The Medomak Valley Land Trust and Waldoboro’s Shellfish Conservation Committee are looking for volunteers to monitor water quality in the Medomak River, the estuary and feeder streams. Last summer the group was awarded an $8,500 grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation to get the new initiative off the ground, and monitoring began last fall.

During the past two decades, Waldoboro town officials and concerned residents have worked together to address pollution through water sampling, remediation and construction of a new municipal sewage system. Despite these major accomplishments, serious problems remain. Shellfish beds are closed provisionally when an inch or more of rain falls and prohibited areas still exist. The beds were closed for a total of 516 days between 2006 and 2008, having a significant impact on an industry that brings several million dollars annually to Waldoboro alone.

The first round of monitoring sites focused on outlets that directly impact clam flats. During a two-and-a-half month period, volunteers collected samples at 14 different sites, and found that many of them had E. coli counts that exceeded environmental standards, especially during heavy rain events.

This spring, volunteers will sample additional sites and continue where monitoring has already begun. Citizens who are interested in helping support this water quality initiative should contact Lincoln Smith at the Medomak Valley Land Trust for more information.

Monitoring efforts will begin with a volunteer training session Tuesday, March 16 at 9:30 a.m. at the Waldoboro Town Landing on Pine Street. Additional training can be arranged for those who cannot attend on March 16.

For more information, stop by the Medomak Valley Land Trust at 25 Friendship St. in Waldoboro, call 832-5570, or e-mail volmvlt@midcoast.com.