A boat seen from the Land’s End Beach at the end of Bailey Island in Harpswell passes by the Little Mark Island Monument, a widely recognized landmark of Casco Bay's historic maritime landscape. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN

PORTLAND — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a Maine university more than $650,000 to support a water conservation effort in Casco Bay.

The EPA is giving the money to the University of Southern Maine in support of the university’s Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The partnership’s goal is to reduce nutrient pollution in the bay, which is a major driver of tourism, recreation and fisheries in southern Maine.

Maine U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said the investment will help USM “preserve the waters around these beautiful islands for generations to come.” They said the main goals of the partnership include protecting, restoring and enhancing habitats that are critical for Casco Bay and its environment.