Joe Payne announces his retirement

Posted on Dec 4, 2014

photo by Dennis Welsh

photo by Dennis Welsh

Casco Bay runs in my veins. I was introduced to the Bay in utero as my mother traveled between Peaks Island and mainland Portland. Having been raised on the island, the natural wonders of the Bay were my playground. I would go on to study marine biology and dedicate my professional career to understanding the dynamics of our coastal waters.

My love of Casco Bay makes what I am about to share with you hard to say. After nearly 24 years of working to protect this amazing place, as of early January 2015 I will be retiring as Friends of Casco Bay’s Casco Baykeeper. I want to spend more time with “the Keeper of the Keeper,” my wonderful wife Kim, and I’d like to spend enough time on my other interests to call them hobbies.

Protecting the Bay has been about the work, but more than that it’s been about the people I have met along the way. I want to thank you for helping make my job the best one in the world. When I started here, I was the first staff person. Twenty-four years ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into. What I found out was that there are plenty of us who care about this community and want to do our part to ensure that the Bay is passed on to the next generation better than we found it.

By working together, we as a community have built a strong organization dedicated to protecting the health of our waters. Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, and staff, I can say that our waters are healthier and better protected than they were two and a half decades ago. Unfortunately the job isn’t done—there are problems that are going to take all of our work and support to solve.

A debt of gratitude goes out to the amazing staff of Friends of Casco Bay: Peter, Mary, Cathy, Mike, Will, Jeff, Sarah, Jim, and Sara. They are all great. It’s been a privilege to work with such top-notch people. They are all knowledgeable about their work, passionate about the Bay, and fun to be around.

As I enter retirement (wow, what a strange feeling I have just thinking those words), the Board of Friends of Casco Bay is going to bestow on me the title “Casco Baykeeper Emeritus.” I look forward to working with—in a volunteer capacity—the next Baykeeper, whomever he or she may be. You can rest assured that Friends of Casco Bay will conduct an exhaustive search to find the right person who will pick up my oar and keep rowing toward a healthier and more protected Casco Bay.
Thank you for caring about the health of our coastal waters.


Joe Payne
Casco Baykeeper


Friends of Casco Bay invites you to help us celebrate all Joe has done for Casco Bay.

Here are two ways you can honor Joe’s legacy and show your support for all he has done:

  • Make a donation to the Emeritus Fund, which is being created in his honor. This fund will be used to strengthen our advocacy efforts on behalf of the health of Casco Bay. Your donation will be a tribute to Joe’s legacy as our chief advocate and the seventh Waterkeeper in the world working to protect the health of our coastal waters. Donate here:
  • Join us at a public celebration of Joe on Wednesday, January 21 (5-8 p.m.), at DiMillo’s Restaurant, 25 Long Wharf, Commercial Street, Portland. We invite you to gather with us to wish Joe a happy and healthy retirement as we thank him for his efforts over the years. Learn more about the event here:

One Comment

  1. The Bay will forever be a better place because of the work you’ve committed to and compelled others to support. Thank you and congratulations as you embark on this new beginning! See you on the Bay.