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Reporting sheens, colors, and foams on the Bay

Last week, Water Reporters connected with regional experts in an illuminating and informative discussion about identifying threats to the health of Casco Bay: Do I report this? When to report sheens, colors, or foams.

We were joined by Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca and two guest experts: William Whitmore from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Bryant Lewis from Maine Department of Marine Resources. Together, they shared with us how to identify oil spills and algal blooms that we may observe on Casco Bay.

Here is a recording of the event for those of you who were unable to attend or are interested in revisiting the discussion.


If you don’t have time to watch the full event here are some key moments you may want to check out:

In this two minute clip, Willie reviews the steps for identifying an oil spill. He encourages us to use our eyes and our noses to answer two key questions: Is there a source? And Does it smell?

Bryant shares that Casco Bay is a regional hotspot for Harmful Algal Blooms. These blooms produce toxins that can poison sea life like shellfish, and, in turn, harm humans who eat contaminated seafood. Harmful Algal Blooms are caused by only a few of the many species of algae that live and bloom in Casco Bay.

Karenia mikimotoi is a species of brown-colored algae that creates harmful algal blooms in Casco Bay. Smaller blooms are often found along the shore with a wispy texture. Larger blooms can cover an entire cove or section of the Bay!

This training event was organized following requests from Water Reporters for more information to help identify oil spills, sheens, algal blooms, and other threats to the health of Casco Bay. If you have ideas for other topics we should discuss at future training events please do not hesitate to reach out!

Thank you for dedicating your time to improving and protecting the health of Casco Bay.