Strategic Conservation Planning

Thank you to the 138 of you took the time to answer questions in our Winter 2008 newsletter survey about the important conservation issues that are facing our communities. It is clear that the Trust cannot and should not protect “everything”. To thrive, people need places to live and work just as much as forests, streams, and fields which provide recreation, wildlife habitat, clean air and water, food, and wood products. It is this balance that protects important natural resources that is at the heart of the Trust’s mission. Your answers will help define this balance.

The results are being used to develop a Strategic Conservation Plan to guide the Trust’s activities for the next decade. This Plan will answer the question of what natural resources need to be protected for our six communities to continue to be great places to live, work, and raise children. A draft will be available for review on the Trust’s website in late summer with the final Plan completed in the fall. A summary of the Plan will be used for outreach and made available to members, landowners, and funders.

The need for the Plan is due to the changing pace of conservation the Trust has experienced in our six towns. In our first 10 years the Trust completed 15 projects. In the next 11 years we finished 66 projects – more than a 400% increase. The Trust currently has 17 active projects. Almost all of the acquisition work is done by volunteers with the exception of fundraising where Christine Magruder, Development Director, plays a key role. The Strategic Conservation Plan will help the Trust better prioritize our efforts to serve members, landowners, and communities by protecting the most important resources.                 

- Tin Smith

Survey Results 

Assets: These are the most important natural resources in our communities. You chose Large Undeveloped Areas (59%) as the top natural asset, followed by Wetlands (57%), Farmland (43%), Wildlife (41%), and Scenic Views (38%).

Threats: Not surprisingly, you rated Development (80%) as the biggest threat with almost twice as many votes as the next closest, Changing Land Ownership (42%) and Habitat Fragmentation (42%). These were followed closely by High Cost of Land Protection (40%), and High Cost of Land Ownership (36%). This confirms the major factors supporting the rapid rate of land use change experienced in our neighborhoods.

Unique Features: Many comments were received in response to the request to list specific unique features the Trust should consider conserving. A few of the most mentioned included:

  • Farmland along Route 4 in Berwick and North Berwick, along Oakwoods Road in North Berwick, and in Wells, along Bald Hill Road, Route 9,  and Bragdon Road
  • Marginal Way in Ogunquit, all water access, additional walking trails 
  • Tatnic Hills and Mt. Agamenticus region
  • Bauneg Beg Mountain in North Berwick
  • Estes Hill and Stub Marsh in North Berwick
  • Water bodies: York Pond, Warren Pond, Knight’s Pond, Cox’s Pond, Leigh’s Mill Pond, Round Pond, and every river in the six towns.