Home » 30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

30 Years of Friends of Casco Bay

Improving and protecting the environmental health of Casco Bay for 30 years

1989
1989

Citizens launch watchdog group

Citizens launch watchdog group

Friends of Casco Bay is founded as a grassroots, citizen watchdog group in response to the report “Troubled Waters” which highlighted Casco Bay as a pollution hotspot. This image shows snippets from the report.

1989

How Polluted Is Casco Bay?

How Polluted Is Casco Bay?

Friends of Casco Bay helps to organize a day-long seminar, How Polluted Is Casco Bay, featuring David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, draws 200 attendees.

1990
1990

EPA recognizes Casco Bay

EPA recognizes Casco Bay

Casco Bay is designated an Estuary of National Significance by the EPA, in part due to Friends of Casco Bay’s actions to raise public awareness about Casco Bay issues, history, and industries.

1991
1991

First Casco Baykeeper hired

First Casco Baykeeper hired

Joe Payne is hired as Casco Baykeeper of Friends of Casco Bay.

1992
1992

Water Monitoring pilot project

Water Monitoring pilot project

Pilot program in Water Quality Monitoring trains 20 citizen scientists to collect water temperature, air temperature, and weather data at 10 sites.

1993
1993

The Baykeeper gets a boat

The Baykeeper gets a boat

A donated vessel, Donovan’s Delight, becomes the workhorse used for 20 years.

1993

Monitoring water top to bottom

Monitoring water top to bottom

Friends of Casco Bay staff members launch a monthly water quality testing program, conducting surface-to-bottom profiles at several stations all around the Bay.

1993

Citizen Stewards aid research

Citizen Stewards aid research

Friends of Casco Bay staff initiates a comprehensive volunteer water quality monitoring program, training 40 Citizen Stewards to monitor surface waters along the Bay.

 

1994
1994

Clam flat restoration begins

Clam flat restoration begins

Friends of Casco Bay initiates a Clam Flat Restoration Project to identify sources of fecal coliform pollution responsible for prolonged clam flat closures.

 

1995
1995

Pumpout boat removes poop

Pumpout boat removes poop

Friends of Casco Bay launches a pumpout service for recreational boats, siphoning away over 250,000 gallons of sewage to date that might have ended up in the Bay. First Lady Mary Herman christens our pumpout boat Wanda (aka Baykeeper II).

1995

Dredging discussions begin

Dredging discussions begin

Friends of Casco Bay assumes a leadership role in helping to develop an environmentally and economically acceptable means of disposing of contaminated dredge materials.

 

1996
1996

Cleaning up Julie N oil spill

Cleaning up Julie N oil spill

Friends of Casco Bay aids in a coordinated response to the Julie N tanker accident and helps recover a remarkable 78% of the 180,000 gallons of spilled oil (15-20% recovery is considered a success).

1997
1997

Flats reopened to clamming

Flats reopened to clamming

Friends of Casco Bay’s research and monitoring lead to re-opening hundreds of acres of clam flats to harvesting.

1998
1998

Campaign targets pesticides

Campaign targets pesticides

Friends of Casco Bay teams up with the Maine Board of Pesticides Control on an anti-pesticides ad campaign: Why Weed’n’Feed isn’t fish food.

1999
1999

Rescuing lobsters from dredging

Rescuing lobsters from dredging

Friends of Casco Bay catalyzes the relocation project that rescues 35,000 lobsters from harbor dredging.

 

1999

Reclassifying Bay waters

Reclassifying Bay waters

Friends of Casco Bay’s data contribute to the State reclassifying waters off Peaks and Little Diamond Islands, and parts of South Portland, including Willard Beach, from class SC to SB, a higher standard for water quality protection.

1999

Measuring low oxygen at dawn

Measuring low oxygen at dawn

Friends of Casco Bay initiates early morning, low tide monitoring to identify hypoxic (low-oxygen) conditions in challenged parts of eastern Casco Bay.

1999

Helping track baby lobsters

Helping track baby lobsters

Friends of Casco Bay joins a research study to monitor juvenile lobsters in the intertidal zone.

 

 

1999

Founding Waterkeeper Alliance

Founding Waterkeeper Alliance

Friends of Casco Bay helps to found Waterkeeper Alliance. Now, the Waterkeeper movement is 350 groups strong, protecting 2.7 million square miles of waterways in 46 countries.

 

 

 

 

2000
2000

The Bay Begins in Your Backyard

The Bay Begins in Your Backyard

Friends of Casco Bay hosts the first BayScaping workshop, From Bethel to the Beach: Protecting Casco Bay Begins in Your Backyard, which draws 200 people and 15 exhibitors. Shortly after, we begin offering neighborhood socials on BayScaping.

2001
2001

Do pesticides get into Bay?

Do pesticides get into Bay?

Friends of Casco Bay begins sampling stormwater runoff for pesticides washing into Casco Bay.

2002
2002

Local strategies to help the Bay

Local strategies to help the Bay

Friends of Casco Bay issues a report on Community Strategies to Improve the Bay, to provide tools for town planning for the municipalities bordering the Bay.

2002

Cruise ship pollution campaign

Cruise ship pollution campaign

Friends of Casco Bay organizes a forum on Pollution Solutions to Cruise Ship Discharges to alert voters and legislators that cruise ships can legally dump wastewater in Portland Harbor.

2002

Scooping mud to test for toxins

Scooping mud to test for toxins

Friends of Casco Bay scoops mud from 22 nearshore sites around Casco Bay to measure toxins in the sediments.

2002

Freeing the Presumpscot

Freeing the Presumpscot

 

Collaboration with Presumpscot watershed groups results in the removal of the Smelt Hill Dam, allowing the lower seven miles of the Presumpscot River to flow unimpeded to Casco Bay.

2003
2003

Nitrogen is a threat to the Bay

Nitrogen is a threat to the Bay

Friends of Casco Bay staff members begin sampling for nitrogen pollution.

2003

First Executive Director hired

First Executive Director hired

Cathy Ramsdell is hired as Executive Director of Friends of Casco Bay.

2004
2004

Tracing toxins in Portland Harbor

Tracing toxins in Portland Harbor

Friends of Casco Bay grabs sediment samples in Portland Harbor for analysis of levels of toxins such as Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

 

2005
2005

Bay’s environmental report card

Bay’s environmental report card

Friends of Casco Bay issues a region-by-region Health Index, an environmental report card on the health of the Bay.

2006
2006

Maine’s first No Discharge Area

Maine’s first No Discharge Area

Friends of Casco Bay’s campaign to halt to cruise ship pollution results in Casco Bay being designated the first No Discharge Area in Maine for vessel sewage.

2006

Adapting our data for educators

Adapting our data for educators

Friends of Casco Bay creates the Casco Bay Curriculum, incorporating our water quality data into classroom activities for schools.

2007
2007

State law to limit nitrogen

State law to limit nitrogen

Friends of Casco Bay’s advocacy pushes through a state law requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to set a limit on nitrogen levels in coastal waters.

2008
2008

Portland to deal with sewage

Portland to deal with sewage

Friends of Casco Bay helps convince the Portland City Council to commit $61 million to construction projects to stem the flow of raw sewage, industrial wastes, and stormwater into Casco Bay, by shortening the timeline to clean up and eliminate dozens of combined sewer overflows.

2009
2009

Data help protect The Basin

Data help protect The Basin

Friends of Casco Bay’s data are instrumental in the State reclassification of waters in The Basin in Phippsburg, from class SB to SA, the highest standard of water quality for marine waters.

2009

Taking on “Green Slime”

Taking on “Green Slime”

Friends of Casco Bay’s vigorous campaign against “Green Slime” combats nitrogen pollution on three fronts: stormwater runoff, fertilizers, and sewage treatment plants.

2009

Climate change curriculum

Climate change curriculum

Casco Bay: A Changing Estuary revamps Friends of Casco Bay’s 2006 curriculum, focusing on the impact of climate change on Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

2010
2010

Ready to respond to oil spills

Ready to respond to oil spills

Friends of Casco Bay’s participation in an oil spill clean-up exercise for the Gulf of Maine is immediately followed by advising Waterkeepers involved in the Gulf of Mexico Deep Horizon oil rig disaster.

2010

Collect mud to test for toxins

Collect mud to test for toxins

Friends of Casco Bay collects jars of mud at 60+ sites to document changes in levels of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other toxins in Casco Bay sediments.

2010

Storm drain stenciling

Storm drain stenciling

We create storm drain stenciling kits for community service projects to remind people, “Do not dump. Drains to Casco Bay.”

2011
2011

Measure acidity on clam flats

Measure acidity on clam flats

Friends of Casco Bay begins to investigate coastal acidification by measuring the acidity of sediments in clam flats.

2012
2012

Share stormwater cleanup costs

After a rainstorm, millions of gallons of polluted stormwater pour into Casco Bay.

Friends of Casco Bay’s Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell serves on a citizen’s committee to help the City of Portland craft an equitable stormwater utility fee. It gives concessions to residents and businesses that limit rainwater runoff from impervious roofs, parking lots, and driveways.

2013
2013

Clam condos in acidic mud

Clam condos in acidic mud

Friends of Casco Bay’s experiments on clam spat placed in “clam condos” in acidic mud show evidence of pitting after one week.

2013

New Baykeeper research boat

New Baykeeper research boat

Friends of Casco Bay christens our new Baykeeper research vessel Joseph E. Payne.

2016
2016

South Portland Pesticide Ordinance

South Portland Pesticide Ordinance

Friends of Casco Bay’s data and BayScaping information help South Portland enact an ordinance that restricts the use of synthetic pesticides on public and private properties.

2016

Nabbing Nitrogen flash mob

Nabbing Nitrogen flash mob

Friends of Casco Bay undertakes a Nabbing Nitrogen event to coordinate a “flash mob” of volunteers to simultaneously collect nitrogen samples in the Fore River.

 

2016

Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification partnership

Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification partnership

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca helps organize the first meeting of the newly named Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification partnership to coordinate policy and research to address this little-known impact of climate change. Later that year, the first Ocean Acidification Symposium draws 110 participants to share data on the causes and effects of ocean and coastal acidification in Maine waters.

2016

Monitoring Casco Bay 24/7

Monitoring Casco Bay 24/7

Friends of Casco Bay installs a Continuous Monitoring Station to collect water quality data hourly, 365 days a year.

2017
2017

Baykeeper leads MOCA partnership

Baykeeper leads MOCA partnership

The Casco Baykeeper assumes role as coordinator of the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification partnership (2016-2019), organizing twice-yearly symposia.

2017

Setting nitrogen limits

Setting nitrogen limits

Our advocacy for setting nitrogen limits in sewage treatment plant permits results in the Department of Environmental Protection requiring nitrogen standards in municipalities’ Clean Water Act discharge permits.

2017

Historic agreement to reduce nitrogen

Historic agreement to reduce nitrogen

Friends of Casco Bay secures an agreement with Portland Water District to work to significantly reduce nitrogen discharged into the Bay by treating effluent water from the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility. The goal is to reduce nitrogen pollution entering the Bay by 20-40% within 5 years. Engineering modifications result in nitrogen discharges dropping by 70% on average by 2018.

2018
2018

Portland task force on pesticides

Portland task force on pesticides

Friends of Casco Bay’s Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell serves on a citizen’s task force that leads to the passage of an ordinance to restrict the use of synthetic pesticides on public and private properties.

2018

Launch volunteer Water Reporter

Launch volunteer Water Reporter

Friends of Casco Bay launches a year-round Casco Bay volunteer observing network: Water Reporter.

2019
2019

Shaping fertilizer ordinance

Shaping fertilizer ordinance

Friends of Casco Bay’s Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell is recruited to serve on a Working Group to draft an ordinance to regulate fertilizers in the City of South Portland.

2019

Casco Bay Matters series

Casco Bay Matters series

Friends of Casco Bay hosts our first Casco Bay Matters lecture series, attended by 380 participants.

2019

Our Climate Council bill expands

Our Climate Council bill expands

Friends of Casco Bay shepherds a bill to create a state-funded Science and Policy Advisory Council on the Impact of Climate Change on Maine’s Marine Species, which is integrated into the Governor’s omnibus bill to address climate change and establish the Maine Climate Council.

2019

Headmaster joins our fleet

Headmaster joins our fleet

Friends of Casco Bay christens and launches our new pumpout boat, Headmaster.

2019

Helping state with action plan

Helping state with action plan

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca is appointed to the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Maine Climate Council.

2020
2020

Friends of Casco Bay celebrates our 30th anniversary all year long.

Friends of Casco Bay celebrates our 30th anniversary all year long.