AUGUSTA, Maine March 07, 2014
More than $1.2 million will help public and non-profit groups restore and protect high priority wetlands and other natural resources across Maine.
The Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program – which is administered by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – announced awards totaling more than $1.2 million to help restore, enhance or preserve wetlands and other important habitats at 12 project sites around the state.
The program provides flexibility for both regulators and the regulated community to choose a fee in lieu of more time-intensive traditional mitigation options. These so-called In Lieu Fees are collected by the Maine DEP and then transferred to the Natural Resource Conservation Fund at The Nature Conservancy.
“I’m excited that this announcement marks the fifth year that the Maine DEP, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have come together and done great things for Maine’s natural and economic environments. By providing in lieu fees as a mitigation option for developers, we are able to support important environmental enhancements in areas susceptible to development,” said Commissioner Patricia Aho of the Maine DEP. “This collaboration between regulators and developers reflects our mission to steward our environment and natural resources and ensure a strong and sustainable economy.”
“Five years since this important program began, we’re starting to seeing progress toward conserving Maine’s aquatic resources,” said Alex Mas, who manages the program for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. “Traditional mitigation projects can often be scattered, small or poorly located; this program allows us to focus wetland mitigation funds in high priority areas to help ensure they continue to provide important benefits for people and for wildlife into the future.
"This program results in outstanding projects to protect and improve aquatic resources throughout Maine. At the same time it provides the regulated public and regulatory agencies a streamlined process to obtain compensatory mitigation for a wide variety of authorized projects," said Colonel Charles Samaris, Commander of the New England District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "I am extremely proud of the collaborative work by federal, state, and non-profit agencies to solicit high quality projects, review them in detail, and make difficult choices to best employ the appropriate and meaningful grants available through the program."
This is the fifth round of awards from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program to advance important land and water conservation around the State:
Other 2013 award recipients include: Great Works Regional Land Trust, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Western Foothills Land Trust.
For more information about the Maine Natural Resource Conservation program, visit http://mnrcp.org/.
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.