More than $2 million has been allocated to 14 projects that will restore and protect wetlands, wildlife habitats, waterways and other natural resources across Maine.

The money comes from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program, administered by The Nature Conservancy in Brunswick, said Alex Mas, director of strategic initiatives for the conservancy.

Eight agencies — including the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and six other federal and state agencies and private nonprofits – chose the projects.

The program is financed with “in lieu fees” – money collected by the DEP from businesses and individuals who otherwise would have to pay to mitigate or compensate for projects that have an impact on a protected resource, said Mas.

The program’s funding, which will be matched with $2.5 million from local, state, federal and private programs, is designed to enable high-priority wetlands to be preserved:

 

• The largest allocation – about $225,0000 – went to the Orono Land Trust in central Maine to expand conservation efforts at Caribou Bog, to purchase property abutting the bog and remove dams and debris to restore its natural wetland ecology.

 

• More than $100,000 was awarded to the Scarborough Land Trust’s conservation of Warren Woods, a 160-acre property that includes open fields and more than 100 acres of wetlands, as well several vernal pools and frontage along the Nonesuch River.

 

• The Pleasant River Wildlife Foundation received nearly $115,000 to conserve 136 acres near the Indian River in Addison. The property will protect extensive wetlands, as well as the water quality in Indian River Stream and its estuary.

 

• The Trust for Public Land will use $100,000 to help protect 5,800 acres that includes 20 miles of stream near Orbeton Stream, where Atlantic salmon recently returned to spawn for the first time in more than a century.

 

The Forest Society of Maine received $67,000 to protect 350 acres in the Violette Brook watershed in northern Maine. The property contains a reserve drinking water supply for Van Buren and Hamlin, and provides recreational access for snowmobiling, hunting, fishing and hiking.

 

Other 2012 award recipients include: Atlantic Salmon Federation, Bangor Land Trust, Georges River Land Trust, Great Works Regional Land Trust, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, Three Rivers Land Trust, Western Foothills Land Trust and York Land Trust.

 

Staff Writer North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@mainetoday.com