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Medomak Project

The Medomak Watershed Based Plan is now available, CLICK HERE!

The Medomak Project Final Report CLICK HERE!
Latest News on the Medomak!  Click here

The Medomak River is a 32.3-mile-long river with its headwaters beginning in the Town of Liberty and flowing generally south through the towns of Appleton, Washington, and Union. The river then maintains its course through Waldoboro where it reaches head of tide just below Route 1. It is then bounded by the towns of Bremen and Friendship before entering Muscongus Bay. The entire watershed area is 106.1 square miles with 80 square miles in the freshwater watershed and 26 square miles below head of tide. The largest portion of the full watershed (45.3% or 48.1 acres) is located in the Town of Waldoboro.

THE MEDOMAK PROJECT The Waldoboro Shellfish Committee together with the assistance of  the Town of Waldoboro petitioned the state to commit staff and resources to address the fecal bacteria pollution on the Medomak River which has led to closure of clam flats. The efforts of the Shellfish Committee in 2013 created a strong inter-agency collaboration called the Medomak Task Force.  This task force includes representatives from the Midcoast Conservancy, Maine DMR, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF). This successful collaboration has worked tirelessly to eliminate sources of fecal bacteria from entering the river. This includes investigation and remediation of sources from agriculture, residential septic systems, industrial pollutants, and waterfowl.  

The Task Force worked to increase sampling of the river by DMR from the regularly scheduled 6 times per year to 9 times per year at 16 village stataion sites and 11 upstream sites by the end of 2013.  They took on a sanitary sewer survey and addressed areas of concern and fixed leaking sewers.  The Task Force also addressed issues of contamination by animal sources including beavers, dogs and water fowl.

Thanks to the efforts of the Task Force over 300 acres of clam flats have been re-opened on the Medomak!

Medomak River Watershed Based Plan Development The Medomak Project received a $22,00 grant from the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection to undertake the development of a Watershed Based Plan for the Medomak River.  
"Funding for this project, in part, was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section (either 319 or 604(b) of the Clean Water Act.  The funding is administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with EPA.  EPA does not endorse any commercial products or services mentioned."

Significant data has been collected in the Medomak River watershed, however, the watershed does not have a watershed-based plan. The tidal portion of the river is categorized as Class SB and is impaired for marine life use due to low dissolved oxygen and elevated fecal indicator bacteria.  This is due to the significant bacterial contamination noted in this portion of the watershed that is causing a significant loss in access to shellfishing in the river.  The Town of Waldoboro has adopted a Comprehensive Plan consistent with Maine’s Comprehensive Planning and Land Use regulation. This plan outlines actions needed to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and attempt to restore the water quality of the river. 

With the necessary funding obtained the Medomak Project team with the assistance of FB Environmental are completing the following tasks:

  • Collecting and organizing a large data base of historical river and smapling data.
  • Developing and implementing a sampling and analysis plan.
  • Conducting storm event sampling and detecting hotspot sources and developing an action plan
  • Educating the public on the the grant project and the general health of the river.
  • Developing the Watershed Based Plan.
The Town of Waldoboro is the leading softshell clam producer in the State of Maine, despite experiencing frequent closures.

2017* Top 10 Soft Clam Ports by Pounds
2017 Waldoboro clam soft 910,903 $1,604,253
2017 Brunswick clam soft 697,830 $1,365,184
2017 Deer Isle clam soft 475,967 $837,999
2017 Freeport clam soft 379,496 $732,648
2017 Lubec clam soft 326,079 $540,374
2017 St. George clam soft 277,476 $474,905
2017 Machiasport clam soft 267,579 $472,622
2017 Stonington clam soft 236,654 $375,127

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE ORONO - DRIFTER PROJECTMdrifterany exciting things are happening with the Medomak Project this summer. Gabrielle Hillyer a graduate student from University of Maine is deploying drifters in order to map tidal currents in the Medomak. These drifters will measure temperature, salinity, light intensity, pH and Dissolved Organic Carbon. This research will help better explain the currents of the Medomak and hopefully help us understand how any potential bacteria travels. This has a direct impact on not only the health of the river but those men and women who make their living off of the Medomak, and those who live and play on the Medomak. In order to track the currents and collect data Gabrielle will be releasing drifters, which float with tidal currents. These floaters can be monitored remotely, and map out how long it takes for them to leave an area. The drifters are pictures below, if you come across them please do not touch them.


The impact that this information will have on the clamming industry is significant as it could impact, the closure time of the flats. The current closure time of 9 days is based on the length of time it takes for clams to filter out bacteria, based on the findings from this data Gabrielle hopes to prove that it may be shorter or longer in certain areas because of the impact of the tides. If you have questions about this study please contact Gabrielle Hillyer at