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Pingree Announces Nearly $400,000 to Protect, Preserve Coastal Maine Wetlands

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was awarded the federal grant to acquire 81.4 acres in York County on the Salmon Falls River, a tributary of the Piscataqua/Great Bay estuary system

Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee, today announced a $395,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) grant to support conservation efforts in Maine’s Piscataqua/Great Bay estuary system. The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program funding will allow the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), in partnership with the Great Works Regional Land Trust, to acquire 81.4 acres in York County on the Salmon Falls River. The Maine grant is among 12 projects across the country awarded funding today, totaling $10.2 million in seven coastal states to protect, restore or enhance over 2,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats

“The Salmon Falls River has great ecological significance to Maine and New Hampshire’s shared coastal estuary, which thousands of residents rely on for clean drinking water. In the face of increased polluted runoff, developmental pressures, and climate change, protecting and conserving wetlands like the Salmon Falls River is vital to ensuring the health and resilience of our environment and communities,” said Pingree. “As Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service, I am thrilled to see federal dollars supporting the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Great Works Regional Land Trust’s critically important conservation efforts in Southern Maine.”

"Coastal wetlands are important natural infrastructure systems protecting communities from the effects of climate change by mitigating the devastating impacts of storms, invasive species and sea-level rise,” said FWS Director Martha Williams. “The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants fund projects that help recover coastal-dependent species, enhance flood protection and water quality, provide economic benefits and increase outdoor recreational opportunities for our coastal communities."

“In 2023, we accomplished an incredible amount of work, including the most significant and ambitious projects we have ever undertaken. I have to thank our dedicated board and hard-working staff, as well as our grant partners, members, and individuals who donated to these projects and our collaboration with the town of South Berwick,” said Jordan Kelley, Executive Director Great Works Regional Land Trust. “The FWS Grant/National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program provided us with the necessary funding support to acquire this ecologically significant property. Conserving land that supports the natural functions of the environment improves watershed health, habitat, and resilience in our changing world. Great Works Regional Land Trust is honored to receive these funds and carry on our vital work in conserving the best of southern Maine for everyone, forever.”

The FWS annually awards grants of up to $1 million to states and territories based on a national competition, which enables states to identify and address their highest conservation priorities in coastal areas. Since 1992, the Service has awarded more than $500 million in grants under the program.

Last June, Pingree welcomed FWS Director Martha Williams to Maine for a tour of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge where they got a first-hand look at how the Refuge and FWS are working to protect native Maine shorebirds like saltmarsh sparrows and piping plovers.

As Chair of the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee in the 117th Congress, Pingree oversaw a significant funding increase for the FWS, securing $519 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System, $15 million above the fiscal year 2021 enacted level.


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