Glen Melvin
Waldoboro Shellfish Committee

The Medomak River represents one of the most productive and valuable clam fisheries in Maine, yet many productive areas are closed due to pollution. Recognizing the need to understand and resolve persistent water quality issues, the Town of Waldoboro, Waldoboro Shellfish Committee, Waldoboro Utility District, and the Medomak Valley Land Trust along with Maine Departments of Environmental Protection, Marine Resources, and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, formed the Medomak River Task Force. Since 2013, members of this task force have conducted extensive water sampling, surveyed the watershed to try to identify sources, and engaged in outreach to raise awareness about pollution in the watershed. Despite four years of testing by project partners, no single point source of pollution has been identified to date that would mitigate these risks and move the industry toward a more safe and sustainable shellfish harvest.

In 2016, with Sea Grant support, the Task Force narrowed the field of potential causes by using Microbial Source Testing (MST) to provide more conclusive answers for non-point sources of bacterial pollution. Expanded sampling in 2017 will monitor nine streams located in a four-kilometer stretch of the Medomak River. The Medomak River Task Force identified and remediated a sewage discharge, and the state removed requirements for closures after rain events, opening 360 acres of intertidal area to shellfish harvesting. The town has received a $30,000 grant from the state to develop a watershed plan, including additional water sampling and testing to continue identifying pollution sources. “The river is the cleanest it’s been in 25 years,” said Glen Melvin, co-chair of the Waldoboro Shellfish Committee.

Sea Grant funds: $4,884