The Nature Conservancy is accepting proposals for nearly $1.7 million in grant money to conserve wetlands and significant wildlife habitat throughout the state.

The grants are offered through the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program and administered on behalf of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to The Nature Conservancy. The money is intended for projects that restore, enhance or preserve natural habitats. It provides regulatory flexibility for agencies to allow fee payments in lieu of traditional mitigation options.

Grants are awarded annually, and over the first five funding rounds, the program distributed close to $10 million, said a release from The Nature Conservancy. Recently funded projects include:

n The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership was awarded $115,000 to restore tidal flow and enhance estuarine tidal wetland in Harpswell by replacing two undersized, failing culverts.

n The Damariscotta River Association used a $107,000 grant to buy 97 acres of a forested tract that connects the Bureau of Public Land’s Dodge Point preserve with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Sherman Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

n In Sebago, the Loon Echo Land Trust received $136,000 to buy and permanently protect about 150 acres on the shoreline of Perley Pond and the Northwest River.

Other 2013 award recipients include: Atlantic Salmon Federation, Great Works Regional Land Trust, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Western Foothills Land Trust.

Public agencies, nonprofit conservation organizations and individuals are encouraged to submit a letter of intent, including a project summary form and map, for eligible restoration and preservation projects in Maine. All letters of intent must be submitted online by 5 p.m. June 30 at Applicants whose projects meet the program’s requirements will be invited to submit full proposals.

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