Funding will help permanently protect nearly 1,000 wetland acres and local fish and wildlife
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust has received a total of $2 million to help conserve the headwaters of Kennebago River and its outstanding fish and wildlife resources, including its heritage strain of Eastern Brook Trout. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“The Kennebago River and its watershed play a key role in sustaining the health of Maine’s environment by providing high-quality habitats for fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “We welcome this important investment in conservation, which will help preserve the Kennebago River’s pristine waters and provide fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities for Mainers.”
“This funding will ensure that critical habitats for threatened and endangered birds and wild, native fish will be conserved forever,” said David Miller, Executive Director, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. “Our watersheds are the lifeblood of Maine’s spectacular ecosystems, and wetlands provide countless benefits to both wildlife and the people of Maine. Both we, and our partners in conservation, are so fortunate to have a congressional delegation who works with us to conserve our wild and beautiful home.”
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust will use this funding to acquire a 1,240-acre tract and easements on a 1,385-acre tract and a 1,886-acre tract. All three tracts are contiguous. Together these acquisitions will permanently protect 998 wetland acres; 9 miles of undeveloped lake and pond frontage; and 15 miles of relatively intact, wooded riparian area on the Kennebago River and smaller tributary streams.
The Maine Rivers Act recognized the Kennebago River as one of the state’s most significant resources for Eastern Brook Trout and landlocked salmon, and the river attracts thousands of anglers to fish its pristine waters. Together, the three tracts provide more than 2,100 acres of breeding habitats for American Black Duck. The Kennebago tracts border a 108,000-acre contiguous block of state and non-profit conservation holdings.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins previously secured $1 million towards this project in the government funding bill that was signed into law in March.