Friends of Merrymeeting Bay receives full funding from The Merrymeeting Bay Trust to study Circulation Patterns in Merrymeeting Bay


In 1997 FOMB commissioned a research-status study of Merrymeeting Bay by Resource Services of Brunswick to help us determine the extent of existing information and evaluate research priorities that we might address. The January 1998 report, noting such areas as nutrient flow, sediment dynamics, toxics, and land use has helped guide our work in recent years. The top priority from the report, and one that is on our short list, is a circulation study of the Bay and its tributaries. As Anne Hayden, author of the report notes, “Hydrography is the single most important factor affecting Merrymeeting Bay.” FOMB has accomplished various background work in relation to the proposed study including; investigation and field testing of different technologies as well as communication with scientists doing similar work.
The project objectives are to define the spatial and temporal characteristics of water flowing into and through Merrymeeting Bay and to plot these characteristics in a moving map display that will be useful to state, federal and local coastal resource managers in predicting and mitigating anthropogenic contamination and degradation problems. The development of this animated visual model will provide an intuitive tool available to anyone [educators, conservation commissions, NGOs, etc] with an interest in Bay issues.
Methodology, Results, Benefits
Drifters with radio transmitters will be fabricated and deployed in each tributary of the Bay and tracked by aircraft and boat or cellemetry. Once drifters move through the system they will be recovered, to be redeployed at a different flow level. Data points will be integrated into an animation software model imposed on a map or nautical chart of the Merrymeeting Bay system.

As well as filling basic research needs the model should be able to answer such practical questions as:

a) What will be the path and duration of possible oil or waste spills?
b) Where should we be sampling to look for evidence of contaminants?
c) Where might we look to best monitor presence of aquatic invasives?
d) How and where do floating fish larvae move through the system?
e) Are those nursery habitats and contaminated sediments in the same place?
Assessment & Completion
The project should be completed within 1˝ years, after acquisition of data during high, low and medium water flow levels followed by generation of the map/model. This end map product and project report will be the tangible measures of project success.

Project results will be available in Friends of Merrymeeting Bay's on-line Cybrary along side other innovative projects we’ve completed, for example:

Notice will be given to members of the coastal zone management community by email, regular mail and through the press and various newsletters. Both final report and Merrymeeting Bay animated model will be available on CD.

Links to other circulation studies
1. Visualization of Drifting Buoy Deployments on St. Clair River near Public Water Intakes - October 3-5, 2000. By David J. Holtschlag and Steve S. Aichele (click here)

2. The Cobscook Bay Project, Texas A&M University (click here)

3. Visualization of Drifting Buoy Deployments on Upper Detroit River within the Great Lakes Waterway from August 28-30, 2001. By David J. Holtschlag and Steve S. Aichele (click here)