Hermit crabs in eelgrass, Casco Bay, Maine

Lobster on preferred firm, structured bottom


Most of MER’s impact mitigation efforts related to habitat have involved eelgrass.  Mitigation measures are project-specific, but examples of the measures recommended by MER include moving or reducing project footprint to reduce or avoid impacts to beds, turbidity reduction by reducing or preventing resuspension of fine sediments, and reduction or prevention of physical damage.  Eelgrass compensation efforts currently under way involve removal and replacement of standard chain-mushroom anchor moorings with “eelgrass-friendly” helical anchors, otherwise referred to as embedment anchors. MER is currently engaged in a project in northern Casco Bay to evaluate the recovery time of eelgrass where chain-mushroom anchor moorings have been replaced.

Lobster, Homarus americanus, is the most important commercial fishery in Maine and lobsters have therefore been the focus of MER’s commercial resource mitigation efforts.  Lobster impact mitigation efforts are most often associated with dredging projects within areas identified as important lobster habitat and involve relocation of lobsters out of harms way.  MER has conducted several relocation efforts, the most extensive associated with the Portland Harbor dredge project in 1998-99 that resulted in the relocation of more than 33,250 lobsters with morphometric data having been collected on almost 22,900 lobsters.