Maine State Conservation CenterBy: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:11/02/2007 Updated:07/29/2010
RFF just posted its first state conservation website (www.stateconservation.org/Maine). We used Maine as our guinea pig, not only because we live and work here, but because Maine is 97% privately owned. I’ve been using Maine as a mixing bowl for innovative grants and approaches to conservation programs and products for the private land market for over a decade.
Our new Maine site incorporates all the resources available through the Private Landowner Network, and we have added several suites of new resources. The site includes listings for all the organic and natural market farms throughout Maine as well as listings for energy-saving and bio-fuel sources. Both of these will be updated and expanded in the coming year.
We have also included the Maine’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, and incorporated mapping technology. Thematic layers include species habitat (bald eagles, piping plovers, Atlantic salmon, anadromous and catadromous fish runs and passages), wetlands, watersheds, and conservation lands. We have also provided parcel mapping for all of the 33 towns in Maine that have digitized their tax maps. Why is this important?
Parcel mapping is critical for landowners to determine if their land qualifies for conservation easements and federal income tax deductions (170H provisions). There are many federal and state grant programs available for lands that abut or enhance open space, protect wetlands, forests, endangered species and other natural resources. The quickest way for a landowner to determine whether his or her land qualifies for any of these grant or incentive or tax programs is to look at a map and pinpoint the land’s characteristics and proximity to conservation areas.
Maine has been our mortar and pestle. Our next site will feature the metropolitan Houston area.
If you have suggestions or recommendations for information to be added to our sites, call or email us. We added the farmer’s markets and energy-saving features to the Maine site at the suggestions of Michelle Knapik of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in NJ. We welcome suggestions. The beauty of websites is the speed with which information can be added and augmented.