Conservation Group Outlines Excellent PrioritiesBy: George Smith
I like the priorities of the Maine Conservation Alliance: clean water, energy independence, land and wildlife for all to enjoy, and healthy local food. You can guess which goal I like the best.
MCA, headquartered in Augusta, has an exceptional staff and will be lobbying Governor Janet Mills and the legislature on all of these goals.
OK, I like the wildlife goal best. No surprise there.
MCA says, “Our Maine way of life depends on open land and waterways that create opportunities to earn a living and enjoy the outdoors. But Maine is losing farmland, waterfronts, and wildlife habitat to development pressure. Investing in public lands will preserve opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreation for generations to come.”
They’re certainly right. I’ll post a column in a few days about the importance of new funding for our Land for Maine’s Future program, probably in the form of a bond.
And here’s more from their section on wildlife.
The economic value of Maine’s water, land, and wildlife is not just our legacy, it’s our greatest potential. Maine’s forest products industry is contributing $8.5 billion to Maine’s economy and supporting 33,000 jobs. Outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, and wildlife-watching, adds $8.2 billion and 76,000 jobs. Commercial seafood landings topped $700 million in 2016, while Maine farmers add $1.4 billion in value to the state’s economy. All the while, innovations in composite materials, environmental technologies, and bio-based products are creating new opportunities for economic growth based on Maine’s abundant natural resources.
Maine’s natural heritage depends on healthy wildlife habitats. Conserving habitat for wildlife to flourish throughout their life cycles provides opportunities for recreation and quiet enjoyment of Maine’s beauty, while generating millions in revenue from our outdoor economy. Land conservation provides opportunities for high-quality management of vernal pools, deer wintering areas, and other significant wildlife habitats, including areas for seabirds, shorebirds, and inland waterfowl to nest, roost, and feed. And as our climate changes, conserving resilient landscapes for wildlife, agriculture, drinking water, and protection from storm surges will take on even greater importance.