new 6,400 square foot building featuring a 2,500 square foot shellfish holding tank, and a 50-foot deep water wharf. DEI will use the site for applied marine research, a public hatchery, a business incubator and a marine education facility where students and future fishermen can learn about the area’s shellfish habitat and its link to the vitality of their community.

TPL and DEI worked in partnership to buy the Black Duck Cove property, which DEI had been leasing for several years. TPL secured the property through a negotiated agreement with the landowner while federal and state funds were sought for the purchase.

“Our five-year quest to obtain this property has ended wonderfully,” said Brian Beal, Research Director of DEI. “I am so thankful for the help along the way provided by so many individuals and institutions including TPL, Senators Snowe and Collins, Governor Baldacci, and the Maine Legislature. The purchase makes it possible for DEI’s Board to undertake the renovation and new construction that will be necessary to transform Black Duck Cove into the home of the easternmost marine research and teaching laboratory in the United States. It is a very exciting and challenging time.”

“The Trust for Public Land is thrilled to see this important project completed,” said Sam Hodder, TPL Senior Project Manager. “This success story would not have been possible without the perseverance of Senators Snowe and Collins, who worked tirelessly for several years to bring federal funding to bear, and through the support of Representative Michaud. Nowhere is the link between land and people more critical to the social, cultural and economic fabric of communities than in the fishing-dependent region of Downeast Maine. TPL is proud to have been a partner in this effort to strengthen that link.”

“This is exciting news for Washington County and the state of Maine,” said Betsy Biemann, MTI president. “This demonstrates how excellent marine research, congressional action and bond funds can boost job creation in Washington County’s commercial fishing industry.”

The Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education evolved from the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery, a public facility that, until the summer of 2003, was located on Perio Point in the town of Beals. The Beals hatchery produced soft-shell seed clams to stock intertidal flats in 40 Maine communities. From 1987 to 1995 the hatchery program was administered by University of Maine at Machias. The facility will continue to serve as the marine field station for the University. Since 1995, a local board of directors has overseen the program, which has continued stock enhancement efforts along the Maine coast, by raising millions of tiny seed clams and moving them to mud flats up and down the coast. The board has worked to expand the scope of the program to include other commercial fisheries, such as sea scallops and lobsters. The former Beals Shellfish Hatchery, and now the Downeast Institute, is renowned for its applied research programs and outreach projects that have involved university and K-12 students, commercial fishermen, state managers, and local stewards. DEI is also known for raising soft-shell seed clams. In recent years, DEI has raised millions of tiny clams and moved them to clam flats up and down Maine’s coastline. Visit the Downeast Institute on the web at

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. In Maine, TPL has protected over 87,000 acres across the state with projects ranging from city parks and pathways to coastal habitat and working farms and forests.