How We Monitor

The Maine Coastal Observing Alliance (MCOA), consists of nine coastal citizen monitoring groups organized through 501c(3) conservation organizations, and aims to gather and analyze pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients (total nitrogen), salinity, and turbidity (Secchi depth) in coastal estuaries and embayments between Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay. This coastwide survey of Maine’s coastal water quality is a continuation of that initiated in 2014.

The partnering organizations are, for the first time, able to compare their results, knowing that all results were gathered with consistent instrumentation, personnel, and methodology. Through this effort can begin to answer such questions as:

  1. Are there chronic marine water-quality problems occurring, and if so, where and under what localized conditions?
  2. If alarming conditions are discovered, do the causes originate from the land or from the Gulf of Maine?
  3. How does the water-column pH vary across the region, and what other conditions co-occur with low pH?

The extraordinary power of this effort lies in its regional scope and the use of an expert technician who provides surface to bottom “profile” measurements that can serve as baseline information for future monitoring.

For a detailed description of MCOA methods, including instruments and calibration, see “Maine Coastal Observing Alliance Estuarine Monitoring Program Summary Report 2014” by Kathleen Thornton and Dr. Larry Mayer, University of Maine Darling Marine Center.

Who we areWhere And When




keywords:  MCOA  ;  Maine Coastal Observing Alliance