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Casco Bay Matters Speaker Series

Casco Bay Matters Speaker Series

We host periodic presentations and panel discussions on issues of current concern though our Casco Bay Matters series, which are open to the public.

The purpose of a Casco Bay Matters is to provide an opportunity for concerned citizens and for legislators (especially local and state officials) to learn about and discuss issues of importance to protecting the water quality of Casco Bay. These programs are held at various venues such as colleges, libraries, and other facilities. The format varies depending on the issue.  We may offer a speaker or a panel to introduce a topic that will lead to further discussion, during and after the event. We want people leave with an awareness of the problem and many possible solutions to think about. We don’t feel it is necessary to offer a single “correct” solution but to be thinking about what they can do about it.

It is another way that Friends of Casco Bay continues to be proactive in addressing environmental issues that impact the Bay, as we have done with our BayScaping initiative, with sewage discharges by recreational boats, and with forums such as Casco Bay Is at Risk in 2014. There, a panel discussed threats to Casco Bay’s ecosystem from acidifying coastlines, invading green crabs, dwindling clam populations, and disappearing nurseries of the sea, all issues that scientists and legislators are working to address.

We have found that leading such community discussions can launch efforts that change pollution laws or practices. A forum we held in 2002 on Pollution Solutions to Cruise Ship Discharges led to state legislators enacting a law to prohibit the discharge of gray water (from large passenger vessels’ sinks and galleys) in Maine marine waters and to the EPA designating Casco Bay as a No Discharge Area, which prevents large ships from releasing vessel sewage within three miles of shore. Even as Portland has become one the most popular cruise ship destinations, with about 100 ship visits each year, we are the most protected harbor in the nation from cruise ship pollution.

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Cover photo: Photograph by Kevin Morris

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