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Category: Baykeeper Speaker Series

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Contact Mary Cerullo: mcerullo [at] cascobay [dot] org or (207) 799-8574. Topics include:

The Health of Casco Bay: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Friends of Casco Bay works year-round on threats to clean water, such as sewage overflows, oil spills, and ocean acidification, as well as green slime, red tides, and dead zones triggered by nitrogen pollution from fertilizers and stormwater runoff. Get an update on the health of our coastal waters and learn how Casco Bay is changing.


Save the Steamers! How coastal acidification is killing our clams

Why are shellfish disappearing in parts of Casco Bay where they were once plentiful? Some clam flats are becoming more acidic, clammers can no longer find clams in traditional harvesting areas, and aquaculturists are seeing seed clams dissolve. What’s up with that?


Casco Bay Begins in Your Backyard: How to have a green yard and a blue bay

After finding pesticides and fertilizers flowing into the Bay, Friends of Casco Bay launched BayScaping, a lawn care program that doesn’t rely on toxic chemicals. Find out why our ocean-based organization is working with neighboring communities to limit or stop their use of pesticides and fertilizers on land.


Fighting Plastic Pollution

Most of are aware that plastic products can harm seabirds, dolphins, whales, and sea turtles, when they mistake plastic bags for food or become entangled in fishing gear. Now people are learning that the smallest form of plastics—microbeads—are having an unexpected impact. Microbeads can be found in shaving cream, facial scrubs, and cosmetics. They are so tiny that when they wash down the drain, they can go right through our wastewater treatment plants and into streams and rivers, and end up in our coastal waters. Microbeads absorb toxic chemicals and are ingested by shellfish, causing a health risk to humans. What can be done to stop plastic pollution? Lots!


Nabbing Nitrogen: Help Us Test the Health of the Bay

If you’d like to be a citizen scientist for a day, join us for an hour on the morning of Sunday, July 10, 2016. We plan to mobilize volunteers to help us learn more about nitrogen levels in Casco Bay. Volunteers will collect water samples at sites around Portland Harbor and bring them to designated collection sites to be sent to a lab for analysis. We will use this day of action—and the results—to educate people about Nitrogen Pollution, help the Maine Department of Environmental Protection collect valuable data, and shine the public spotlight on an issue too few understand. Find out how you can help!


Cover photo by: Dennis Welsh

What Is Our Coastal Future?

Photo by Jeff Ryan

While Casco Bay is still a thriving ecosystem, it is changing, and more rapidly than we might expect. In some years, lobster populations appear to be moving inshore and molting earlier.

Soft-shell clams, Maine’s third largest fishery (after lobsters and elvers), face an uncertain future. As both the waters and the mudflats of Maine become more acidic, our valuable marine resources find themselves in an increasingly inhospitable environment. Friends of Casco Bay has confirmed that coastal acidification is altering the very mud in which juvenile clams, mussels, and oysters are attempting to establish a foothold.

Clammers say that green crabs are overrunning our clam flats, devouring juvenile clams, and devastating many formerly productive clam flats in Casco Bay and beyond. Green crabs from Europe invaded our coastal waters in the early 1900s. Now, a species of green crab from Scandinavia is beginning to show up in Maine waters, probably well equipped to adapt to our cold winters.

In the mid-1990s, Casco Bay had approximately 8,700 acres of eelgrass beds, the largest and densest concentration of eelgrass along the entire coast of Maine. A 2013 aerial survey of Casco Bay, initiated by Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and Maine Department of Environmental Protection, found only about 3,700 acres, a nearly 60% decline in eelgrass beds since 2001, primarily in the embayments of Maquoit and Middle bays.

What does this mean for those of us who live, work, and play around the Bay? We have a lot of work to do. Fortunately, unlike some environmental problems, there are many things each of us can do to tackle threats to the health of Casco Bay.

Learn more about our coastal future by watching these presentations from our Casco Bay Is at Risk event which took place on September 24, 2014.

Read the next section of the report You Can Make a Difference in the Health of Casco Bay