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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

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Summary Information

Year Established: 1990
Location: Maine
Area of Watershed: 2,965 square kilometers

Priority Management Issues:
contaminated seafood
habitat loss/alteration
species loss/decline
fisheries loss/decline
swimming area closings

Major Habitat Types:
submerged aquatic vegetation (seagrass)
rocky intertidal/subtidal
shellfish growing areas
sand/mud/salt flats
tidal pools
salt/brackish marsh
freshwater marsh (non-tidal)

Federally Endangered or Threatened Species:
bald eagle
piping plover
roseate tern
shortnose sturgeon

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Overviews and Highlights

Casco Bay supports many industries such as shipping, commercial fishing, and shellfishing, as well as tourism and other recreational activities. At the same time, Casco Bay is threatened by the demands of population growth and suburbanization. While the health of the Bay has improved, specific problems relating to conflicting human use, pollution, and habitat loss remain. Elevated levels of toxic contaminants have been found in sediments, mussels, and lobster tomalley taken from urban portions of the Bay. Roughly 60 percent of the pollution comes from diverse sources, such as oil and chemicals from roadway runoff, pesticides applied by homeowners, and fertilizers from farm fields. The Casco Bay Plan focuses on five key issues of importance to the health of the bay: stormwater management, clam flats and swimming areas, habitat protection, toxic pollution, and stewardship of the bay.

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