Saving Maine Marshes
Protecting land is one of the most valuable tools we have to respond to climate change, and on the Maine coast, protection and restoration of tidal marshes has a profound impact. Tidal marshes are incredibly effective at removing gases like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing them in roots and soils below—as much as ten times more effective than forests per acre! Marshes also help protect built infrastructure and provide essential habitat for countless species, including juvenile lobster and clams, herons, and the endangered salt marsh sparrow.
Recognizing the value of marshes, MCHT launched the Marshes for Tomorrow Initiative in late 2016. This coast-wide initiative—the only one of its kind in Maine—is focused on protecting undeveloped areas surrounding current marshes. As sea level rises, this will allow room for marsh systems to migrate inland while also providing a buffer for plants and animals sensitive to human disturbance.
Over the past six years, we’ve worked with partners to complete 36 marsh protection projects from York to Washington counties, conserving a total of about 1,800 acres of marsh and upland buffers. And we’re just getting started! We’re currently working on over twenty active marsh migration projects, with several expected to close before the end of the year.
“We have a long-term goal of conserving another 37,000 acres of marsh and adjacent uplands on the coast of Maine,” says MCHT’s Senior Community and Conservation Planner Jeremy Gabrielson. “This is an ambitious goal, but I’m hopeful as we continue to get the word out to potential partners and supporters and make progress every year.”
More Stories from the Coast
In a changing climate, protecting connected woods and waters becomes increasingly important to help plants and animals survive.
“I immediately fell in love with the people and the land and now I want to do whatever I can to help out.”
MCHT collaborates with The Community School to protect important habitat and create permanent outdoor education space on Mount Desert Island.
Protecting connected habitats is key to making the coast more resilient to climate change, and healthy, free-flowing rivers are among the most important types of connected habitats.
MCHT helped conserve a few downtown acres in Milbridge in 2017. Four years later, this land has been transformed into the Milbridge Commons Wellness Park—a place where people can walk by the water, play, and pick free produce.