BRUNSWICK, ME | April 20, 2012
This Earth Day, April 22, The Nature Conservancy in Maine will launch its Sustainable Maine, Sustainable Planet Campaign, an effort to raise $100 million to fund the widest-reaching effort to protect Maine’s lands and waters that has been mounted in the state’s history.
“It’s a big goal, but we have a very big challenge facing all of us,” said Mike Tetreault, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
“By 2050, there will be nine billion people sharing this planet. The demands on our natural resources will be unprecedented,” Tetreault said. “But we can make a tangible difference for Maine people and Maine places if we all come together to work at the scale of nature and to protect the lands and waters that we all need.”
The Sustainable Maine, Sustainable Planet Campaign’s major initiatives stretch from Moosehead Lake to Washington County; from the Gulf of Maine to Mount Agamenticus and beyond:
- Helping the Gulf of Maine regain its status as one of Earth’s most abundant and economically productive marine ecosystems. We’re working with ecologists and social scientists to better understand our relationship with this resource, and collaborating with fishermen on market-based conservation that will ensure that future generations of Mainers can fish these waters.
- Restoring a river system via the Penobscot River Restoration Project, a partnership with other conservation groups, business, government and the Penobscot Indian Nation to open up 1,000 miles of the Penobscot River system for migratory fish for the first time in more than a century, while maintaining hydropower generation in the watershed. After a decade of preparation, the project will begin with the removal of Great Works Dam this summer.
- Finalizing the Moosehead Forest Project, an effort to protect more than 400,000 acres of forestland in the Western Maine. This vast area is a key portion of the conservation efforts included in the concept plan for the Moosehead Lake region, as approved by the Land Use Regulation Commission. When completed this May, the project will create a corridor of conserved land that will stretch for more than 2 million acres across Northern and Western Maine, to protect both habitat and opportunity for recreation and forestry.
- Protecting nature near Maine’s most densely developed communities to provide habitat and a buffer against unplanned development. This includes protection of habitat in the Saco River Valley and the Kennebec Estuary, as well as preservation of half of the 41,000-acre Mount Agamenticus region.
- Bringing the expertise that we’ve developed here in Maine to conservation efforts around the world, from Indonesia to Kenya to Brazil, and working across boundaries to protect Canadian forests that provide key habitat for many Maine species.
- Providing opportunities for urban youth to experience conservation work here in Maine, through college internships and the Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program that brings urban high school students to rural Maine each summer.
The range of conservation work that will be funded by the Sustainable Maine, Sustainable Planet campaign is designed to operate at the scale of nature, protecting wide swaths of Maine’s globally significant natural resources by building on local efforts. Millions of acres of Maine will be connected by working with partners, providing our natural systems with a resilience to change that will allow them to thrive in coming decades and continue to meet the needs of both people and wildlife.
“We are committed to partnerships with business and resource users to conserve the resources that we all value,” Tetreault said.
Over the past five years, The Nature Conservancy has raised 97 percent of its $100 million goal.
More than 14,000 people – about one percent of Maine’s population – have already contributed to the effort, and conservation work is already underway.
“The collective impact of these projects is far greater the sum of the parts,” Tetreault said. “By partnering with foresters, fishermen and farmers, we can balance the need to protect critical lands and waters with human needs for food, water and economic opportunity. Together, we can prepare Maine for our 80th Earth Day in 2050.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.