Current Projects

Goodwin Farm, Eliot

Update: Eliot voters approved the appropriation by a 3:1 margin.

 

 

Eliot Ballot Question Could Protect 80 Acres on Goodwin Farm

June 1, 2017

ELIOT – Eliot voters have the opportunity to permanently protect 80 acres of open space on Eliot’s Goodwin Farm during the upcoming June 13th town election.

Question 23 on the ballot asks Eliot residents if they support appropriating $40,000 from the Eliot Land Bank Reserve to help preserve forested land on Goodwin Farm, which will be managed by Great Works Regional Land Trust (GWRLT). The funds will help GWRLT complete the property acquisition and will also go towards creating a parking area and expanding and improving public walking trails on the property. GWRLT plans to preserve an additional 30 acres of the property for active farming, and will contribute $210,000 to complete the entire 110-acre transaction.

The land falls within a focus area identified in Eliot’s Open Space Plan as a priority conservation area and it connects to town-owned lands that are currently inaccessible. It is in close proximity to the Eliot Town Forest and 2,250 acres of protected open space around York Pond region. The property offers opportunities for bird watching, hunting, skiing and hiking, and also upholds the legacy of farming in Eliot.

“Any addition to the Town’s pool of permanently protected conservation land is good, in my opinion” says Christine Bennett, Eliot resident and Executive Director of Kittery Land Trust. “But this project is also protecting a piece of working farmland, and so it really helps maintain a link to our cultural heritage of being a farming town.”

The Eliot Land Bank Reserve exists to fund projects that protect natural landscapes and resources in Eliot. The reserve currently has a balance of $71,000, and was last used in 2013 when $25,000 was appropriated at Town Meeting to Kittery Land Trust to help protect 90 acres of Rustlewood Farm that lie in Eliot.

The distribution of funds to the Goodwin Farm project will not impact property taxes, since the funds have already been set aside for these purposes, according to Jennifer Fox, an Eliot resident and former board member of GWRLT. “It’s good to expend these funds for what they were designated for,” says Fox. “This will both provide access to town lands, and also expand the area of conserved lands.”

GWRLT has begun negotiating with a farmer to turn the front acreage of the property back into a working farm, while conserving the remaining forested acreage for public access. “I think this is a great deal for the town,” added Fox. “It has direct benefits for recreation, and it also is a parcel that protects water quality in Shorey’s Brook. It is a benefit for many reasons.”

Eliot residents have the opportunity to vote on this ballot question on Tuesday, June 13th from 8am to 8pm at Marshwood Middle School.

 

Spiller Farm

Link to pdf with photos and information.
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Update: Project completed December 2016

"The importance of farms such as Spiller Farm to their communities cannot be overstated." Adam Bishop of Maine Farmland Trust

Great Works Regional Land Trust is working with Bill & Anna Spiller to conserve their 130-acre farm on Rte 9A in Wells. The funding to purchase a conservation easement from the Spillers is nearly in place - thanks to a bargain sale from the Spillers, funds from the federal Farm & Ranchland Protection Program, and funds approved in November 2014 by Wells voters.

You can help: Great Works seeks to raise $10,000 from community members to conserve Spiller Farm forever. Donate. We're halfway there!

 

Brooks Farm in Berwick


July 2014

Family Farm in Berwick Protected Forever

Thanks to the generosity of Ruby E. Brooks and her family, a beautiful 90-acre farm in Berwick will benefit the community, agriculture and wildlife forever. The farm’s new owner, Great Works Regional Land Trust, will protect its open hayfields, fine sandy loam soils, woodlands and streams in accordance with Ruby’s bequest.

Great Works has established a stewardship fund to care for the property. If you would like to contribute to this, call Great Works at 207-646-3604, mail a check to GWRLT, PO Box 151, S. Berwick, ME 03908, or donate online.

Read more...

 

Lapierre Farm in Berwick

February 2015

Great Works protects fifth farmland property in Berwick.

Lapierre Farm

With frontage on both Route 236 and Blackberry Hill Road, Lapierre Farm is blessed with high-quality fields–currently in hay production–upland forest, and forested wetlands. Its owner, Paul Lapierre, has been caring for the farm most of his life. He will continue to do so with the certainty that the land will forever remain available for farming and timber harvesting, activities he loves. On January 15, 2015, Paul and his wife Diana conveyed an agricultural conservation easement on their 69-acre farm in Berwick.

The family negotiated the transaction with Adam Bishop, Project Manager at Maine Farmland Trust (MFT), through their Purchased Easement Program. Darrell DeTour managed the project for Great Works Regional Land Trust, which was assigned the easement by MFT. A generous bargain sale by the Lapierres made the farm’s conservation possible.

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Salmon Falls River Projects

From the Summer 2015 newsletter:


"Acquisition on Salmon Falls River Creates 229-acre Conserved Block


With the May 18, 2015 closing on the Keay Brook parcel, nearly two miles of frontage on the Salmon Falls River in Berwick is protected. The 86 acres were purchased with funding from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, creating a 229-acre block of conserved land, preserving habitat for wildlife and protecting water quality. The Salmon Falls River is the public water supply for more than 28,000 people.


Keay Brook flows through the property, which will be managed for wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation. Project manager Michael Wright, Great Works Board member from Berwick, says “We will be creating a parking area and establishing public access for hiking and other low impact recreation. The Berwick Trails Committee is interested in working with Great Works. If, at some time, we can build a footbridge over a breached dam on Keay Brook, we will be able to connect with the trail on the Tuckahoe Preserve.”


A disused road runs along the southern edge of property, which had been approved in 2006 for a 13-unit development. Walnut Grove Road ran from Hubbard Road, across the river into Rochester, N.H., and crossed Salmon Falls Road at the Walnut Grove Church. It then continued through and terminated near the Rochester Airport. "

Read more...

 

Great Works River Watershed Project

The Great Works River Watershed, 23 miles in length, drains large areas of South Berwick and North Berwick as it heads to the Salmon Falls River, then the Piscataqua River on its way to Great Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partners has granted funding to Great Works Regional Land Trust, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and Great Works River Watershed Coalition for the purpose of implementing five high priority tasks:

  • Outreach to increase recognition of the direct connection between the condition of waterfront buffers and water quality.
  • Update water quality data
  • Create 'Best Management Practices" proposal
  • Outreach concerning invasive aquatic species
  • Provide access to information utilizing the Reserve's Seacoast Watershed Information Manager (SWIM).