Media Center

Deepwater Horizon Anniversary Press Conference

At a press conference on April 20th marking the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne spoke about how an oil spill here would decimate the fishing industry and ripple through the entire economy. He cautioned, “We can’t legislate safety. The majority of oil spills (including the Julie N in 1996) are caused by human error. One solution: we can all use less oil.”


Friends of Casco Bay board member Dr. John Wise, Director of the Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology at USM, spoke about his research this summer on the effect of oil dispersants on the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts of oil dispersants up to this time “are completely unknown. We turned the Gulf into the world’s largest marine toxicology experiment.” He noted, “The oil is still there in the water column and still poisoning the marine life. Preliminary data shows that oil-related pollutants are in the tissues of animals we studied.”


The press conference was organized by Ben Hayman of Oceana Maine. Other speakers were Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Dr. Habib Dagher of the University of Maine, an expert on offshore wind energy, and Ted Koffman, Executive Director of Maine Audubon.

Quality QAPP by Friends of Casco Bay

SOUTH PORTLAND–It may not be fascinating reading for anyone but a quality control wonk, but last week, Friends of Casco Bay received word that its Quality Assurance Project Plan—QAPP for short—was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that all the data collected by staff scientists and nearly 100 volunteer water quality monitors can be used with confidence by regulators at EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as well as by scientists at universities and oceanographic institutions. This comprehensive data on water temperature, clarity, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, and salinity can be used to make policy decisions, increase protection of state and federal coastal waters, and further scientific research.


“It’s a big deal,” says Friends of Casco Bay’s Citizen Stewards Coordinator, Peter Milholland. “This EPA ‘seal of approval’ recognizes that our volunteer citizen scientists collect reliable data. They do the work that state or federal agencies would have to pay for by adding personnel or by hiring outside contractors. Because of this EPA certification, the data that staff and volunteers collect can be used to upgrade state-designated water quality classifications, identify the most environmentally challenged areas of the Bay, and help reopen clam flats to harvesting.


Friends of Casco Bay received EPA approval for its first Quality Assurance Project Plan in 1992, and every five years, it must submit a revision that documents its water quality sampling process, training and recertification procedures, and archiving of the information in a database. Peter has shared the document with more than a dozen other environmental monitoring groups to use as a model for writing their own QAPP.


After reviewing Friends of Casco Bay’s 70-page document, Art Clark, Quality Assurance Officer at EPA Region I, summed up his recommendations with a simple, “Keep up the good work!”


A Toast to “Friends”

When Allagash Brewing announces the release of a limited-edition specialty brew, beer lovers often line up outside the brewery the night before in order to be at the front of the line when the beer goes on sale the next morning. They needn’t have bothered, had they been at Bayside Bowl in Portland on April 4th, when Friends of Casco Bay staff, board, and friends were on hand to sample a new Allagash brew called Vrienden (Flemish for Friends) and receive a donation $7,500 from the brewer. In addition, Bayside Bowl is donating 5% of its proceeds for the day to the environmental organization.


Allagash teamed up with New Belgian Brewing in Colorado to brew a “collaboration” beer, using similar recipes. The Maine version incorporated dandelion greens and local elderberries. They decided to call it Vrienden to celebrate the friendship that had evolved between the two Belgian-inspired breweries. Both brewers donated a portion of the profits to support the work of their local Waterkeeper groups.


PPH, 2/9/11:Snow removal: Maine towns want more power over those piles

A proposal would let municipalities dump snow anywhere they want, including into waterways.

“…Environmental groups say there is no question that snow dumps pollute and they need regulation.


Joe Payne, baykeeper for the Friends of Casco Bay, said snow is dirty even before it hits the ground because it collects pollutants from the air as it falls. On the ground, it mixes with oil, dirt, road salt, litter and other material on the roads.


“There are plenty of studies that show how polluted snow is. You dump it into the water and the pollutants go into the mud. It is one thing that is preventable,” Payne said….”



Society Notebook: Rooting for green bay

The Friends of Casco Bay group gathers to celebrate successes and thank its volunteers.

photo by Avery Yale Kamilla, Portland Press Herald


Casco BAYKEEPER Joe Payne’s Interview on WCSH6’s “207”



MPBN, 12/09/10: New Gulf of Maine Restoration Plan Carries Hefty Price Tag– A coalition of environmental groups and government agencies today unveiled what they’re describing as a “road map” to restore the Gulf of Maine over the next 20 years . . .


Click here for Full Story





Press Herald, 07/05/10: When pumping out boats’ toilets on Casco Bay, beware of the geysers– Maine at work: Jim Splude spends his days on the water, enjoying the view of Portland, and deterring those that might dump

By Ray Routhier

Click here for Full Article


Gulf Coast Spill Victims Travel to Maine, join Casco Baykeeper to talk about the need to reduce our dependency on oil


Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne was one of five local people invited to join community representatives from across the Gulf Coast at a press conference in Portland on July 14th to discuss the economic, social, personal, and community effects of the devastating oil spill and what a similar catastrophe would mean to the Maine coast. The press conference was organized by Repower Maine and the Maine Federal Climate Coalition, as a way to highlight the need for prompt action to invest in clean energy and reduce our dependence on oil.


Portland Daily Sun Article

MPBN Story

WCSH 6 Story


Scarborough Leader, 05/14/10:

Baykeeper plays support role in Gulf oil spill cleanup — “When Joe Payne and Matt Quinn participated in a mock oil spill two months ago, they never expected the skills they learned would be needed so soon for the real thing – an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the April 20 explosion of an offshore oil rig…

Portland Daily Sun, 05/04/10:Local Waterkeeper active in Gulf Spill

Modern Woodmen Aids Casco Bay

A $1,000 matching challenge from Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial snowballed into $4,055 to support Friends of Casco Bay’s educational outreach projects. We presented Modern Woodmen’s challenge to our members and volunteers at our Annual Meeting this fall, resulting in donations totaling $1,555. Modern Woodmen matched this amount and added $500 to its original pledge. A longtime supporter who had offered to make up any shortfall to the challenge, added another $1,000 to her annual gift to bring the total to over $4,000 — funding we may not have seen without Modern Woodmen’s generous matching challenge.

(Pictured, left to right: Ted Heidrich, Regional Director of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial; Cathy Ramsdell, Friends of Casco Bay Executive Director, Will Everitt, former Friends of Casco Bay Development Director)


Oil Spill Penalties To Benefit Casco Bay

Prosecution of illegal oil discharges by a shipping company that polluted the waters off Portland, Maine and elsewhere resulted in an unexpected bounty for the ocean. The community service payments ordered as part of the criminal penalty provided nearly two million dollars to support conservation efforts by 14 Maine groups, including Friends of Casco Bay.


On September 22, U.S. Coast Guard Captain James McPherson and U.S. Attorney for Maine Paula Silsby congratulated Friends of Casco Bay Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell and (former) Development Director Will Everitt (above, right and far right) for their winning grant proposal to use $34,000 of the settlement funds to support our marine outreach and education work.

Past Press Releases

Please click on the following links to read past press releases and news stories:


RBC Grant Supports Scientific Research on Casco Bay


Portland Harbor Prepares for Potential OIl Spill


Friends of Casco Bay on Aqua Kids TV Show


Waterkeeper Alliance Launches “The Dirty Lie” Campaign


Joe Payne Wins L.L.Bean Outdoor Hero Award


Polluted Snow Can Degrade the Bay


A Tire(less) Friend of Casco Bay


Gary Fish Wins Friend of Casco Bay Award


Wild & Scenic Film Festival Comes to Portland


Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne Wins L.L. Bean Outdoor Hero Award


Maine Instant Lottery Funds Pollution Prevention


Coastal Clean Up


Friends of Casco Bay is awarded the second annual “Minding the Planet” Grant from the YSI Foundation


Friends of Casco Bay/Casco BAYKEEPER® invites former Chief Policy Advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak to on the 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act


Community Volunteers Elected to Lead Friends of Casco Bay


For 15 years, Citizen Scientists Have Helped Protect Casco Bay


Jane’s Trust Gift Helps Friends of Casco Bay Mature


Casco Bay Nutrient Pollution Bill


Back Cove Clean Up