Sunday, April 20, 2014
Mike Tetreault leads The Nature Conservancy in Maine, where he works with partners in conservation, government and community development to identify solutions which ensure that Maine's natural resources are available for people and for nature.
He holds a degree in environmental studies from Brown and a MS from the field naturalist program at the University of Vermont, and has studied resource management in Kenya, Mexico and throughout New England.
Tetreault started his career teaching wilderness leadership and environmental education, and has worked for The Nature Conservancy since 1998. He lives in Bath with his wife, their daughter and a menagerie of pets.
The Nature Conservancy's 1998 purchase of 185,000 acres of forest along the St. John River remains one of the most important decisions the organization has ever made.
On those lands we have multiple goals, including sustainably harvesting the lands for forest products and habitat and we ensured that one-fourth of the land is set aside as a reserve – a place where nature can take its course.
Over the past dozen years, revenue from our sustainable forestry work has played an important role in northern Maine's economy, supporting wages for loggers, road contractors, truckers and researchers.
Our staff recently led a two-day tour of our operations in the St. John River forest for more than two dozen forestry professionals.
The old adage, "You don't miss your water 'til your well runs dry," rings true with the conclusions of a federal report issued this week.
Remember the government shutdown last October, when Congress was at a stalemate over a budget and raising the debt ceiling? Among the many impacts of the 16-day shutdown was the closure of national parks, including Maine's Acadia National Park.
In the days before the shutdown, Mainers warned that the impact of closing Acadia - especially during the height of leaf-peeping season - would come at an enormous cost to the state's tourism economy.
The National Park Service's recent report backs up those concerns with actual numbers. The impact of Acadia's closure amounted to $16.2 million to communities within 60 miles of the park and more than $262,000 in revenues to the park.
Some troubling news came out this week about serious threats facing Maine’s wildlife. More than a third of Maine’s most vulnerable wildlife species are threatened by climate change, according to a recent study by a team of scientists.
The report, Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine, identifies 168 vulnerable species that could experience large range shifts and population declines in Maine as a result of climate change by 2100. Iconic Maine species, such as the common loon and moose, were among the many species found to be at risk.
“Maine will experience more warming than most states and this may pose a huge threat to our wildlife,” said lead author Andy Whitman, of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. “We identified Maine’s wildlife and habitats most vulnerable to climate change. This is the first step for moving forward on this issue.”
But Whitman and others also point out some good news that past conservation efforts place Maine in a strong position to reduce climate change impacts.
Maine is blessed with an abundance of clean, pure waters in our rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. And it’s no accident, considering our healthy, well-forested watersheds and strong rules and programs like the Land for Maine’s Future helping to protect them.
Now, that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has sent proposed rules back to the Legislature (LD 17772) for review, The Nature Conservancy has raised concerns about the harm they could cause our state’s clean waters and conserved lands.
As an organization, The Nature Conservancy works to ensure that when mining is conducted throughout the world it is carried out in appropriate places and that the right processes are taken to ensure effective permitting with appropriate safeguards. In the western United States, for example, the Conservancy is working to ensure that strong ecological protections are in place as mining projects are undertaken.
But the Conservancy believes that several significant issues remain with LD 1772 and that these are sufficiently important to recommend against the rules approval by the Legislature as currently written. They include:
While many of us are looking ahead to this year’s maple sugaring season, the good folks at the University of Maine in Orono are looking way, way ahead, to the future of maple sugaring in Maine.
Jenny Shrum, a Ph.D. candidate in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology, is studying the relationships between weather and sap flow. (See Portland Press Herald story.) Her goal is to better understand what drives flow and how expected trends in climate may affect the processes and harvesters in the future.
Shrum plans to collect on-site weather station data and sap flow rates at three test sites and to interview small- and large-scale producers to determine if those who have been managing sugar maple stands for years will be more or less resilient to climate change, and if large-scale producers will be better equipped to adapt. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.