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$1 million Federal Award Advances Conservation of York River

November 13, 2009 | Maine

For Immediate Release

Contacts:  Doreen MacGillis, Executive Director, YLT, 207-363-7400, info@yorklandtrust.org, and

Stewart Fefer, Project Leader, USFWS, Gulf of Maine Program,

207-781-8364, stewart_fefer@fws.gov

Photos:     Available on request, contact: Nancy Grace Lowenberg, YLT Dir. of Development and Communications, 207-363-7400, nglowenberg@yorklandtrust.org

 

$1 million Federal Award Advances Conservation of York River

 

240 acres including one mile of York River shoreline purchased.

 

York, ME - York Land Trust (YLT), and the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea conservation partners (MtA2C) announce the protection of an ecologically significant property on the York River in York, ME.  In 2005, aided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Program, the partners made a “federal case” for supporting York River conservation and won a million dollar North American Wetlands Conservation Act* (NAWCA) award.  It was recently used to purchase 240 acres of pristine saltmarsh, shorelands, field and forested uplands from the Davis family, one or York’s founding families and long time supporters of community conservation.

 

“Our family settled this land in the 1600’s and lived on it continuously until 1963, when our great aunt Alice R. McIntire died and our mother Mary McIntire Davis inherited the land. Before her death, it was our mother’s fondest wish that the land remain undeveloped and in it’s natural state in-perpetuity.  We believe conveying the land to the good stewards of the York Land Trust will ensure our mother’s legacy and provide for the enjoyment of the citizens and visitors of York. My brothers, Dan and Jim, and I are pleased to be able to continue our family’s affiliation with the York Land Trust,” said Mal Davis.

 

“We are grateful to the Davis Family for working with us to protect this spectacular property and for their generosity in selling the land for less than its market value, as a donation to the York Land Trust. The success of the project was due in part to this important gift, said Doreen MacGillis, Executive Director of York Land Trust.  “In addition, the value of a partially donated conservation easement to Maine Coast Heritage Trust by the Delano family on a 390-acre parcel on Gerrish Island in Kittery last year provided critical match necessary to secure the federal NAWCA grant.”

 

The NAWCA proposal was a rigorous process that focused national attention on the York River System’s distinctive preservation arguments including 1) that the River’s estuary, shoreland and contiguous forested uplands provide priority habitat for 100 types of waterbirds, or nearly every species regularly seen in the entire Atlantic Flyway, 2) that conserving the lands connected to the River and its source wetlands and streams protects many non-bird species including half of the entire possible diversity for estuarine fishes in Maine, rare turtles, amphibians, invertebrates, and mammals, and 3) that the rich marshes of the York River comprise one of the largest intact coastal wetland areas in southern Maine. Project leader Stewart Fefer with the USFWS Gulf of Maine Program said, “This York River project protects forever a diversity of nationally significant coastal wetland habitats for fish, wildlife and people. We are delighted to have been able to assist in this important conservation partnership.”

According to aquatic biologist Michele Dionne, PhD. director of research at the Wells Reserve (WNERR), “from harbor to headwaters, the York River, an exemplary New England coastal watershed has retained an impressive degree of ecological integrity. The ecology of the River is directly connected to the ecology of its surrounding landscape.  If the shorelands lose their natural functions, so do the brooks, streams, creeks and channels of the watershed and estuary.  As an aquatic scientist, I greatly appreciate the timely and critically important work of the Mt A to the Sea Coalition in protecting the lands that protect the River.   As a local resident, I understand the depth of commitment required to pursue this far-from-simple mission. As a parent, I am truly grateful for the Coalition's growing natural legacy - a gift beyond measure to us all.

 

This is one of 45 projects, representing a total of 2,746 acres that the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Coalition has completed since its inception in 2002. (Conservation lands map attached)

 

*  The North American Waterfowl Management Plan, established to conserve our continent’s remaining wetlands and increase migratory bird populations, is funded with appropriations from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Grants made through the NAWCA Large Grants Program are used for permanent protection and/or restoration projects nationwide that benefit migratory birds, with a strong emphasis on waterbirds, federally endangered species and wetlands.

 

 

Background

 

The York Land Trust, founded in 1986 is a private, member-supported, not-for-profit organization dedicated to conserving and protecting lands of ecological, scenic, agricultural, and educational significance in the greater York area.  For more information about the York Land Trust, please visit us online at www.yorklandtrust.org.

 

Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea conservation initiative is a ten-member coalition of federal and state governmental agencies; national and regional land protection organizations, and three southern Maine land trusts. The goal is to conserve a mosaic of critical lands, waterways and working landscapes in the six-town area between the Tatnic Hills of Wells and Gerrish Island in Kittery Point.  Working together, the partners of the MtA2C Conservation Initiative are protecting both community values and environmental health across a project area spanning 48,000 acres in southernmost Maine.  For more information, visit www.mtatosea.org.

 

 

 

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