Good evening and welcome! I am Charlie Johnson, president of the HHLT Board of Directors. I am here this evening with members of the Board of HHLT
I want to tell you about an exciting opportunity that we have as a community to preserve a special place in Harpswell
Description 30 Acres of Wetlands of Special Significance 35 Acres of Wooded Uplands 6 Acres of Old Field 15 Acres of Valuable Intertidal Resources Two properties are for sale Properties total 87 acres with almost 1900 feet of shorefront With your help, HHLT plans to purchase and make available to the community
These properties include: 30 Acres of Wetlands of Special Significance 35 Acres of Wooded Uplands 6 Acres of Old Field 15 Acres of Valuable Intertidal Resources
The project is located in South Harpswell, your neighborhood Includes frontage on Basin Cove close to Pott’s Point Includes frontage on Curtis Cove and Middle Bay What happens on this land impacts on these waters, as well as Casco Bay as a whole. In the US, Casco Bay is an Estuary of Special Significance. What we do in Harpswell effects the Bay.
The property is located in Focus Area #12 of the Town’s Open Space Plan Represents about 75% of Focus Area….so it is large enough to make a difference
HHLT was founded in 1983 as part of Historical Society Became independent in 1992 In 2009, updated our strategic plan and mission Typically work with landowners who voluntarily donate land and easements HHLT owns 11 preserves totally 250 acres and holds 20 easements, protecting 1100 acres Not all owners of land worth preservation can make a donation. Occasionally, a unique property with significant conservation values comes on the make and requires action by the Trust to ensure that it is not developed The two properties are that make up the BC/CC Project present such an opportunity
Conserves a variety of natural environments 72 acres of field, forest, wetlands and a freshwater pond 15 acres of tidal marsh, clam flats and eelgrass beds 2000 feet of shore Work together-uplands>groundwater and wetlands>tidal flats and bay
Preservation of the properties will protect our marine resources Clean water is essential for our commercial fishing which represents 50% of our local economy Keeping the clam flats and mussel beds open is crucial for the livelihood of our clammers Nearshore eel grass beds provide a nursery for commercial and recreational fish species
BC/CC Project will protect clamming by preventing pollution of the water
According to the USFWS, 8 high priority fish, such as strippers and herring, depend on the eel grass and waters of Middle Bay Another 12 fish use Casco Bay as their habitat, including the waters off Harpswell, Includes cod, mackerel and halibut
By conserving the land in its natural state, the BC/CC Project will: Preserve the water quality of Pott’s Harbor and Middle Bay 55% of the land is wetlands… which helps to protect the groundwater quality in South Harpswell Ultimately, impacts on water quality in Casco Bay
The wetlands, woodlands, fields and intertidal zones in the Project Area protect high priority wildlife The USFWS found that 53 of 91 high priority species can use the habitat in these parcels In addition, 17 of 32 high priority shorebirds can use the parcels Three endangered or threatened birds may use the property. We’ve seen eagles (Reed to details here)
Examples of some of the birds that may use the property
And shore birds can use the intertidal areas. You can see the extensive area used by wading and waterfowl on the map.
Most importantly, the properties will allow the people of Harpswell to have access to the water and to recreation Clammers will be able to have access to the clam flats Residents will be able to enjoy hiking, hunting, birding, fishing, kayaking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, ice skating Visitors will be able to enjoy scenic views
Total cost of the project is $970,000
HHLT has made the commitment to raise the money to purchase these properties. Board working hard on grant applications from foundations, government agencies and other conservation organizations. Will hear about the grants in early Jan 2011 But this is not enough. These efforts need to be matched by local support and contributions That’s why we’re here today. We want you to learn about these properties and visit them. We hope you will reach the same conclusion as we have. These properties are special and worth preserving and protection. They are more important to Harpswell as open space for all of us to enjoy than as developed space.
Consider the options-pledge your support Pledge forms are available. We welcome gifts of all sizes- no gift is too large Sizeable one time gifts are most helpful. You can also pledge over several years.
Will leave up a summary of the benefits of this project. Have time for a few questions