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Casco Bay and the Maine Climate Council


If you want to learn more about the Maine Climate Council, follow their Summer Climate Series. Each week, the Council is using its social media accounts – Twitter and Instagram – to highlight its Scientific & Technical Subcommittee and six Working Groups. The posts feature quotes from Working Group co-chairs, short run-downs of strategy recommendations, informative graphics, and even trivia!

All of the content is interactive and intended to solicit your feedback.

Here is the Council’s Twitter and Instagram schedule:
Scientific & Technical Subcommittee (currently online)
Transportation (currently online)
Buildings, Infrastructure and Housing (currently online)
Energy (this week!)
Community Resilience Planning, Public Health, and Emergency Management (week of 8/3)
Coastal and Marine (week of 8/10)
Natural and Working Lands (week of 8/17)


Working with you to Keep Casco Bay Blue


We are excited to share a short film made by Knack Factory in honor of our 30th anniversary.

The Knack Factory team joined Friends of Casco Bay staff and volunteers on the water over the course of a week last fall to create a short film about our work.

Knack Factory is a Maine-based creative agency specializing in video production. They are a creative, highly-skilled community of story-tellers. There is no job too big or small (or crazy or weird or impossible) for them to tackle.

Following the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant’s sewage spill closely

Friends of Casco Bay has been following the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant’s sewage spill closely. 

On Sunday, July 19, a power outage and a failed backup generator at the treatment plant led to the discharged nearly four million gallons of partially treated wastewater into Casco Bay, near East End Beach in Portland. 

On Sunday, upon finding out about the release of sewage into the Bay, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca was in contact with Portland Water District, who operates the plant. She then followed up with the Maine Healthy Beaches Program, which conducts bacteria sampling to protect public health at East End Beach. 

Portland Water District has submitted a report to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as required, within five days of the incident. Under the Clean Water Act, DEP has enforcement authority and will conduct its own investigation into the spill. When a similar spill occurred in 2018, DEP leveraged a penalty and corrective action.

Friends of Casco Bay will continue to track this incident from beginning to end. 

Ivy was asked by a reporter to help put this spill in context. We are concerned about acute incidents such as this, especially given the size of the spill. Casco Bay suffers, too, from the chronic problem of combined sewer overflows. For example, in 2016, nearly 69 million gallons of stormwater mixed with raw sewage, debris and polluted runoff flowed into Back Cove, Portland Harbor and other local waterways following a 4-inch rainstorm.


For Casco Bay, for Us


Casco Bay, Maine © Kevin Morris & Friends of Casco Bay

Internationally-renowned Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless wrote this poem in honor of Friends of Casco Bay’s 30th Anniversary. Friends of the Bay heard the first reading of this poem during our Celebrating Water – 30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay event on July 27, 2020.

For Casco Bay, for Us

By Gary Lawless


rising in the mountains, the water,

finding its way

from granite to the bay

we are water

and we want to flow

flow through our lives

here a forest, here

a town, flowing, down –

here are rocks, falls –

we fall, at the end,

at the mouth

into a larger body,

our body, body of

water, to become

to become more than we are –

where the future flows

into the sea,

and all that you see

we are water

we are patterns in water,

currents, eddies, we

pool and move

on, we flow –

how many rivers flow

into the bay

how many streams

into the rivers

where does the rain go

where does the wind go

bays to the ocean

how much moonlight

touches the water

how many fish

find their way home

we are water

and we want to flow –

in beauty, in light,

in whatever weather

the rocks are singing

as water passes over

it is high tide

and our hearts are full

it is low tide

and we are waiting

we have been waiting for you

for thousands of years

we are water

the water is the bay

the wind is the bay

the fish, the birds, the plants,

we are the bay

what happens to water

happens to us

we are water

and we want to flow, saying

this is our body and

we are home

we rise as water rises

we fall as water falls

we are water

we are the bay

we are water

we are the bay


About Gary Lawless:
Gary, originally from Belfast/Penobscot Bay, is the award-winning author of 21 poetry collections. In addition to sharing his own writings as a bio-regional poet, Gary has long worked to encourage others to bring their voices into the wider community. He has empowered combat veterans, homeless people, immigrants, refugees, adults with disabilities, and prison inmates to write poetry and publish their works. In honor of his poetry and his community work, the Maine Humanities Council awarded Gary the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize, the University of Southern Maine has given him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and the Emily Harvey Foundation has offered him two residencies in Venice, Italy. He and Beth Leonard opened Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick 40 years ago as a community hub.




 Cover Photograph by Kevin Morris

A different Friends of Casco Bay event

We would love for you to join us.

On Monday, July 27, 2020, we invite you to join us for a special online event.

Celebrating Water – 30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay
A Film, A Poem, and A Conversation with Gary Lawless

We each feel connected to Casco Bay in different ways. As we continue celebrating 30 years of Friends of Casco Bay’s work to protect water quality in the Bay, this event highlights connections between artistic endeavors and the Bay.

Register now to join us online on Monday, July 27, at 5 pm, to see our 30th Anniversary Film and our conversation about the importance of place with bioregional Maine poet Gary Lawless as he shares a special poem. We expect this event will last for 45 minutes.

Register Now

What’s green, microscopic, and makes ½ our oxygen?

What’s green, microscopic, and makes half of the oxygen we breathe? Phytoplankton, the tiny algae at the base of the food chain, that’s what!

Measurements of chlorophyll — the green pigment that enables plants and algae to photosynthesize — provide an estimate of how much phytoplankton are in our coastal waters.

In this third edition of Mike’s Field Notes, Staff Scientist Mike Doan shares what he sees when he looks at our Continuous Monitoring Station’s most recent chlorophyll data. You can watch the three-minute video below.

In case you missed them, here are links to the first two videos of Mike’s Field Notes:

Mike gives a tour of our Continuous Monitoring Station.

Mike discusses how warm our winter and spring have been.

Add us to your safe senders list to stay up-to-date on Casco Bay

We know you love Casco Bay and want to stay up-to-date about our work to protect the health of our coastal waters. Please consider taking 5 minutes to “safelist” us and help ensure you always receive emails from us.

Safelisting is tech-jargon for telling your email service that you always want to see our emails. Even if you are seeing this email, you may not be seeing all of our emails. Sometimes email services mistakenly block messages or send our emails to the spam or trash folders.

By following the steps below, you can make sure our emails always end up in your inbox. You will also be helping other Friends of the Bay to see our emails, too, because safe listing sends a message to Google and other email services that we are a reputable organization.

Each email service has a different set of steps to add us to your safe senders’ list. Below are some of the most popular email services and instructions for how to safelist us. If you do not see your email service below, you may be able to find instructions by googling the name of your email service and the word safelist. Or you can contact your email service and ask them to help you.

Thank you for taking these steps to help us and ensure you are up to date with all things Casco Bay.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman at slyman [at] cascobay [dot] org.

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Gmail

Because so many Friends of the Bay use Gmail, we created this video to walk you through how to use filters to make sure you receive all emails from us at Friends of Casco Bay.


  • Log in to your Gmail at gmail.com.
  • Select the gear icon at the upper right of your inbox and click or tap Settings.
  • Select “Filters and Blocked Addresses” from the navigation options at the top. Scroll down.
  • Click “Create a New Filter”.
  • In the pop-up window, enter @cascobay.org in the From field.
  • Click “Create filter” (not the blue search button).
  • In the next window, check “Never send it to Spam”.
  • Also, check “Categorize as:” and select “Primary”.
  • Click “Create filter”.
  • Once you are done, you will see the new filter show up in the list of filters.
  • Click the Gmail logo in the upper left to navigate back to your inbox.

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Yahoo

  • Select the Gear icon in the upper right corner of your inbox
  • Click or tap “More Settings”.
  • Select “Filters” from the left navigation menu, then click “Add new filters”.
  • In the Add a new filter form, give the filter a name (Friends of Casco Bay Email). Under From, leave “contains” and enter @cascobay.org. Make sure “Match case” is not checked. Select “Save” twice to activate the new filter.
  • The filter now appears in the list of filters in the Filters window.
  • To see screenshots, see this article: https://www.lifewire.com/set-up-filter-yahoo-mail-1167129

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Outlook

  • Go to the Home tab in Outlook.
  • Look for the “Junk” icon and click it.
  • Then select “Junk Email Options”.
  • In the Junk Email Options dialog box, go to the Safe Senders tab.
  • Click “Add”.
  • In the Add address or domain dialog box, enter @cascobay.org.
  • Click “OK”.
  • The email address or domain appears in the Safe Senders List.
  • Click “OK”.
  • To see screenshots, see this article: https://www.lifewire.com/add-address-domain-safe-senders-outlook-1173760

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Comcast

  • Select the gear icon in the upper right corner and click or tap “Settings”.
  • Click “Filter Rules”, under Mail in the left navigation pane, then the “Add New Rule” button.
  • Make the Rule Name “Friends of Casco Bay Email”. Select “Add condition” and choose “Sender/From”.
  • In the Contains field, type @cascobay.org.
  • Select the “Add action link” then “Keep”. Save the new rule.
  • Once you are done, you’ll see your new filter show up under Mail Filter Rules in Xfinity Mail settings.

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use iOS Devices – iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

  • While you have this email selected, click keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org in the header of this email
  • Add to either a new contact or an existing contact.

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Android devices and do not use Gmail

  • While you have this message selected, click the picture, our Friends of Casco Bay Logo, in the header of this email
  • Look to add to your contacts. It may be an icon of a person with a + next to it.
  • Complete all the steps to add the contact.

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use Apple Mail

How to add us to your safe senders’ list if you use AOL Mail

  • Click Contacts in the right toolbar
  • Click “Add Contact”.
  • Enter keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org and additional information if you wish
  • Click “Add Contact” button in the popup to finish

30 years of success protecting the Bay

We were delighted to have more than 80 Friends of the Bay join us for our 30th Anniversary Members Annual Meeting on June 16. As Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell said during the event, we only wish we could have held it in person.

If you missed the event — or if you want to re-watch your favorite parts — we are providing you with links to the following videos:

In this 8 minute video, the Casco Bay region’s Congressional Delegation, including Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, share reflections on what 30 years of Friends of Casco Bay means to them and to our community.

In this 8 minute video, Cathy describes how our work to protect the health of the Bay continues. We may be socially distant from one another right now, but we remain connected to the Bay. Hear how our work continues.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, in this video Cathy shares our plans over the next decade and beyond to help our community address looming threats, and she announces the formation of the Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund for Technology, Science, and Community Engagement.

During the Annual Meeting portion of the event, Steve Bushey and Mark Green were elected to their first terms to the Board of Directors, Malcolm Poole was re-elected to his second term, and Joan Benoit Samuelson and Tollef Olson were elected to their third terms. You can find the complete list of our Board of Directors here.

Stay tuned. Soon we will announce how you can take part in our second 30th anniversary event, which will be held in late July.

Thank you for your support over the past 30 years and for joining us on our voyage toward a healthier, more protected Bay in the decades to come.

Group Community Service Projects Suspended

Following Center for Disease Control guidance, we have suspended organizing in-person community service activities for the time being. We will update this webpage when we are able to resume such activities.

There are two ways you can continue to volunteer your time to help Casco Bay: have your own mini socially distanced Coastal Cleanup and use Water Reporter. Information on Water Reporter can be found here. Keep reading for information on cleanups.

Individuals and families: While it is critical at this time to follow stay-at-home guidelines, if you find yourself headed out for a walk, grab a trash bag, some gloves, and your face mask, and bring home a bag of trash to add to your curbside collection.

Groups: We can provide some guidance on how you can run your own socially distanced event.

It is important to follow all of our “normal” coastal cleanup guidelines, which can be found here.

During this time, there are extra precautions that must be taken: 

  • Make sure you are following all of Governor Mills’s orders and guidance, as well as Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, and National Center for Disease Control guidance.
    • Stay home if you feel ill.
    • Stay 6 feet away from other people.
    • Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where maintaining physical distancing is difficult.
    • Wash your hands often, and for at least 20 seconds.
    • Cover all coughs and sneezes.
  • Supplies:
    • We are not distributing supplies at this time. Please note, this differs from the information in our How to Guide.
    • Gloves are essential.
    • Kitchen tongs that you use only for cleanups (grabber/reacher tools are even better), necessary for picking up broken glass or other concerning waste.
    • Broken glass or anything with sharp edges should be placed in a bag, then in a bottle or box, and labeled as sharp before being tossed. 
  • Be careful with anything that could be a biohazard. Depending on the location, we sometimes find a lot of sharps/needles. If you happen to find them, report their location to the local police for pickup. Same with anything else of concern. 
  • Use the Clean Swell app to track what you find: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/cleanswell/.
  • If you find something too large to remove, let us know at volunteer [at] cascobay [dot] org or better yet, for those who use Water Reporter, let us know using that app. You can also use Water Reporter to post an image of trash you collected, or something of special concern that you find during your cleanup.


Thank you for caring about Casco Bay. 

Join us in looking back and looking ahead

This year, Friends of Casco Bay is celebrating its 30th anniversary–and you can join us in observing this occasion in two ways.

First, be sure you are registered for our 30th Anniversary Members Annual Meeting, which will be held online next Tuesday, June 16, from 5 to 6 p.m [more information about the event is below]. 




Second, take a stroll down memory lane by checking out this timeline that highlights our biggest victories as well as some of the most significant moments of Friends of Casco Bay’s history over the past three decades. We hope that you find our 30-year timeline as inspiring as we do. Your support, and the support of our volunteers, donors, and community members have made all these accomplishments possible. 

More information about Friends of Casco Bay’s 30th Anniversary Members Annual Meeting

When: Tuesday, June 16, 5 to 6 pm. While the event will begin at 5 pm, please log on and join us earlier as we gather together online, a little before 5 pm, for a special slideshow celebrating 30 years of protecting the health of Casco Bay.

Where: online using Zoom. You must register to take part in the event. Click here to register.

Who should attend: You! Our Annual Meeting is open to the entire community: our members, volunteers, supporters, professional colleagues, and all who love Casco Bay!

Thirty years ago, a small group of concerned citizens formed Friends of Casco Bay after a report identified the Bay as one of the most polluted regions in the nation. Since then, we have used a science-based, community-oriented approach to improve the health of our coastal waters. Our work goes on. And we don’t do this work alone – thank you for your input and support. We look forward to seeing you online on June 16.