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January 25, 2006

Thomas Island Conserved

Bar Harbor: Thomas Island, a wooded 66 acre property located in the Mount Desert Narrows, and a scenic landmark when crossing the Trenton bridge at the head of Mount Desert Island, has been permanently protected from development. Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), a statewide land conservation organization, recently purchased the island from Dr. Frank Moya, a seasonal resident of Bar Harbor. "We are grateful to Dr. Moya for offering the island to MCHT at a significant discount to its full value. This generous act will assure that the island will remain a pristine home for wildlife," said Brian Reilly, Project Manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

"Conserving Thomas was always in the back of my mind," says Dr. Moya, who had owned the island for ten years. "I am happy that Maine Coast Heritage Trust will help carry out my wishes to protect this special island in perpetuity." MCHT plans to manage Thomas Island as wildlife habitat and will be creating a plan to allow compatible recreational use.

Protection of Thomas Island adds to other conservation work in the narrows. Nearby South Twinnie Island, owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is home to an active bald eagle site. The eagles use Thomas Island for as important foraging and roosting habitat. The mud flats and eelgrass beds surrounding Thomas Island and the Twinnie Islands provide excellent habitat for black ducks, common eider, and sandpipers. Recently over 5,000 ducks were seen in the waters just north of Thomas Island.

Funding for the purchase of Thomas included a National Coastal Wetland Grant in the amount of $453,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in addition to a $5,000 contribution from Ducks Unlimited. "Due to the incredible generosity of a conservation-minded landowner, Thomas Island will forever provide essential habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife. I am delighted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could contribute to the partnership that led to the permanent protection of these increasingly rare natural resources along Maine's coast," said Marvin Moriarty, northeast regional director for the Service.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is a statewide land conservation organization dedicated to protecting land that is essential to the character of Maine, its coastline and islands in particular. Since 1970, more than 122,000 acres, and 255 entire coastal islands have been permanently protected. For more information, contact Richard Knox, Director of Communications and Public Policy 207-729-7366, or visit www.mcht.org.

Contact:

  • Brian Reilly, Project Manager, Maine Coast Heritage Trust: (207) 244-5100
  • Rich Knox Director of Communications, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (207) 729-7366

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