MANCHESTER – Next to Hutchinson Pond is an 81-acre spread of bogs, meadow and woods that many birds, beavers, red foxes, white-tailed deer and common musk turtles — which are actually rare — call home.

The parcel recently sold for $375,000.

Yet its new owner will do nothing with it.

The Hutchinson Pond property is one of 13 sites across Maine that Central Maine Power Co. is setting aside as conservation land to compensate for the environmental impacts of a transmission upgrade project. The company is spending $1.4 billion to upgrade more than 400 miles of electrical transmission line from Eliot to Orrington.

Altogether, CMP is buying nearly 4,800 acres in conservation land and depositing $1.5 million into a Maine Department of Environmental Protection conservation fund.

Other protected sites include the 1,400-acre Kennebec Gorge in West Forks, a 150-acre property surrounding Half Moon Stream in Prospect, the 1,200-acre Wilmot Brook in Richmond and the 240-acre Mud Pond in Monmouth.

The land acquisitions are to satisfy a legal requirement that CMP offset the environmental impact of the Maine Power Reliability Project, in which CMP will expand some power substations, build some new ones and add 440 miles of new, 345,000-volt line to Maine’s electrical infrastructure.

“The project has certain inescapable impacts from an environmental perspective,” CMP spokesman John Carroll said. “We have an extensive compensation and preservation plan that identified some larger, significant parcels.”

Those impacts include permanently and temporarily filling in wetlands to make way for substation construction and expansion; filling in and changing the paths of some streams; and clearing forested areas for new transmission line corridor, according to documents on file with the DEP.

CMP still is completing its purchases of the 13 parcels. In most cases, after a deal closes, the utility will transfer ownership or offer a conservation easement to local groups, which will manage the properties.

In Manchester, CMP will transfer ownership of the Hutchinson Pond parcel to the Kennebec Land Trust, a Winthrop-based group that already manages 3,700 acres of conservation land in Kennebec County.

“It’s a very beautiful, mostly undeveloped pond; it’s a wildlife area,” Kennebec Land Trust President Cheryl Harrington said. “We have to take care of it in this natural state forever.”

Along with the 81-acre property, Kennebec Land Trust will receive an undisclosed sum from CMP to pay for land management costs.

Harrington said the land trust has yet to complete a management plan for the Hutchinson Pond parcel, but the property’s future likely will include hiking trails to allow for what Harrington called “low-impact recreation.”

“It was a good fit for us,” Harrington said, adding that the trust already manages nearby properties, including Jamie’s Pond in Hallowell.

In Mount Vernon, CMP has purchased 460 acres around Long Pond and will transfer ownership to the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.

The alliance plans to maintain an existing snowmobile trail on the property and allow other recreation that already takes place on the property, including hunting and fishing, said Charlie Baeder, alliance president.

The Long Pond property will be the alliance’s first Mount Vernon property outside of the Kennebec Highlands land it already manages, Baeder said. And there’s already talk of connecting the properties for hiking and canoeing, he said.

The 1,400-acre Kennebec Gorge purchase in West Forks protects land that includes 20 miles of riverfront beginning near the Harris Station Dam and extending south toward The Forks. The property is a white-water rafting hot spot and supports brook trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon.

CMP tried to approximate the path of its transmission line expansion in choosing conservation sites. But in many cases, Carroll said, the company opted to purchase large tracts away from the transmission path instead of smaller ones closer to it.

“We didn’t go on a town-by-town basis and say, ‘You’ll have 4 acres of impact in this town, (so) you’ll have 4 acres here,’” he said. “You don’t end up with a good habitat preservation (that way). We aggregated impact.”

CMP had to adhere to ratios set by the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers that require the utility to offset the amount of land its transmission overhaul impacts with larger amounts of conserved land.

The utility also could have simply paid the full value of the environmental impact into the DEP conservation fund.

“It’s somewhat interesting and somewhat unique that they’ve gone the route of trying to go out and identify specific parcels,” said Dylan Voorhees, clean-energy director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “It does look like there are some pretty good projects. It looks like they’ve picked some things that have real value.”

Carroll said he couldn’t release the cost of the compensation package separately, but said it’s a part of the full $1.4 billion cost of the transmission overhaul.

One criterion CMP applied to its purchases was the land’s attractiveness to developers, according to documents the company filed with the DEP.

For the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, that means CMP will help the group acquire a parcel it’s eyed for four years: the 470-acre Fowler Bog in Unity.

“We were thrilled to have the chance to partner with CMP and get that done,” said Jennifer Irving, the land trust’s executive director.

In those four years, Irving said, the landowners have put the property up for sale, and the land has been been pre-zoned for subdivisions. It also abuts a number of properties the Sebasticook land trust already manages, according to Irving.

“All of a sudden, we were looking at the possibility of residential development behind our conserved road land,” she said. “That was quite a threat for us. We were running out of ways to get this piece.”

Irving said the Sebasticook group plans to erect a trail system around Fowler Bog, and will manage the property to allow sustainable timber operations. The trust will receive money from CMP to pay for the property’s management.

“We looked at it as a little too good to be true at first,” Irving said. “It’s turned out to be a really great thing.”