NEW YORK — Toyota and the National Audubon Society announced on Wednesday, that $28,012 in TogetherGreen Innovation Grants funding has been awarded to a project that will help preserve seaweed habitat critical to sustaining local fisheries and wildlife in Cobscook Bay.
TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, provides financial support for projects that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in conservation and address pressing conservation problems.
“Groups that won Innovation Grants this year have ingenuity and creativity on full display. And that’s what it takes to tackle the environmental challenges we face today,” said AudubonPresident and CEO David Yarnold. “I’m proud to partner with these innovators in creative approaches to achieve healthier communities and big conservation results.”
Cobscook Bay in Washington County, Maine, is one of most biologically diverse regions on the East Coast. Numerous commercial fisheries (clam, eel, snail, sea urchin, lobster, crab, scallop) are active in the area, and at the base of this highly productive ecosystem is a large, habitat-forming seaweed known as rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum). Rockweed beds support 150 species, including eider ducks, black ducks, sandpipers, and bald eagles, in addition to commercial marine fish and shellfish industries.
The Rockweed Coalition and the Fundy Chapter of Maine Audubon have partnered on a project entitled “Habitat and Humans: Making the link through community conversations in Downeast Maine” that will work with local 7th and 8th grade students to video record stories and memories of community elders concerning traditional fishing practices and past conditions of Cobscook Bay. Ultimately, these partners will produce a documentary film through the help of David Brown, a 2012 TogetherGreen Fellow and independent filmmaker. The film will depict working Cobscook fishermen, and incorporate local history and elder stories recorded by the Washington County 7th and 8th graders.
“Our goal is twofold: to increase community awareness of the value of intact seaweed habitat and to support and preserve traditional fisheries and the history of these fisheries,” said Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley of the Rockweed Coalition, Shoals Marine Laboratory and Cornell University. “This innovative project memorializes and honors a collective, generations-old history of sustainable traditional fisheries and connects that history to the value of intact intertidal habitat.”