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Our Milestones


1989   •   Friends of Casco Bay was founded as a grassroots, citizen watchdog group

1990   •   Volunteers recognize that a full-time advocate is needed

1991   •   Joe Payne is hired by Friends of Casco Bay as Casco Baykeeper

1992   •   Citizens Stewards Water Quality Monitoring Program begins.

1993   •   A donated vessel, Donovan’s Delight, becomes the workhorse we used for 20 years

1994   •   Clam Flat Restoration Project identifies sources of fecal coliform pollution responsible for prolonged clam flat closures.

1995   •   We launch a pumpout service for recreational boats, siphoning away 180,000 gallons of sewage to date that might have ended up in the Bay.

1996   •   We aid in a coordinated response to the Julie N tanker accident and recover a remarkable 78% of the 180,000 gallons of spilled oil.

1997   •   Our research and monitoring leads to re-opening hundreds of acres of clam flats to harvesting.

1998   •   Friends of Casco Bay teams up with the Maine Board of Pesticides Control on an anti-pesticides ad campaign: Why Weed’n’Feed isn’t fish food.

1999   •   We initiate the relocation project that rescues 35,000 lobsters from harbor dredging.

2000   •   Analysis of our water quality data identifies areas needing closer study.

2001   •   We begin sampling stormwater runoff for pesticides washing into Casco Bay.

2002   •   A Citizens’ Forum informs voters and legislators that cruise ships can legally dump wastewater in Portland Harbor.

2003   •   Staff begins sampling for nitrogen pollution.

2004   •   We shepherd passage of a state law prohibiting large passenger vessels from dumping wastes from sinks, showers, and galleys into Maine waters.

2005   •   Staff scientists issue a region-by-region Health Index, an environmental report card on the Bay.

2006   •   Casco Bay is designated the first No Discharge Area in Maine for vessel sewage.

2007   •   Our advocacy pushes through a state law requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to set a limit on nitrogen levels in coastal waters.

2008   •   We help convince the Portland City Council to commit $61 million to construction projects to stem the flow of raw sewage, industrial wastes, and stormwater into Casco Bay.

2009   •   A vigorous campaign against “Green Slime” combats nitrogen pollution on three fronts: stormwater runoff, fertilizers, and sewage treatment plants.

2010   •   Participate in an oil spill clean-up exercise for the Gulf of Maine, which is immediately followed by advising Waterkeepers involved in the Gulf of Mexico Deep Horizon oil rig disaster.

2011   •   Begin to investigate coastal acidification by developing a scientific procedure to sample the acidity of clam flats

2012   •   Help to develop an equitable stormwater utility fee for the City of Portland. It gives concessions to residents and businesses that limit rainwater runoff from impervious roofs, parking lots, and driveways.

2013   •   We placed clam spat in “clam condos” and found that even one week in acidic mud caused the outer shell to begin to dissolve. Christened our new Baykeeper research vessel Joseph E. Payne.

2014   •   Our members helped convince the Maine Legislature to pass a bill to establish a state Ocean Acidification Commission, the first on the East Coast. Baykeeper Joe Payne was one of 16 commission members who issue a report that calls for more data collection and education to reduce nitrogen pollution.

2015   •   Joe Payne retires after 24 years as Casco Baykeeper. We release a major report that answers the question “How healthy is Casco Bay?” A Changing Casco Bay, based on 23 years of data collection, cites nitrogen pollution, from fertilizers, rainwater runoff, sewage, and air pollutants, as a leading cause of concern for the health of Casco Bay.

2016   •   Ivy Frignoca is hired as Casco Baykeeper. One of her first tasks is forming the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification partnership to coordinate policy and research to address this little-know impact of climate change. We undertake a Nabbing Nitrogen event to coordinate a “flash mob” of volunteers to collect nitrogen samples simultaneously in the Fore River. We install an unattended Continuous Monitoring Station to collect water quality data hourly, year-round.

2017   •   We secure an agreement with the Portland Water District to work to significantly reduce nitrogen discharged into the Bay by treated effluent water from the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility. The goal is that within 5 years the plant will reduce Nitrogen pollution entering the Bay by 50-100 pounds a day.