The property discussed. Courtesy of Scarborough Parks and Conservation Land Board

Scarborough Town Council unanimously approved a first reading to approve an expenditure of up to $260,000 from the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund to purchase property located at 80 Beech Ridge Road, southern tract. The purchase is recommended by the town’s Parks and Conservation Land Board.

The Parks and Conservation Land Board was created after voters approved an additional $2.5 million for land conservation and historic preservation. The Parks and Conservation Land Board serves to evaluate properties and make recommendations to the town council on the use of funds for conservation and stewardship.

The funds would help the Scarborough Land Trust purchase the property, with the town’s contribution paying about 66 percent of the cost. The land was first brought to the board’s attention in October 2022. The land trust found the property important for conservation.

“The property’s rolling topography consists of drier upland areas interspersed with lower, wetter areas containing intermittent streams that make their way to Beaver Brook, a permanent stream forming the back property line,” the trust wrote in its application. “The property will protect local fisheries as Beaver Brook is identified by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as a Wild Brook Trout Priority area. The wetlands surrounding Beaver Brook and its riparian habitat protect the water quality of the brook and local aquifers as well as provide homes for numerous species of plants and animals.

“The forests surrounding the brook contain critical breeding and feeding resources for reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrate, and act as an important migratory stopover for songbirds. On a site visit by Scarborough Land Trust, a variety of wildlife was observed including songbirds, raptors, and deer. Beaver Brook also feeds into the Scarborough Marsh, an area of statewide ecological importance as identified by the state of Maine. Ensuring the brook’s water quality stay high is critical to protecting the marsh.”

The property also contains an unofficial snowmobiling trail and a large aquifer. An important wintering area for deer is also closely attached to the parcel.

“I think this makes perfect sense,” said councilor Jean-Marie Caterina. “It’s a good use of conservation land funds, the bonds that we passed, the voters of Scarborough passed, as part of our drive to conserve endangered or special areas of Scarborough, particularly wetlands. I am going to support this.”

The council unanimously approved the first reading. A second reading will also be scheduled.

The area discussed.

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