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35th Anniversary logo for Friends of Casco Bay

Water Reporter

Water Reporter — Be the eyes of the Bay

We just launched a brand new Water Reporter app! 

Ready to join as a volunteer Water Reporter or set up the new app? Start by filling out an updated volunteer waiver form. This ensures you will receive Water Reporter notices and invitations to events.

 

After you complete the waiver, it is time to set up the app. Watch this four minute video How to download Water Reporter.

Click here for more details about getting started.

Having trouble? Reach out to Community Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator Sara Freshley at 207-807-0785 of sfreshley [at] cascobay [dot] org.

Thank you for caring about Casco Bay!

As an organization guided by science, we know the importance of careful observation. Identifying sources of pollution, tracking algal blooms, observing changing habitats, and recording wildlife sightings help us answer the questions:

How healthy is Casco Bay? How is Casco Bay changing?

With 200 square miles of water and 578 miles of coastline, Casco Bay is large and our staff cannot be everywhere at once. That is why we rely on our community of Water Reporters to collect observational data, helping us to act as the eyes and ears of Casco Bay.
We all hold the responsibility to take care of the health of the Bay. One way you can help is by becoming a volunteer Water Reporter.

Please note: If you see an emergency along the Bay like a stranded or injured animal or person, please contact the appropriate authority. You can find a list of them here.

How it works

Volunteer Water Reporters use their smartphones to photograph algal blooms, coastal erosion, sea level rise, pollution, eelgrass, sightings of coastal and marine wildlife, and other changes they are seeing on and around Casco Bay. Photographs, latitude and longitude data, and observational notes are then shared with other Water Reporters and our staff through the Water Reporter app.
A woman of retirement age holds phone up to photograph something. Ocean water in the background.

Water Reporter is the name of our volunteer program and the smartphone app that we use to post our photos and observations. Water Reporters are the community members participating in the program.

Water Reporters’ documentation has helped to spur emergency responses to pollution and algal blooms, identify impaired streams flowing into the Bay, and document evidence of climate change. Over time, Water Reporters’ contributions are helping us amass a collection of visual data on the health of the Bay and how it may be changing.

If you care about Casco Bay and want to have a meaningful, positive impact on our efforts to advocate for solutions and protect the health of our coastal waters, please join us as a volunteer Water Reporter.

Ways to participate

Our Water Reporter program was launched with versatility in mind, designed to adapt to the capabilities and schedules of our volunteers. In general, there are two ways that Water Reporters participate in the program:

As you see it, on the fly

Many of the most powerful Water Reporter images are captured by volunteers who are simply in the right place at the right time. As Water Reporters are out and about around Casco Bay, they keep an eye out for evidence of rising seas, algal blooms, wildlife, and more. By taking a moment while walking on the beach or paddling in a kayak to snap a timely photo, our Water Reporters can have a big impact on improving the health of Casco Bay.

Site-specific and high-frequency

Our most dedicated Water Reporters often commit to tracking a specific site on Casco Bay and posting at regular intervals. Keeping an eye on a unique location throughout the year helps us better understand how the Bay may be changing. This is also a great reason to spend more time on the Bay. Many Water Reporters share that regular participation has helped them to learn more about coastal ecology and build a deeper relationship with our marine waters.

Questions?

Always feel free to contact Sara Freshley, our Community Organizer and Volunteer Coordinator, for questions you may have about Water Reporter: sfreshley [at] cascobay [dot] org, or text or call (207) 807-0785.

Locations to observe

We are interested in learning of any changes seen anywhere around the Bay. This map serves as a way a way to suggest some location ideas. Please don’t limit your observations to these locations.