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UMaine Today Magazine

Last Impression

Elizabet Metcalfe

Kayaking along the Maine coast

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This past summer, University of Maine Earth science students Elizabet Metcalfe, above, and Laura Brothers kayaked along miles of quiet coves and windswept peninsulas to get the best view of the Maine coast. But this was no leisurely sightseeing trek. Working with UMaine marine geologist Joseph Kelley, the students Metcalfe, Brothers and Peter Leach mapped fragile bluffs and gathered related data in an effort to help preserve Maine's famous coastline.

While many associate the state's seascape with scattered boulders and craggy outcroppings, Maine's soft coast of sand, gravel and other loose substrates is eroding rapidly. In fact, development pressures threaten the very existence of the state's picturesque and ecologically important bluffs.

The students' data gathering is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Their geological findings are being compiled in the Maine Geological Survey's online database as part of the Maine Natural Resources Protection Act. By the end of the research project next year, students will have mapped the nearly 3,500-mile tidal shoreline.



UMaine Today Magazine
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