Media

Keeping an eye on the Bay 24/7

Keeping an eye on the Bay 24/7

Imagine working 8,760 hours a year. Friends of Casco Bay has two water quality monitors that do just that.

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Water quality monitoring season may be over, but the work continues

Water quality monitoring season may be over, but the work continues

Volunteers finished their data collection on October 18, marking the end of the 2016 season. But, both for Andy and the organization, this also marks 25 years of data collection by Friends of Casco Bay!

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Making our List and Checking It Twice: it’s not what you think!

Making our List and Checking It Twice: it’s not what you think!

At this time of year, many people are anxiously awaiting presents from Santa. Our people are eagerly awaiting the treats wrapped inside our Citizen Stewards’ water quality data. Volunteers, such as Andy Bertocci, finished their data collection on October 18, marking the end of the 2016 season. But, both for Andy and the organization, this also marks 25 years of data collection by Friends of Casco Bay! Over 7 months, from April through October, our water quality monitors record their measurements of water temperature, salinity, water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and pH (the level of acidity of the water). They also make notes on weather conditions, air temperature, and any unusual or intriguing sightings, such as jumping fish, invasions of jellies, and the occasional oil spill. Although our Citizens Stewards have turned in their data sheets and put their water quality kits to bed until next spring, the work continues back at the office, where staff members are as busy as Santa’s elves. We are organizing, reviewing, and analyzing the data from 37 volunteer monitoring sites around Casco Bay. Database Assistant Sara Biron reviews the online data entries and enters additional data from spreadsheets entered by hand. She is the first to make sure the data makes sense; Citizen Stewards Coordinator Peter Milholland is responsible for checking it twice. Peter explains the importance of this review, “Our volunteers are trained according to a comprehensive Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) approved by EPA, which makes their data, after quality assurance checks by staff, scientifically defensible.” Peter then passes the data along to Research Associate Mike Doan. Mike averages the data collected over the past five years for dissolved oxygen, pH, and water clarity (Secchi depth) to update the Casco Bay Health Index, an overview of the health of the waters around Casco Bay. Says Mike, “The Health Index enables us to assess: What is the relative condition of sites across a region? How does the health of regions of the Bay differ from each other? Which sites, based on the selected criteria, require a closer look? Are these conditions improving or degrading over time?” Development and Communications Associate Sarah Lyman then turns Mike’s analysis into an easy-to understand graphic, where each sampling site is assigned a color—red, yellow, or green—onto a map of the Bay. That chart lets everyone see the health of Casco Bay at a glance. On January 24, Friends of Casco Bay will unveil the updated Casco Bay Health Index and show how different regions of Casco Bay are faring. Join us on January 24 at our 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration and Annual Meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, Freeport (snow date 1/25). Come spring, our volunteers will take up their kits once again, come in for their individual Quality Assurance review, and devote ten Saturdays in 2017, to helping us improve and protect the environmental health of Casco...

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Keeping Casco Bay Blue by the Numbers

Keeping Casco Bay Blue by the Numbers

Baykeeping Friends of Casco Bay is first and foremost an environmental organization using advocacy based on science. We work to defend the health of the Bay on many fronts: stormwater and sewage overflow remediation, nitrogen pollution and coastal acidification, oil spill preparedness, discharge permits, snow dumping, dredging, restricting plastic bags, polystyrene, microbeads, and pesticides, and dealing with unexpected issues that come in “over the transom.” Our Pumpout Service removed 13,640 gallons of raw sewage from 535 recreational boats in 2015. Where does all that wastewater go? For the past ten years, Maine Yacht Center generously accepted sewage from our pumpout boat, to pass along to process at the Portland wastewater treatment plant. This past year, in our advocacy for BayScaping, we partnered with 628 citizens, lawn care professionals, and town officials at 16 workshops and presentations, explaining why communities should limit or ban pesticides and fertilizers.   Research Our Baykeeper boat, Research Vessel Joseph E. Payne, is on the water 365 days a year. You may see us patrolling the Bay to investigate pollution incidents, highlight threats to our waters, and conduct scientific studies and data collection. Our staff assesses the environmental health of Casco Bay, collecting water quality data year-round. We also collaborate with other researchers studying eelgrass distribution, clam survival, nitrogen levels, and pesticides. Our citizen scientists collect data at 37 sites along Casco Bay’s coast and islands. 92 Citizen Stewards monitor water quality between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small, on 10 Saturdays from April through October, contributing over 2,000 hours of volunteer time each year.   Education & Outreach Friends of Casco Bay participated in 44 community events. We reached over 3,200 people directly through our presentations and exhibits at public events, meeting with Mainers to explain how we all can be good stewards of our coastal waters. Our work was mentioned in at least 55 media outlets, featuring stories about our report A Changing Casco Bay, Portland’s plastic bag and polystyrene ordinances, banning pesticides, and our search for the new Casco Baykeeper. 54 volunteers stenciled more than 187 storm drains through our Storm Drain Stenciling Program. 49 volunteers picked up nearly 800 pounds of trash on Coastal Cleanups with Friends of Casco Bay. Filmgoers consumed 520 bags of popcorn at our 8th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival, where inspiring films motivated audience members to take...

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Harraseeket Inn Event Photos

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Friends of Casco Bay, working with you to keep Casco Bay blue.

Friends of Casco Bay, working with you to keep Casco Bay blue.

How can you keep Casco Bay blue?

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Tackling Pesticide Use, One Town at a Time

Tackling Pesticide Use, One Town at a Time

Eddie Woodin has a backyard that should be on Home & Garden TV. This bird lover has planted acres of bee-friendly flowers, nurtured trees, shrubs, and green spaces, and installed nesting boxes and bird baths all around his property. He has maintained this two-acre refuge without pesticides for 18 years. One afternoon nearly 10 years ago, Eddie was sitting on a bench in his yard at dusk. He noticed that there were none of the brown bats that normally dive bombed clouds of mosquitoes in the evening. Then he realized there were no mosquitoes either. Thus began a crusade. On September 21st, 2011, thanks to Eddie’s impetus, Scarborough passed its Pest Management Policy, which bans the use of synthetic lawn chemicals on town-owned land, including school grounds and athletic fields. Now neighboring communities are taking his advocacy to the next level. On September 7th, South Portland passed an ordinance that phases in a pesticide ban on public property after one year, on private property after two years, and requires a comprehensive review of the ordinance in year three. Education will be emphasized over enforcement. The Portland Pesticides Task Force is looking at South Portland’s ordinance as a possible model for its own ordinance. This group of twelve citizens includes our Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell. Harpswell, where lobstering is a way of life, passed a pesticide ordinance on March 12th that bans neonicotinoids, chemicals blamed for bee die-offs, and insect growth regulators, used to kill browntail moths but also linked to harming lobsters. The ordinance bans using pesticides or fertilizers with 25 feet of the...

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Community Connection: Kathryn Reid

Community Connection: Kathryn Reid

“Whenever we are boating, we take advantage of the pumpout service and advise other boaters about it.”

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Community Connection: Peter Dufour

Community Connection: Peter Dufour

“We want our legacy to be getting rid of cigarette butts.”

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Community Connection: Tollef Olson

Community Connection: Tollef Olson

“Sea farming has all the benefits with none of the detriments.”

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Out & About with the Casco Baykeeper October 2016

Out & About with the Casco Baykeeper October 2016

January 4th, 2016, was Ivy Frignoca’s first day as Casco Baykeeper. Had Ivy kept a diary of the highlights of her year to date, it might have read like this — in abbreviated version, of course!

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Nabbing Nitrogen: A water sampling “flash mob”

Nabbing Nitrogen: A water sampling “flash mob”

On a rainy July 10, at precisely 10:10 a.m., 97 volunteers for Friends of Casco Bay hung out over docks or trudged through mud to collect jars of seawater.

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

This photograph generated many thousands more.

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Confused about climate change? Your students are…

Confused about climate change? Your students are…

Climate change is local and understandable. Join us for a course that covers climate change.

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Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Tickets are sold out.

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Baykeeping by sea and by land

Baykeeping by sea and by land

Since Ivy Frignoca became Casco Baykeeper in January, she has taken full advantage of Friends of Casco Bay’s most visible asset: our Baykeeper boat, the Joseph E. Payne. It has become

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A New Tool Trending in Casco Bay

A New Tool Trending in Casco Bay

Research Associate Mike Doan is excited about our new water quality monitoring tool.

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Thank you for Nabbing Nitrogen with us!

Thank you for Nabbing Nitrogen with us!

We had 97 dedicated volunteers come out and 90 Nitrogen samples were collected!

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Eddie Woodin’s generous match

Eddie Woodin’s generous match

Eddie Woodin, a generous Friend of Casco Bay is offering $5,000 in matching funds toward our work to keep pollution out of the Bay, limit pesticides, and educate local residents and businesses about being good stewards of our waters. You can help us meet the match.

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Our Fabulous Summer Interns!

Our Fabulous Summer Interns!

Summer hasn’t even officially started and we already know our Summer 2016 Interns are going to do amazing work! Read below about their unique experiences and what they will be working on this summer.

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