50 Acres Added to Rachel Carson NWR (ME)

BIDDEFORD POOL, Maine, 12/31/2002: Today, the Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the addition of 50 acres on Old Pool Road to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Known as Shorebird Point, the property lies adjacent to 67 acres already owned by the Refuge and includes nearly a half-mile of frontage on Biddeford Pool, the largest tidal pool in Maine. Thanks to the support of the Maine Congressional delegation, Congress appropriated funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund last year, which enabled the Refuge to move forward with the $1.25 million acquisition.

“The Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge is a Maine treasure I have been proud to support throughout my time in the Senate. I am particularly proud we have been successful in securing increasing funding that can support operation of the refuge, and ongoing protection of this resource,” said U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), who with Senator Collins has spearheaded efforts to secure more than $6 million in funding for the Refuge in Senate appropriations over the past five fiscal years. “I will continue to support funding to conserve additional properties that can buffer the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge – one of the true natural treasures on the Maine coast that provides important habitat for more than 250 different species of birds.”

“Acquisition of Shorebird Point is an example of another outstanding land protection effort at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge – particularly in the densely-populated southern region,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). “I am very proud that we were able to secure the funds necessary to protect this vital parcel, which will ensure the continued protection of Maine’s critical shorefront habitat.”

“This acquisition, using the Land and Water Conservation Fund, will permanently provide open space and scenic views while protecting local water quality and wildlife,” said Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME01). “Southern Maine faces intense development pressures, and funding like this helps ease those pressures while ensuring the quality of life Mainers have come to expect.”

“We are very excited about this addition to the Biddeford Pool Division of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge,” said refuge manager Ward Feurt. “The upland, marsh and pool habitats create a haven for migratory birds. The refuge staff is very appreciative of efforts by the Congressional delegation, Friends of Rachel Carson, and the Trust for Public Land to protect this excellent habitat.”

“The completion of this project is a landmark in the larger effort to protect both wildlife habitat and the character of southern coastal Maine from growing development pressures,” said Sam Hodder, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, which helped negotiate the purchase from landowner Lucinda Dean. “The Trust for Public Land is pleased to be working with the Rachel Carson Refuge, in partnership with Maine’s Congressional delegation and local organizations, to protect and expand this natural and scenic coastal jewel.”

The Trust began working to protect Shorebird Point last spring as part of a long-term partnership with local communities and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to conserve critical properties in southern coastal Maine. This region boasts Maine’s greatest biological diversity as well as renowned recreational and scenic resources. Yet it is also the region at greatest risk from unprecedented growth and sprawl. To date, the Trust has worked with local citizens and the Maine Congressional delegation to significantly increase funding for refuge land acquisition and to add nearly 300 acres to the refuge, including the purchase announced today. The Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have also published Where the Rivers Meet the Sea, a report highlighting habitat conservation priorities for the refuge.

Located between two housing developments, Shorebird Point is the largest undeveloped parcel on Biddeford Pool and could have accommodated up to 17 new homes if it had been developed. The property includes wetlands, open fields, woodlands, and tidal marshlands and provides critical habitat for 124 species of birds, including four that are listed by the federal government as threatened or endangered—bald eagle, piping plover, roseate tern, and least tern.

Named after one of America’s best-known naturalists, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife 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.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization that was founded in 1972 to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. In 2002, in addition to partnering with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, TPL helped protect more than 12,000 around Mount Blue State Park and Tumbledown Mountain in Franklin County. In all, TPL has protected nearly 50,000 acres in Maine and more than 1.4 million acres nationwide. 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 the third year in a row.