Spring 2019 Habitat Protection Fund Awards Announced

Robinson Pond South. Photo: Cape Elizabeth Land Trust

  • Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) has announced the spring 2019 Casco Bay Habitat Protection Fund awards. CBEP made three awards, for a total of $22,000, for projects in Cape Elizabeth, Sebago, and Freeport. With the Habitat Protection Fund, CBEP supports the permanent protection of aquatic habitats in the Casco Bay watershed. The Fund provides cost-sharing grants to land trusts and municipalities to support transaction and acquisition costs.

    CBEP made the following spring 2019 awards:

    Cape Elizabeth Land Trust (CELT), Robinson Pond South project. CBEP contributed a total of $15,000 to this project over two funding rounds in spring 2018 and spring 2019.  This latest addition of 51.9 acres makes Robinson Woods, at 197 acres, the largest permanently conserved contiguous preserve in Cape Elizabeth.  According to CELT Executive Director, Cindy Krum, this property is “a treasure, comprised of beautiful wetlands, mature forests, stone walls, fields, and a pristine stream. The preserve also provides exceptional habitat for a variety of inland and tidal waterfowl as well as a wide variety of native birds, plants and animals.” CBEP Program Manager Matt Craig noted several factors that went into the award decision; he notes that the property “has land that is suitable for salt marsh migration under sea level rise scenario, is near existing conserved land and valuable habitats, is highly threatened by development, and offers a new opportunity for public access.”

    Loon Echo Land Trust, Tiger Hill Community Forest.  CBEP contributed a total of $12,000 to this project over two funding rounds, in spring 2018 and spring 2019.   Loon Echo Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land are working in partnership with the community of Sebago, Maine to acquire and create Tiger Hill Community Forest. This project will sustain and enhance vitally important aquatic ecosystems, including 325 acres of wetlands and ponds and 29,500 feet of frontage on the Northwest River, a coldwater fishery that supports Sebago Lake’s landlocked salmon and native brook trout population. According to Matt Markot, Loon Echo Land Trust Executive Director, “This property is located in the most rapidly growing region of Maine, and the land will likely be sold for residential development if not conserved. Its conservation will help protect Sebago Lake, a critical drinking water source for over one-sixth of Maine residents, and a cold-water fishery that supports Sebago Lake’s landlocked salmon and native brook trout populations. ”

    Sebago Community Forest. Photo: Loon Echo Land Trust

    Freeport Conservation Trust. This grassroots land trust in Freeport will receive a Habitat Protection Fund award for a coastal habitat protection project that is “still in the negotiation stages and so must remain confidential for now,” according to the Trust’s Executive Director Katrina Van Dusen.






Community clam conservation in Phippsburg. A 2018 Community Grant project

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership Community Grants Program

Through the Casco Bay Community Grants Program, CBEP seeks to encourage new partnerships and innovative projects that engage communities with Casco Bay and its watershed, and that are tied in with the 2016 Casco Bay Plan.

Please email Victoria Boundy  at victoria.boundy@maine.edu to to be added to the distribution list for future announcements.

2019 Casco Bay Community Grant Awards Announced

CBEP received nine proposals totaling $27,000 from schools, nonprofit organizations and community groups, and made awards for four projects in the Casco Bay Islands, Portland, and Harpswell. CBEP had a total of $12,500 to award.

Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) will use their CBEP award to foster a stronger “Leave No Trace” ethic among Casco Bay Island visitors who enjoy the outdoors with their pets. According to MITA, “managing pet impacts has emerged as a formidable stewardship challenge on the public islands in Casco Bay.” Allowing canine companions to roam, explore and go to the bathroom at will has resulted in disturbance to wildlife and habitat, threatened water quality, and a diminished nature experience for many island visitors. MITA will be train volunteers on and use targeted education and outreach strategies, primarily on three heavily impacted islands on Casco Bay: Jewell Island (Portland), Little Chebeague Island (Chebeague) and Little Snow Island (Harpswell).

Holbrook Community Foundation (HCF), Harpswell, aims to educate community leaders and residents about local aquaculture initiatives in the New Meadows, by organizing three boat tours to aquaculture sites and targeted communications. Their goal of educating the local community and leaders about this new segment of the New Meadows fishery ties into the Holbrook Foundation’s mission to support the commercial fishing community and “to provide opportunities for education about the marine environment and the changing marine economy,” according to the Foundation. The tours and discussions will also provide opportunities to nurture relationships between landowners, community leaders and the aquaculture community.

Amanda C. Rowe Elementary School in Portland will use its grant funding to raise environmental awareness of first and second grade students and residents by installing a “Story Walk” on Portland public trails. Students will be sharing knowledge with the wider community about how waterways connect, support, and enhance our communities, through a cooperatively written narrative story. Students will then illustrate their story with the expertise of a local artist, and will install the final product as a story walk on the Portland Public Trails. The project is part of a larger multidisciplinary project that includes a partnership with the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District that focuses on protecting water resources.

Helping families enjoy spending time outdoors together and learning about Harpswell’s coastal environment are the goals of the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s (HHLT) “pop-up family fun and learning station.” According to HHLT, involving families in public programs can be challenging, but “engaging parents alongside their children outdoors has the potential for lasting impact.” With Community Grant funds, HHLT will create a family fun and learning station that can rotate to different land trust preserves in Harpswell. The mobile station will include equipment and materials such as magnifying lenses, identification materials and fun facts about the coastal environment, nature-inspired art activities and more.