Do you want to help keep Casco Bay clean? Volunteer to help out at our public coastal cleanup!
Trash is an unsightly blight that makes it hard for everyone to enjoy a special place like Casco Bay. Litter and marine debris on our shores come from many sources. Careless beach goers, boaters, fishing vessels, and other ships can leave trash behind. Stormwater washes trash from yards and parking lots into storm drains that empty into Casco Bay.
When you volunteer to help us with a cleanup, you are:
Collecting data on the types and size of materials removed
The data is then used locally and internationally for marine debris advocacy efforts
Making our shores cleaner and safer
Ensuring our coast is a place people can go to recreate and relax
Helping protect wildlife
Supporting the local economy as our coast is part of Maine’s brand; it as an ideal tourist attraction that creates a stream of revenue that supports our community
Raffle tickets are $10 each or six tickets for $50. Use the form below to purchase tickets. All proceeds of the raffle support our work to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay. See below for more details about the surf board.
Raffle tickets can be bought through Labor Day, September 2, 2019. Join us on Wednesday, September 4 at 4pm as we draw the winning raffle ticket at Allagash’s tasting room, 50 Industrial Way, Portland. Winner need not be present to win. We will contact you via email if you are the winner.
Dimensions: 8’ x 6” pintail The custom-shaped board features Maine white cedar and accents with wood from Allagash Brewing Curieux barrels. The fin will be made by Neto Shapes and it, too, is made in part from Allagash Curieux barrel wood.
Valued at: $2,500
This specific board was specially made by Grain in conjunction with Allagash Brewing Company and Neto Shapes to support Friends of Casco Bay’s efforts to protect the coastal waters we all love.
Aptly named to represent where Grain began, the Root continues to be one of the company’s most popular boards. This nimble pintail is a performance-style longboard, meaning it is designed with speed generation and maneuverability in mind, while remaining a super fun cruiser of mellow surf. The Root excels in a myriad of conditions, having the speed and control to handle zippier beach breaks or the bigger stuff — plus the volume to catch all the waves you want on a small day. While Grain has grown quite a bit from its roots, this Root remains a dominant classic.
Summer is going swimmingly here at Friends of Casco Bay, and we have a lot of good news to share:
Our priority legislative bill to create a state-level Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Council was incorporated nearly word-for-word into the Governor’s comprehensive Climate Change Council bill. An Act to Promote Clean Energy Jobs and to Establish the Maine Climate Council passed with strong bipartisan support. In recognition of her yeoman’s work on this issue, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca was invited to attend the bill signing by Governor Janet Mills on June 26th.
Our water quality sampling season is well underway, as we continue to add to our long-term dataset at 22 shoreside and deepwater sites around the Bay. You may see Research Associate Mike Doan and Casco Baykeeper Ivy making the rounds by land and by sea every few weeks from April through October.
July 20 marks the third anniversary of the launch of our Continuous Monitoring Station in Yarmouth. Our Monitoring Station is fondly nicknamed the “Cage of Science” because its high-tech sensors are housed inside a transformed lobster trap. The instruments measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, and carbon dioxide.
Together, they collect data once an hour, every hour, year round. At this time of year, Mike has to scrape off a new array of marine hitchhikers whenever he hauls up the Cage of Science to download data.
‘Tis the season to think about what not to put on your lawn! With five workshops behind her, Associate Director Mary Cerullo has scheduled another five BayScaping presentations for August and beyond. She is happy to talk with neighborhood groups about green yards and a blue Bay.
There has been such a demand by community groups to volunteer for coastal cleanups and storm drain stenciling projects that Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman and summer intern Alexis Burns have been very busy. They already have hosted seven events with 106 participants who collected an estimated 238 lbs. of trash and stenciled 238 storm drains!
Our new pumpout boat, Headmaster, was launched on June 10th to pump raw sewage from the marine toilets of recreational boats. Captain Jim Splude, our congenial pumpout boat coordinator, can go about his business more efficiently now with a new boat that has more than twice the holding capacity of the old one.
Our Water Reporter volunteer project is expanding as we hoped and planned. Nearly 40 enthusiastic volunteers attended our Water Reporter training on June 24. Volunteers continue to sign up to keep watch over specific areas of the Bay.
July 10 was the first anniversary of Friends of Casco Bay’s launch of the Water Reporter app. To date, 162 volunteers in this observing network have made more than 500 posts. We call that a great start!
Yesterday was the first anniversary of our launching Friends of Casco Bay’s Water Reporter effort. To date, 162 volunteers have made more than 500 posts. We call that a great start!
A standing-room only crowd of 37 Friends of the Bay gathered in South Portland on June 24th for an informal training on the app. Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman, volunteer Rick Frantz, and summer intern Alexis Burns guided newbies and veterans through the steps to post and comment on what they are seeing on the water.
Sarah explained that using hashtags to identify the type of incident helps organize reports. “If you are having trouble remembering the types of posts we are looking for and the hashtags to use, think WATERS!”
Great questions from the volunteers showed that they already had a good grasp of the Water Reporter app. After Sarah answered questions, she referred people to our website to reinforce her explanations. We recently updated our guide, www.cascobay.org/water-reporter, to include detailed instructions for posting on iPhone or Android device and troubleshooting tips.
After the training, Trish Peterson posted, “The water reporting training we recently received was confidence building for sure. Water reporting is not only interesting, but fun!”
Our summer intern Alexis Burns explained that she is monitoring nusiance algal blooms at three locations in South Portland on a weekly basis: Mill Cove behind Hannaford Supermarket, Pleasantdale Cove off Broadway, and behind Forest Lawn Cemetery on Lincoln Street.
Several people offered to help track nuisance algal blooms at specific locations around the Bay.
Sarah explained that we are connected to a worldwide network through our engagement with the Water Reporter app, developed by a group called Chesapeake Commons. Erin Hofmann, their Data Science and Communications Lead, told us, “Friends of Casco Bay is one our most active groups in terms of members, number of posts, and endurance of ongoing efforts. Some groups get their volunteers to share reports on one issue or event, and then fade away – but the Friends of Casco Bay team has found some really great ways to train volunteers and then keep them active and engaged on the app.”
Water Reporters, this is your reference for using the Water Reporter app. It summarizes the topics covered at the Water Reporter training event held in June 2019. We are so pleased to see how volunteers like you are having an impact by being Water Reporters.
Types of Water Reporter Posts we want to see
There are a variety of posts that are helpful. Using hashtags to identify the type of incident you are reporting helps organize your reports. If you are having trouble remembering the types of posts we are looking for and the hashtags to use, think WATERS!
We have new resources on our Water Reporter webpage. Some sections that may be of interest to you:
See a visual guide to creating a post on an iPhone
Note: This is especially helpful if you are having trouble sharing to our group. It is the least intuitive part of posting on an iPhone and it is an important step of posting. In short, you have to click the group icon and then our logo. A small green dot will appear next to our logo when you have successfully set it to share with our group.
You can help us collect observations on two special issues we are tracking.
Nuisance Algal Blooms (#algae)
At the training, several people offered to help track nuisance algal blooms at specific locations around the Bay. We are still looking for volunteers to cover the following locations on a regular basis:
#sealevelrise is all about capturing photos of extreme high tides and storm surges and their impacts on our coast. Water Reporters are helping us envision what our coastline may look like in the future as sea levels continue to rise:
when there is a King Tide, a predicted extra high tide, or
when we have storm surge.
When these two conditions happen at the same time, we see the greatest impact. You can see more about this on the Water Reporter webpage as well. Click the Sea level rise tab in the Special Water Reporter Posting Types section. The next opportunity to document a King Tide will be during the first few days of August.
Rick Frantz keeps an eye on Casco Bay as he commutes between his home on Great Diamond Island and Andy’s Old Port Pub, the restaurant that he and his wife Jennifer Fox own on the Portland waterfront. When he sees something out of the ordinary, good or bad, he takes a photo using the Water Reporter app on his smartphone. During his work day, Rick may pause to capture images of an extreme high tide flooding the waterfront or trash adrift in the Bay.
Rick was one of the first friends of Casco Bay to start using the app that is building a network of observers to document, organize, and share their posts. Rick is an incredible ambassador for this volunteer effort. He has been recruiting friends and neighbors to join the observing community.
Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman oversees the program. She says, “Water Reporter is transforming how we connect with our volunteers to identify and help us address threats to the Bay, building a community around clean water.”
Currently, 114 Water Reporters are recording their observations on how the Bay may be changing. These observations can be cause for worry or for celebration. One day, Rick posted a photo of a large accumulation of fish scales floating near a wharf. His report, complete with date, time, and location, led to the Department of Environmental Protection halting unpermitted discharges from a fishing vessel.
Another day, Rick noticed a new patch of eelgrass growing off Diamond Cove, a sign of healthy waters. Having a smartphone or camera at the ready encourages volunteers to capture unusual events, like his neighbor’s sighting of nearly 200 cormorants and gulls herding fish onto the shoreline of Great Diamond Island.
A photo is worth a thousand…
In keeping with our focus on climate change, we encourage volunteers to use Water Reporter to monitor sea level rise. King Tides, the highest tides of the year, give us a glimpse of the future. The photos can document current coastal flooding such as submerged streets and eroding beaches. These images help us all visualize what the “new normal” high tides may look like as sea levels continue to rise.
Chesapeake Commons created the Water Reporter app in partnership with Waterkeeper Alliance (of which we are a founding member). Says Erin Hofmann, Data Science and Communications Lead for Chesapeake Commons, “Friends of Casco Bay is one our most active groups in terms of members, number of posts, and ongoing efforts. Water Reporter has been around since 2014. Every winter, posts would slow to a trickle or stop altogether. I couldn’t believe how frequently posts kept rolling in from Maine this winter — bucking our long-held belief that people don’t engage in environmental efforts in the cold months. Leave it to Mainers to get outside, regardless of the weather, to keep the observations flowing!”
The more of us who are keeping watch on the environmental health of the Bay, the better protected our coastal waters can be. Sign up to become part of our observing network or just check on what is being posted at cascobay.org/waterreporter.
Can you think of a better combination than lobster, beer, and the Bay?
On Saturday, May 11, Friends of Casco Bay, Luke’s Lobster, and Allagash Brewing are teaming up to host a community cleanup of Back Cove in Portland from 9 AM to Noon. Afterward, participants are invited to regroup at Portland Pier for a preview of Luke’s Lobster’s new restaurant, set to open on the site this June.
It takes a community to protect our coastal waters. A Coastal cleanup is a great way to work together to take care of our fragile marine environment. Storm Drain Stenciling is a hands‐on way for you to “take to the streets” and create a greater awareness for reducing stormwater pollution.
The litter and marine debris that wind up on our shores come from many sources and we are delighted to work with Luke’s and Allagash to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. Join us by registering below.
Note: The cleanup is limited to 60 participants, so don’t forget to sign up in advance!
9:00 – 9:30 AM: sign in, learn about Friends of Casco Bay and get your cleanup supplies
9:30 – 11:45 AM: Cleanup or Stencil Storm Drains
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM: Wrap up
12:30 – 2:00 PM: After-party with food & drink from Luke’s & Allagash Cleanup participants are encouraged to join us at Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier (60 Portland Pier, Portland)
The Back Cove cleanup is part of a partnership between Luke’s and Allagash to clean up oceans and raise awareness for The Keeper Fund, a charitable initiative founded in 2018 by Luke’s Lobster and the Ocean Foundation. The purpose of The Keeper Fund is to invest in projects that spur environmentally friendly economic initiatives along the coast and keep our oceans and waterways clean. Last year, The Keeper Fund made a contribution to the Island Institute in Rockland to further research on the potential for kelp aquaculture to act as a carbon sink. This year, starting on Earth Day, Luke’s Lobster and Allagash will donate $1 to The Keeper Fund for every Allagash White sold at Luke’s, up to $10,000.To date, The Keeper Fund has donated over $18,000 in grants and in-kind donations to support aquaculture-related research and other coastal projects both within and outside of Maine.
And of course, Friends of Casco Bay has its own Keeper, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca, who works year-round, along with volunteers, staff, and partners, to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay.
This event is limited to 60 participants, and we have reached that limit. Please consider signing up as a volunteer here: https://www.cascobay.org/about-us/volunteer.
We are looking for a dynamic name for the newest member of our Baykeeper fleet. We invite you to suggest a name (or two or three or more!) using the form below.
After nearly a quarter century of service, we are replacing our old pumpout boat, Wanda [AKA Baykeeper II].
This spring, we will take possession of the new 26-foot pumpout boat, built by Marine Boat Builders, Inc. of Warwick, Rhode Island. This boat has a 650-gallon holding tank (more than twice our old boat’s capacity), all the latest navigational equipment, and two 250HP outboards.
Please suggest a name that we would be proud to display on our boat and is fitting for this beautiful Bay. Your suggestions should be fun or inspiring — or both! Clever is good, crass is not. If your suggestion is chosen, you will be our guest of honor at our pumpout boat launch party, win a ride on our Baykeeper Boat, R/V Joseph E. Payne, with senior staff from Friends of Casco Bay, and get some cool swag. The name will be chosen by Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell with a committee of our Board of Directors.
The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., Monday, April 15.
Since Friends of Casco Bay launched its Pumpout Program in 1995, our old pumpout boat has kept over 200,000 gallons of raw sewage out of the Bay. Our Pumpout Coordinator Jim Splude services recreational boats at marinas and docks between South Portland and Freeport, pumping out holding tanks and transferring the wastewater to shoreside disposal.
Our pumpout boat and our advocacy helped encourage local marinas to install their own pumpout stations, setting the stage for Casco Bay to become the first federally-designated No Discharge Area in Maine.The EPA requires that there are adequate pumpout facilities before granting this designation, which prohibits boats from dumping treated or untreated sewage.
Before our pumpout boat was on the scene, many local boaters did not have access to pumpout services. At times, raw sewage could be seen floating at popular anchorages. People would say they got swimmer’s rash from being in the water.
Our new boat will be christened at our official launch party on Monday, June 10th. If you are on our email list, you will be invited to the party!
Thank you to everyone who submitted name ideas for Friends of Casco Bay’s New Pumpout Boat! The contest is closed and we will be choosing a winner in the coming weeks.
Casco Bay needs your help! Please take a few minutes to let legislators know you are concerned about climate change and the health of Casco Bay.
On Tuesday, April 2, at 1 p.m., the Committee on Marine Resources of the Maine Legislature is holding a public hearing on a bill we strongly support: LD 1284, “An Act to Create the Science and Policy Council on the Impact of Climate Change on Maine’s Marine Species.”
The bill will establish a council made up of legislators, scientists, resource harvesters, and other stakeholders, with a mission to evaluate the impacts of climate change on Maine’s marine species and to make statewide policy recommendations.
This bill moves Maine to action on addressing and adapting to climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and other threats to the health of our coastal waters. We believe Maine must act now to protect coastal habitats and marine species.
We ask you to urge the Committee on Marine Resources to vote in favor of LD 1284. Let them know you are concerned about climate change and its impacts on Casco Bay and on all of Maine’s marine resources.
Please email the committee by Tuesday morning, April 2.
Add an subject, being sure to mention that you support LD 1284.
Here are suggested talking points for your email — we strongly recommend that you put these in your own words. Links below provide more information.
Dear Senator Miramant, Representative McCreight, and Members of the Committee on Marine Resources:
I am writing to you to urge you to vote in favor of LD 1284, “An Act to Create the Science and Policy Council on the Impact of Climate Change on Maine’s Marine Species.”
Maine’s coastal waters are changing and changing quickly. Friends of Casco Bay has been tracking water temperatures for over 25 years. On average, the data show a 2.5° F increase in water temperatures since 1993.
About 30% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is being absorbed by the ocean. This is increasing the acidity of our marine waters and reducing the availability of the material (calcium carbonate) that clams, mussels, and other shellfish need to build their shells. Recent data indicate that for nearly half the year, levels of calcium carbonate in Casco Bay are not sufficient for shell-building.
Our marine heritage and economy depend upon healthy coastal waters. The Science and Policy Council that LD 1284 will create will help move Maine forward on addressing and adapting to changes that threaten our marine resources.
Thank you for your time and service to Maine.
–Your name and town you live in
Once you have emailed the committee, please let us know by emailing me back at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be testifying at the hearing on Tuesday, and it would be great to know that we have your support.
Thank you for making your voice heard for Casco Bay!
LD 1284 was proposed by Representative Lydia Blume (York), who is a member of the Committee on Marine Resources. You can read the official language of the bill here.
LD 1284 has been selected by the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a group of 34 environmental organizations, as one of its five priority bills to address climate change in Maine.
As we shared with you at our Casco Bay Matters event, Governor Mills has proposed an all-encompassing Climate Change Council. Her proposal, which will be considered in separate legislation, will likely incorporate the council created by LD 1284 into a subcommittee of her omnibus council. We support the Governor’s plan and want to be sure that there is adequate focus on the marine environment — which is why it is so important that you make your voice heard on this issue.