The Good, the Bad and the Underwater

Posted on Jun 14, 2013

Friends of Casco Bay has been collecting water quality data on Casco Bay for over 20 years, which has revealed some surprising information about the Bay’s environmental health and how it’s changed. Here are our nominations for “Best and Worst” lists for characteristics within Casco Bay.

  • Coldest beach in Casco Bay: Willard Beach, South Portland 
  • Best predictor of the future Casco Bay: New Meadows Lake

If you like the challenged waters of the mid-Atlantic region—warm, murky, low  dissolved oxygen—you can find our own little piece of Chesapeake Bay in the  dammed outflow of the New Meadows River, between Brunswick and West Bath

  • Highest quality of water in Casco Bay, as officially designated by the State of Maine: Halfway Rock and The Basin, West Bath
  • Happiest place for tidepool animals: The Punch Bowl, Jewell Island
  • Best nursery area for Casco Bay-bies: the dense eelgrass beds between Flying Point and Maquoit Bay


Trends we have deduced from our water quality monitoring:

sad face     Since 1993, on average, the annual water temperature has been rising by .1 degrees Celsius (.18 degrees Fahrenheit) each year.

sad face     The pH of the bottom layer of water at our 3 most consistently sampled sites (Broad Sound, near the Falmouth anchorage, and Fort Gorges in Portland Harbor) has steadily become more acidic over the past ten years.

happy face

Levels of life-giving dissolved oxygen in Casco Bay are healthier for fish and other marine life when compared to other northeastern estuaries.