Three conservation groups have merged to form a group that’s expected to have a greater impact protecting land in southern Maine.

The merger of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, the Windham Land Trust and the Presumpscot River Watch is the latest in a trend in which conservation groups in Maine have combined resources.

The new organization will continue to be called the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. It will oversee 25 preserves covering 1,400 acres in Gray, Windham, Standish, Westbrook, Sebago and Gorham.

The group has two paid staffers who were employed by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.

The group also will conduct water testing along the Presumpscot River watershed and work with volunteers in the communities within the watershed, which also include Buxton, Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland and Raymond.

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust expands to 300 members with the merger, according to the executive director, Rachelle Curran Apse.


She expects the membership to swell as the new entity works to conserve more land in a greater area.

“We will be able to coordinate more volunteers through the watershed,” Curran Apse said. “By having the same staff oversee all the preserves, we have the capacity to look for more opportunities to talk with more people who are interested in conservation land.”

Apse said the new land trust’s coverage area touches a population of 125,000 residents in Greater Portland, and the population it will reach along the watershed is as large as 250,000.

Last year, four nonprofit conservation groups in midcoast Maine merged to form the Midcoast Conservancy, a land trust that now overseas more than 6,600 acres and has a membership of more than 1,300.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

Twitter: FlemingPph

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