Rockweed is a common and important seaweed in Maine, and a new program needs volunteers to help gather information about it at sites along the coast. Join Schoodic Institute and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust for a fun training at Reid State Park on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. For more information and to sign-up, visit KELT’s website at www.kennebecestuary.org/upcoming-events or call (207) 442-8400.
Rockweed monitoring is fun! It takes a couple hours at low tide to monitor a site. Because the program requires some precision, it’s probably best for middle school aged or above. The fieldwork will include walking over slippery rocks and seaweed. At each site, participants gather information about the height, weight, and number of rockweed stems at a series of points in the intertidal zone. The fun one-day training on October 2nd will introduce volunteers to rockweed and other common coastal seaweed species, and everyone will learn the methods for monitoring. Participants will also help gather new information about rockweed at Reid State Park. After participants are done with the training, KELT will have equipment they can borrow to monitor rockweed at other sites along the coast.
Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) is the most common seaweed species that you see along Maine’s rocky coast. It provides important habitat and also provides income in coastal communities where it is harvested. Currently, no one really knows how much rockweed there is in the state, and that has made it difficult for it to be managed in a way that sustains both harvesting and healthy habitats. To fix that knowledge gap, scientists at Schoodic Institute have created a method for documenting the amount of rockweed present along the coast using simple, hands-on methods. They are now seeking volunteers from across Maine’s coast to monitor their local rockweed. This community science project is called Project ASCO (Assessing Seaweed via Community Observations). KELT is collaborating with Schoodic Institute to rally and support volunteers for this community science program in the Midcoast.
KELT is excited to host a rockweed monitoring kit that volunteers can check out to use at any site where they would like to monitor rockweed. If you miss the training on the 2nd, Project ASCO will be holding a few other trainings this fall, and there will be more trainings next spring. Rockweed monitoring takes place between June and October each year.
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is a membership supported organization dedicated to protecting the land, water and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary. It maintains twelve preserves for public enjoyment and has protected 4,100+ acres of land since founding in 1989. FMI visit www.kennebecestuary.org or call (207) 442-8400.