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Visiting a Maine beach in March 2010, Harold Johnson was shocked by the ocean-borne debris left by recent storms. He grabbed a garbage bag and a camera, and hasn’t looked back.

Since then he has spent most of his free time studying marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, and the mysteries and science of ocean and shore.

Copyeditor and writer by trade, historian and archaeologist at heart, Johnson’s philosophy is simple: Dig below the surface, travel the currents, make the connections, learn. Then share what you learn. He lives in Saco with his wife and young daughter. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

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March 2014

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December 2013

November 2013

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September 2013

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July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

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March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Tuesday November 26, 2013 | 08:38 AM

We’ve all seen those charts telling us grimly how long various things take to rot away in the environment:

The Web is filled with these charts:

Tuesday November 19, 2013 | 09:29 AM

 Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

On hallowed ground, which had seen 51,000 American casualties (making it the bloodiest battle on American soil, still to this day), President Lincoln spoke words of healing and resolve.

He spoke of “a new birth of freedom,” and its call has resonated through the ages. The America that we wanted to be was born with those words.

Thursday November 14, 2013 | 08:58 AM

On Friday morning I was at my beach again. It was 8:30am, just after low tide. The air was chilled, but the sun was warm on my back. The tiniest of breezes hung in the air.

At about the same time, on the other side of the world, Super-Typhoon Haiyan was just finishing its path of destruction across the Philippines.

Sunday November 10, 2013 | 08:26 AM

An ancient Greek proverb says: “A man can never cross the same river twice, because both the river and the man are different.”

The same is true of any beach in the world.

On Friday at Curtis Cove, a beach I visit week in/week out all through the year, I saw a sight I’d never seen there before.

Monday November 04, 2013 | 09:18 AM

I subscribe to “The Pepperell Post” -- Saco’s official monthly newsletter. When the latest link arrived in my inbox on Friday, how surprised was I to find a story about Goosefare Brook!

When I did my three-part series on Goosefare Brook (the life-giving churning at a river’s mouth, tracing the meandering stream, and documenting its pollution), I had no idea a new management plan was in the works.

According to the press release, Saco and Old Orchard both recognize that Goosefare Brook is valuable -- and is suffering.