The Bingham wind project funds additional conservation efforts in Maine
AUGUSTA, ME. June 23, 2017 – The Bingham wind energy project and Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), a nonprofit that is committed to preserving the state’s unique natural resources, have announced the recipients of $1 million in conservation awards that will significantly enhance land and resource conservation in Maine.
In 2015, the Bingham wind project established a $2.5 million conservation fund as part of an agreement with FMM. The first $1.5 million was distributed in 2015 to six Maine conservation groups for projects located across Maine, from the western mountains through the Moosehead and Hundred Mile Wilderness regions to Katahdin. The awards funded critical conservation efforts including mountain trail creation and maintenance, land acquisition, and the protection of salmon and brook trout habitats.
Recipients of the final $1 million in funding include the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Forest Society of Maine, Freeport Conservation Trust, Mahoosuc Land Trust, Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, Maine Huts & Trails, Project SHARE, Western Foothills Land Trust, and the Bureau of Parks and Land and the City of Augusta and Town of Fayette.
The Bingham wind project is located in Somerset and Piscataquis Counties and began commercial operation in December, 2016. It has an installed capacity of almost 185 megawatts of clean energy – enough to power the equivalent of more than 60,000 New England homes.
“We are deeply committed to Maine, and we value the state as a special place that is worthy of protection,” said Steve Doyon, CEO and President of Novatus Energy, the owner of the Bingham wind project. “With this second phase of funding, we are excited to continue to work together with Maine conservation and environmental organizations to preserve the state’s open spaces so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
“FMM is committed to preserving Maine’s unique natural resources, particularly its prized mountains,” said Rand Stowell, FMM’s founder and board chairman. “These projects represent important conservation achievements in Maine.”
“The Atlantic Salmon Federation is very grateful to receive these funds from the Bingham Wind Project,” said Andrew Goode, VP of US Programs for the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “These funds will be used to reconnect streams in the upper Penobscot River watershed for the benefit of Atlantic salmon, river herring, and brook trout and help sustain the momentum that has been built to restore sea-run fisheries throughout the Penobscot River over the past decade.”
“This timely funding from the Friends of Maine’s Mountains and the Bingham Wind Project helps Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) complete its Kimball Pond acquisition,” said Charlie Baeder, Executive Director. “The Kimball Pond project expands the Kennebec Highlands, a conservation property in central Maine only 25 minutes from the state capital, managed in cooperation with the State of Maine. The Kennebec Highlands include the highest peaks in Kennebec County, the foothills to the Western Mountains and the southern edge of the Northern Forest. The project provides outdoor recreation opportunities to all Maine residents, guarantees public access to Kimball Pond, a popular brook trout fishery, and protects water quality, wildlife habitat, working forests, headwater streams to the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers, and scenic views. BRCA is very grateful for this funding as it furthers our mission to conserve the lands, water quality, and natural heritage of the Belgrade Lakes watershed.”
“The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is very pleased to receive this funding to aid our stewardship of Tumbledown Mountain,” said Dr. Tom Desjardin, Director of the Bureau. “Tumbledown and adjacent mountains are Maine jewels beloved by generations of residents and visitors alike. However, the exploding popularity of day hiking here coupled with overnight use that is at times damaging, cries out for additional attention to protect visitor experiences and the mountain itself. This generous funding will help us improve trails and manage camping to the benefit of the mountain and those who love to visit it.”
“The wonderful award from Bingham wind energy project and Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) is an incredible shot in the arm to continue moving forward the vision of the Bond Brook Recreation Area,” said Leif Dahlin, City of Augusta, Community Services Director. “In addition to being part of helping to conserve 300 acres in the heart of Maine’s Capitol City, the award will assist with the continued investment in the parkland’s infrastructure that will allow the residents and visitors to continue to enjoy this parkland. Numerous additional benefits to will be realized thru this amazing award to the City of Augusta, Augusta Trails, residents and visitors.”
“Coastal Mountains Land Trust is thrilled to receive this generous funding to help us permanently conserve an additional 1,400 acres of land on Ragged Mountain in Hope, Camden & Rockport and to secure the water supply for six coastal communities,” said Ian Stewart, Executive Director.
“The Forest Society of Maine is so pleased to learn of the grant of $95,000 being awarded from the Friends of Maine’s Mountains-Bingham Wind Project Conservation Fund,” said Alan Hutchinson, Executive Director of Forest Society of Maine. “This grant is helping bring two important land conservation projects across the finish line: The Gulf Hagas – Pleasant River project abutting the Appalachian Trail in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, and the Heinrich Forest project that protects a key property adjacent to Mt Blue State Park in Weld, Maine.”
“Freeport Conservation Trust is very appreciative of the funds from the Bingham Wind Project that we can invest in land conservation locally,” said Kathy Damon, FCT President. “We are looking to enhance and expand preserves, particularly in under-served neighborhoods.”
“Mahoosuc Land Trust is very pleased to receive funding from the settlement between the Friends of Maine’s Mountains and the Bingham Wind Project,” said Jim Mitchell, Executive Director of the Mahoosuc Land Trust. “The grant will enable Mahoosuc Land Trust to purchase key property that connects land connecting the Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve to the Ellis River Conservation Area. The acquisition creates a corridor that connects rare critical mountain top habitat to river habitat. Rumford Whitecap Mountain and the Ellis River Conservation Area are both designated Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance by Maine’s Beginning with Habitat Program, and this funding completes the project.”
“The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, whose mission is to preserve and protect the land along Maine’s Appalachian Trail for public benefit, is pleased to be a recipient of these funds for conservation,” said Simon Rucker, Executive Director. “We would once again like to extend our thanks to Friends of Maine’s Mountains and the Bingham Wind Project for their generosity. These funds will be a key funding source in the acquisition of a large, much sought after conservation parcel in Maine’s High Peaks, will help the land trust to further our work for the High Peaks Initiative, a collaborative conservation effort in the 230,000-acre region surrounding the Appalachian Trail, and will be able to expand our efforts under the Appalachian Trail Maine: Next Century conservation initiative.”
“Maine Huts & Trails is honored to be selected as a recipient of this award from the conservation fund established for the Bingham Wind Project,” said Carolann Ouellette, MH&T’s Executive Director. “These funds will appreciably support our efforts to maintain an outdoor recreation resource of national significance, stimulate environmentally sensitive economic development and promote a strong conservation ethic.”
“This funding comes at a very opportune time for Project SHARE,” said Steven Koenig, Executive Director Project SHARE. “For the past decade we have completed over two hundred connectivity projects in Downeast Maine. We are now working on other habitat issues that build on the connectivity work (i.e. adding wood for habitat complexity) that are more difficult to find funding sources. These funds will allow us to maximize our effectiveness working on-the-ground to restore Eastern brook trout and Atlantic salmon habitat.”
“The Fayette Board of Selectmen are greatly appreciative of the grant that will create a hardened trail surface to provide an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible trail access for nature observation and enjoyment in the Parker Pond Headland properties,” said Mark Robinson, Town Manager for the Town of Fayette.
“Protecting Noyes Mountain means so much for the economic development of this rural Maine community,” said Lee Dassler, the Executive Director of the Western Foothills Land Trust. “The view of 1,500’ mountain which forms a majestic backdrop to Norway Lake is the seminal view of our town and one of the most iconic views of western Maine. The 295 acres to be protected support a variety of natural communities and rare species, promises numerous trails and recreational opportunities, and will continue to support our working forest industry. Thank you Friends of Maine Mountains and the Bingham Wind Project for a timely and pivotal lift that leveraged a full match!”
About Novatus Energy
Novatus Energy is a renewable energy platform that owns a 1.6 GW portfolio of wind and solar projects throughout the US. Novatus’ management team is comprised of seasoned industry professionals supported by experienced project operators and advisors. We are dedicated to the success of the communities in which we operate by creating strong relationships that foster economic growth. To learn more visit www.novatusenergy.com.
About Friends of Maine’s Mountains
Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2009 for the purpose of protecting Maine’s Mountains. To learn more visit www.friendsofmainesmountains.org.