35th Anniversary logo for Friends of Casco Bay

Notes from the Field: What our water quality volunteers are seeing on the Bay

Athena assisting her grandfather Don Gower with his water quality monitoring.

Our Citizen Stewards sample water quality at 35 stations around the Bay, twice a day, twice a month, throughout the summer. They often report observations about their sites on their data sheets.

  • At the early morning sampling (7 a.m.), volunteers enjoy the quiet, when they can appreciate the wildlife: Catbirds, song sparrows, phoebes, crows, and chickadees are all awake and singing! (Bethel Point, Harpswell)
  • White-throated sparrows, herring gulls, double-crested cormorant, juvenile bald eagle, gray catbird (Gun Point, Harpswell)
  • Schools of small fish; several jellyfish; three quahogs; birds twittering in trees (Upper New Meadows Lake)
  • At the afternoon sampling (3 p.m.), passersby often ask the water quality monitors what they are doing, providing an opportunity to explain how our volunteers help Casco Bay. Many tourists around City dock. Several boats came and went off of City dock while sampling was taking place and 4-5 children were swimming nearby (Peaks Island Public Landing)
  • A comment by Don Gower typifies the observations of our citizen scientists: Sea Gulls, crow, lots of very small jellyfish, and one sea star under the main shoreside dock. Lucy, Rose, and Athena came to give me support and company. A great testing day! (Pinkham Point, Quahog Bay)