MOUNT DESERT — The town and Acadia National Park have jointly applied to Thriving Earth Exchange, a program of the American Geophysical Union, to have a scientist assigned to help study the health of the inner cove at Otter Creek.
“In the 1930s, Acadia National Park built a causeway that divides Otter Cove in half,” Town Manager Durlin Lunt wrote in the application for assistance. “The causeway appears to be prohibiting adequate flushing of the inner cove.”
Culverts beneath the roadway allow some water to flow between the inner and outer coves.
“We would like to study the water quality and the marine life supported by both the inner and outer coves to see what the differences in the health of the waters might be,” Lunt said. “Additionally, there was a wastewater treatment plant in the inner cove – since converted to a pump station – that may have caused pollution in the inner cove.”
Lunt said that, prior to construction of the causeway, which is part of the Park Loop Road, residents of the village of Otter Creek used the cove for clamming and lobster fishing.
“The community of Otter Creek, as well as the town of Mount Desert, are very concerned about the health of this body of water,” Lunt said. “There is very little marine life in the cove today. The Otter Creek Aid Society…is anxious to determine the causes of this decline and what may be done to improve conditions in the cove.
“The possibility of restoring a once thriving resource is a very high priority for Mount Desert and our partner, Acadia National Park,” Lunt said in the application for assistance. “We will be aggressive in seeking grants to address the problems once the issues are fully identified.”
The Select Board voted Tuesday night to partner with Acadia on the project.
“I think it’s great,” Lunt told them. “This may be an opportunity to get some designs for the causeway that will allow better flushing back and forth.”
The American Geophysical Union says its Thriving Earth Exchange program “connects communities with scientists and supports them as they work together to tackle local challenges related to natural hazards, natural resources and climate change.”