The primary goal for the conservation of the York Pond area is the protection of wildlife habitat, followed by water quality then passive recreation.This effort has been supported by diverse entities, from Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy to the Wild Turkey Federation of America and South Berwick Rod & Gun Association.
Beaver Dam Heath is a 1,500+ acre mosaic of wetland and upland forests, one of the few unfragmented wetland complexes remaining in the southern region of Maine. It provides critical habitat to two rare animal species (the Blanding’s turtle and the spotted turtle) and one rare plant species, the Atlantic white cedar. It lies mostly in Berwick, north of Route 9, south of Old Sanford Road, and west of Diamond Hill Road in North Berwick.
|A great sense of isolation exists within the heath since none of the surrounding hills
are visible from the interior, and none of the heath is visible from the surrounding hills.
- Bill Bryan, Great Works newsletter Winter/Spring 2008
Beaver Dam Heath, A HiddenTreasure
Protecting Your Farm's Future: Learn about Conservation Options for Farmland
March 3, John F Hill Grange in Eliot, 4:30 - 6:00pm
March 31, Noble High School in North Berwick, 4:30 - 6:00pm
Farm owners and others interested are invited to learn about conservation options and participate in a discussion about farms, transferring the family farm, and options for preserving critical agricultural resources. These informative sessions will be held jointly with Great Works' partner organization, Maine Farmland Trust, with the goal of educating anyone interested in protecting local food supplies and farmland.
Report on March 3rd Event:
More than 30 farmers, farmland owners, land use professionals and community members from Eliot, Ogunquit, and South Berwick gathered at the John F. Grange Hall in Eliot for a lively discussion and information session about the numerous resources and tools available to help conserve agricultural land for agricultural purposes, keep farmers on the land, and contribute to the rich agricultural history of our area.
Beth & Richard Johnson of Rustlewood Farm (Kittery/Eliot) discussed the benefits of working with Great Works and how critical the partnership was for the future success of the farm. Because of the various conservation tools available to them, "we get to continue farming," says Beth. "My husband is born into it, it's in his blood. Now, we get to farm as long as we want."
Charley Baer of Lover's Brook Farm (South Berwick) spoke about how conservation tools made it possible for him to begin his immensely successful Baer's Best. In speaking of one area of his property, "because the development rights had been sold, the land was affordable to me. The farmland easement allows me to do what I need to do to be successful."
Productive agricultural land is a finite and irreplaceable natural resource. Fertile soils are the result of climate, geology and biology and take thousands of years to develop. Farmlands are most often located near rivers, streams and roads, making them ideal location for development. Every year over 4,000 acres of Maine farmland are converted into developed uses and with them we lose the opportunity for local food production and critical habitat for other species.
Across the country, 2 acres of farmland are lost every minute. Here in Maine, 400,000 acres of farmland will be changing hands in the next 10 years, just due to the age of our farming community.
Now is the time to act. According to GrowSmart Maine, if the tillable portion of Maine's currently active farmland is developed at the same rate as it was during the past decade, most of Maine's productive farmland will disappear in the next 45 years.
We invite you to learn more, buy local and getting involved today by making a donation to the Great Works Farmland Fund today.
GWRLT's Farmland Protection Synopsis and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) link to pdf
GWRLT's Farmland White Paper link to pdf
Like farmland, fresh water is a finite and limited resource. Studies show that just 6–10% coverage of a watershed with impermeable surfaces will result in degraded water quality in streams and rivers. The conservation of open space allows soils to filter rainwater. Protection of wetlands provides rich habitat for birds, amphibians and reptiles along with critical storm water catchment and protection from flooding.