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KELT's Citizen Science Program

Be a part of the science crowd.


What is Citizen Science?

It’s any project where volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions. Anyone can be a citizen scientist!

Why is KELT doing Citizen Science?

At KELT, we’re excited to learn more about the Kennebec Estuary Region, and we love working with local students and our members to help answer questions about the area. Our citizen science projects help us to support the habitats, fish, wildlife, and people in our region. 

Select from the menu below or scroll down the page to learn about KELT's multi-faceted citizen science programs.


Water Quality Sampling

A team of KELT volunteers sample water at 19 coastal sites in Georgetown and Phippsburg every other week between May and October.  They visit beautiful sites in the region and collect important information about the waters of the estuary.


Why Sample?

Sampling helps us to understand the variability and health of the tidal waters that border our communities.  These waters are vital for fishing, clamming, swimming, boating, and the rich variety of local fish and wildlife.  This allows us to see the variation across the estuary, track changes that occur, and identify any areas of concern.  It is also a great excuse to visit some beautiful sites along the coast!


Become a Water Sampler

Contact Ruth Indrick to become a volunteer water sampler or find out more about the sampling program.



Learn about sampling

KELT's volunteer water sampling program tests for characteristics like salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, water clarity, and phytoplankton.  The sampling program follows specific procedures to gather information about the water. Each characteristic can reveal interesting insights about the estuary.


What We've Found Out about the estuary

Maps! Reports! Data! Learn what we've found out since starting our volunteer water sampling program in 2013.  This section is still a work in progress, and we'll update it as new information and analyses are completed.


Bird Monitoring

Birders of all abilities "adopt" a KELT preserve and report what species they observe throughout the year. This information helps KELT make management decisions. Volunteers also have the opportunity to help KELT staff evaluate potential land protection projects, helping to impact conservation in the estuary.

This program is possible through support from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Davis Conservation Foundation.
Photo credit: Anna Christie-Carnicella

Photo credit: Anna Christie-Carnicella

Why monitor birds?

By monitoring birds year-round in the Kennebec Estuary, you can help us make important decisions about how KELT preserves are used and which lands are important for birds.

Photo credit: Archie Bonyun

Photo credit: Archie Bonyun

How you can help

  • "Adopt" a KELT preserve to monitor
  • Help assess birds for land protection projects
  • Record all of your birding observations in eBird
  • Take photos of birds for KELT to use
  • Attend a KELT bird walk
  • Spread the word!
Photo credit: Archie Bonyun

Photo credit: Archie Bonyun

Learn about bird monitoring and its impact

KELT's Bird Monitoring Program will have direct impacts within the Kennebec Estuary, the work that we do, and in the larger conservation landscape.

ebird logo.jpg

helpful links

Learn more about using eBird to record data, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's bird identification resources, binocular reviews, and more!


Nequasset Alewife Count

Every spring, the alewives migrate to Nequasset Lake to spawn.  Volunteers help us to count the fish that reach the lake each year.  Volunteering takes two hours or less, and volunteers of all ages are invited to take part in this fun citizen science project.  You can choose to count once in the season or come back many times.

Why Count Fish?

The Nequasset fish count helps to support Nequasset's alewife population and annual harvest.  It can also help to check how well the fish ladder is working.  Visit this section to learn more about the restoration of the Nequasset fish ladder and the Nequasset alewife harvest.

Sign-Up To Count

Counting fish at Nequasset is fun and easy!  Sign-up for a two hour block and count for any two 10 minute periods in that block.

Counting Instructions

Visit this section to find directions to the fish ladder and instructions for how to count.  A copy of the counting instructions will also be at the ladder, in the bin with the other supplies.


Stories from the Ladder

Read the latest updates from the fish ladder. Spot a cool critter? Witness an amazing natural scene? Capture a splendid photo? Have a fun experience? Share it with us on our fishy blog. 

Results from Past Fish Counts

The fish count at Nequasset started in 2012.  Check out this section to find out details about the number of fish counted each year, when they were counted, and how the count relates to the harvest.

Green Crab Monitoring

Green crabs are an invasive species that threaten clam populations, eelgrass beds, and local marshes.  To find out more about these crabs, KELT purchased green crab traps with the help of a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund in 2014.  Since then, these traps have helped to gather information about crab populations in our region.  KELT used them to work with students at Bath Middle School and Woolwich Central School to trap green crabs and document information about their populations each fall.   The Arrowsic Shellfish Committee has borrowed them for a one day trapping effort each summer to get a snapshot of crab populations around the island.  Some Georgetown citizen scientists have borrowed these traps to track crab populations at Heal Eddy, every other week for the past few years. 


What's a Green Crab?

The invasive European green crab, Carcinus maenus, is not always green! There are other features that can be used to identify green crabs.  Various programs around the state and region that are trying to learn more about this voracious invertebrate.


Bath Middle School Trapping

Bath Middle School 7th grade students and teachers spend their fall exploring information about local fisheries.  This exploration includes learning about invasive green crabs and trapping them to find out information about their population and how it changes over time.  Learn more about the student project and their findings.


Annual Trapping in Local Towns

We'll be updating this section with data from local trapping efforts.  More information coming soon!


Let your inner scientist out.