Maine organizations receive $1 million federal grant to protect over 16,000 acres of wildlife habitat

June 4, 2020

For immediate release
June 3, 2020

Maine organizations receive $1 million federal grant to protect over 16,000 acres of wildlife habitat 
Funds to support 3 federally Endangered, 2 federally Threatened and 9 state Endangered species

Portland, ME June 2, 2020—Four Maine conservation organizations will share a $1 million grant from the federal North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to conserve a wide range of valuable undeveloped wetlands in both inland and coastal Maine.

The Conserving Maine’s Coast and Headwaters project will protect 16,311.7 acres of undeveloped wetlands, riparian corridors, saltwater coastline, lake and pond frontage, and surrounding upland buffers within large-scale, relatively intact, protected landscapes. Together, these lands will benefit a wide range of bird species.

The four organizations sharing the NAWCA grant are the Appalachian Mountain Club (lead applicant), Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Freeport Conservation Trust, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The grant continues an effort begun in 2017 by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

The largest tract of land to be conserved under the grant is the 15,772-acre Pleasant River Headwaters Forest West in Piscataquis County, to be owned and managed by the Appalachian Mountain Club as part of its innovative Maine Woods Initiative. AMC will purchase the property from The Conservation Fund, which stepped in to hold it at a critical moment. The acquisition will conserve over 1,200 wetland acres, nearly 36 miles of riparian shoreline, and nearly 8 miles of lake and pond frontage. The property provides thousands of acres of important habitat for a variety of species.

Another six parcels totaling over 1,000 acres of coastal and interior wetlands stretching from suburban Cumberland County to rural down east Maine will conserve critical bird habitat.

Working together, the partner organizations seek to protect an interconnected conservation network of prime coastal habitats and interior wetlands. The project contributes to one of the largest protected areas in the Northeastern United States, a contiguous block of over 2 million acres providing breeding habitat and stopover areas for migratory birds. Among the water-dependent birds that will benefit from the grant are the American Black Duck and the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, both priority species for conservation. Maine continues to be a continental stronghold for Black Duck, hosting most of the US breeding population as well as staging and wintering a significant portion of the population.

Other species that will benefit from the conservation of more than 16,000 acres include the water birds Red-throated Loon, American Bittern, Pied-bill Grebe, Horned Grebe, Least Bittern, Bald Eagle and Snowy Egret; shore birds Red Knot, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, American Woodcock, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, American Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone, Short-billed Dowitcher and Buff-breasted Sandpiper; and land birds Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, Canada Warbler and Wood Thrush.

Match funding from the Elliotsville Plantation foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and The Conservation Fund helped secure the federal grant.

For more information, contact Amy Lacey-Plumley, Director of Digital Marketing and Media Relations for the Appalachian Mountain Club at (617) 391-6563; alaceyplumley@outdoors.org

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Eliza Townsend

AMC's Maine Conservation Policy Director