By: Waterkeeper Alliance
YARMOUTH — For 22 years, Joe Payne has patrolled the waters of Casco Bay, Maine improving water quality, restoring clam flats, protecting young lobsters and mobilizing oil spill cleanup efforts.
Casco Bay waterkeeper Joe Payne pilots his vessel in Portland, ME on Wednesday. When Payne was hired 22 years ago to be the environmental steward of Casco Bay, there were only a handful of Waterkeepers in the world. Now, there are 209 of them that oversee and protect bays, rivers, sounds, channels, inlets, lakes and creeks in 23 countries, on six continents.
This month, he was honored for his work as Casco Bay baykeeper with a new 28-foot vessel christened in his name. But he says he’s equally proud of the increased numbers of waterkeepers who oversee and protect bays, rivers, sounds, channels, inlets, lakes and creeks in 23 countries, on six continents.
Payne realized a few years ago how much the Waterkeeper movement had grown when he noticed how many translators were at the annual Waterkeeper meeting.
“At that conference, when I heard the Russian, the Chinese and the other languages, I went ‘Holy Moses, it worked.’ It’s amazing,” Payne said at a christening ceremony for his new boat in Yarmouth, Maine.