Volunteer 'nitrogen nabbers' hit Casco Bay

Volunteers 'nab nitrogen' to clean Casco Bay

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — After over 25 years of research, experts warn of high nitrogen levels in the Casco Bay.

Sunday, over 100 community members gathered on July 10 at 10:10 to do what they called a "water sampling flash mob," all dropping buckets in the water to sample it for nitrogen.

Green, slimy algae - that's what can be found along the Casco Bay.

“We don't want that in our bay,” says Ivy Frignoca, member of the Friends of Casco Bay. “Nobody wants that in our bay.”

But where does it come from? High levels of nitrogen.

Some of it is caused by the atmosphere, but Frignoca says, “most of it we can help. That's why it's such a great program to focus on, because it's a severe problem for the bay and we can do something about it.”

Days like a rainy Sunday can often contribute to the pollution. Frignoca says, “on a day like today, that means they are just opening the gate and untreated, storm water will just go out. And that can also contain raw sewage.”

Volunteers made their way out to several different points along the bay to drop buckets and sample the water.

Including a very familiar face - NEWS CENTER’s own Tom Johnston.

Frignoca said she was thrilled with the turnout. “It's incredible how many people love Casco Bay. So when we put out a call for volunteers, there's a big response. And we even have a waiting list of people.”

These water samples will get frozen and tested. Researchers hope to have the results in the next month.

Friends of Casco Bay say that if the nitrogen levels continue to rise, it could affect “all the wildlife and the fish. Onshore and offshore. It will just start killing. We don't really know.” Longtime volunteer Ashleigh Brenner is worried about the potential consequences.

Frignoca added that :”often times it affects our recreational opportunities because it's in those very places where people go to picnic or swim or boat.”

But they say that volunteer turnouts like today bring them hope for the bay.

Frignoca says “It's a local problem with a local solution.”

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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