Thank you to everyone who networked and applied for the position.
Casco Baykeeper (June 2015)
Friends of Casco Bay is hiring a Casco Baykeeper to act as lead advocate for improving and protecting the environmental health of Casco Bay. Casco Baykeeper works on a diverse array of problems, including nitrogen pollution, oil spill readiness, dredging, acidification, water quality science, Clean Water Act permits, waterfront development, and other emerging issues.
Friends of Casco Bay is a marine environmental nonprofit organization that works to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. We are a founding member of Waterkeeper® Alliance, a network of more than 255 independent organizations working to protect waters around the world.
Today, when one sees hundreds of sailboats plying Casco Bay, it is hard to imagine that in the 1970’s sailing magazines recommended avoiding Casco Bay’s foul smelling waters. Concerned citizens formed Friends of Casco Bay in 1989, after a report identified our waters as one of the most polluted regions in the nation. No one had a handle on the environmental problems in the Bay, so one of our first major initiatives was to launch a water quality monitoring program, enlisting volunteers from the community to “take the pulse” of Casco Bay using proven scientific methods. To this day, we continue to be a science-based, community-oriented environmental organization. Our goal is to inspire those who live, work, and play on Casco Bay to be better stewards of our waters. We meet our mission through science, education, and advocacy. Much of the scientific data that informs our efforts is collected by our volunteers and staff. Thanks in part to our work, industrial pollution has decreased, municipalities have worked to reduce sewage pollution, and the Bay has been designated a No Discharge Area, making it one of the water bodies in the country most protected from ship pollution.
A board of 21 directors and 5 honorary directors oversees the work of Friends of Casco Bay. We currently have more than 2,200 active members and financial supporters. More than 225 volunteers, students, and interns assist us each year, monitoring our water quality, conducting coastal cleanups and helping with presentations and educational events. In addition to being an organization that attracts both volunteers and donors, we are known as an exceptional place to work. We currently have eight full-time employees and one seasonal staff member. We balance our ability to leverage collaborative efforts, funds, and volunteers, with the capacity and capabilities of our staff—a talented team, all passionate about our mission.
Our Baykeeping Program
Our Baykeeping Program exists to advocate for solutions to environmental challenges facing Casco Bay. In short, Baykeeping is about reducing pollution in our waters. This is our most visible program and it has generated significant permanent and positive changes for the Bay.
Casco Bay now is a relatively healthy ecosystem, though threats abound and changes loom on the horizon. As a busy oil port, one spill could forever change our community. Industrial discharges, trash and marine debris, and nonpoint source pollution threaten the health of our waters. On rainy days municipal sewer systems overflow, dumping raw sewage and pouring thousands of gallons of polluted stormwater into the Bay. Fertilizers and pesticides flow into our waters from lawns and farmlands. Tailpipes and smokestacks, from near and far, release pollutants which are absorbed by our waters. The net effect is that we are beginning to see that the chemistry of Casco Bay is changing—and not for the better. Our Baykeeping Program advocates for solutions to these problems and ways to improve and protect the health of the Bay. We are committed to engaging our community to keep clean marine water a priority in our region.
The Job of Casco Baykeeper
Casco Baykeeper (CBK) is a full-time public advocate for Casco Bay. CBK acts as the eyes, ears, and voice for Casco Bay, championing our mission and our initiatives to improve and protect the environmental health of the Bay. CBK identifies, investigates, and documents pollution problems, participates in Bay monitoring activities, provides rapid response to environmental or ecological threats to the Bay, and works to identify and enact solutions to pollution by educating and engaging our community.
CBK works collaboratively and strategically with colleagues, citizens, scientists, academic institutions, coalitions, resource harvesters, recreationalists, nonprofits, and governmental decision-makers to help collect and communicate sound scientific data and find solutions to problems that impact the environmental health and water quality of Casco Bay. Our CBK spends time on Casco Bay, attends meetings with key stakeholders from board rooms to living rooms, and coordinates work with colleagues in the office.
CBK serves as Friends of Casco Bay’s strategic representative bringing our positions and priorities to a wide variety of meetings and hearings. CBK also takes the initiative to set up meetings and have tough conversations in a constructive manner with users and stakeholders whose actions may have negative impacts on the health of the Bay. CBK cultivates key relationships with people and other entities working on Bay issues. CBK uses the “work with” approach which has stood us in good stead, yet is able to be courageously direct and, while rarely required, confrontational in a kind and positive manner on behalf of the Bay and the positions of Friends of Casco Bay. CBK employs empathy while engaging users with diverse interests and is approachable while remaining firm and tenacious.
CBK proactively identifies emerging issues, developments, regulations, rules, and shifts in policy that may affect the Bay. CBK raises issues in a timely manner so that resolutions can be explored, identified, and attained. CBK is able to think on his/her feet without overstepping, overstating, or overpromising. CBK develops networks for problem reporting and collaboration between Friends of Casco Bay and citizens, governments, and other groups. CBK serves as a knowledgeable, trusted resource to local, state and federal agencies, and citizen groups on a variety of topics relating to the health of the Bay. CBK identifies issues which may require environmental enforcement or legal intervention.
CBK, by design, is the most visible spokesperson about problems that impact the Bay. CBK educates the public about issues and inspires solutions and action. CBK keeps the Bay in the public eye by championing the Bay and cheerleading solutions to the problems that threaten the health of the Bay. CBK acts as a leader by bringing our community together to address issues that impact the Bay. CBK is gracious and polite, yet persistent and able to recruit others who will collaborate in that persistence. CBK develops strategies on multiple fronts to address problems.
CBK gives public presentations about the Bay to a wide variety of audiences, from formal presentations to casual conversations. It is not unusual for CBK to be flagged down on the street or on the water by citizens with a concern about something they are seeing on the Bay. CBK responds to public concerns and information requests in a timely manner. CBK is committed to doing the homework and interviews necessary to build credibility on issues and to identify the most appropriate parties to engage when addressing an issue.
CBK participates in and supports the activities of Waterkeeper Alliance.
As lead spokesperson and chief advocate, our Casco Baykeeper works directly on a diverse array of ever-changing problems, including: nitrogen pollution, oil spill readiness, dredging, acidification, water quality science, response to Clean Water Act draft permits, waterfront development, and other emerging issues.
Casco Baykeeper reports to and works closely with our Executive Director. CBK works closely with a full-time year-round professional staff of eight and one full-time seasonal colleague, as well as our board, volunteers, donors, and the general public. CBK models and upholds a positive, engaged, sustainable work style, and interacts enthusiastically with our respectful, ethical, and person-friendly organizational culture. CBK collaborates with and supports our water quality monitoring program and our communications and fund raising efforts.
As a Waterkeeper Alliance-licensed organization, we are required to have a Casco Baykeeper who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of the Bay; that said, staff, board and volunteers also represent the positions of the organization in public forums.
Attributes, Skills and Experience
Qualified candidates must demonstrate experience with at least one of the following areas:
- ecological, environmental, or marine science, or a related marine field
- environmental policy and regulations
- pollution response and abatement
Qualified candidates offer the following:
- strong commitment to coastal environmental protection and restoration
- strategic and dynamic thinker and collaborator
- commitment to immerse in inquiry and study to understand the background of issues and regulatory contexts
- demonstrated effectiveness in problem solving in diverse settings
- demonstrated skill at cultivating relationships with others of backgrounds and viewpoints different from one’s own
- demonstrated comfort and ease with persuasive public speaking
- humility balanced with hubris; toughness and tenacity balanced with likability
- comfortable on the water in variable conditions
- ability to work long hours at times and to work outside of normal business hours
- patience and willingness to “grow into” the job
In addition, qualified candidates have some of the following skills and attributes:
- knowledge of state and federal laws, regulations, and policies that affect marine water quality and habitat
- understanding of the political and legislative process, and how policy, ordinances, and laws are made and enforced
- comfortable in board rooms, public and private meetings, and governmental hearings
- fluency with coastal Maine culture
- knowledge of Casco Bay
- able to operate a variety of powerboats
In addition, all staff members of Friends of Casco Bay, including CBK, share the following attributes:
- a personal and professional commitment to environmental stewardship and passion for applying that to the mission of Friends of Casco Bay
- demonstrated ability to perform duties while under pressure, with humor and grace, when dealing with controversial issues
- excellent organizational and time management skills; ability to juggle competing priorities, multi-task, and meet deadlines
- excellent oral and written communication skills; broad experience with traditional and social media; proficiency in Microsoft office suite and comfort with online communications
- desire to work with people
- demonstrated ability both to work closely with diverse groups of people and to work well on one’s own; demonstrated ability to work well with a team
- sense of duty and dedication
- ability to see the forest for the trees, appreciating the big picture while attending to details
A complete application package from interested applicants must include:
- a letter of application citing how your work experience qualifies you for the position
- a resume
- a written response to one of the essay questions below
Casco Baykeeper Application Essay Questions
Write a response of not more than 1,200 words to one of the questions below and include it with your letter of application and resume.
- Friends of Casco Bay has been successful over the years in policy and legislative arenas, helping to pass ordinances and laws that address issues of pollution and better protect the health of Casco Bay. We use a “work-with” approach, collaborating with diverse stakeholders—from residents, clammers, and other scientists, to businesses, industry, and policy makers—to get our work done. Rather than being adversarial, we prefer to collaborate to find solutions that are both environmentally sound and economically viable. It seems that the political climate in Maine, and perhaps across the country, is becoming more and more polarized, making it more difficult to use this approach effectively. Given this challenge, what might be your approach to improve and protect the health of the Bay? What might be opportunities to embrace and pitfalls to avoid for our organization in today’s political climate?
- The essence of a Waterkeeper is an individual who acts as the eyes, ears, and voice of a body of water (river, lake, bay, coast). A Waterkeeper is the visible advocate in the community to whom people can turn when pollution and other problems threaten the environmental health of our waters. This is a singular, monikered role. At the same time, our Casco Baykeeper must work as an integral team member in our organization. How would you envision maintaining a balance between these external and internal roles?
- We are living in a time of extraordinary global environmental problems—climate change, sea level rise, overpopulation, and ocean acidification, to name a few. These huge threats are or may soon be affecting the health of our local coastal waters. Given the daunting problems on the global stage, what impact can the work of a regional organization like Friends of Casco Bay have?
A complete application package must be received by 5 pm EST on Monday, August 31, 2015.
Please email application package as a pdf to:
or mail your application package to:
Search, Friends of Casco Bay, 43 Slocum Drive, South Portland, Maine 04106-1641
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.
Posting date: June 23, 2015
Posting will be removed on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 5 pm EST.
Friends of Casco Bay is an equal opportunity employer.