Current and On-going Initiatives

Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase I
Sponsored by the Town of Kittery (in close partnership with the Town of Eliot, the Spruce Creek Association, and the York County Soil and Water Conservation District), the Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project (SCWIP) is funded under the 319 Stormwater program of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (using EPA funds). The project will run from May 2008 through March 2010, working to reduce bacteria loading and the export of sediment and nutrients into Spruce Creek by addressing a full suite of polluted runoff problems. The project also contains many outreach, education, and monitoring aspects. Visit for more information.

Spruce Creek End of Pipe Sampling
Very little data is available for Spruce Creek to help determine “hotspots” for bacterial contamination. Recent work under the Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project has revealed several stormwater outfalls that are likely contributing high bacteria levels to the Creek. We will be conducting a fluorometry study (to look for optical brighteners in Spruce Creek) in the late spring of 2009 in partnership with the FB Environmental, Town of Kittery and Jackson Estuarine Lab. A pre-study of water quality at the outfalls would greatly improve our chances of properly targeting select areas of the watershed as “hotspots” and helping to identify areas to focus future implementation efforts. We also need to establish better baseline water quality data so that we can show improvement over time with all of the work being done in this community. Learn more and view the results of the sampling.

Water Quality Monitoring
Each summer season our volunteers work to monitor for dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature from June through the end of September. Every other Tuesday a team of two volunteers go out and monitor six sites in Spruce Creek, three above the Rt. 1 Bridge and three below, at the low and high tides. The data collected will enable us to establish a water quality baseline and will be compared to Maine DEP standards in order to better understand Spruce Creek’s current stress levels and provide an objective basis for corrective action.

Restoration Monitoring
The Wells Reserve has started what is expected to be a three year monitoring project for NOAA’s Restoration Science Center of how the salt marsh reacts to the removal of the flash boards. They will be marking out three different transects from the upland edge to the creek edge above the Route 1 crossing. Along each transect they will have 5 vegetation plots (to measure changes in vegetation) and 5 shallow water wells (1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe to measure ground water salinity). On one of the transects they will install three groundwater monitoring wells (1.25 inch diameter PVC pipe for measuring salinity and tide height). The shallow water wells stick about 6 inches above the marsh surface and are not visible with vegetation growth. The ground water wells are about 2 feet above the surface of the marsh and will be painted green to blend in. All the wells and transect markers will remain in the marsh from year to year for consistent results. The Spruce Creek is one of four restoration sites from Kittery to Scarborough that will be compared to a reference site at the Wells Reserve. While the Wells Reserve currently only has funding for one year they expect the project to go at least three years.

MR Fecal Coliform Monitoring
Mara and Marty have been hard at work since April 2005 collecting water samples on a monthly (and sometimes quarterly…) basis at three sites above the Rt. 1 Bridge. The samples then travel to Department of Marine Resources (DMR) lab in Booth Bay and are analyzed for fecal coliform.

Phragmites Control Project
In partnership with the York County Soil & Water Conservation District, we are beginning our phragmites control project in summer 2008. We have identified several stands of this invasive reed in the watershed and are hoping to eradicate it throughout the whole watershed through the YCS&WCD grant program. This will prevent the invasion by this reed and the subsequent elimination of other valuable species in our marsh areas.

Purple Loosestrife Beetle Release Program
The Spruce Creek association is working in partnership with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge of Wells, Maine to participate in their program of distributing Galerucella beetles for the second year, a biological control agent for purple loosestrife, a noxious invasive weed. Releasing biocontrol beetles throughout the range of loosestrife will allow native plants to re-establish themselves on invaded wetlands, restoring the biological viability of these important ecosystems.

Thompson Mill Pond Restoration Opportunity Assessment
Through a grant from the Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership grant program the Spruce Creek Association and the Kittery Land Trust are planning to conduct a study of the Thompson Mill Pond area of Kittery’s Spruce Creek. We are hoping to get a better understand the feasibility of restoration and remediation work to one of Kittery’s most beautiful, environmentally sensitive, and historic areas. Should there be a strong indicated need for any restoration, a procedure for remediation will be proposed for consideration.


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