HARPSWELL, Maine — A $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will help conserve 86.1 acres of wetlands on Middle Bay in Harpswell and Brunswick.
The grant, through the National Coastal Grants Wetlands Conservation Program, will benefit the Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership in Brunswick and Harpswell. It will fund the purchase of almost 14 acres from the Lowell family off Harpswell Neck Road near the Harpswell-Brunswick town line, according to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.
Middle Bay, located between Mere Point in Brunswick and Harpswell Neck, is a focus area because of its productive wildlife habitat for birds, shellfish, plants and other animals, according to the land trust. Land conservation projects protect water quality, which benefits fishing, clamming and other marine industries.
Additional funding for the Middle Bay project will come from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Fund, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
The area pegged for conservation has been “mapped as significant waterfowl and wading bird habitat and as significant shorebird feeding and roosting habitat,” according to the land trust’s release.
This is the second project undertaken by the Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership. In 2013, funding from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program allowed Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, with help from the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, to purchase part of White Island in Middle Bay, according to the release. That purchase conserves 47 acres of mudflats and eelgrass beds.
The Middle Bay Wetlands Partnership is among 21 projects focused on supporting coastal wetlands to receive a total of $16.5 million through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
Funding for the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue, money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboats and small engine fuels.