FRANKLIN — The Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) announced last week that it has been awarded a grant for $94,500 from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program. The money will be used to preserve and restore waterfront property on Hog Bay in Franklin beginning in 2019.
“It’s a 17-acre property,” said Kat Deely, a land protection manager with the FBC. “This is such an important tidal habitat for water-fowl and wading birds, there’s a number of species that are of concern to various conservation groups. This will help ensure it’s not fragmented and used in various ways that will negatively impact the environment.”
The Franklin project is one of nine statewide projects funded by a competitive grant program totaling nearly $1.5 million dollars. The land, which contains 1/3 mile of waterfront, 10 acres of intertidal wetlands, six acres of forested wetlands, and one upland acre, will be some of the only publicly accessible land on Hog Bay. The FBC plans to build a small parking lot off Route 200 as well as a walking trail. The land will be open to hiking, fishing, hunting and bird watching.
“We plan to build upon this access with trails along the bay that would cross privately held lands under conservation easement, a great example of how successful public/private partnerships can be for conservation outcomes,” said Deely in a statement. “We are blessed to be working with amazing landowners in this neighborhood who understand the need for all people to get into nature and appreciate the beauty of the bay, and are supportive of the FBC providing a place for public access.”
This latest grant builds on an earlier $100,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 167 acres along Taunton Bay.
“The momentum is great, hopefully we can build off this,” said Deely. “I know mud flats don’t sound like the sexiest environment, but they are the best bird habitat.”