WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced a $4.6 million investment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will support conservation efforts in Maine’s Western Mountains. The Senators, along with Congressman Bruce Poliquin, wrote a letter in support of the project which will help private landowner efforts to bolster fish and wildlife habitats in western Maine between the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Moosehead Lake.
“Our state’s natural resources are one of its biggest assets, and it’s critical that we work to safeguard them for the enjoyment of generations to come,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This investment will continue Maine’s longstanding tradition of public-private conservation partnerships and protect and preserve the beauty of Maine’s Western Mountains.”
The project, which will be led by the Trust for Public Land and includes several other partner organizations, will increase financial and technical assistance available to private forest owners. It will help conserve crucial working forests, provide landowner incentives for managing forests for habitat diversity, and fund physical improvements to impaired riparian habitats and stream crossings. The project seeks to tie conservation successes with valuable outcomes for private landowners, such as maintaining forests, increasing the productivity and flow of goods in working forests and local economies, and protecting important ecological spaces. The project will be regional in scope, but will be piloted in a smaller geographic area so that successful results can be replicated regionally moving forward.
This investment comes through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a sub-agency of USDA.
In November, the Senators sent a letter with Congressman Poliquin to NRCS Chief Jason Weller urging the service to support this project.
NRCS is also investing $5.2 million in a regional project led by the Wildlife Management Institute, the Young Forest Initiative for At-Risk Species, that will help increase technical and financial assistance to certain non-industrial private forestland owners in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.