The First Sponsors DRA’s “Workhorse on the Water” June 2013

The First Sponsors DRA’s “Workhorse on the Water” June 2013

Steven Hufnagel, Executive Director of the Damariscotta River Association, thanks Gary Stone, Portfolio Manager of First Advisors and Cerina Leeman, Assistant Branch Manager, Damariscotta Office of The First for the bank’s continuing support of the DRA boat and its associated programs.

For an organization devoted to a water body, no tool is more important to its mission than a good boat. The Damariscotta River Association (DRA), a local conservation and education organization dedicated to the Damariscotta River Estuary, relies on its 19 foot center console Aquasport for water quality testing, river education, and property and island stewardship.

Recognizing that an investment in sponsorship of DRA’s boat would enable DRA to create real value for the communities it serves, from improved trails to enhanced education programs, The First this year doubled its longstanding support for the Aquasport.

“The First has been a partner for many years in conservation of the Damariscotta River through their support of our boat,” notes DRA executive director Steven Hufnagel. “The boat is really the workhorse for our programs on the river, and we are truly grateful to The First for their increased sponsorship this year and all it makes possible.”

Hufnagel explained that DRA’s water quality monitoring program, Tidewater Watch, involves sampling the estuary from a boat at several point along the river. This year, through a partnership with the Darling Marine Center, DRA is able to keep track of even more important information about the health of the river. Many water-based industries depend on clean river waters and value critical water quality data

DRA also uses the boat to care for both its own and its partners’ island and coastal properties. And when it comes to stewardship, transporting volunteers is almost always involved:

DRA volunteers clear trails on DRA’s Witch Island. They install the Dodge Point dock each spring to allow public access to the state reserve by water.

DRA volunteers erect signs on US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Little Thrumcap Island as well as Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Goose Ledges to alert visitors to avoid tern nesting areas.

Finally, DRA volunteers monitor the eagles on DRA’s Stratton Island and assist researchers on Big Huckleberry Island, also known as Carlisle.

“Quite simply,” concludes Hufnagel, “the DRA would not be the DRA without its boat – and its volunteers of course! Again, we thank The First – and our members – for making this work possible.”