The Wrack: estuary

blog of the wells reserve & laudholm trust

Kayaking on the Little River Estuary

March 27, 2017 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayak

Paddle on calm and quiet waters while observing wildlife and learning about the natural history of estuaries, our treasured habitats.


2017 is our seventh year offering these popular guided tours led by registered Maine Kayak Guides.

Tour group size is kept small, with a maximum of six participants. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices are provided. The 3-hour time frame includes a short paddling lesson, 5-minute walk to the launch site and back, and launching of the kayaks. Actual time on the water is between 2 and 2½ hours. Launch times vary depending on tides. See calendar for specifics.

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Kayak Tours 2016

April 11, 2016 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayak

kayakPaddle on calm and quiet waters while observing wildlife and learning about the natural history of estuaries, our treasured habitats.

2016 is our sixth year offering these popular guided tours led by registered Maine Kayak Guides.

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Kayak Season Recap

December 30, 2015 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayakriver

Associated People Susan Bickford Linda Littlefield Grenfell Tin Smith Nancy Viehmann Kate Reichert

As the first snow of the season fell outside my window yesterday, with our fleet of kayaks safely stored in the barn for the winter, I compiled the evaluation results from our fifth kayak season at the Reserve. Sixteen kayaking programs were held between early July and early October (eighteen were scheduled, but two were cancelled due to high winds/small craft advisories) and 82 people participated. Sixty-one of these paddlers completed evaluations immediately following the program. This is the first year we've conducted a formal evaluation of the program. What valuable information did the evaluations provide? Lots!

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Tidal Rave

September 20, 2014 By Nik Charov Filed under Article Tags: estuariesestuarynerranerrspunkinfiddletwo worlds

Little River estuary salt marsh. © Jeff Stevensen

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 9/21/2014.

With a too-short summer and the back-to-school fracas, anyone would be pardoned for missing the official Congressional resolution naming this coming week “National Estuaries Week,” the annual celebration of the places where rivers meet the sea.

Before you get too excited, please understand that the resolution is merely pending, and that estuaries don’t get the whole month. According to Congress, the entire 30 days of September have, in recent years, been reserved for Gospel Music Heritage, Bourbon Heritage, Prostate Cancer Awareness, Childhood Obesity, Honey, and even Self-Awareness. (And you thought our legislators didn’t do anything – shame on you.)

Resolved or not, 1/52nd of a year certainly seems like a worthy amount of time to devote to estuaries, those humble places of mud and marsh that do so much.

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Photo by Sofi Hindmarch, Delta Farmland Trust

The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune and Making It At Home Sunday editions, 2/9/2014.

Recent snows to the contrary, believe me when I say the sun is already stronger this month. Higher in the sky every day, the sun hangs out longer and illuminates what was, last month, in shadow. For those afflicted by Seasonal Affective Disorder, the hardest days have passed. As we rebound from winter’s darkest depths, springs begins to stir in the hormonal systems of other species, particularly those who mate seasonally. Chicken-keepers, awake -- egg production should, the science says, begin to naturally increase. Birders, delight -- as the sun returns, testosterone blooms with it and male birds will grow more colorful and vocal in preparation for their season of love. (The technical term for these seasonal environmental cues is the wonderful German word zeitgeber, or “time giver,” coined by Jürgen Aschoff, a founding father in the field of chronobiology.) Chemically, love is arriving. …how did St. Valentine know?

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Associated People Paige Rutherford

Project Summary

Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) is a 4-day field and research-based summer workshop designed for middle and high school science teachers. The workshop aims to improve teacher and student understanding of the environment using local examples, and to provide resources and experience to support the incorporation of climate change, ecosystem services, systems thinking, service learning, estuary and watershed topics into classroom teaching. The course is also designed to promote stewardship of watersheds and estuaries. Following the summer workshop, teachers implement a stewardship project with students throughout the school year, using a $200 mini-grant through TOTE. Teachers also commit to attending a half-day fall follow up session to report on their stewardship project progress.

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It's apparently a first: Yesterday the U.S. Senate agreed to a resolution designating September 26, 2009 as National Estuaries Day. We're pleased to see Senator Susan Collins as a cosponsor, along with her colleagues Sen. Gregg and Sen. Shaheen from neighboring New Hampshire. Here's the text of the resolution (also available as a PDF):

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Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has nominated the St. Louis River in the northwest part of his state to become the 28th National Estuarine Research Reserve. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will determine whether to add the site to the Reserve system.

The Governor's press release is here. The NERR System announcement is here moved.

According to the latter reference...

If NOAA approves the designation, the 15,000-acre St. Louis River site will become the second reserve in the Great Lakes. Ohio's Old Woman Creek, on Lake Erie, was designated in 1980. The St. Louis River flowing between the cities of Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota, is one of the largest freshwater estuaries on Lake Superior.

In simple terms, estuaries are "where rivers meet the sea." In Wells, that sea is the Gulf of Maine, but the Wisconsin sea would be a large freshwater lake. We are used to thinking of estuaries as the places where fresh water and salt water mix. The idea of a "freshwater estuary" is not new, but it is controversial.

To learn about seiches and wind tides and how they contribute to the definition of a freshwater estuary, we recommend this University of Wisconsin Extension page. Follow the link for Freshwater Estuaries Defined.

Does the term freshwater estuary catch you by surprise?

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