Brunswick, Harpswell parcels receive conservation funding

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BRUNSWICK — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant programs last week awarded nearly $1.4 million to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to support protection of more than 300 acres in Brunswick and Harpswell.

A press release also announced additional funds for the protection of coastal wetlands in Washington County.

“Maine’s coastal resources are precious and they are home to an abundance of wildlife that we need to preserve and protect,” U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins said in a joint statement. “This investment will help support state, non-profit and private landowner conservation interests to work together unique places in Maine.”

In Harpswell, nearly 90 acres, including nearly 1,900 feet of shore frontage on Basin Cove and Curtis Cove, are slated for protection. The funds are being distributed to Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. According to the press release, the area is sa significant waterfowl and wading bird habitat as well a shellfish habitat. Protections will include eelgrass beds, which provides a habitat for many marine species, according to the release.

In Brunswick, a permanant conservation easement will be purchased. According to the release, the 237-acre Henshaw parcel as well as more than 1,500 feet of shorefront on Maquoit Bay will be conserved in accordance with Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan.

The area is outlined for priority conservation and is habitat for the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, piping plover, roseate tern and red knot. The easement, when added to already conserved properties nearby, will result in about 440 protected acres, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

“The parcel includes a portion of the largest coastal unfragmented forest block in Cumberland County and offers a rare opportunity to provide landscape level conservation in a rapidly developing area,” according to the release.

A total of more than $19 million was awarded nationally by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A total of about $5 million was awarded to the northeast region from Delaware to Maine.  

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net.

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