News & Notes

Why Donate to Maine Audubon?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Posted on:

There is nothing more basic and elemental to all life on earth than clean water.

Flowing river with falls and children

In this century water quality and scarcity will define relationships between neighbors, communities, states, and countries. Humankind’s dependence on water is as old as humanity itself. Ben Franklin exquisitely described both its value and our propensity to take it for granted when he wrote in 1746, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

Here in Maine, we enjoy an abundance of clean, free-flowing water. But it wasn’t so long ago that the Androscoggin River and other Maine rivers served as foul but convenient industrial sewers, inhospitable to fish and other aquatic species. Acid rain (and toxic mercury) from coal-burning plants has abated but continues to threaten our lakes and streams, and haphazard development degrades salt marshes and fills valuable wetlands—crucial habitat for amphibians, turtles, birds and other wildlife.

Solutions to these problems came in the form of the Clean Water Act of 1972, the tightening of that law in 1990, and sensible anti-sprawl legislation adopted within the last 20 years on both the state and local levels. Building on this legal foundation, Maine Audubon has championed science-based, reasonable environmental protections for decades, restoring water quality for wildlife and human communities alike.

We’d be naïve, however, not to recognize that the politics of Washington and Augusta are not producing the immediate actions necessary to protect the clean water and special habitats that wildlife and people depend on.

That’s why the work Maine Audubon is doing—today, as well as tomorrow—is so critical.

We rely on donations from people like you—people that value the Nature of Maine. I hope you will make a gift to Maine Audubon’s Annual Fund and help us protect Maine’s most valuable natural resources—the air we breathe and the water we drink and enjoy.

yours in conservation,

Ted Koffmann

With your help, here is a sample of the important work we’re doing today:

Riparian (shoreline) Habitat Protection

It’s no accident that most people live near sources of water. It’s the same for wildlife. By protecting the shore around lakes, streams and rivers from unchecked development and chemical contamination, we not only keep the water clean, but we also facilitate the movement of migratory species and prevent them from being cut off from the breeding and feeding areas they depend on to survive.

Aquatic Species Migration

You may not think about fish migration when you drive over a culvert, but you sure notice bad culvert design when the road you take to work suddenly becomes impassable. We are leading the charge to replace old culverts with newly designed ones that better facilitate the migration of aquatic species. These improvements in water flow reduce the likelihood of costly road washouts during major rain events.

Protecting Wild Brook Trout

Along with Trout Unlimited and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, not to mention hundreds of volunteer anglers, we’re completing a second year of surveying hundreds of ponds—many without names and located in very remote corners of Maine. These surveys will help us better identify the conditions under which wild brook trout thrive so we can take action to protect them. Maine is home to 97% of the lakes and ponds in America capable of sustaining this “indicator species,” and clean water is essential to their survival.

Historic Dam Removal

We are one of seven non-profit organizations in the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, which celebrated a major victory in June when crews began dismantling the Great Works Dam, to be followed by another dam removal next year. Endangered Atlantic salmon, along with alewives, eels, smelt and the birds of prey that rely on them for survival, will soon rebound in numbers as barriers to fish spawning grounds are removed, notably with no net loss in power generation capacity. Maine’s chief attraction is its pristine environment. Our economy, wildlife, and wellness depend on it. Your gift will help us ensure that this always remains true, for our children and grandchildren. I’d like to close with another quote, this one from the late astronomer Carl Sagan: “Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” Please give to Maine Audubon, as generously as you can. The need is as clear as water from a mountain spring.