In the early 1900s, from our Mount Vernon home, you could see farmland for miles around us. Today it’s all woods. That’s one reason I’m excited that Maine Farmland Trust has launched a project to protect farmland, marshes, and other wildlife habitat.
“Farmland and marsh habitat are rapidly disappearing,” reports MFT in its spring/summer newsletter. Their new project will protect properties with high quality farmland and tidal marsh habitat in Maine’s coastal plain.
partners in the project are the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Downeast Salmon Federation, and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
NRC’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program is providing $1.3 million for the project, titled Conserving Farmland and Marsh Habitat in Maine. The money will be used to purchase conservation easements to protect agricultural resources and fish and wildlife habitat.
MFT and Maine Coast Heritage Trust also received a related $600,000 Regional Conservation Partnership Program award to protect farms on the shores of Little Kennebec Bay in Washington County, another project that pleases me.
“How and where farming is conducted not only affects the long-term sustainability of a farm property, but also affects the harvest of fish and shellfish from nearby waterbodies,” said Betsy Ham, Land Protection Director at Maine Coast Heritage Trust. “It is critical to proactively implement steps to assure that we are not scaling up one sector of the food system (farming) at the expense of another (fisheries).” I am so glad they recognize this important point.
Project partners will soon begin identifying landowners of properties that meet the criteria for this important new project. Great news!