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Celebrating the Presumpscot River and the Clean Water Act

Photo provided by Michael Shaughnessy, Friends of the Presumpscot River.

Wednesday, June 29, 5:30-7:00 p.m. – Join Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and our partners at Friends of the Presumpscot River for an evening walk along the “river of many falls.” At the event, we will take a deep dive into the river’s history and discuss the ongoing efforts to upgrade its Clean Water Act classification status. Stay tuned for more details.

The State of the Bay: 50 years of the Clean Water Act and 30+ Years of Advocacy, A Casco Bay Matters Event

Please join us online on Wednesday, May 18, from noon to 1 p.m. for The State of the Bay: 50 years of the Clean Water Act and 30+ Years of Advocacy, A Casco Bay Matters Event.

This event kicks off our year of celebrations honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act and our community’s work to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay.

Our guest speaker, Curtis Bohlen, is an exemplary field scientist and data analyst, and Director of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. Every five years the Partnership gathers data from scientists and researchers around Casco Bay, crunches the numbers, and publishes the State of the Bay Report – a comprehensive overview of conditions in the Casco Bay watershed and how it is changing.

At the event, Curtis will share insights from the State of the Bay Report and reflect on how the Clean Water Act has helped improve the health of Casco Bay. He will be joined by Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Staff Scientist Mike Doan to discuss current challenges the Bay is facing and how the Clean Water Act can help us address them.

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the health of Casco Bay, the Clean Water Act, and other issues facing our coastal waters.

 

Register Now

 

What: The State of the Bay: 50 years of the Clean Water Act and 30+ Years of Advocacy, A Casco Bay Matters Event.

When: Wednesday, May 18, Noon – 1 p.m.

This event will take place via Zoom. You must register to attend. We would love for you to join us.

50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act Celebration

Mark your calendar for our 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act Celebration and Friends of Casco Bay Members Annual Meeting on Wednesday, July 20.

Join us outside and in person to celebrate 50 years of action for clean water. We will share more information soon with those on our email list, which you can join below. We will pivot to an online event should the need arise.

Email Sign Up

Nabbing Nitrogen: A Clean Water Act Day of Action

Join us to Nab Nitrogen in Portland Harbor, on Sunday morning, August 7! You will help us collect water samples around the Harbor to create a snapshot of nitrogen conditions and we need your help.

Picture yourself with 100+ other community members collecting simultaneous water samples on the water and along the shores of greater Portland Harbor, as well as on and around Little Diamond, Cushing, and Peaks Islands. We will scoop water into jars at 9:30 am from beaches, docks, piers, and all kinds of boats, from those we paddle to those we power. The samples we collect will be analyzed for total nitrogen and used to create a map of nitrogen levels. This data helps Friends advocate to reduce nitrogen pollution. 

Email volunteer [at] cascobay [dot] org to let us know you are interested in joining our day of action.

You’re invited to Winds of Change: Offshore Wind and Climate Change, A Casco Bay Matters Event

Offshore wind is a hot topic around Casco Bay and all along Maine’s coast. At the core of this issue are two truths: Maine needs renewable energy, and Maine needs a healthy marine environment.

Dig into the issue of offshore wind and how it may affect Casco Bay by joining Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca as she moderates a panel of guest experts on renewable energy, fisheries, and marine ecosystems in Maine. At the event, we will discuss offshore wind research and Maine’s recommendations* for how wind farms might be developed without harming marine resources. Our guest panelists will be available to answer your questions after their presentations, and we will share how you can make your voice heard on this important issue.

Please join us for this discussion. Your opinion matters.

You must register to join this event.

 

Register for this event

 

What: Winds of Change: Offshore Wind and Climate Change, A Casco Bay Matters Event

When: Wednesday, March 23, Noon to 1 p.m. 

This event will take place via Zoom. We will send you instructions for joining the event after you register.

Our panel of guest experts includes: 

Celina Cunningham, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Energy Office and co-chair of Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap’s Energy Strategy and Markets Working Group

Meredith Mendelson, Deputy Commissioner of Maine Department of Marine Resources and co-chair of Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap’s Fisheries Working Group

Wing Goodale, Senior Science Director at Biodiversity Research Institute and co-chair of Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap’s Environment and Wildlife Working Group

 

*Draft initial recommendations for the development of offshore wind in Maine are a product of a state initiative called the Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap. The Roadmap is informed by an advisory committee that includes renewable energy, fisheries, environment, and wildlife experts. We will provide you with instructions regarding how you can submit comments on the Roadmap’s draft initial recommendations at this stage as they continue to be developed.

What did we see on the Bay this summer?

Last week over 165 Friends of the Bay joined Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and Staff Scientist Mike Doan online at our latest Casco Bay Matters Event: What Casco Bay Is Telling Us.

Here is a recording of the event for those of you who were unable to attend or would like to revisit the conversation.

Every year, Ivy and Mike traverse the Bay by land and boat from May through October, collecting water quality samples and speaking with those who live, work, and play on the water. At last week’s Casco Bay Matters event, Ivy and Mike shared their observations from this past field season, what our data are telling us about the health of the Bay, and what we all need to do moving forward to keep Casco Bay blue.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole recording, here are a few clips of key moments you may find interesting:

CLIP #1: In this 90-second clip, Staff Scientist Mike Doan breaks down what he sees in the salinity data (the saltiness of seawater) from our Continuous Monitoring Station in Yarmouth. This year the Bay was particularly salty and Mike has thoughts as to why.

CLIP #2: What does the construction project surrounding Portland’s Back Cove have to do with the health of Casco BayIn this 2 minute clip, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca explains how the big construction project that you can see from I295 reduces pollution while accounting for the impacts of climate change.

CLIP #3: In this 90-second clip, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca explains how Volunteer Water Reporters are informing our advocacy and helping us track changing conditions seen on Casco Bay.

Want to watch the full 60-minute eventHere it is!

Data from our seasonal sampling program and our three Continuous Monitoring Stations can be viewed at cascobay.org/our-work/science/.

A View from the Hill: The Bay Rests

Friends of Casco Bay Board President Sandy Marsters recently wrote an ode to the Bay in fall, for his regular column with the Portland Phoenix. “There is calm as the Bay breathes with the tides,” writes Sandy, “great inhales and exhales that roll the stones round onshore, polish the sea glass, break in long whispers along the sand.” You can read Sandy’s full column about the beauty of the Bay in autumn, here.

Looking back and looking ahead: leadership at Friends

Dear Friends,

It has already been three weeks since we gathered with 200 Friends of the Bay to celebrate the career, contributions, and retirement of our longtime Executive Director, Cathy Ramdsell. Cathy’s send-off party, held outdoors at Portland Yacht Services’ boatyard, marked our first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic. It was heartwarming and rejuvenating to see so many supporters, partners, and colleagues after so much time apart. Cathy shared it meant the world to her that we could all be together for this watershed moment. You can view photos and revisit that special evening here.

So what’s next?

Friends of Casco Bay’s Board of Directors will officially launch the search for our next Executive Director soon. As Board President Sandy Marsters has said, “We are grateful that Cathy waited for our organization to reach its current state of maturity and stability before moving on to the next phase of her life. Organizationally, we are stronger than ever: our finances are sound, we have a team of interdisciplinary staff producing incredible work, and our visibility is at an all-time high.”

In the meantime, the board has appointed me to serve as Interim Director. Having worked with our exceptional staff, board members, and community since 2006, and knowing our collective passion for Casco Bay, I am honored to serve our organization during this transition.

Here are some examples of the incredible efforts our staff and volunteers have pursued over the past few weeks.

While we were organizing Cathy’s retirement party, we were also responding to an oil spill at Willard Beach in South Portland. The beach was closed for three days as state, local, and private cleanup teams removed 2,000 pounds of contaminated material. Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca toured the beach soon after the spill was reported. You can read about Ivy’s experience at the cleanup here.

The spill was a stark reminder that protecting the health of the Bay requires vigilance.

This is why we are delighted to have more than 375 volunteer Water Reporters helping us keep watch over Casco Bay. Some Water Reporters recently took a field trip with Ivy and Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman to the Mere Point Boat Launch to share how they all could be better stewards. If you volunteer your time as a Water Reporter, thank you. If you want to join this observing network, we would love to have you aboard. You can learn more here.

As autumn begins, we are concluding our first summer with three Continuous Monitoring Stations in the water, gathering data every hour on a changing Casco Bay. These data have already begun to offer new insights about our waters. The data is used in our efforts to reduce pollution and help our communities be more resilient to the effects of climate change. To learn about these insights and what else Ivy and Staff Scientist Mike Doan observed this field season, keep an eye out for our next Casco Bay Matters event.

September is coastal cleanup month. Our community members are taking to our coast to pick up trash and litter. In the process they are helping to protect wildlife, collect data for marine debris research and advocacy efforts, and keeping our shores cleaner and safer. Click here for ways you can join them.

Your support means more to us than ever. We look forward to keeping you updated about our search for new leadership and about our work ahead. Thank you for caring about the health of Casco Bay.

With appreciation,

Will Everitt
Interim Director
Friends of Casco Bay

Photos by: Kevin Morris, Ivy Frignoca, and Glenn Michaels

Mike deploys our Portland Harbor Continuous Monitoring Station

Celebrating Data and New Stations

 

Last month we celebrated the launch of our new Continuous Monitoring Stations by taking a first look at the data they are collecting in Casco Bay.

Staff Scientist Mike Doan walked us through preliminary data on temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll, and carbon dioxide from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations. These detailed data sets reveal similarities and differences in water quality across the Bay and can show the influence of local conditions and weather events. After sharing these new data with us, Mike was joined by Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca to discuss how we are using science to fuel our advocacy and protect the health of Casco Bay.

Here is a recording of the event for those of you who were unable to attend or would like to revisit the conversation. If you don’t have time to watch the whole recording, here are a few clips of key moments you may find interesting:

Here’s a video of all three of our Continuous Monitoring Stations splashing down, ready to collect data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 

After our Yarmouth station was launched in 2016, we realized we needed additional stations to fully grasp changing conditions across the Bay. In this 2 minute clip, Mike shares why it is important to have three stations and explains why we located our new stations in Harpswell and Portland Harbor. 

 

In this 7 minute clip, Mike shares preliminary data from all three Continuous Monitoring Stations. While years of data will be required to assess trends and the impacts of climate change, these first three weeks of data highlight the influence of weather events and the variability in conditions across the Bay.

 

In this 2 minute clip, Ivy concludes our event with her response to a critical question about our Continuous Monitoring Stations: How important are these stations to combating climate change and keeping the Bay healthy?

 

Data from our three Continuous Monitoring Stations can be viewed at www.cascobay.org/our-work/science/continuous-monitoring-stations/.

You’re invited to our Members Annual Meeting

Friends of Casco Bay will be hosting the Members Annual Meeting on Tuesday July 20, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

We will celebrate our collective victories for Casco Bay over the past year, vote on term renewals for some members of the Board of Directors, and together consider the work ahead as we continue our efforts to protect the health of our coastal waters. We will share details about an in-person event we are planning in August — our first in-person event in more than 19 months.

Register Now

What: Friends of Casco Bay 2021 Members Annual Meeting

When: Tuesday, July 20, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: This will be an online event. You must register to attend.

Materials for the event:

990 Friends of Casco Bay
Financial Statements
Annual Report
Our Financial Information
2020 Annual Meeting Minutes

Thank you for caring about Casco Bay!