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Brunswick council endorses regional study of green crabs

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Brunswick council endorses regional study of green crabs

BRUNSWICK — The Town Council endorsed a grant application on Monday to help a regional fight against the coast's invasive green crab population.

The grant application endorsed by the council is for a 2013 Saltonstall Kennedy Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administrative that will allow Darcie Couture, lead scientist and principal at Brunswick-based Resource Access International, to conduct green crab research.

The research project would attempt to stop the destruction caused by the growing green crab population in the region and restore critical habitat of species that have been affected by the crab invasion.

Marine officials, scientists and clammers have said green crabs are responsible for the decline of the soft shell clam population, which has led some towns to limit the number of clam harvesting licenses.

Some research is also starting to find that green crabs are partly responsible for the decline of eelgrass, a resource considered integral to local marine habitat.

If Couture receives the NOAA grant, the scientist will lead the proposed 24-month research project and work with coastal communities like Freeport, Brunswick and Harpswell.

Couture could receive up to $350,000 from the grant.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.