The completed footbridge at Mare Brook. Courtesy of Sandy Stott

Over the past week, even amid the rains that have seemed constant punctuation this summer, work began on the first project in the projected 10-year effort to upgrade Mere/Mare Brook from its current “urban-impaired” state. On Sept. 1, a newly completed footbridge carried its first walkers over the stream.

Part of the effort to help Mare Brook lies in restoring as much of its natural flow as possible. Such flow allows the brook to aerate and cleanse itself, which in turn makes it more habitable for aquatic creatures little and large that would live there. And healthier for us all to be around.

Workers removed a decayed culvert and replaced it with a footbridge over Mare Brook. Courtesy of Sandy Stott

Last week, my column chronicled the beginning of this collaborative, grant-and-donation–supported project. Near the brook’s headwaters, workers removed a decayed culvert that pinched the stream and replaced it with a footbridge that allowed the stream its natural width. On Friday, the bridge’s primary builders — Jared Higgins, Buddy Rogers and Ed Sullivan, a work crew from Thornton Oaks — and their supervisor, Director of Facilities Tim May, got a chance to stand back and see their work. Then they stepped across it.

Not present but evident in the completed work were support people from Ray Labbe and Sons and Hammond Lumber. So, too, with Brunswick Environmental Planner Ashley Charleson and Cumberland County Water and Soil District Engineer Chris Baldwin.

I followed a little later. There was the bridge, a handsome construction with clean lines. Stopping mid-bridge, I looked down at the slightly rippled flow beneath. Moving water mesmerizes. One might even say it soothes. Here, Mare Brook seemed to sigh a bit with passage. Everything would be a little easier, a little better here, near the headwaters.

From there, I could look downstream in the direction of the next project and then the next. I could begin to see a restored brook right in the middle of Brunswick. We will all be healthier as a result.

Sandy Stott is the chairperson of Brunswick’s Conservation Commission, serves on the Mare Brook Steering Committee and writes Your Land, a monthly column in The Times Record.

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