National Science Foundation
Creating New Economic Opportunities in Downeast Coastal Maine by Enhancing Marine Education and Research Capacity: Developing the Infrastructure for Innovation
Highlight ID 13488_html_2572ce9a.jpg

Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, Beals, Maine.

Permission Not Granted
State: Maine

The Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education (DEI) in Beals, Maine, is making important strides in applied marine research and technology transfer to increase the scope of innovation and education in the coastal communities of eastern Maine. One of the most important accomplishments was the acquisition of an 8-acre parcel of coastal property in the town of Beals that is the easternmost marine research and education facility in the United States. This property has already enhanced the research and educational offerings of the program offered at DEI. The property serves as both a home for DEI, and as a field station for the University of Maine at Machias. The facility is operated as a shellfish production and research facility.  Four research grants, which would not have been possible without the facility, have been received from the Maine Technology Institute, the Northeast Consortium, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and the Economic Development Administration. The research projects underway are investigating hard clam farming (currently, there are no hard clam farms in Maine), examining the role of marine reserves for sea scallop management, determining the growth rate of known-age lobsters, and improving the farming of soft shell clams.

A grant from the National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program was critical in the process of raising the $1.2 million to purchase the property. Once NSF announced that the University of Maine at Machias and DEI, its major private partner, had been chosen to receive the PFI grant, the doors opened. The grant drew the attention of Maine's governor, John Baldacci, the Maine Legislature, and the two U.S. Senators for Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. With subsequent support from both the state of Maine and the federal government, the University of Maine at Machias and DEI were able to secure enough funds to help purchase the small peninsula that juts out into a working waterfront bounded by ledges and rocks. This unique property contains a 65-foot wharf and two working tidal impoundments that are used as research mesocosms (each containing approximately 3 acres of enclosed tidal water), and a few buildings. The property is being converted into a functional marine laboratory and education center. The goal is to combine science and engineering with business to create new economic opportunities for the region.

  Web Policies and Important Links | Privacy | FOIA | Help | Contact NSF | Contact Web Master | SiteMap