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Conservation Funding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn order to successfully protect and conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat, we need to ensure that much-needed state programs and services continue to be funded. Our ability and willingness to invest in conservation today will impact Maine’s forests, rivers and sea shores, as well as the economic and recreational opportunities they provide for generations to come.

Land for Maine’s Future

The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program helps conserve lands with high recreational and ecological value, as well as working farms, forestlands and waterfronts. Lands conserved through LMF form the foundation of our natural resource-based economy and provide significant economic value in the form of natural goods and services. This important program has been funded in the past by bonds that are approved by legislators and then voters. Since its creation in 1987, LMF has maintained a history of broad, bipartisan support among lawmakers, as well as 60% of the voters of Maine. We will be supporting a bill to provide renewed funding for LMF through a $20 million bond proposal.

Maine Audubon supports LD 1454, Resolve, Directing the Governor and the Land for Maine’s Future Board To Fulfill the Will of Maine Voters and Issue Bonds Approved in 2010, as amended. When the House failed to override the Governor’s veto on LD 1378, it promptly amended LD 1454 to direct the Governor to release the Land for Maine’s Future bonds. The Legislature enacted the bill on the final day of the legislative session and will take up the Governor’s anticipated veto in January.

To learn more, please visit Land for Maine’s Future.


The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program has a history of broad support and an outstanding record of success in protecting Maine’s natural legacy.

  • LMF has conserved lands in each of Maine’s 16 counties, including mountain summits, salt marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds, and coastal shorelines
  • LMF has helped to conserve more than 315,000 acres of working forestland, ensuring sustainable forest management and public access for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation
  • LMF has conserved more than 1,200 miles of shorefront and dozens of lakes and ponds, guaranteeing access for canoeing, fishing, and boating
  • LMF has worked with communities across the state to establish hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails and 158 miles of rail trails
  • LMF is consistently supported by 60% of Maine voters and a bipartisan majority of Maine legislators

Talking Points

  1. Governor Should Follow through on Promises Made
  • Governor stated in 2013 that LMF bonds approved by voters in 2010 and 2012 would be spent following the payment of the State’s hospital debts in June of that year.
  • In July 2014, the Administration committed to investing more than $9 million in bond funds approved by Maine voters in 2010 and 2012.
  • The Administration has made specific commitments to dozens of private landowners, who have conducted due diligence, spent money, and negotiated in good faith.
  • Holding up this funding is costing the State money, could lead to projects failing, and has put the state’s reputation at risk.
  • This is not consistent with running Maine like a business
  1. Maine Voters Have Spoke
  • 60% of Maine voters in 2010 and 2012 voted to invest these conservation funds.
  • Puts a chilling effect on conservation activities statewide.
  1. LMF Investments Strengthen Maine’s Economy and our Local Communities. LMF has protected:
  • Over 560,000 acres of conservation and recreation lands. This includes 315,000 acres of working forestlands reflecting LMF’s efforts to conserve the working landscape and keep lands in private ownership with permanent land conservation agreements.  These lands serve a variety of activities including: hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, picnicking, and birdwatching.
  • 52 water access sites – guaranteeing access for canoeing, fishing and boating.
  • 37 farms of more than 8,900 acres – supporting family farmers producing dairy, vegetables, meat and flowers.
  • 24 commercial working waterfront properties where lobsterman and other fisherman have guaranteed access to the water – ensuring their economic future.
  • Acquisitions include more than 1,200 miles of shore lands.
  • 158 miles of former railroad corridors have been protected for multi-use recreational trails that are part of a statewide network generating millions of dollars to local economies.
  • Add YOUR local example focused on how people in the community are benefiting from past LMF projects/will benefit from pending LMF projects.
  1. Governor’s Timber Harvesting Proposal is a Separate Issue
  • Providing heat assistance to low income Mainers is a worthy policy objective, but there are better options available to meet this need.
  • Science does not support timber harvesting increase the Governor is proposing.  The administration’s own Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry has determined that 141,500 cords per year is sustainable.  Governor wants 180,000 cords.
  • Governor is seeking a second deal with the same pot of money.  This money was already used as political leverage in securing the repayment of the hospital debt in 2013.  Governor should fulfill his end of that deal rather than renegotiating the terms.  A deal is a deal.

Recent Press Coverage

March 19, 2015:

Maine Audubon Releases Statement on Governor LePage’s Refusal to Release Land for Maine’s Future Bonds

March 10, 2015:

Stream Crossings

Repairing stream crossings in Maine is an investment in our communities, economy and way of life.

A proposed $10 million bond would help fund improvements of our road infrastructure (stream culverts). This will improve public safety by preparing for extreme flood events and benefit Maine’s wildlife by reconnecting fish and wildlife habitat. Many of our existing culverts are currently blocking fish passage. Stream connectivity is critically important to maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations. With good stream connectivity, fish are free to move upstream or downstream. Improvements for fish also support the health of other wildlife in the ecosystem.

Maine Audubon supports An Act to Invest in Road Stream Crossings.
Sponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe.


Many Maine culverts are old, ineffective, and put roads, public safety, and wildlife at risk.

  • Much of our water infrastructure, including the culverts that allow streams to pass under roads, were put in place during the World War II era or even earlier.
  • Old culverts can get blocked or fail entirely, creating a public safety hazard and cutting fish and wildlife habitats into separate, isolated segments.
  • Surveys show that up to 90% of culvert crossings make movement difficult or impossible for wildlife at least part of the year, while nearly 40% are severe barriers for wildlife movement.
  • Habitat fragmentation can result in the loss of species including highly-prized fish species like Eastern brook trout and Atlantic salmon.

Stream connectivity is critically important to maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations.

  • With good stream connectivity, fish are free to move upstream or downstream – from the smallest stream to the ocean or lake – allowing fish to find the appropriate water type and temperature to spawn, grow and stay healthy throughout their lifecycles.
  • Maine’s identity and our economy depend on our natural resources. Business leaders know that our coast, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds provid