Saving Maine’s Plants and Animals in a Changing Climate
A 2014 study put out by Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences found that 75% of Maine’s native plants and animals are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. One of the key factors contributing to the health and sustainability of Maine’s wildlife is mobility—the ability of animals to migrate significant distances in a shifting climate.
The Manomet study states that “the prognosis for Maine and its current suite of species and habitats is potentially good if landscape-scale corridors and large habitat blocks are maintained.”
Over the past several years, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has made significant progress towards conserving one of those critical landscape-scale corridors in Washington County, running from the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land to the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.
In 2017, MCHT conserved 2,352 acres on Rocky Lake. Just a couple of months ago, in September 2018, an additional nearby 600 acres were conserved, forever preserving an expansive, contiguous tract of land for vulnerable animals moving between the coast and inland forest.
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Over the past six years, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked with partners to complete 36 marsh protection projects from York to Washington counties, conserving a total of about 1,800 acres of marsh and upland buffers.
MCHT collaborates with The Community School to protect important habitat and create permanent outdoor education space on Mount Desert Island.
Protecting connected habitats is key to making the coast more resilient to climate change, and healthy, free-flowing rivers are among the most important types of connected habitats.
MCHT helped conserve a few downtown acres in Milbridge in 2017. Four years later, this land has been transformed into the Milbridge Commons Wellness Park—a place where people can walk by the water, play, and pick free produce.
With the conservation of Sheep Island, MCHT offers a trio of great island preserves in Owls Head.