The Kennebec Estuary is one of the most significant estuaries on the East Coast. Six rivers converge in Merrymeeting Bay, forming a freshwater tidal delta that then flows out into the brackish waster of the Lower Kennebec River. These brackish waters and strong tidal currents keep the water from freezing solid, allowing birds to access food and salt marshes during the winter.
Through a generous gift of land by Loring Conant, Jr. and Louise R. Conant, The Nature Conservancy has preserved nearly 150 acres in the island community of Georgetown, adding to other protected lands nearby, such as Reid State Park and the Conservancy’s Basin Preserve.
Over the years – through a unique partnership of public and private partners – nearly 18,000 acres of land within the Kennebec Estuary have been preserved. In addition to conserving important wildlife values, these lands preserve drinking water, maintain the rural character of Maine’s coast and offer opportunities for public recreation.
“The Kennebec Estuary is one of Maine's most significant natural assets; the tidal marshes found here play a key role in sustaining local wildlife, like bald eagles, shorebirds, wading birds and migratory fish,” said Mike Tetreault, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine. “We are so grateful to the Conants for their gift; it represents a big step toward preserving the long-term health of the Estuary.”
Much of the conservation land in the lower Kennebec can be attributed to landowners who are committed to seeing their land remain undeveloped and open for people and wildlife for the long term. Other conservation lands, such as nearby Reid State Park, and the Conservancy’s Basin Preserve in Phippsburg were conserved thanks to the generosity and vision of private landowners.
The Nature Conservancy intends to own and manage the land as a preserve. The property hosts a large expanse of pine oak forest and thousands of feet of shoreline. It is considered excellent habitat for bald eagles and ospreys as well.
“We’re happy to know that our land will remain in its pristine condition today, tomorrow and for years to come,” said the Conants.
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.