BEAUTIFUL HARP SEAL RESTING TODAY AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

A beautiful young Harp Seal spent the better part of the day hauled out between the bank of the Good Harbor Beach creek and the dunes. The seal appeared in good health and was seen resting, stretching, scooching, and sunning. Beach walkers and dog walkers were respectful and kept a safe distance.

Ainsley Smith from NOAA was on the job letting folks know that the seal was okay and that this is perfectly normal seal behavior. Thanks so much to Ainsley and to all the beachgoers today who kept their distance from the Harp Seal. For turtle, seal, and all mammal strandings, please call NOAA at 866.755.6622. Thank you!

I’ve been checking on him periodically throughout the afternoon and will let you know when he makes it back to the water. I hope soon because we know coyotes scavenge the beach at night.

Harp Seals are born during the late winter months in the Arctic. They are born with a lanugo, an extra thick fluffy white coat that keeps them warm on the Arctic ice. During each stage of development, the Harp Seal’s coat has a different appearance. Juveniles have a white coat with widely spaced spots. Every year, the spots move closer together during molting. By the time the Harp Seal reaches adulthood, the coat is silvery gray with a black saddle mark on the back and a black face. See the photo below of a baby and Mom Harp Seal.

Photo Courtesy National Geographic Kids

Harp Seal Breeding Grounds

What to Do if You Find a Seal on the Beach

PLASTIC BAG ORDINANCE INFORMATION AND UPDATE FROM GLOUCESTER CLEAN CITY COMMISSION AINSLEY SMITH

Ainsley Smith writes,

What happens when the Plastic Bag Ordinance goes into effect?

Starting January 1st, 2019 retail stores will no longer distribute single use plastic bags at checkout. Thin plastic bags will still be available in the produce, deli, meat/seafood, and bulk sections of grocery stores.

 

What will retailers use?

Stores may provide you with any of the following:

▪ Compostable bags made of organic materials

▪ Paper bags

▪ Cardboard boxes

▪ Stores may sell reusable bags made from cloth, canvas, or thick plastic materials for a fee

 

What can you bring to a retailer in order to accommodate your shopping needs?

You can bring your own reusable bags or boxes, or you can bring your own plastic bags that you’ve saved from other shopping trips. You can also use the paper bags or boxes provided at the store.

 

How do you manage pet waste or personal items?

You can use produce bags, newspaper bags, or any bags you saved from your recent purchases. If you don’t need these bags, you can share with a neighbor who may want to use them. You can also purchase pet waste and garbage bags, such as the 13 gallon waste bags that will fit small waste barrels. You can buy plastic waste bags of any size at your local grocer.

 

How do you keep reusable bags clean?

Designate one set of reusable bags for groceries – do not use them for gym clothes or other errands. Reusable bags made of fabric should be safe for machine washing with a mild detergent.

Reusable bags made of plastics should be rinsed or wiped clean with a damp cloth and general kitchen cleaner. Cleaning is recommended monthly or whenever bags contact raw meat or fish.

 

For additional questions, contact the Gloucester Clean City Commission at GloucesterMACleanCommission@gmail.com or your City Councilor.

RESCUED MINKE WHALE PHOTOS FROM AL BEZANSON AND IMPORTANT MARINE STRANDING MESSAGE FROM NOAA

Minke Whale Smith’s Cove Gloucester Harbor

Green Dragon Schooner Captain Al Bezanson, who first alerted GMG to the Minke Whale temporarily grounded at Gloucester Harbor, shares his photos and observations. Ainsley Smith, NOAA’s Marine Animal Response Coordinator, shares information on what to do if you see a whale, dolphin, or seal stranded or in distress. With so many whales currently feeding off our shores, as well as the extreme number of seal deaths, we appreciate Ainsley’s advice.

Al writes, “The whale looked to be a juvenile about ten feet long, I thought. Perhaps confused by running aground and kept trying to forge ahead. I did not see the rescue but turning him or her was probably the key to freedom, and moving a rock would provide the space.”
Ainsley writes, “Yesterday morning, a small minke whale got stuck in less than 2 feet of water in Smith Cove, Gloucester. The beaching was reported to us at around 8 a.m., and our Stranding Coordinator immediately left for the scene. The situation was also reported to the harbormaster, the animal control officer, and NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.

By the time our Stranding Coordinator arrived at 8:30, we are told that a local resident had moved a large boulder that appeared to be preventing the whale from returning to deeper water. Our Stranding Coordinator, along with the harbormaster, Gloucester animal control officer, and NOAA OLE agent, then searched for the whale throughout the harbor, but were unable to find it again, which is good news! We are hoping the whale made it back to deep water safely.

We appreciate the outpouring of concern for this whale, and understand that it is very hard to watch a whale struggle. We feel the same way, which is why we are in this line of work!

This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that, under federal law, specifically the Marine Mammal Protection Act, only authorized responders are allowed to interact with stranded marine mammals. Often, marine mammals strand because they are in distress, and a trained responder will best know how to evaluate and help the animal. Pushing an animal back into the water may delay treatment or response, and also limits our ability to gather important information to be able to best help. For example, an entangled minke whale was reported near Gloucester last week, so it would have been valuable to examine this whale for injuries and see if it may have been the same one.

Whales in distress can also be dangerous, as they are unpredictable and very powerful. People have been seriously injured or killed trying to help, which is another reason we ask that people wait for trained responders.

The best thing you can do to help a marine mammal in distress is call the NOAA hotline (866-755-6622) or your local stranding response partner, and stand by the animal until help arrives.

Additionally, if people see a marine mammal in an unusual place (like a busy harbor or shallow water), please report it to the hotline so it can be monitored and we can alert people in the area to help keep it safe. We heard several reports yesterday after the stranding that a whale had been seen in the harbor earlier the week, but no one had reported it to us.” 

Minke Whale Smith’s Cove Goucester Harbor Al Bezanson Photo

FANTASTIC IDEAS: STRAWS MADE OF PASTA – SHARED BY MEGAN WOLF!

To follow up on where to purchase straws not made of plastic, Ainsley Smith shared that craft stores carry paper straws, and that Common Crow and REI have metal straws. Megan Wolf has found paper straws multiple times at Marshalls.

Ainsley sent a link to 100 percent biodegradable rainbow straws on Amazon and also a five piece metal rainbow straw set from Kleen Kanteen. She writes, “also check out @CleanGloucester on Saturday’s for#StrawFreeSaturday tips.

Megan shares the following, ” I wasn’t served a single straw on my entire 28 day tour throughout Europe. I have since been very mindful not to use any and am sure to ask my server “no straw, please.” I’ve noticed a lot more establishments have become aware of this issue and are incorporating alternatives.” She included the video. Love this idea-pasta straws are the way to go!

Thank you Ainsley and Megan for your ideas and input!

 

GLOUCESTER CELEBRATES EARTH DAY! WITH GREAT NEWS: LYN AND DAN RELEASE THE YOUNG SWAN BACK TO THE WILD!

Throughout the community people took the time to participate in Earth Day cleanups and events.  I was only able to cover a small fraction of the events and locations. Let us know how you spent Earth Day weekend. We would love to post your stories on Good Morning Gloucester. Thank you so much!

THE GREAT GLOUCESTER CLEANUP TEAM CAPTAINS

Organized by Ainsley Smith and Nick Illiades from Gloucester’s Clean City Commission, The Great Gloucester Cleanup took place at six locations–St. Peter’s Square, Pavilion Beach, Washington Street, Cripple Cove, Good Harbor Beach, and Horton Street.

The volunteers filled over ONE HUNDRED BAGS OF TRASH!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS FOR HELPING TO KEEP GLOUCESTER BEAUTIFUL!

After the cleanup, a fabulous cookout was hosted by Jamie at her beautiful shop located right on the inner harbor, One Ocean One Love. Jamie provided the burgers and much of the food; Caffe Sicilia donated cookies; Pigeon Cove Ferments, the sauerkraut; and Ma and Pa’s, the pickles. Additionally Beauport Hotel, Clean Pro Gloucester, and Lone Gull provided breakfast. Please say thank you for supporting The Great Gloucester Cleanup to these local businesses by patronizing their establishments. 

Meanwhile, over at Good Harbor Beach, I was watching the Piping Plovers this morning from 8am to about 10:30. With many volunteers expected for the Good Harbor Beach clean up location I thought there would be lots of folks interested in learning more about the PiPl, and yes, there were!

While there, I also met Gloucester’s new animal control officer Teagan (rhymes with Reagan) Dolan. He’s very interested in helping the PiPl and the dog officer’s stepped-up presence at Good Harbor has had a noticeable impact on the number of dogs off-leash and in the dunes at Good Harbor Beach. Teagan is suggesting to dog walkers alternative locations such as Plum Cove Beach and Cressies Beach. I showed him where the roping that cordoned off the nesting area broke overnight and he got out his trusty pocket knife and fixed it on the spot!

Then onto Eastern Point, with the great wildlife news of the weekend is that my friends Lyn and Dan released the Young Swan back to Niles Pond! You may recall that the Young Swan became frozen in the ice in early winter. Lyn has been kindly taking care of the immature swan all winter, housing him in a chicken coop remodeled (by carpenter Joel Munroe) just for a swan, replete with a heated pool.

Releasing the Young Swan at Niles

Lyn and Dan gently and humanely covered the swan with a blanket while carrying him to the water’s edge. Upon release, he immediately headed into a reeded area and then down to Skip’s dock where he took the longest swan bath imaginable, dip-diving and splashing for twenty minutes. When last I saw him, he was perusing the pond’s edge, becoming refamiliarized with his home territory.

Stretching his wings!

Swan Rescuers Lyn and Dan

Lyn’s little Little Aruba rescue puppy and Dan

HAPPY EARTH DAY FRIENDS!

 

SUPER EXCITING NEWS: SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS BANNED!!!

Ainsley Smith from Clean Gloucester writes, “We’ve got some great news! Gloucester is now Massachusetts’ 57th municipality to reduce our reliance on plastic bags! Thank you to everyone who came out and spoke in support or sent in emails. We look forward to working with our City Council on successfully rolling out this ordinance and related education to all of Gloucester’s residents.” The vote was passed seven to one.Gloucester Clean City Commissioners Nick Lilades, Ainsley Smith, Eric Magers, Councilor Melissa Cox, and Bev Low

YUCK, AND GREAT JOB GLOUCESTER CLEAN CITY COMMISSION!

Yuck and double yuck, but very cool. Commissioner Ainsley Smith of Gloucester’s Clean City Commission shares a photo of cigarette butts collected in the City’s new Sidewalk Butlers. Initially, twenty butlers will be installed, mostly along Main and Rogers Street. The butlers were made possible by a grant from Keep America Beautiful.

Many thanks to Ainsley and fellow commissioners Eric Magers, Beverly Low, and Nick Iliades, and to all who are working so hard to keep Gloucester beautiful!

TAHNK YOU AINSLEY SMITH AND GLOUCESTER CLEAN CITY COMMISSION VOLUNTEERS!

In honor of International Coastal Clean Up Day, Gloucester’s Ainsley Smith led a team of volunteers to clean along the Annisquam River. Ainsley shares the following:

“We had about a dozen volunteers on foot, kayak and in small boats take place in our river clean up in honor of International Coastal Clean Up Day. We filled 9 bags of trash with the usual: foam cups, cigarette butts, snack wrappers, plastic and ziplock bags, as well as a buoy, a broom, a raft, a boot, work gloves, pieces of rope, gear, and fishing line. Many thanks to our volunteers who joined us despite the foggy start, we hope to make the river clean up an annual tradition!” 

First three photos are by Zach Orsulak.

Second round of photos by Jennifer Smith Iliades.

EAST GLOUCESTER KID’S CLUB DONATES $540.00 TO HELP PURCHASE CLEAN HARBOR TECHNOLOGIES

Over the summer, our East Gloucester neighborhood kids Atticus, Meadow, Pilar, Frieda, Lucas, and Sabine formed the club Plastic: Pick it Up!, a kid’s campaign for getting plastic off roadways and beaches so it doesn’t end up in our oceans. Through their lemonade stand, the club raised a whopping 540.00!! On Wednesday evening they, along with Jackson, visiting cousin from North Carolina, met with members of Cape Ann Maritime Partnership (CAMP) to donate the money raised to help purchase a Seabin and Marine Skimmer, marine technologies designed to clean up oil and plastic garbage.

Learning about the effect of plastic pollution with marine biologist Julie Hurley and CAMP leaders. 

Plastic: Pick it Up! club members Frieda, Atticus, Jackson, Lucas, Pilar, Meadow, and Sabine

Love this logo for CAMP designed by Jamie Mathison!

CAMP is a relatively newly formed  partnership between NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, Gloucester’s Clean City Commission, One Ocean One Love, Seaside Sustainability, Maritime Gloucester, and Gloucester’s Coast Guard Station.

The event took place at the beautiful printing headquarters and shop of Jamie Mathison and sister Sarah Steward, One Ocean One Love. Jamie is the owner and artist, and sister Sarah is the general manager. From the shop’s website: “One Ocean One Love shop is a hand-printed, surf-inspired clothing brand, offering one of a kind ocean related products in stores and online. We’re a small eco-friendly business made up of forward-thinkers, with a passion to conserve and protect marine life. 5% of all One Ocean apparel net profits are donated toward keeping the oceans clean.” 

Ainsley Smith from Gloucester’s Clean City Commission wearing tank top designed by Jamie with the CAMP logo. 

Stop by One Ocean One Love and see their wonderful collection of tees, tanks, and totes, all hand-printed from linoleum block designs by Jamie. One Ocean One Love Gloucester shop is located at 47R Parker Street, in the lighthouse on the harbor. Their Rockport shop is located at 6 Bearskin Neck. 

 

Links to learn more about the Seabin, Marine Skimmer, CAMP,  One Ocean One Love, and plastic ocean pollution:

projectaware.org

www.plasticoceans.org

http://www.oneoceanoneloveshop.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CapeAnnMaritimePartnership/

http://www.marinatrashskimmer.com/

http://seabinproject.com/