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Westport Island’s Squam Creek Reopens

After nearly a 15-year hiatus

Squam Creek, Westport IslandAt a time when bad news is more common than good for much of Maine’s fishing industry, Westport Island’s Shellfish Committee led by Chair, Lincoln Richardson, is sharing high fives. After almost 15 years of closures, Squam Creek is open for clamming to start off the Island’s shellfish season which began on May 1. For now, the Creek flats will only be open until June 1. But thanks to the collaboration of the Shellfish Committee and the State Department of Marine Resources (DMR), there is hope that Squam Creek will reopen in September for a fall harvest.

The first license holders to dig are happy to report an abundance of clams compared to what they have been seeing on Westport flats these past few years. For a $15 recreational license good from May 1 to April 30, Island residents can dig as much as a peck a day while Squam Creek is open — or dig in other open flats throughout the year (closures can be checked daily on the DMR website; licenses are available at the Town Office). That’s a pretty good deal for steamers, “chowdah” and clam you-name-it.

family clamming at squam creek, early 1900'sSquam Creek has been the Island’s most accessible and abundant recreational site for clamming for much of its history. A State Shellfish Population Survey in 2004, resulted in a one-year closure for reseeding. That closure turned into another year to allow clams to reach their “legal size” of 2 inches. After an extensive resurvey in 2006, the flats reopened for a time and were soon restricted to recreational digging to continue restoration to healthy levels.

In 2006, the State passed a bill for “water quality and Bio-toxin sampling and analysis”. Subsequently in 2007 — soon after the clams had returned to healthy numbers, Squam Creek was reclassified and then closed ‎in October of that year due to poor water quality. The source of water quality degradation was never specifically determined — some thought it might be a beaver dam, ducks or other water fowl. Squam Creek’s flats have been closed ever since — until this month. May 2014 is a good month for shellfish lovers and an Island tradition…

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Westport Island Upgrades

Courtesy of community

In commemoration of 9/11, the non-profit “My Good Deed” spearheaded a movement that has designated September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Although we don’t participate as a town to make this specific day one of charitable service, many contribute everyday to the betterment of our island home.

Yesterday, our polls were staffed and ballots counted by volunteers to complete the RSU #12 budget validation vote. (We passed the budget 72-18; the district passed the budget 765-710.)

Westport Volunteer Fire Department signAs of last week, a professionally crafted sign now marks the Westport Volunteer Fire Department courtesy of the woodworking skills and time donated by Bruce Whittemore. The sign not only identifies the building, it helps mark our municipal services “center.”

Recently, Sarah Rhinelander undertook an effort to help Islanders find and exchange goods and services, keep up with Island events, and “shop and enjoy life locally”. Check out The Good Egg Exchange.

And, when life’s cares get you down, visit the Ferry Landing. Through the efforts of the Wright Landing Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board and town caretakers, our public boat launch and waterfront park have become a place to come to — whether to access the water, enjoy the outdoors or contemplate on days like today that make us pause and remember…

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Solving the Birthday Gift Dilemma…and Shopping Locally

Who you gonna call?

What to buy the 60 something husband who has everything – if he needs it, he buys it; if he wants it, he buys it; if it’s a boy hobby toy, he buys it.

Add to that dilemma:  how to shop locally and support local businesspeople?

A brilliant flash of the obvious…When the favorite boy toy is a John Deere, the favorite pastime is working on a road through the backyard woods, why not call the “Dirt Busters” — the Cromwell Brothers — for a load of bank run gravel.  With the gravel, a man has a reason to run his John Deere and something to move. Duh.

So, the perfect boy birthday present arrived by dump truck special delivery.  Thank you Dennis and Gary Cromwell.  A bit of a wrapping challenge, but not insurmountable.

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