The second-tallest ridge top on the Blue Hill Peninsula, located at the core of a 11,000 acre unfragmented natural area. In 2010, we completed the acquisition of a large parcel of land that includes the northern and eastern slopes of Wallamatogus. Now we have the chance to protect an adjacent 273 acres that includes most of the Great Heath, the largest and most remote peatland on our Peninsula.
Thanks to a cooperative landowner and a generous donor, this summer we were able to secure a one-year option to purchase this land at its appraised value. We have until June 30, 2012 to the raise the additional $177,000 necessary to complete the purchase and cover other associated project costs.
The wetland values on this property are outstanding. The Great Heath is a large, intact peatland ecosystem comprised of a mosaic of wetland communities that host a variety of plant and animal species. It is a significant natural feature and freshwater source in the Bagaduce River watershed, an estuarine system of statewide significance.
This property includes habitat for inland wading birds and waterfowl designated as ‘high-value wildlife habitat’ by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Many of the wetland types have been identified as decreasing and of high priority for protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Maine Natural Area Program has also identified the Great Heath as worthy of conservation protection in a regional landscape analysis.
It addition to its wetland values, this parcel also includes a large area of upland forest on its eastern side that provides a buffer for the wetland and additional wildlife habitat. This upland complements the upland buffer provided by the parcel we previously purchased on the western side of the Heath. These upland areas provide us the opportunity to offer areas for low-impact recreation.
Our efforts to protect Wallamatogus flow from a conservation planning report prepared for us by a prominent independent conservation planner in 2009. This report identified a series of ‘conservation focus areas’ on the Blue Hill Peninsula that are worthy of conservation because they encompass one or more intact landscapes and include a concentration of important conservation values. We are using the report to help guide our new land project work. The Wallamatogus area is one of these conservation focus areas.
If you would like to help us take advantage of this opportunity by making a financial contribution to this project, please let us know.