Thursday, July 19, 2012

Curtis Cove Update

Back in May I described my new venture, Curtis Cove in Biddeford, Maine. Owned by the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Curtis Cove is supposed to be a pristine, untouristed habitat & place of beauty untouched by humanity.

Unfortunately, with the abuse the Gulf of Maine receives, humanity leaves its mark with every high tide. After several weeks of heavy scouring, I reached a clean "baseline" for my 150-foot stretch of cove back on February 22. Since then I've been going most every week to see what washes in. It's staggering.

With my work at Bay View in Saco now finished for the time being, I wanted to get the blog on Curtis Cove caught up. So, without further ado, the basic results thus far. (Note: These photos don't show the fishing rope that I've collected each week; being now 1544 pieces, about 1/2 mile of rope & counting, they're in many garbage bags in our condo's storage area.)
Feb 29 - 249 pcs (inc. 153 fishing rope)
Mar 7 - 158 pcs (inc. 87 fishing rope)
Mar 13 - 215 pcs (inc. 87 fishing rope)
Mar 30 - 526 pcs (inc. 38 fishing rope)
Apr 4 - 303 pcs (inc. 95 fishing rope)
Apr 10 - 260 pcs (inc. 89 fishing rope)
Apr 26 - 81 pcs (inc. 33 fishing rope)
May 7 - 148 pcs (inc. 72 fishing rope)
May 17 - 272 pcs (inc. 107 fishing rope)
May 23 - 148 pcs (inc. 31 fishing rope)
May 31 - 257 pcs (inc. 28 fishing rope)
Jun 7 - 326 pcs (inc. 127 fishing rope)
Jun 15 - 451 pcs (inc. 212 fishing rope)
Jun 25 - 297 pcs (inc. 116 fishing rope)
Jul 6 - 346 pcs (inc. 145 fishing rope)
Jul 12 - 1275 pcs (inc. 124 fishing rope)
And there you go. The story of the past half year. Again, this is a beach that isn't touristed. Of the 5312 pieces of manmade garbage I've pulled off this little wedge of cove, maybe half a dozen were locally dropped -- a couple beer cans, a couple water bottles, a jug of orange juice. All the rest are washed in.

2119 vinyl coating scraps from lobster traps (933 of them from July 12 alone!), 167 lobster claw bands, 64 lobster trap bumpers, 61 bait bags, flower pots, part of an outdoor thermometer, 121 bag/baggie scraps, a car console, a car armrest, a fan belt, security seals/tags, a pressure-treatment tag from 1992, vinyl upholstery scraps, an air filter, a plastic coathook, 167 scraps of polystyrene coffee/drink cups/tops, a ketchup pack from a seaside lobster shack miles away, duct tape, fiberglass siding, plastic drywall anchors, 34 balloons/string.

From 150 feet of coastline. With its inlets, bays, & islands, Maine has approximately 3000 miles of coastline.

Change the game.


  1. Thanks for documenting what the ocean is gagging on and coughing up. Eventually, we'll all have to confront this problem or, if we don't, we may end up ingesting this stuff.

  2. What an impressive and depressing collection! Thanks for doing the work of collecting and documenting. Only by increasing the visibility of the problem do we have any hope of working towards a solution.