Healthy beaches for southern Maine
Healthy Maine Beaches was the topic of a Coastal Training Program workshop on Monday. The Wells NERR partnered with the Maine Healthy Beaches Program to offer this day-long workshop. Thirty-five participants gathered to develop proactive regional approaches to pollution control in the coastal watersheds draining to southern Maine’s premier tourist destinations.
Town administrators, elected officials, staff, and members of municipal volunteer boards joined managers of southern Maine’s state parks, Wells NERR staff, Maine DEP, and the US EPA to develop a shared understanding of the problem of beach pollution and to focus their collective resources on developing solutions to alleviate sources of contamination.
The day’s agenda focused on strategies for collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries to prevent summer beach closures due to bacterial contamination. Matt Liebman of the Boston Office of EPA presented results of recent epidemiological studies about diseases associated with polluted swimming beaches and the ways monitoring protocols are designed to trigger warnings when bacteria levels reach a critical threshold.
Andy Fisk of Maine Department of Environmental Protection provided a state perspective on water quality policy and described state support available to assist municipalities in their efforts to protect beach water quality.
Jana Wood, Lincolnville’s Code Enforcement Officer, shared her town’s experiences beginning with the detection of pollution at the town’s popular beach and the work of the town and the Healthy Maine Beaches Program staff to identify and clean up sources of pollution.
In region-based working sessions, participants collaborated to develop action items to prepare for the summer 2006 beach season.
The Town of Kennebunkport was recognized for its exemplary work during the 2005 season to identify sources of pollution.
John White of the Kennebunk Conservation Commission received an award as Volunteer of the Year for his commitment to environmental monitoring and protection.