Maine Shore Steward Volunteers - Shellfish Growing Area Classification Role Description
Shellfish Growing Area Classification
Volunteers work in shellfish growing areas from Kittery to Calais
The Shellfish Growing Area Classification Program follows federal guidelines in establishing and implementing a shellfish program in Maine (see NSSP document at www.issc.org for full description). The mission of this program is to protect the public health by properly classifying shellfish growing areas based upon environmental data and other observations.
Program content is appropriate for high school age and up
Volunteers assist the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) in collecting water samples in shellfish growing areas along the coast of Maine. All shellfish areas in Maine are reviewed under this program and classifications are based upon uniform and consistent criteria. The objective of this classification system is to prevent shellfish from being harvested from areas that show evidence of bacterial or biotoxic contamination as both types of contamination may cause illness or even death in human consumers.
Volunteers collect a minimum of 12 water samples every other month in established growing areas that can span town lines. Volunteers are required to renew certification in aseptic technique annually and visit all sample stations once a year with DMR staff assigned to that growing area. Samples are collected year round with exceptions in the winter months. Along with a water sample, other data collected include water temperature, wind, and any other adversities that affect water quality at the time of sample collection.
After completing a formal training about the program and aseptic technique, volunteers work closely with DMR staff to monitor and identify any new pollution sources throughout the watershed. Data results are updated on DMR’s Public Health Web site quarterly for volunteer viewing. Additionally, the DMR administrates and provides enforcement for the current classification system in all growing areas.
Most volunteers become advocates for clean water for their communities by learning about their coastal environment, shellfish, and ways to improve water quality within their communities.
Department of Marine Resources
PO Box 8, McKown Pt Rd
West Boothbay, ME 04575
Wk: 207.633.9401 Fax: 207.633.9579