The Working Waterfront

Casco Bay group honors clean water heroes

Public officials recognized for above and beyond efforts

Posted 2022-09-26
Last Modified 2022-09-26

Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca announced the three recipients of the 2022 Casco Bay Awards at Friends of Casco Bay’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and members annual meeting earlier this summer. Award recipients were recognized for their exceptional efforts to address pollution and climate change in Casco Bay.

“On the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we want to recognize the outstanding contributions of our Casco Bay awardees,” said Frignoca. “All three have helped to address some of the greatest threats to the health of the bay without seeking praise or limelight, driven by a passion for clean water. To all three, I owe a personal debt of gratitude. They each taught and continue to teach me so much about protecting Casco Bay.”

Scott Firmin, director of wastewater service for the Portland Water District, received a Casco Bay Award for reducing nitrogen levels in Greater Portland’s wastewater discharges. Wastewater is a major source of nitrogen pollution into Casco Bay.

At the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility alone, Firmin has overseen changes in operations in the past four years that have kept over 1.5 million pounds of nitrogen out of the bay. Nitrogen pollution can cause excessive algal growth that has myriad negative impacts on the marine environment, including shutting down shellfisheries, degrading eelgrass beds which are critical fish nursery habitat, and exacerbating coastal acidification.

Fred Dillon, stormwater coordinator for South Portland, received a Casco Bay award for his efforts to reduce stormwater pollution. Stormwater is a major source of pollution into Casco Bay and is notoriously difficult to address.
In addition to his regular responsibilities, Dillon has worked tirelessly to monitor water quality in polluted urban streams that empty into Casco Bay.

He also helped develop South Portland’s fertilizer and pesticide ordinances, led volunteer water quality monitoring in the Presumpscot River, advanced innovative restoration projects at Long Creek, and co-founded Maine Water Environment Association’s stormwater section.

Dan Devereaux, Brunswick’s coastal resources manager, received a Casco Bay award for his efforts to sustainably manage marine resources in Eastern Casco Bay and increase the region’s climate resilience.

Devereaux has been integral in creating a network of harbormasters and marine resource officers that collaboratively manage shellfisheries and respond to the impacts of climate change, like coastal acidification. He also has helped expand the use of water quality monitoring to inform resource management decisions.

He is a founding member of the state shellfish advisory council, and serves on countless shellfish and coastal resource management committees. He also helped to create a student shellfish license program at the Brunswick school department, which enables students to earn money while learning about and supporting the shellfish industry.

Frignoca summarized the broader context in which the award recipients have carried out their work in her remarks.

“We humans are the number one threat to the health of Casco Bay,” she said. “from carbon emissions and urban sprawl, to toxic and plastic pollution, and much more. Yet we also are the ones empowered to nurture and live in harmony with the bay. These award winners exemplify this ethic and should inspire all of us to follow in their footsteps and take on the work ahead of us.”