Key Parcel Added to Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Conservation Effort

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Key Parcel Added to Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Cathance River Conservation Effort

Contact: Peter Greeno, Director of Development, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; 207-729-7694; peter@btlt.org

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Topsham, Maine – October 31, 2013 – For over 10 years, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has been working with many partners to conserve a recreation-conservation corridor for the public’s use along one of our region’s hidden gems – the Cathance River. The Cathance River provides a very different riparian and recreational experience from the wide open Androscoggin River. It feels intimate and remote despite the relative proximity to busy neighborhoods and intersections, and includes everything from Class-4 rapids to gentle meanders along its 12 mile journey to Merrymeeting Bay.

The Flannery property, a 29-acre parcel on the western shore of the Cathance River’s tidal section, adds over 900 feet of shore frontage to the Cathance Conservation corridor. The property contains hemlock forest, oak, northern hardwoods, and a small but rare hardwood seep. It is valued by US Fish and Wildlife Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries for providing tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat and a large block of undeveloped forest habitat. The property also reveals evidence of past human use, including multiple quarries and a large mining seam 25 feet deep and 200 feet long.

The Cathance River is critical area to conserve as it is one of six rivers that flow into Merrymeeting Bay, which, with the Lower Kennebec River, comprises the Kennebec Estuary, one of Maine’s most significant natural areas. The Kennebec Estuary is the second largest estuary on the east coast, containing 20 percent of Maine’s tidal marshes and providing critical habitat for a range of fish, waterfowl, and other species.

Merrymeeting Bay and its source rivers have sustained relatively limited development to date, making the estuary an excellent opportunity for conservation on a large scale. The Flannery property, surrounded by developed parcels, was a likely candidate for development. Thanks to the collaboration of the landowner and the Trust, it is now an important link in a chain of lands protected by the Land Trust and its partners in this priority conservation area. Our management vision for this property is to protect its important wetland and riparian habitat, allow for natural processes to take place, and to develop a trail system for passive recreation so the public can enjoy this lovely outdoor area.

The community is grateful to landowner Ann Flannery and Patty Olds for their generosity and vision in working with the Land Trust to conserve this important natural area. In addition, the Land Trust would like to thank Merrymeeting Bay Trust and the North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program for funding the acquisition of this property, as well as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for their partnership in making this project happen.

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