New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) has added a 2,200-acre forest near the Bay of Fundy in Downeast Maine’s Washington County to a growing roster of public-use properties across New England that support wildlife and forestry. Called the Venture Brook Community Forest, this new forestland abuts the Dennys River corridor, and the streams and wetlands on the property provide clean water for native Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout.
“NEFF conserved parts of the Dennys River watershed in 2006 through the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership, and we expanded on that work in 2018 with our acquisition of the riverside Reynolds Family Forest in partnership with Downeast Salmon Federation,” said Frank Lowenstein, NEFF’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’re proud to continue this tradition of collaboration by working with The Conservation Fund to complete this third round of conservation in the watershed, which tops off a strong year for Downeast land protection.”
Venture Brook’s acquisition caps off NEFF’s most successful year of conserving land through ownership—rather than through conservation easements and restrictions—since the organization’s founding in 1944. In 2020, NEFF has taken ownership of and permanently protected 8,078 total acres of forestland, split between Venture Brook and three other parcels: the 3,100-acre Frenchman Bay Community Forest in Hancock, Maine; the 2,690-acre Holmes Stream Community Forest in Whiting, Maine; and the 88-acre Perkins Woodlands in Royalston, Mass.
NEFF acquired the Venture Brook parcel through the Maine Coastal Forest Partnership effort to protect a suite of Downeast working forests. The Conservation Fund negotiated the purchase of 17,000 acres of forestland in Hancock and Washington Counties, and is working with The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, NEFF, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, and Downeast Salmon Federation to permanently conserve these forestlands to improve wildlife habitat, ensure future recreational access, and support the economies of nearby coastal communities.
“The goal of our Working Forest Fund® program is to protect large working forests across the country from the increasing threat of conversion and fragmentation,” said Tom Duffus, Vice President and Northeast Representative for The Conservation Fund. “We are pleased to work with New England Forestry Foundation and our other partners in this effort to secure one of the last, large forest blocks on Maine’s iconic coastal plain, supporting local jobs, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and recreational access.”
Like all NEFF Community Forests, Venture Brook will be open to the public from dawn to dusk, and will allow traditional recreational uses. It also demonstrates the features that make Downeast Maine’s network of forests and waterways ideal for cold-water fish.
Streams and wetlands weave through the almost entirely forested Venture Brook parcel, and the forestland purifies and filters this water as it makes its way into the nearby Dennys River; trees in the riparian zone then shade the Dennys, and the end result is the kind of cool, clean river young Atlantic salmon need to thrive.
“This recent acquisition by New England Forestry Foundation of 2,200 acres along Venture Brook is a fantastic addition to the conservation of water quality and cold-water fisheries in the Dennys River, including critical habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon,” said Dwayne Shaw, Executive Director of Downeast Salmon Federation.
NEFF’s work to promote wildlife habitat will be guided by Exemplary Forestry, a forest management approach created by NEFF that prioritizes forests’ long-term health and outlines the highest standards of sustainability currently available to the region’s forest owners.
“The acquisition of the Venture Brook tract just months after NEFF protected 5,700 additional Downeast Maine acres provides a great opportunity to demonstrate the Exemplary Forestry standards we tailored to the Acadian Forest region,” said Alec Giffen, NEFF’s Maine Representative and Senior Advisor. “By applying these standards, we will not only be able to improve wildlife habitat but also increase timber production, increase timber stocking on the ground, mitigate climate change and continue to provide opportunities for traditional recreational uses.”
ABOUT NEW ENGLAND FORESTRY FOUNDATION
Through the application of New England Forestry Foundation’s core expertise in conserving forestlands and advancing Exemplary Forestry, the New England Forestry Foundation helps the people of New England to sustain their way of life, protect forest wildlife habitat and ecosystem services, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. In partnership with land owners, New England Forestry Foundation has conserved more than 1.1 million acres of forest since its founding in 1944, including one out of every three acres of forestland protected in New England since 1999. It also owns and manages more than 150 Community Forests across the region. For more information, call 978-952-6856 or visit www.newenglandforestry.org.
ABOUT THE CONSERVATION FUND
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including over 450,000 acres in Maine. Learn more at www.conservationfund.org.