Marine Science Education & Research Center

The University of New England’s Marine Science Center is dedicated to the study and rehabilitation of marine mammals. The building is located at the mouth of the Saco River, adjacent to an archeological site. To avoid impacting the site, we built on solid ledge.

The rehabilitation facility requires a continuous flow (500–600 gallons per minute) of seawater, 24-hours a day. But spring runoff posed a challenge. When the snow melts, salinity levels in the river are diluted. To compensate, the team designed and built a pumping system with a 2,700 gallon-per-minute capacity, along with a storage tank capable of holding 500,000 gallons of salt water. This system is the first of its kind in the country.

A secondary challenge involved EPA regulations in place to protect sturgeon migration. Work on the intake and discharge structures could only be done during the winter. The team worked around both current and tides, as well as ice floes.