Paper No. 9-14
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF THE COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC STREAM: A SMALL COASTAL WATERSHED ASSESSMENT
In this study, we established a baseline characterization of the COA Stream (COAS) and its respective COA Watershed (COAW). The project was guided by 4 spheres of study: The Spatial, Social, Ecological, and Economic Spheres. We identified changes in land use, land ownership, and water infrastructure through time that may have led to the current configuration of stormwater outlets, drinking water mains, and sewage piping within the COAW. Using GIS, we created a database with relevant geological, hydrological, and ecological data for the COAW, to be expanded through future research questions. Given the substantial landscape changes associated with the recent reconstruction of Rt. 3 and the future construction of the Center for Human Ecology, a new building proposed for the COA campus, we established monitoring stations at all the freshwater outlets of the COAW draining to Frenchman Bay. With this study, we developed a framework for continued monitoring of some useful ecological metrics: discharge, stage, channel geometry, pebble counts, and water quality which enable us to identify hourly, seasonal, and annual trends in watershed conditions. These data and corresponding infrastructure can inform best management strategies and provides an educational resource on the COA campus tied to course curricula as well as opportunities for public involvement through Citizen Science. Beyond the larger stream networks within Acadia National Park (ANP), monitored by ANP and Wild Acadia initiatives, this current study serves as a model to expand monitoring, through a human ecological approach, to other coastal watersheds of Mount Desert Island beyond Acadia National Park that also drain into Frenchman Bay. Continuous monitoring of small coastal watersheds is important for identifying contributions of sediment, nutrient, and pollutant loads from similar watershed systems draining directly to the intertidal zone; these small drainage networks that line our extensive Maine coastline have direct impacts in the ecological, social, and economic integrities of coastal communities.