The tidal mudflats of Hog Bay are rich with life. The extensive area exposed at low tide includes natural habitats for horseshoe crabs, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Now a portion of the bay’s forested coastline and valuable bird habitat will be protected from waterfront development.
Thanks to a $94,500 grant awarded on November 29 from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP), Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) plans to preserve and restore a 17-acre waterfront parcel in Franklin and open the land for public access.
Partnership on Hog Bay
Kat Deely, Land Protection Manager for the nonprofit land trust based out of Hancock, explained the importance of the purchase: “This 17-acre parcel will serve as an anchor point for public access on Hog Bay. We plan to build upon this access with trails along the Bay that would cross privately held lands under conservation easement, a great example of how successful public/private partnerships can be for conservation outcomes. We are blessed to be working with amazing landowners in this neighborhood who understand the need for all people to get into nature and appreciate the beauty of this Bay, and are supportive of FBC providing a place for public access.”
Conserving the Estuary
For the conservation group, this grant builds on an earlier $100,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 167 acres along Taunton Bay, a year-old project that continues to leverage momentum for conserving important habitat along this coastline.
In total, FBC plans to conserve approximately half of the tidal estuary in Hog Bay through land purchases and voluntary private easements. The Hog Bay estuary is located where the freshwater of Card Mill Stream and Long Pond Brook, the drainages for Donnell Pond and Schoodic Bog, empty into the saltwater bay that is the upper section of the larger Taunton Bay.
Taunton Bay is recognized as a Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife “Beginning with Habitat” Focus Area, which designates the most significant ecological areas in the state. The intertidal wetlands in Taunton Bay provide a place for fish, shellfish, ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, and other wildlife to take shelter, feed, and reproduce.
Open to Public Use
Plans for public access on the property include a small parking lot off Route 200 and a walking trail. Hiking, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching will be allowed on the parcel. The land includes approximately 1/3 mile of waterfront, 10 acres of intertidal wetlands, 6 acres of forested wetlands, and 1 upland acre.
FBC’s Hog Bay project was one of nine funded statewide by the competitive grant program in 2018, chosen for its potential to contribute significantly to the ecological sustainability of the watershed and to safeguard against potential impacts to these wetlands over the next 20 years. Voluntary mitigation payments from development projects that impact natural resources in each region of the state fund the MNRCP. The funds are collected by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and administered by The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
For questions or more information, contact Kat Deely, Frenchman Bay Conservancy Land Protection Manager: (207) 422-2328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Frenchman Bay Conservancy was founded in 1987 and conserves distinctive ecosystems, lands, and waters from the Union River watershed east to the Hancock County line, including over 8,000 acres of land and 28 miles of public hiking trails. For more information, visit www.frenchmanbay.org.