157 Acres for Carson National Wildlife Refuge (ME)
Kennebunk, Maine: Today, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit land conservation organization, announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase approximately 157 acres on Brown Street off of Route 9 from the Murray Dwight family as an addition to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Thanks to the hard work of Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Congressman Tom Allen, Congress appropriated funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the Refuge, which will be used for the project.
“I am pleased to support the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and its partners in securing the funds necessary to protect this critical wildlife habitat in southern Maine near Parsons Beach in Kennebunk. I will continue to work on behalf of the Refuge to conserve important lands such as these. The Refuge now protects close to 5,000 acres of wildlife and is situated along the populated southern Maine coast and spans approximately 50 miles from Cape Elizabeth to Kittery,” said Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME).
“Today’s purchase agreement is another important step forward in the effort to protect water quality and wildlife habitat along Maine’s southern coast,” stated Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). “I am proud to have worked to support the valuable public-private partnership that exists at the Rachel Carson Refuge.”
“The agreement to protect this property along the Mousam River is an important achievement for the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge,” said Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME01). “I applaud the Refuge and its many partners for their dedication to open space and critical habitat and will continue to support their efforts.”
“As the pace of development builds in Southern Maine, it threatens to permanently change the scenic character of communities like Kennebunk and irreversibly degrade wildlife habitat,” said Jennifer Melville, project manager for TPL. “This project is part of a larger effort to buffer the Refuge’s existing holdings against encroaching development in order to protect both critical wildlife habitat and open space treasured by residents. We are grateful to Maine’s Congressional delegation for their efforts to secure federal funding and to the Friends of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and the Kennebunk Conservation Trust for their strong support.”
Ward Feurt, Refuge Manager at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, remarked, “The Refuge has benefited from the hard work by the Trust for Public Land, the Friends of Rachel Carson, and Maine’s Congressional delegation in protecting this important habitat for wildlife. The parcel overlays swell and swale topography covered by river front and riparian habitat, wet woods, open fields, and mixed deciduous forest. The riparian areas and open fields are especially important for migratory bird species that are declining locally and nationally.”
“The Parsons family, of which the Dwight family is a part, is happy to have worked with the Trust for Public Land to preserve and protect these fields and forests,” said Murray Dwight. “This property, which has been in the family for over four generations, will now be maintained in its natural state and add to the size and beauty of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.”
The property lies along the Mousam River estuary, one of the principal estuaries the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect. In addition, the land is adjacent to existing Refuge holdings and includes wetlands, open fields, barrens, and woodlands that provide critical habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds.
The Mousam River project is the newest in a series of TPL projects in southern coastal Maine. Currently, TPL and the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust are raising funds to protect 150-acre Fuller Farm in Scarborough. Last year, TPL and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust helped add 71 acres threatened with imminent development in Kennebunkport to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, TPL recently collaborated with the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust to support the passage of a local $1.5 million parks and land conservation bond in Scarborough, helped the state of Maine protect 62-acre Scarborough Beach, and assisted the town of Falmouth with the protection of two of its largest dairy farms.
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including more than 30,000 acres in Maine. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and protects more than 5,000 acres between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth. Named after Rachel Carson, one of America’s most well-known naturalists, the Refuge was established in 1966 to protect valuable salt marshes, estuaries, and other important wildlife habitat. The Refuge’s Headquarters are located in Wells, Maine, and can be reached at (207) 646-9226.