friends of casco bay [me]
2017 giving while living grants TOtaling $2,400
With Foundation support through Giving While Living grants totalling $2,400, Friends of Casco Bay launched two new volunteer initiatives: Color by Numbers and Water Reporters. These projects are the largest expansion of the organization’s volunteer network since they began volunteer water quality monitoring efforts 27 years ago. The Friends are engaging more volunteers than ever as they use new technologies to increase knowledge of the changing conditions around Casco Bay: volunteers are collecting valuable data while deepening their personal connection to the Bay, developing a greater awareness of and connection to the Bay as they visit a dock, boat ramp, pier, or other access point on the Bay.
Thank you to Lauren Swett and Dave Dinsmore, in the Woodard & Curran, Inc. Portland office, who nominated Friends of Casco Bay for Foundation Regional ($1,900) & Micro ($500) grants!
Color by Numbers: Measuring the Color of Casco Bay
Friends of Casco Bay is training community members to scientifically measure the color of our waters using the Forel-Ule color scale. Scientists attest to color being an excellent indicator of what is happening in our oceans: when seawater is clear and contains only a small amount of particulate matter and sealife, it can appear dark blue; when phytoplankton, the single-cell plants that provide about half the oxygen we breathe, are abundant in seawater, it can appear bluish-green. When the ocean is brown or yellow, it is likely that dissolved organic and inorganic materials are washing off the land.
Thanks in part to Foundation support, Friends of Casco Bay has mobilized more than 150 volunteers to collect more than 300 color measurements that help document and track how the Bay may be changing. They are putting a modern spin on this data collection, training volunteers to use a smartphone app that has an electronic version of the Forel-Ule scale built into it. The color measurements are posted immediately on a web-based map. Learn more about Casco Bay’s Color by Numbers Project…
Water Reporters: the Observing Network for Casco Bay
Algal blooms in Casco Bay increased alarmingly in 2016 and 2017 - excessive amounts of algae covered tidal flats, smothering animals underneath algal mats, preventing juvenile clams from settling, increasing the acidity, and lowering the oxygen levels on those flats. In 2017, there was also an increase in harmful algal blooms (e.g. red tides) that triggered the closing of shellfish harvesting in the region. The occurrence of these algal blooms may be linked to increased nitrogen and warming waters.
Friends of Casco Bay is enlisting volunteers to observe and keep track of nuisance outbreaks. To do that, volunteers simply need a smartphone (or a camera and a computer) and a commitment to keep their eyes focused on our changing Bay. Volunteers to use an innovative, easy-to-use “Instagram”-like app called Water Reporter that enables them to document, catalogue, organize, and share their observations of the Bay. The app documents photos of the nuisance algal blooms (and other observations) and maps them so Friends staff and state and local regulators can see where problems are occurring. This pilot initiative kicked off in summer 2018. Learn more about Casco Bay’s Water Reporters Initiative…