Sebasticook Regional Land Trust: Open-space acquisition creates 1,500-acre conservation corridor

 

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Sebasticook Regional Land Trust unveils 150-acre Rines Wetlands and Wildlife Preserve
Worked with The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on acquisition
New recreational opportunities in Twenty-five Mile Stream watershed

UNITY, Maine — Conservationists are celebrating completion of a land acquisition that will create a 1,500-acre corridor of permanently conserved land in Waldo County for hikers, hunters, bird watchers and others to enjoy.

The purchase of 150 acres along Bog Brook was completed March 30 by Unity-based Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, along with its partners The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust Executive Director Jennifer Irving said sellers Jackie (Rines) Ingraham and sister Linda (Rines) Berry liked the idea of placing the acreage into permanent conservation as a way to honor their family’s love of nature and wildlife.

The newly conserved acreage will be called The Rines Wetlands and Wildlife Preserve.

Ingraham and Berry grew up on the property with their parents and grandparents. They rode horses, climbed trees, caught frogs, hunted and fished. “For this land to be used for something like this — for wildlife — that would have made [my parents] very happy,” Ingraham said.

“Both our parents were into conservation, into nature,” Berry said. “They both hunted. They loved the animals here, they knew the habitats, mom watched birds. Dad took us out to look for wildflowers.”

Irving said the parcel is rich in biodiversity. She said the acquisition will create new outdoor recreation opportunities in the Twenty-five Mile Stream region in northwest Unity — an area of early and continuing focus for Sebasticook Regional Land Trust.

“On its journey from Unity Pond to the Sebasticook River, the stream travels through one of Central Maine’s largest remaining blocks of undeveloped habitat,” Irving said. “That means it’s home to critters that need lots of space, like moose, bear, bobcat, fisher, and woodland hawks. It’s also home to less common animals and plants: wood turtles, wild garlic, bur oak, to name a few.

“That’s why this acquisition is so important: It provides adequate space for wildlife, creates new spaces for recreation, and when added to our other, adjoining conservation acquisitions, provides a lasting example of Sebasticook Regional Land Trust’s long dedication to habitat protection.”

The acquisition arose from a partnership among local, regional and federal wildlife groups including The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded for this project is an excellent example of how our agency supports partnerships to conserve essential places for migratory birds and other wildlife,” said Wendi Weber, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s northeast regional director. “Many species are facing ever-greater threats from habitat loss and the burgeoning effects of global warming. Bog Brook and habitats like it are the key to their survival.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust on the continued conservation of significant lands within Unity Wetlands,” said Barbara Vickery, Director of Conservation Programs at The Nature Conservancy in Maine. “This large unfragmented, forested wetland with the rivers and streams embedded in it is one of the most important conservation resources in central Maine. This latest acquisition by the land trust ensures not only protection of more wonderful wetlands and wildlife habitat, but also access for people to enjoy traditional recreational activities.”

Irving said the acquisition provides a key linkage between two conservation areas while forever conserving diverse wetlands and protecting water  quality for brook trout and other sensitive species.

To the north is Sebasticook Regional Land Trust’s Moulton’s Mill Preserve: 700 acres of woods and wetlands and more than two miles of shoreline purchased by the land trust in 2012 and 2014. A protection agreement held by the SRLT on private farmland to the east adds additional acreage and undeveloped shore.

To the south, SRLT acquired Fowler Bog Preserve in 2012 to protect this high-quality wetland so important for wildlife. Additional land donated by the Bessey Family adds important upland buffer to the preserve and provides high value habitat for woodcock, grouse and many songbirds.

“While large blocks of undeveloped land like this provide wildlife and recreational benefits today, they also offer hope as we look to the future,” Irving said. “By assuring the continued availability of large blocks, we are supporting nature’s capacity to adapt to the challenges of climate change. With these most recent acquisitions, we can begin to think about wildlife corridors and connecting parts of the larger landscape.”

Click here for photos of the property.

About Sebasticook Regional Land Trust

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust has a mission to recognize and conserve the rich wild and working landscape of Central Maine’s Sebasticook River watershed. We work with willing landowners to conserve the lands they love and the resources our community relies upon – clean water, family farms that provide local food and jobs, well-managed working forests, places to hunt, fish and play with our children.

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