Joe Payne of Friends of Casco Bay was honored with the Environmental Merit Award for Lifetime Achievement at a ceremony in Boston today.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 1 — which includes New England — presented the award to Payne, who has been baykeeper for 20 years. The award was announced by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

Payne has helped launch numerous efforts to protect the bay, including a water-quality monitoring program, a recovery after the Julie N oil spill, relocating 33,000 lobsters in the path of a harbor dredging project and making Casco Bay a no-discharge area, the announcement said.

Environmental Merit Awards recognize outstanding effort to preserve New England’s environment.