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We are water, we are the Bay

Dear Friends of Casco Bay,

Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless read his poem, “For Casco Bay, for Us,” for the first time to a live crowd at former Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell’s retirement party in August. The poem has been echoing in my ear since then.

Internationally-renowned Gulf of Maine poet Gary Lawless wrote this poem in honor of Friends of Casco Bay’s 30th Anniversary.

Gary reminds us that we are a part of the environment, a part of this watershed. We find a deeper connection to our true selves, to each other, and to the natural world, just by being near our coastal waters.

The ongoing pandemic has encouraged all of us to be outside, bringing more people than ever to the shores and surf of Casco Bay. As more of us look to the water for strength and solace, we must remember our relationship with the water works both ways. To quote Gary again, “What happens to water happens to us.”

With more of us on and by the Bay our collective impact on its heath grows, where our actions as a community are inextricable from the health of the Bay. As individuals we can help ensure our shores stay free of debris, speak with our families, neighbors, and community leaders about the importance of clean marine water, and join Friends’ ever-growing network of volunteer Water Reporters who help us to keep an eye on all corners of Casco Bay. Together, we can continue to improve our laws and infrastructure in order to reduce pollution, sewage overflows, and other threats to the coastal waters that sustain us.

Yet as we all know the future of the Bay’s health is influenced by more than just the communities in the watershed. As a state and country, we must work together to address the impacts of climate change. Scientists around the world have reached the undeniable consensus that we are at a tipping point. If we are to meet the moment, our laws will need to become forward looking. The sea level rise legislation passed by the Maine Legislature and signed by the governor this spring (L.D. 1572) provides a perfect example, as it incorporates scientists’ projections for rising seas into our coastal land use and zoning laws. In addition to changing our laws, we must change our energy economy to reach a renewable future. Along the way our work for clean marine water remains paramount. A healthy Bay is a resilient Bay; our waters need to withstand the changes to come.

As daunting as climate change is, a buoyant sense of hope arises when we look at all we have achieved for Casco Bay over the past 32 years. We have made Casco Bay one of the most protected water bodies in the nation by using our community-oriented approach to advocacy that is guided by science and grounded in common decency. Our community of Friends continues to grow, thanks to you, our 280 volunteers and 2,500 donors, and counting. Among our staff, we have over 80 years of experience in improving the health of the Bay, and our Board of Directors has brought on talented and imaginative leaders to join our work. Together, we are prepared to chart a course through any seas that may lie ahead.

Thank you for caring about Casco Bay,

Will Everitt
Interim Director

 

Top 10 stories of 2019

Let’s walk down Memory Lane together to recall our most popular stories of the year, based on your visits to our website and our social media interactions which reached a huge crowd with the help of experts from https://www.fanexplosion.de/produkt/tiktok-likes-kaufen/ who needs a very good appreciation in this post:

  • You answered the call when Casco Bay needed your voice
    We asked our supporters to let legislators know they are concerned about climate change and the health of Casco Bay. You urged the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources to support a bill to create a Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Commission. Your voices were heard as our bill was incorporated into the Governor’s comprehensive climate change bill, An Act to Promote Clean Energy Jobs and to Establish the Maine Climate Council, which was passed with strong bipartisan support.
  • Maine takes a BIG step forward to address climate change
    Friends of Casco Bay fervently supported Governor Mills’ bill to establish the Maine Climate Council because it focuses on the root causes of climate change and recognizes that we must act now to remediate and adapt to inevitable change. Our Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca has been appointed to the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Climate Council.
  • Casco Bay Temperature Extremes
    Research Associate Mike Doan is often asked, “What were the highest and the lowest water temperatures this year?” Thanks to our Continuous Monitoring Station, Mike is able to share those data with confidence. He can tell you what water conditions in the Bay are on an hourly, daily, weekly, seasonal, or yearly basis in far more detail than ever before.
  • Our new pumpout boat is taking care of business
    On June 10, more than 100 friends cheered the christening and launch of Headmaster, the new pumpout boat specially built for Friends of Casco Bay. It transports raw sewage from the holding tanks of recreational boats to shoreside treatment. The name Headmaster is a play on the word for a marine toilet — “head” — and gives a nod to the educational and ambassadorial role of the pumpout service.
  • Have you seen this fin?
    It’s not a shark! Several boaters on the Bay encountered Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, this summer. Its bulbous body is not designed for speed, but it can plunge down hundreds of feet in search of its favorite food: jellyfish. It then floats on its side at the ocean surface to warm up after its chilly dive.
  • Casco Bay Matters
    In March and April, 380 people attended our first-ever Casco Bay Matters series, held at three venues around the Bay. They heard Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca, Research Associate Mike Doan, and Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell speak on Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and You in Portland, South Portland, and Brunswick. By the last presentation, in Brunswick, it was standing room only. If you missed our Casco Bay Matters presentations, you can see the series of three videos on our YouTube channel.
  • BEE a BayScaper!
    We were proud to see a BayScaper sign on the lawn of Friends of Casco Bay’s volunteer Jane Benesch. Her South Portland yard is bedecked with flower beds, vegetable patches, and wood chip-lined paths — and just a little turf. Her yard attracts butterflies and bees — and neighbors who stop to admire her winged visitors.
  • Hosting so many service days with local companies this year is great for Casco Bay.
    Friends of Casco Bay led 22 coastal cleanups this summer. We had so many requests for community service projects that volunteers sometimes scoured the same location only four days apart. “Still,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah Lyman, “we always found find plenty of debris to pick up!”
  • Keep pet waste out of the Bay!
    While we were examining a pollution incident in Cumberland, we came across several dog poop bags at the outfall of a storm drain. When folks toss poop bags into a storm drain, they are not doing the Bay any favors. Storm drains often lead directly to Casco Bay. So after bagging it, deposit pet waste in a trash can or flush the contents down the toilet and throw the plastic bag in the trash.
  • Water Reporters report in about #sealevelrise
    Volunteer Water Reporters were out taking photos of the high tides to document flooded streets, eroding coastlines, and tide levels encroaching where we don’t normally see them. Water Reporter provides a two-way conversation platform about protecting Casco Bay.

We look forward to keeping you updated in the New year. Make sure you stay on top of news about Casco Bay in 2020!

Storm Drain Stenciling

Friends of Casco Bay Volunteers Take to the Streets—and the Beach

This past summer, volunteers undertook several community service projects to help keep Casco Bay clean. Thank you to TD Green Team, the Leadership Development Program at Windsor Mountain Summer Camp, IDEXX, and Yelp for cleaning up our coastline. Thank you to Bowdoin Women’s lacrosse team, RBC, and Mark Edwards and Jane Braun for stenciling storm drains!