Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Sebago Clean Waters has been awarded a total of $8,000,000 to support conservation efforts and protect the clean, safe drinking water from the Sebago Lake watershed by improving fish passage, restoring wetlands, and improving forest management throughout the region. The funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
“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 Sebago Lake’s watershed.”
Portland Water District, as the lead partner for the grant, will manage the funds and work closely with other Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) partners. SCW partners will use the grant to leverage another $10.5 million from public and private sources needed to reach the initiative’s five-year goal of protecting 10,000 acres of high-priority forestland in the region and implement other watershed protection measures. The Sebago Watershed Protection Investment Program will support forest conservation, land stewardship, aquatic invasive control, stream connectivity, and landowner outreach in the Sebago Lake watershed.
Sebago Lake provides clean, safe drinking water for more than 200,000 people, serving one-sixth of Maine’s population and Maine’s fastest growing businesses. Additionally, the watershed supports forestry jobs, outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, and wildlife habitat. This funding will support SCW’s goal of protecting 25 percent of the land in the Sebago watershed in the next 15 years.
Senators Collins and King wrote to USDA in support of the grant application submitted by the Portland Water District.