Coastal Rivers volunteers monitor water quality at area swim beaches

calibrating instruments for swim beach monitoring

Nine water quality volunteers for Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust attended a Healthy Beaches training recently to go over the proper use of tools and protocol for taking water samples. As a service to the community, Coastal Rivers monitors the water at three area swim beaches for pathogenic contamination. Trained volunteers test weekly for Enterococci at Pemaquid Beach, and for E. coli at the Bristol Mills swimming hole and Biscay Beach. Two of the volunteers have been testing the water at Pemaquid Beach for over 15 years. Data are reported to the towns of Bristol and Damariscotta, which manage the swim

Dodge Point dock rebuilt and ready for boating season

volunteers on the Dodge Point dock

Just in time for boating season, the dock at Dodge Point is installed for the summer. The dock is open for public use and is a popular spot for picnics or to reach the hiking trails by boat. Volunteers and staff from Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust remove the dock each fall and reinstall it in the spring to provide easy access to the preserve by boat. Coastal Rivers co-manages Dodge Point Preserve, which is owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL). Visitors to the dock may notice the pier is looking sturdier than it did last year!

Not Very Showy, Not Much of a Smell

bald eagle in a white pine tree

I’ve been cutting a few white pines just lately – the Maine state tree, bearing, in this season, the state flower. It’s not much of a flower some would say, not very showy, not much of a smell – just a pale yellow tassel in the whispering forest canopy.

But . . . there’s something to be said for numbers, and there certainly are a lot of those pine flowers nodding across the state – a lot of pine trees for that matter, great tracts covered by them, whole towns, and on every tree, how many …

Coastal Rivers and oyster growers partner for river clean-up

volunteers with a boatload of trash

Despite cool weather and drizzle, Damariscotta River oyster growers partnered with Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust staff and volunteers for a successful river clean-up on May 17. “A clean estuary is key to the health of the river and to the aquaculture industry,” observed Executive Director Steven Hufnagel. “We all share a commitment to environmental stewardship of the river.” A total of six boats carrying oyster growers and Coastal Rivers staff and volunteers deployed to various points between the Damariscotta-Newcastle bridge and Glidden Ledge. The trash they collected in just two and a half hours filled a large-body truck. The clean-up

At home at Round Top Farm

renovated Round Top Farmhouse

It’s hard to put into words just how excited we are to report that on April 22, we relocated our headquarters to Round Top Farm in Damariscotta. Thanks to the generosity of donors to the Campaign for the Damariscotta Capital Campaign, the 1888 Rafter (later Denny) family farmhouse has been lovingly restored, while creating a center for community education, increasing energy efficiency, and making the public spaces fully accessible. The attached ell, the old “Oats Barn,” was unfortunately too structurally compromised to be restored, so a new wing with a smaller footprint was built in its place. This wing includes

The Fisher


This post is part of a series contributed by Coastal Rivers Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. There is a cloak and dagger figure among us. At least that is his reputation. He is more often silent and hidden by day, prowling mostly under cover of darkness and, occasionally, betrays his whereabouts with a genuine, blood-curdling scream. His name is Martes pennanti, alias “the Black Cat.” Other names are Fisher and Fisher Cat. To him have been credited the sinister disappearances of Figaro, Lucifer, Ragamuffin, Muckleroy, Tiger and Tabby – all members of the Felis domesticus clan. The

April Fools

sunset on the river, seen through the pines

Of this essay, Barnaby writes, “Some of this piece might read like fiction. It’s not . . . not a word.”

April is my favorite month of year, not only for the whisperings and stirrings of spring it offers but for the promises it makes and for the associations it has left me with in my lifetime. I was born in early April, which was perfect so far as I was concerned as a kid. It was the beginning of fishing season, serious bike riding and baseball. There was no better time to have a birthday with a good likelihood of receiving at least one of those badly needed trappings of boyhood, like a new fishing rod or a baseball glove.

Birthdays aren’t quite so exciting as they used to be, but they…

Purchase of Castner Creek Community Forest complete

wetland at Castner Creek

As of March 15, 2019 over 85 acres of woods alongside Castner Creek, in the heart of Damariscotta, are now permanently conserved. Castner Creek is a major tributary to the Damariscotta River, and improving water quality in the creek will have a positive impact on the river. The forest also offers exciting potential for multi-use trails. Because of the vulnerability of the area around the creek, and its importance to clean water, DRA-PWA has been interested in this beautiful stream valley for many years. The creek carries a high load of silt and sediment, which affects the river and can

Window on the Dawn

sunrise on the river

Every morning as I brush my teeth, I stand looking out the window over my sink at the river, just a stone’s throw across the lawn. It’s not a passive scene – soothing to my dishevelment at that hour, yes – but rather an active scene of the running tide, the new dawn’s weather and creatures beginning their day.

A nosy relative once opened my medicine cabinet and exclaimed in a suspicious tone, “What on earth’ve you got binoculars in the bathroom for?”

Summer House

roots, rock, snow and icicles

Note from Barnaby: “This is a letter I wrote in 1986, 33 years ago, to my friend, Bill Tyne, who spends summers on Merry Island.”

Dear Bill,

I haven’t written in some time, which might give some indication of what sort of winter we’ve been having – it’s been deep. If this is what they mean by “the depths of winter,” I can tell you it takes no small amount of shoveling. I will let that stand …