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Northeastern University student Ethan St. Aubin rejoins DSF for our summer culvert survey

Hi, this is Ethan and I’m back at Downeast Salmon Federation for another summer of

conservation, restoration and monitoring of our waterways and forests. I’m excited to return and this summer I will be primarily working on assessing tidal restrictions on roads across Hancock and Washington counties.


The survey is in partnership with Maine Coastal Heritage Trust and its objective is to assess road crossings such as culverts and bridges in order to provide data for future implementation of climate resilient, ecologically supportive and overall safe.


Ethan getting ready to survey a culvert in Addison at low tide.

In practice this means I am going out to the sites around low tide, measuring and photographing the crossings and streams. Additionally, I’m taking note of any interesting features like fish and the type of habitat present.


A common sight is that downstream there is a vibrant salt marsh or flats but upstream is a brackish or full-on freshwater marsh. In these cases, the crossing is clearly inhibiting the natural flow of ecosystems, which can be bad news for Maine's biodiverse natural landscape. Salt marsh habitats are nursery grounds for many sensitive fish and macro invertebrate species, and making up less than 1% of all of Maine's total land area, are a rare but important resource to conserve. Fortunately not all crossings are in such bad shape!


This survey has brought me to some interesting and exciting locations from the marshes of Addison to flats in Machiasport. I have also learned just how many small streams there are in Downeast and how they are essential to keeping a healthy natural world!

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