MCFA Hosts "Getting to Know Our Waterfront" in Brunswick
“Getting to Know Our Waterfront” was the latest in MCFA’s conversation series, “Living and Working in a Waterfront Community.” Last week’s event was co-hosted by the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) with space generously made available by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Each event features a small panel of local people representing different experiences and perspectives along the waterfront. Panelists included Helene Harrower, of Paul’s Marina, Marko Melendy, who serves as the chair of Brunswick’s Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission (RCWC), Max Burtis, co-owner of Ferda Farms oyster farm and commercial shellfish harvester, and Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of BTLT.
Panelists discussed how they have adapted to changes along the coast, both those imposed by development and by climate change. Businesses have to diversify and be nimble in order to survive. Managers and land trusts have to respond to changing coastlines and new uses and pressures as well. Coombs pointed out that MCFA’s recently released Working Waterfront Inventory template is one tool that towns can use to assess their resources and needs.
There were ample questions from the audience that addressed questions like what citizens can do to help protect things like water quality that impact fisheries. Resources like MCFA’s “Scuttlebutt: A Guide to Coastal Living,” and Brunswick’s Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission’s “Guide to Rivers and Coastal Waters,” as well as Friends of Casco Bay’s Water Reporter App were all mentioned as places where residents can get information on how to steward the resources responsibly.
One audience member aptly summarized the intent of these events, which is to create a space for dialogue and education about what happens on the waterfront, by saying, “We all play a part. It can be difficult to have certain conversations, but it’s important especially when we might not agree.”