BAR HARBOR — Frenchman Bay Partners (FBP) has released the results of a study begun in November to help scientists, municipalities, business owners and others who benefit from Frenchman Bay compare its “ecosystem services” for future planning purposes. Ecosystem services are benefits that people derive from the natural world, including seafood harvesting, erosion control by sub-tidal grasses, and aesthetic, educational and recreational services.
FBP hosted two stakeholder meetings last November. The first meeting included some of the marine resources harvesters, municipal groups and scientists who already are involved in FBP, and the second was for members of the local business community.
The striking result is that both groups prioritized local businesses as primary beneficiaries of ecosystem services. Both viewed harvesting of marine resources as the most important ecosystem service provided by Frenchman Bay. They also identified freshwater wetlands as providing the most important of terrestrial ecosystem services. The priorities set by focus groups like these can be used at a later date to discuss possible futures, given a development or planning scenario where the future of Frenchman Bay could be impacted.